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CMO roundtable: Challenges of running digital ad campaigns

At a Dubai Lynx roundtable, hosted by DoubleVerify, CMOs discussed the different challenges of running and optimising digital ad campaigns

It is the day of the Dubai Lynx Festival of Creativity and the organisers have brought together top regional brand marketers for a roundtable hosted by DoubleVerify.

In attendance are marketing leaders across different sectors and regions.

From the tourism industry are Saudi Tourism Authority’s Asmaa Quorrich and RAK Tourism Development Authority’s VP Alka Winter and Senior Manager of Destination Marketing & Communications Meghann Eleazar.

Other Saudi-focused marketers present include King Abdullah Financial District’s VP – Experience Samir Siddiqi, Sport for All Federation’s Director of Marketing and Communications Ammar
Alamro and Told Brand Management Director Passant AlDeeb.

Showcasing their inputs from an F&B perspective are Tim Hortons Middle East CMO Aamir Allibhoy and PepsiCo’s Senior Manager – AMESA Creative & Content Lead Mahmoud Hassan.

The roundtable group is complete with the presence of Lego Head of Marketing Ula Bieganska, UAE Government Media Office’s Executive Director of Marketing and Communications Khaled AlShehhi, and Senior Director of Marketing at Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts Ahmed Al Gamal.

The floor opens up for questions after a short presentation by DoubleVerify’s SVP & Managing Director – EMEA, Nick Reid, and VP MENAT, Daniel White.

Topics across the floor touch upon the points of brand safety and suitability, optimising media investment towards outcomes, partner relationships, transparency and accountability in media buying.

Brand safety and suitability

“Brand safety is no longer just about appearing against hate speech and violence and has become more nuanced now,” says White.

A brand may have compelling creative messaging which resonates with their target audience, but all this can be undermined by one ad surfacing against unsafe or unsuitable content.

“Consumers are now very aware of where brands are served. People are looking at brands that are aligned with their values,” adds White.

He notes that the UAE boasts a higher average of people who are more likely to buy from companies they feel aligned with.

White also shared how the number of instances of brand infractions go up approaching Ramadan. The percentage of brands showing up in spaces that you don’t want actually rises by 15 per cent.

White shares the reason behind this increase, “It comes down to supply and demand. When the amount of traffic being bought by advertisers increases but isn’t matched by an increase in supply, we see a higher proportion of ads appearing against content that an advertiser has classified as unsuitable for their brand.

Optimising results

When looking at optimising ad campaigns, the focus comes to the need for the human element even with digital platforms.

Sidiqi emphasised the importance of upskilling employees to understand data and measurement. “You need to have the skill set internally to understand measurement.”

Quorrich mentions how Saudi Tourism implemented training programmes and collaborated with technology providers such as META to upskill the team to achieve the brand’s digital transformation goals.

White says that DoubleVerify’s certification platform, DV University (DVU), is also being
used by advertisers across the MENAT region. Demonstrating ways to leverage DV’s
actionable insights in order to achieve digital campaign objectives.

The discussion highlights the need for a data-first approach and industry-wide collaboration to instill this mindset and build necessary skill sets.

Quorrich adds that when looking to optimise campaigns, setting KPIs and benchmarks help them achieve better results than impressions. “I want to see clicks and I want to see transactions and the pressure that I put on the agencies is to really gives me the results.”

Sharing how they set these benchmarks, she adds,“We start with benchmarking the industry in a similar activity, benchmarking the industry, and benchmarking overall.”

On the opposite end of optimised campaigns, they also touch upon the various types of fraud, such as fake websites and fake traffic-generating bots.

Emphasis was placed on the critical role of AI in combatting fraud and ensuring ad placements align with brand safety, thereby maintaining trust and credibility in digital advertising.

“What you want is a ready solution as well that simplifies our work and also creates transparency around the cost,” says Bieganska. Marketers also discuss the challenges of ensuring transparency and accountability in media buying.

Marketers cap off an engrossing round table by stressing the importance of understanding data and deriving insights to make informed business decisions rather than merely measuring data.