Online advertising in UAE: Content is King

Quality of traffic indicates quality of consumers in online advertising

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Advertising goes digital, but one should do his homework before jumping into it. Do not judge a book by the cover!

Printed newspapers and magazines are getting thinner by the day. In fact, in the U.S. newspapers are reportedly struggling making $1 in online advertising revenues, while loosing $7 in print advertisement.

Digital is the future, but the rates for online advertising offered to publishers in U.A.E. are very low. Online advertising simply no longer pays for the content generation required for a publication to stay in business. So, more and more publishers lower their costs by opting for cheap content or simply publish press releases and  rewrites.

A new fenomen, few Dubai-based websites claim to be “the first online magazine” or  ” the top  web traffic generator”,  conveniently can show huge amounts of impressions on daily basis. How real are these impressions is another question.

Advertisers and media buyers rely mainly on statistics provided by the publishers. Publishers, of course, have the interest to show off huge numbers in order to ask for high online advertising fees. But generating huge web traffic locally  is not easy, because the country’s population is small, multilingual and multicultural. So, some high ranking in terms of web traffic publishers are playing it “smart” by buying traffic on the web.

One may be surprised to learn that even a week old website could rank No.1 on the statistic providers lists. For few hundred dollars anyone can freely buy web traffic for any website online. Such traffic is generated by “red” and “black hat” SEO techniques. It is as fake as you can imagine. Online advertisers may be presented with statistics showing that 10,000 unique readers  visited  a website in a day, while in reality no more than 10 have read any information and none clicked on a banner or link.

Every potential advertiser can look at the pageview figures of a website directly online. Many  sources are providing statistics absolutely for free. By assessing the data from a few, people and companies, who plan to tap into online advertising, can get reassured for the quality of traffic and customers they will receive. This will show them what quality of consumers their online advertising will attract.

The most important detail is from where the web traffic originates. Is it direct, organic, referred by search engines? For example, Google Analytics and provide such information. If the traffic is direct, it means many people know the website and type the address in a browser directly. Organic is the traffic coming from other websites that refer and link to the website. Referred traffic shows that the website is well indexed by the search engines. When people search for information, Google, Yahoo and others redirect readers to that particular website. All of the above are true and fair sources of web traffic.  This is a reliable  indicator for the reputation of an online publishers or individual websites.

Many of the new online publishers are desperate to generate revenues as fast as possible. To sell online advertisement they need statistics. But as it is not easy to get hundreds of thousand of readers in a month or two, they buy traffic. So, the numbers of readers they show to online advertisers look like big figures. In practice, the big numbers mean that the quality of content against which online advertising is served is getting worse and worse.

To serve more online advertisement, some publishers are also spamming online users with two newsletters a day. You want or not, someone sends you 2 email newsletters daily, regardless where these end up – in your Inbox or SPAM folder. Of course, over time consumers stop opening the newsletters and do not click on the pages and advertising banners. So, what is the use of these newsletters and inflated readership statistics?

Here is what online advertisers should look for when choosing online media outlets:

Content is King in the media world! Unique and useful content rewards readers for the time spent on the Internet. If the information is helpful to them, they come back day after day for many years, as per the experience.

Old is Gold! Online advertisers should trust mainly established online publications that they read by themselves, rather than new websites with impressive statistics. Developing any type of business is a long-lasting process.

Social Networking! The online media outlet you choose should be well wired. It should have Twitter and Facebook accounts with many followers. In addition, RSS feed is a must, because often the RSS feed has more subscribers than a newsletter.

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