Google’s video streaming powerhouse launched eight local domains in MENA last week, extending its reach to the rest of the GCC, including Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman. But how will regional ad agencies respond?

The move follows the huge success of localised monetisation in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The grand plan is to expend advertising solutions across the whole Arab World.

“This is a strategic move by Google that fully demonstrates the importance they are placing in the region from the dual standpoint of growth and revenue potential,” says Waseem Afzal, head of digital at OMD Dubai.

“There is a significant interest among our clients in these markets and in digital video advertising so we’ve worked hard to achieve a partnership with YouTube that gives our brands the first-mover advantage.”

This development clearly presents a huge opportunity for advertisers who want a Pan-Arab advertising solution. With a deeper understanding of the user, they can also reach different segments of the population through their interests and topics.

“I believe the commercialisation of the platform in these second-tier markets in the GCC will do more than attracting ‘outside’ advertisers and stimulate demand from local advertisers indigenous to these markets,” continues Afzal.

“TV-driven brands will start to explore this avenue to achieve incremental reach, as we have already seen on other occasions. Taken individually, these additional markets may appear small but we see this as a stimulus for new local content, which will, in turn, drive the volume of inventory up and thus advertising investments.”

In simple terms, advertisers can now book home page (banner advertisements on the YouTube home page) and watch page ads on YouTube, including TrueView. This format that enables advertisers to pay only for ‘engaged views’ and it could arguably revolutionise video advertising as we know it.

The user experience is optimised as they only watch ads they want to watch. With TrueView in-stream ads, users can skip ads within the first five seconds of the ad and the advertiser only pays when users choose not to skip.

Afzal is adamant, ‘without a shadow of a doubt’ that the appetite for digital video advertising is booming in MENA. OMD expects the trend to gain momentum as online video adoption continues to soar, fuelled by increased content across more devices.

“With the unprecedented levels of reach for the medium, planners are now looking to optimise their TV media mix beyond TV”, Afzal tells AMEinfo. “The consumption of content historically has been one-way, with consumers passively absorbing TV content, but it is no longer 100 percent true today.”

When it comes to developing richer experiences for consumers in this multi-screen landscape, Youtube is the leading platform worldwide, and continues to gain momentum in MENA, according to TBWA\RAAD’s Digital Arts Network (DAN).

“The viewing figures in these markets are currently lower than KSA and the UAE, but it doesn’t take long for audience numbers to grow, especially when local content is given centre stage as Youtube are doing,” explains Noah Khan, head of DAN.

“Brands are increasing their investment in this space, and it will only continue to increase. It is a model that fits brands of all sizes. The targeted delivery and high level of measurability make it a creative alternative to television,” he also tells AMEinfo.

With the mobile connectivity getting faster with LTE and now LTE+, video consumption is going to see an even greater growth, especially in our region and this will lead to greater opportunity for brands, according to Khan

Google issued a statement explaining that it is championing brands and content creators alike to be successful on its video service, and leverage the platform across any device – mobile, tablet, laptop or desktop. YouTube already has more than 300 million views a day across MENA.

“We want to continue to be a forum that connects, informs, and inspires original-content creators and advertisers large and small,” the statement claims.

source: msn