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Native advertising

Native Advertising Explained

By Luci M Iley

What is Native Advertising?

Native advertising is paid marketing content which is often described as being ‘disguised’ into the hosting platform – this can be used in both online and offline media, including magazines, websites, blogs and social media. This content is usually read or viewed in the same way as the medium it is disguised in and is often distinguished only by a small label reading ‘sponsored content’ or similar.

Where Can Native Advertising Be Seen?

In magazines, native advertisements are often in the form of visually appealing articles or content, designed to promote a specific product or brand, but appearing at first glance, to be no different to the publication’s existing content and written media.

Online, native marketing appears in the form of sponsored articles, video content or images, produced in line with the publisher’s branding and regular content, but with a strong message of promotion or a call to action included.

What is Good About Native Advertising?

Native advertisements are often read as if they were a part of their host’s content. Regular readers and viewers will have a personal connection to the content creator and will associate those positive feelings with the message being delivered through the advertisement, leading to a higher chance of conversion and sales as a result.

In the Middle East, native advertising techniques are still relatively new, giving them a higher chance of impacting upon viewers as they discover sponsored content and a new way to digest marketing messages without having their content disrupted.

What is Bad About Native Advertising?

The camouflaged message may not be strong enough to motivate the consumer to take action; by disguising the message as regular content, readers and viewers may treat it as such by consuming the message and simply moving onto the next piece of content, rather than learning more about the brand or engaging with the business.

How can I Learn More About Native Advertising?

Consider pursuing a short diploma in digital marketing, covering online advertising techniques, strategies and tools.


Influencer Marketing in the Middle East



By John Alexander Adam


Blogging is a passion: as bloggers, we want to share our thoughts, feelings, insights and knowledge with the world. Whether a blog is purely a hobby or has a commercial element, in the majority of cases the blogger wants to reach out, connect with and influence as wide an audience as possible. In the modern era the top bloggers have huge influence and following and this is particularly true in the Middle East.

Influential bloggers from the Middle East are in the enviable position that their followers are more active and engaged than those from almost anywhere else in the world. This is probably due, at least in part, to the fact that as a traditional, conservative society, the independent voice of bloggers, imbued with their own personality, is particularly valued as juxtaposed to mainstream media.

That engagement is a dream for marketers trying to connect with a Middle East audience and it should come as no surprise that brands are particularly keen to be associated with influential bloggers from the region. So, as a marketer in the Middle East, how can you best leverage the unique opportunities that influencer marketing presents in the region?


Think Indie Movie, not Blockbuster

The first step is to grasp the nature of influencer marketing and how it differs from more traditional channels. The Middle East as a region has a tendency towards the big budget and the extravagant and that culture is often reflected in the character of marketing campaigns targeting the region. Influencer marketing goes against that grain and marketers must first get their heads around that if they are to be able to properly exploit the strategy.

Social media influencers are generally successful not because of the slickness of their production but their raw, stripped-back entertainment value. The most successful may start to add some slickness and production to their video clips and other forms of content but there is only so much ‘production’ that can go into a 15-second Instagram video. Their followers like and relate to them for what they see as their personality and how that comes through in the content they create. Trying to change that would almost certainly have a negative impact. It is up to the marketers to find creative, unobtrusive ways to inject brands into influencers’ content if they want to connect with their audiences.

Sarah Barry, general manager at advertising agency Momentum, has discussed how many brands and marketers take the wrong approach when it comes to working with influencers.

“Most brands just want to be seen with the influencers and not make any real effort to connect with their audience. A simple cameo of your brand in an influencer video does not mean their fans will like you too. A real collaboration with the influencer is needed to build real relationships, and there are so many ways to do that.”

Effective influencer marketing is all about co-creation of content that is true to the influencer’s own style and not putting the influencer into a traditional marketing campaign.


Invest in Influencers

While it is a growing market, the number of genuinely good influencers producing quality content is still limited and this is particularly true in the Middle East. Every influencer is also not suitable for every brand, further reducing the suitable options for marketers engaging in influencer marketing. As such, it makes sense for brands to invest in and nurture suitable influencers as a longer term strategy.

Khaled Akbik, director of social media at OMD UAE confirms this, saying “engaging with influencers should be part of a long-term strategy to build an ongoing working relationship with them and move them from simply being influencers into being actual brand ambassadors.” 

“This may require the brand to empower them with tools that help them get the job done (i.e. cameras, vehicles, gear, studios, etc). Yes, this means it will be costly, but remember that these ambassadors are producing quality content that is loved and trusted by hundreds of thousands, if not, millions of people. Don’t think of it as a cost coming out of your media budgets only, rather from both your media and content budgets. When you combine the two and perform a cost benefit analysis over a long term, you’ll find that it’s well worth the cost.”

Used correctly, influencers can be just as effective, if not more so, than mainstream media celebrities when it comes to brands connecting to particular audiences. Their followers feel more personally connected to influencers. Compared to the cost of marketing that features top celebrities, investing in good influencers long term will actually be far more cost effective.


Managing Influencers without Compromising their Appeal

One phrase which sums up the challenge of influencer marketing perfectly is “to the marketer, the brand is the hero, but to the audience, the influencer is.” One of the major challenges in influencer marketing is to ensure that the content produced is not compromised. The appeal of the influencer is in their perceived personality and their followers buying into its authenticity. Marketers have to learn to find the sweet spot between the two when it comes to influencer marketing.

Influencer marketing is still very much a new, developing marketing channel and everyone in the industry is still learning. We have only touched on some of the key considerations marketers must bear in mind. However, the points outlined here are certainly key to a successful approach.

If you want to take your marketing skills to the next level, Morgan International offers a number of different digital marketing diplomas at locations across the Middle East.


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Google Adwords Cheat Sheet: Tips and Tricks to Boost Your ROI


By John Alexander Adam


Google adwords are the cornerstone of most direct marketing campaigns in modern online marketing. As an online marketing professional, being able to optimize ROI on your company’s adword spend more effectively than competitors is often considered a key indicator of your performance. While having the basic skills to set up and monitor campaigns on the Google Adwords platform is basically a must-have for anyone in online marketing, knowing how to go about maximizing ROI is what will get you noticed.

It’s all about optimization and knowing how to make the most of the full suite of features on the adwords tool, as well as being able to use other third party tools and utilizing the little tricks your competitors hopefully don’t. PPC stats site Sitewit says that on average businesses make $2 for every $1 they spend on adwords. As an online marketing professional, you of course want your performance to exceed the average. So here’s a few tips top Google Adwords gurus use to keep them one step ahead of the curve!

  • Patience – Build Your Funnel

One mistake that many Google adwords campaigns make is having the primary goal of a direct sale. The ‘conversion’ is considered to be a direct sale or enquiry. It depends on the product or service you are selling but users clicking on your ad can potentially be at several different points along the sales cycle. They could still be trying to figure out exactly what they need, or already know but are exploring what the different options are. They may already be familiar with the different options and are in the process of comparing them or they could be ready to make a purchase.

If all of your efforts are focused on only the last category of ‘Clicker’, then you are essentially wasting the spend generated by those at earlier stages of their buy cycle. However, if your main conversion goal is getting their email address you can then communicate with them and educate them along their path to a final decision, greatly increasing the percentage of ‘Clickers’ that eventually buy from you. It’s a longer process but building up a sales funnel in this way can over the longer term hugely increase your final ROI.

  • Understand Your Visitors

The Google Analytics tool can give you great insights into who your visitors are if you know what to look for. Understanding prominent behavioral patterns will allow you to better understand the best conversion approach once they are on your website. For example, if the number of new visitors to your site is significantly greater than the number of returning visitors this suggests that most visitors to your site are not familiar with your brand. In this scenario you will most likely be far more successful if your approach is to educate them rather than go directly for the sale. This is just one example but educating yourself on how to interpret that kind of statistic correctly will go a long way to improving your eventual ROI.

  • Leverage Remarketing

Many adwords marketers admit defeat at the point a ‘Clicker’ leaves the site without having responded to any potential conversion point, such as leaving an email address, making a purchase, or something in between. This fatally ignores the fact that using remarketing can significantly boost conversion rates of visitors that have initially been directed to the site via adwords campaigns.

Statistics show that 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned before the purchase is completed. But by having already come to your site via adwords you know that there is a high chance the ‘Clicker’ is genuinely interested in your product or service. Direct, targeted messages delivered via remarketing campaigns are statistically the most effective ad display strategy and using them to follow up on visitors initially arriving via adwords campaigns increases subsequent conversion rates significantly.

  • Keep A/B Testing Your Landing Pages

The actual adword is only the first part of an adwords marketing campaign. Integral to the conversion rates of any adwords campaign is the landing page ‘Clickers’ arrive at once they have clicked on your add. There is a lot of extremely interesting statistical analysis that has been published in recent years on how subtle changes to the wording of messages and design of landing pages can make a significant difference to conversion ratios.

Despite that, statistics from SEO consultants SEOGadget show that only 44% of companies use A/B testing to compare potential differences in conversion rates between variations of the landing pages they use. And far less employ a strategy of ongoing A/B testing to continually optimize results. The likely lack of effort by your competitors in this regard can give you a great advantage if you do things correctly and keep optimizing the conversion ratios of the landing pages you use with your adwords campaigns.

  • Analytics, Analytics, Analytics

Whatever you do and try with your adwords campaigns, the key to success and improving conversion ratios is to constantly analyze the data. Google Analytics is a good enough tool for most businesses and there are also other 3rd party analysis tools you can try. Adwords marketing is essentially a statistical science. If you constantly analyze the statistics available you will receive insights that will enable you to continually improve the performance of your campaigns, improving ROI.


If you want to take your adwords marketing skills to the next level, Morgan International offers a number of different digital marketing diplomas at locations across the Middle East. Learn more about our Professional Diploma in Search Marketing class launching in Beirut this Fall, in partnership with the Digital Marketing Institute (DMI). 




5 Marketing Skills Every Blogger Needs to Master


By John Alexander Adam

The stratospheric rise in profile and influence of top bloggers in the Middle East means that there has never been a better time to be a blogger in the region. Brands are clamoring to team up with well know bloggers across a wide variety of different styles and interest areas. Their support and desire to gain exposure to the followings of established bloggers has meant that many of them can now afford to employ specialist online marketing experts to help them popularize their blogs even more effectively. The flipside to the increased status and influence of bloggers in the Middle East is that it is also harder than ever for new bloggers to break into the exclusive club that brands want to be associated with.

But don’t despair! Almost every industry has its established titans and agile, fresh newcomers still succeed in breaking through and establishing their own position. This can be done by either usurping the position of a bigger, more established player who has become complacent or because the market is growing and there is room for more participants. Aspiring bloggers can hold onto the hope that they can build their own following big enough to have brands chasing them for either reason, or a combination of them both. Blogs as an alternative media format are growing in popularity generally, particularly in the Middle East, meaning there is room for newcomers to take a share of the audience for their particular niche if they can produce the right quality of content. Ambitious new bloggers can also arm themselves with the marketing know-how and skills to give them an edge in what has become a competitive industry.

It’s no use having great content if potential followers don’t get to see it in the first place. By putting in some time and effort to master these 5 key marketing skills you can give yourself what could be a crucial edge on your competition when it comes to growing your blog!

Social media marketing

The explosion of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn has not taken place over a parallel period of time to the growth in blogger influence by coincidence. In many ways they have gone hand-in-hand, with social media one of the most powerful platforms for popularizing your blog’s content and reaching new audiences.

Posting all of your blog posts across relevant social media channels both keeps your current followers involved and interactive, as well as helping reach new people. However, if you really want to make the most of the leverage the social media platforms can provide, take things to the next level by harnessing the power of some of the great analytics tools out there. Products such as Sumall, Falcon and Meltwater can give you the comparative data insights on how your social media activities are performing which will allow you to optimize your efforts and get ahead of competitor blogs.

Tailor Different Social Media Profiles

Each social media platform is different and requires a different approach to maximize the benefits they can bring to your blog’s growth. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, or shouldn’t be. Facebook is a great place to show some of your personality, with Twitter the focus should be interaction and LinkedIn requires a more serious ‘business’ face to your profile. You need to learn what works best on which platform and have different profiles on each social media platform that reflect that to make the most of them.

Learning how to use different analytics tools and exploring the science behind tailoring your approach and image to different platforms can give you a great competitive advantage.

Search Marketing

Most bloggers don’t start out thinking that SEO and other search marketing techniques will be crucial to how successful their blog becomes. It’s all about the quality of your content, right? Well, right, and not so right at the same time is the answer. Of course you need great content but the key to success is exposing as many people to that great content as possible and that’s where search marketing skills play a key role.

Understanding SEO techniques such as analyzing potential traffic for particular keywords relevant to the audience you want to attract, how to rank for them and understanding how realistic that might be can give your blog a massive boost. If you write book or film reviews, you probably can’t practically hope to come up in the first organic positions for ‘book reviews’. But you might be able to rank for long tail keywords such as ‘independent book reviews’. There may be less overall traffic for such long tail terms but it’s traffic you can potentially get and if you learn what to do to find good, relevant long tail keywords and how to rank for them you could give your traffic a massive boost!

Optimise Your Blog

A follow-on from the previous point is to understand how to put your blog together from a technical point of view so it is optimized both for your readers as well as Google bots. We’re not talking about becoming a programmer here but you do need to learn how to customize the blog platform you use to adapt layouts to reflect best user experience practices.

And you need to learn about the science behind user experience. It’s not airy fairy but based on real statistical analysis on how users respond to different layouts, advertisement placement and a hundred other little things that can make a real difference to both how many followers you retain and how effectively you can monetize. And you need to make sure your blog is friendly to Google bots so they can easily move around it, see what content you have and rank it for Google searches.

Simplify subscriptions

Again a natural progression of the previous skill set, there is marketing science behind turning traffic into registered followers of your blog in the most efficient way possible. The success of a blog can live or die on your conversion ratios from visitor to follower and it is followers that makes the brands sit up, take notice and start to want to be associated with your blog.

Do you know what statistical difference it might make where exactly you place your subscription buttons, the calls to action you use and how simple the procedure is? It can be massive and it’s something you should be motivated to learn about!

Putting in the effort to acquire and develop online marketing skills is crucial to anyone who wants to become a successful blogger, regardless of their niche or area of interest. Almost without exception the top bloggers are both great content creators with their own bold and articulate voice and personality and fantastic marketers. It’s the combination that separates them from the crowd.


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Snapchat in the Middle East: Marketers HAVE to Get It


By John Alexander Adam


Snapchat is taking the Middle East by storm, and to some extent at the expense of other social media such as Facebook and Twitter. While marketers may not see the photo sharing social media as an immediately natural business opportunity, most initially thought the same thing about first Facebook and then Twitter. However, with so many people now using Snapchat in the Middle East, it would be foolish to ignore it as a new marketing channel. So who exactly is using Snapchat, what are they doing with it and what are the business opportunities?

Snapchat allows users to send photo and video content that has a limited lifespan before it disappears. Users can view a ‘Snap’ for 10 seconds before it self-destructs. The general idea is that it shares ‘moments’. Snapchat first came to public attention as a platform predominantly used for the exchange of ‘selfies’, mainly by teenagers and often of a questionable nature. However, with over 100 million active daily users worldwide, it is now a mainstream social media and has, unexpectedly for many, grown far beyond those inauspicious beginnings.

In the Gulf region and the wider Middle East, Snapchat is growing more quickly than any social media platform before it. Statistics from market research company Ipsos Mena put the percentage of active smartphone users in the UAE who had used Snapchat over the course of December 2014 at 12%. That’s even higher in Qatar, where 14% of active smartphone users use Snapchat regularly. While official 2015 figures are still unavailable, they are certain to be much higher with 2015 widely considered as having been the ‘tipping point’ year for the social media platform. While it is still most popular amongst the Under 25s, Snapchat is quickly gaining market penetration with the 25-40 age bracket also. As a marketer, both demographics are likely to be crucial targets and Snapchat is now a very effective way to reach them in the Middle East market. So what are the opportunities Snapchat affords to marketers and how can you make the most of this new social media platform?



Snapchat allows companies to tell the story of their brand, product or service in a creative, visual way. Snapchat Stories is a function that companies can use to create re-playable narratives built from photographs or snippets of video, accessible by ‘Snappers’ for 24 hours. It forces creativity and can be very effective. And audiences seem to like the end result with Snapchat Stories created by brands being viewed 500 million times a day even back when the service was launched 2 years ago.

Another new feature ‘Discover’, packages news and other media stories for ‘bite sized’ consumption, appealing to those who consume content at regular intervals throughout the day but do not want to spend time reading long articles or watching in depth video footage. From the end of 2014 to early 2016 data consumption via ‘Discover’ quadrupled.


Reach a Generation in their Own Environment

All over the world young people under the age of 30 are using Snapchat to find their voice and express their identity in communication with their peers. It is the ‘cool’ and ‘current’ social media destination. Especially in a region such as the Middle East, with its conservative values, Generation A are finding in Snapchat an environment where they can grow as individuals without fear of repercussion and an online history coming back to haunt them. As such, brands seeking to be relevant to the younger generation, though increasingly not only, will fail to engage actively with Snapchat at their peril.


Fantastic Levels of Engagement

Statistics show that ‘Snappers’ consistently view and interact with brand-created content to a higher degree than comparable users do on either Facebook or Twitter. Exclusive time-limited promotions, photo and video collections of products and brand narratives all prove popular for Snapchat users. The fact that they only stay visible for 24 hours means that users are incentivized to check regularly for updates and new material from content providers they like.

This is just a quick ‘Snap’ of the business opportunities Snapchat is opening up. As penetration grows amongst users from older generations also marketers should understand that this is a social media platform they have to get their heads around and begin making the most of. That is relevant in the Middle East perhaps more than in any other geography.

If you want to take your content marketing skills to the next level, Morgan International offers a number of different digital marketing diplomas at locations across the Middle East.


Top Tips on How to Brainstorm-02

Top Tips on How to Brainstorm Your Way to Winning Content


By John Alexander Adam


‘Content is King’, right? The coronation of content as the monarch of online marketing has been, while not without a faction of rebels, widely accepted for some time now. Top quality on-trend, educational and well written content is a cornerstone of most companies’ online marketing strategy. But with everyone doing it, how do content marketers keep coming up with innovative, winning content that stands out from the crowd?

Companies put particular effort into marketing targeted at the Middle East, viewed as a lucrative geography where both individuals and companies have stronger buying power than elsewhere in the world. As such, content marketers in the Middle East have as stiff a challenge as any when it comes to coming up with content themes and structures that will not only compete with the competition but stand out.

Brainstorming is one great way of combining creative talent in the pursuit of quality content. After all, if two heads are better than one, three, four or more should have even more potential. However, too fling another old saying into the mix, it is also crucial to avoid a scenario of ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’. So here are some top tips on effective brainstorming for content marketers in their pursuit of harnessing greater combined potential while carefully avoiding the wrong mix of ingredients leading to a time-wasting disaster:


  • First Among Equals


While the whole point of a brainstorming session is a free flow of ideas, it is also important to maintain the direction of that flow or it can quickly lose focus and go off track. Another danger is not everyone in the group buying into the concept of ‘brainstorming’ and criticizing ideas, leading to a hostile or unproductive atmosphere.

It is always a good idea to appoint a moderator to any brainstorming session who can ensure focus is maintained and the atmosphere supportive, explorative and productive. This should be someone familiar enough with the project who is also able to maintain discipline in a social, non-authoritative manner.


  • Set Clear Goals


At the outset it is a must to define the desired outcome of the brainstorming session. Even if everyone in the group is familiar with the project, a brief summary helps to focus thought. A few specific and realistic goals can then be set. ‘The best content idea we’ve ever had’, is not an example of a specific, realistic goal. ‘Identify 3 ways we can improve our content’, would be.


  • Have A Time Limit


The human mind tends to work better under at least a little bit of pressure. Setting a specific time period for the duration of the brainstorming session will help prevent meandering and keep everyone with their eyes on the goal. Exactly how long the time limit should be will vary and very much depends on the particular goal, or scope of the project. However, as a general rule of thumb half an hour is probably a good timeframe for brainstorming and you should try to avoid sessions of over an hour. If the subject matter is bigger and you feel more time is required, you can always split the brainstorming over more than one session or break the group down into separate teams, each addressing different questions.


  • Write Everything Down


Whether it is writing on a whiteboard, putting post-its on a wall, or any other technique, getting all the brainstorming ideas in front of the group is a must. It makes sure nothing is forgotten and shows all input is valued. Visual representation of ideas also helps consideration and looking at ideas up there on the wall can help make some stand out as the most impressive or bring their potential weaknesses to mind.


  • A Cuckoo in the Nest


It can often be very useful to include an outsider in any brainstorming session. What constitutes an ‘outsider’, can differ. It could be one person not directly involved in the project. Or, if you are a group of marketing experts, include a programmer, an accountant or a designer. The ‘outsider’ lends a different perspective, can highlight that something may not be as obvious as those ‘inside’ the project think it is, like an end user will experience things, and can help avoid ‘group think’.

There are of course many other tips and guidelines that can help ensure content marketing brainstorming sessions are as effective as possible. If you want to take your content marketing skills to the next level, Morgan International offers a number of different digital marketing diplomas at locations across the Middle East.



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Middle-Eastern Marketing Geniuses of 2016 (So Far)


By Luci M Iley


In marketing, there is a fine line between genius and crazy; finding that line and staying on the right side of it can be difficult, but these three marketing geniuses managed to venture quite close to the line, whilst ultimately succeeding in their goal – raising their business’ profile and gaining exposure. Here’s how they did it, and the lessons you can learn from their stories;

Anand Kapoor – Midcom Group

Anand Kapoor grew Midcom Group from a start-up, twice. First as a foreign exchange bureau, then as a mobile phone distribution network. Now the business has its own handset assembly brand, Fero, which has allowed Anand to begin targeting the GCC region - Saudi Arabia in particular - with mobile phone handsets in the mid-to-top-end price range, but also offering $8 handsets for season such as Hajj – where phones are often disposable by necessity.

Moral: Marketing geniuses look closely at their customer’s needs and provide products accordingly.

Dietmar Siersdorfer – Siemens.

The Chief Executive of Siemens Middle East and UAE has seen the spotlight a few times over the past year – and it’s hardly surprising given that his department have successfully closed several multi-billion dollar deals to create new energy-saving power stations across the region. Siersdorfer knows what he is doing, too – when asked whether he thinks the low oil price environment across the GCC will affect the company, he replied that the oil price crunch has only led to a greater consciousness surrounding energy efficiency – a fact that ties in nicely with his new contracts.

Moral: marketing geniuses can use any situation to their advantage.

Pullman Dubai Deira City Centre’s Digital Marketing Team

After attracting a lot of attention through their Instagram campaign, Pullman Dubai Deira City Centre’s marketing team have been mentioned in multiple lists and pieces of content, noting their bravery in using staff members in precarious situations to promote their company. Doing so has only improved the fun-loving brand personality they portray.

Moral:  Marketing geniuses are not afraid to have fun with their campaigns.

Want to know how to think like these marketing geniuses? How about pursuing a short diploma in digital marketing to learn all of the inside tips and tricks to create great digital marketing campaigns?


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Cut Costs Now on your Online Campaigns


By Nick Cassells


Marketing on a restricted budget can be pretty awe-inspiring and sometimes depressing for

any business, but luckily, as the online world becomes more central to everyday

communications, digital marketing can be a relatively low cost option for getting seen

amongst the crowd and competition. However, planning and preparation are going to be

your greatest allies.


Here are a few tips to make sure investment is likely to give good returns:


1. Know the territory

You need to place your money where it is going to be most effective. The internet is

home to a plethora of different tools and channels each of which have relevance to

unique target markets, your ultimate marketing goal, and overall budget. Research

channels and approaches which suit your industry before you rush into using what is

allegedly “trendy”. If it all seems confusing and bewildering, consider further training in

digital media.


2. Understand your target market

Different target markets will relate more readily to specific approaches and use specific

channels on the web, so spend time clarifying your target market and online behaviour.

For instance, an older prospective client is less likely to use social media. Instagram is

used largely by females, Facebook is a social arena and Linked In is for networking and

great for B2B.


3. Quality website and platforms

Get the fundamentals right. As with all products, quality attracts buyers. On the internet

- quality content is king. So if your website is top notch – it offers your target market

powerful and useful information - this will provide a springboard to good results by



4. Determine what is free

The internet really is the home of free dinners. In any other sphere we get suspicious

about anything which is free, but advertorial systems allow companies to offer free use

of apps and tools. Check out whether you can get the same quality marketing tool for



5. Smart goals

You need to be looking ahead so you can determine whether the money you are

outlaying is giving acceptable good return on investment. Therefore, goals need to be

measurable and you need to be able to know how to measure them.


6. Set a budget

This may sound obvious but due to the way you pay for online marketing (i.e. pay per

click) money can disappear very quickly if it is not monitored closely and changes are

made to enhance future investment. Set a short-term and long-term budget and keep to



With the right strategy, you can dramatically reduce spend and increase value from your marketing.

Our Professional Diploma in Digital Strategy and Planning allows you to do just that.


Marketing Ephemeral

Ephemeral Marketing: What It Is and Why You Need It


By Luci M Iley

What it is

Simply put, ephemeral marketing is marketing through apps and mediums which have short-term messaging systems– Messages and images which disappear a few seconds after being viewed. Of course, the main platform for ephemeral marketing is currently SnapChat – with Saudi Arabia alone boasting seven million monthly users – but recently, more and more similar apps have been created. Hoping to follow SnapChat’s success, Kuwait-based Saleh Al-Musallam designed Vonce – an app which allows user to send short voice recording, which are permanently deleted once the recipient has listened to it.

Ephemeral messaging apps are becoming more and more prominent in the digital marketing world and are even taking e-commerce opportunities in stride by implementing wider features and shopping facilities. For example, Snapchat introduced SnapCash in the US in 2014, allowing users to send money using credit or debit cards to other users – including businesses.

The Pros

Middle East and Gulf regions boast a younger population than many other countries, with 54% of the population at age 25 or younger, this means a more social-media hungry audience and more opportunities to connect with the purchasing generation. Meanwhile, temporary messaging and images mean that the experience of sending and receiving messages I much more intimate and personal – making customers feel special and associating more positive feelings with the brand.

Quick messages are non-intrusive and can be viewed quickly and effortlessly, giving brand more opportunities to be seen, rather than ignored due to time restraints, the short life-span also means that when customers receive a message which catches their eye, they will be unable to share it, leading them to convince friends and colleagues to connect with the brand to share the experience.

The Cons

Immediate sharing does not leave much room for high amounts of editing or long messages, especially as these platforms require a lot of unique content to be posted regularly, which may take a lot of time to co-ordinate. Ephemeral marketing, like any new strategy, will also require marketers to learn new measurements and analytical skills -but this is no different to the introduction of any new marketing medium.

Need more information on ephemeral marketing and how disappearing messages can engage your audience? Why not think about pursuing a short diploma in social media digital marketing to learn everything you need to know about social networks?

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Why A/B Testing will Streamline your Campaign Results


By Nick Cassells


Managing a digital marketing campaign calls for a great deal of planning, a constant setting of

numerous measurable goals, an avalanche of unending data, and astute analytical skills. In most

cases you will be juggling short-term targets and long-term targets in order to streamline your

campaign for ultimate return on investment. Analysis at the end of any cycle of the campaign allows

you to determine performance and making informed changes where necessary.


A/B testing accelerates campaign adjustments

In the world of marketing, we are constantly considering how the audience may respond to any one

promotion or communication. However, it would be wrong to consider a complete advert is useless

if it does not produce positive results. There may be elements within it which are turning your target

market off. Once these elements are modified you may have a sure fire hit on your hands.


Where A/B testing is essential is it can allow you to test more than one promotional scenario at any

one time, clarify held theories, and accelerate overall campaign adjustments. This in turn allows you

a direct comparison to work with and it allows you to find the most effective approach in double

quick time.


Testing a hypothesis

A/B testing is also known as split testing and is basically the same as creating a control experiment to

test a considered hypothesis. If we believe a certain element (X factor) may have a positive effect on

marketing results, we create 2 campaigns which are exactly the same except for the fact that one of

the campaigns will include the X factor. By comparing data at the end of the campaign we get a clear

idea how much the X factor has contributed to overall results.


For instance, consider email marketing. You may create a stunning promotional email but if the

recipient is not tempted enough to click on the “title” they will never see it. A/B testing can be used

to try out different title lines at the same time. Results can be compared and the campaign can be

effectively streamlined.


An insight into client behaviour

Importantly, A/B testing also gives a clear and unique insight into your client’s behaviour and those

insights can be used across all of your marketing campaigns. For instance, that style of email title can

obviously be used successfully in other online communications such as newsletters.


To fully understand email marketing and how to conduct A/B testing to enhance your email

marketing ROI, you may consider undertaking a professional qualification such as the Professional

Diploma in Digital Marketing.