How 5Ds of digital marketing are reshaping global business sector today

Mansour Althani, CEO & Co-founder, ITCAN

The latest available figures have estimated that about 4.54 billion people were active internet users as of January this year, which represented 59 per cent of the total global population. In the coming years, as technologies continue to evolve, the numbers are expected to grow at a rapid pace, as people turn to the virtual world to aid them in their daily tasks, access all forms of information, connect with anyone from around the world, and look for entertainment, among others. Having gadgets such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets are now a common sight in a connected world where technology is almost at the center of everything we do.

Given this trend, it is not a surprise that marketers and communications specialists have turned to the virtual world and optimize all kinds of digital platforms as an innovative avenue to raise brand awareness and grow businesses.  Digital marketing has not only emerged, but it has long gained traction in today’s day and age.

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The benefits of digital marketing are simply immense. This cost-effective tool provides convenience and accurate demographic targeting, enables faster and easier result measurement and tracking, allows for an effective collection of relevant data, widens market reach, and other advantages.

Digital marketing revolves around these 5Ds: digital devices, digital platforms, digital media, digital data, and digital technology.  The 5Ds facilitate efficient interaction between the brand and its target audience as well as provide insights into market behavior for better business strategy formulation and implementation.

The first of the 5Ds refers to digital devices. It mainly focuses on the target audience’s interaction and engagement on websites and mobile applications using a combination of connected devices. These devices may include smartphones, tablets, desktop computers, TVs, and gaming devices.

Digital platforms are another component that involves the analysis of the preferred platforms or services of the target audience. Most engagements occur using popular platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Google, YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat and LinkedIn.

Digital media refers to paid, owned, and earned communications channels utilized to build engagement with the target market through several ways such as advertising e-mails, messaging, search engines, and social networks.

Digital data normally consists of audience profiles and engagement patterns with businesses, while digital technology focuses on building interactive experiences across a wide range of platforms, from your websites and mobile apps to your in-store kiosks.

All 5Ds are essential to gaining an unparalleled edge in digital marketing campaigns. From traditional marketing, they have effectively transformed the industry in order to bring to the table more effective means to increase brand awareness and thrive in a highly competitive, technology-centric era.

In the GCC, particularly in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, digital marketing continues to gain momentum amid increased internet penetration rate in the region. The UAE, Kuwait, and Bahrain, along with Iceland, were jointly ranked first in the list of countries with the highest percentage of internet users as of January 2020. Each country recorded a 99 per cent penetration rate.

In Saudi Arabia alone, there are 23 million active social media users out of the Kingdom’s total inhabitants of 33.85 million. Further, a report issued by Hootsuite showed that the number of internet users in the Kingdom in 2019 reached 30.26 million people, or 89 per cent of the population. These figures have made the role of digital marketing even more significant, especially for businesses wanting to reach as many people as possible. The emergence of digital marketing as a communication tool for businesses is the natural progression following the implementation of Saudi Vision 2030 supervised by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. The long-term Vision 2030 serves as the socio-economic framework designed to catapult the Kingdom into the ranks of the world’s best nations. Within this framework, several giga-projects have been launched to provide inspiration and discovery and flourish fruitful engagements for the millennial generation.

The scenario in the UAE is no different. Hootsuite has estimated in a published research that the country has a remarkable 8.80 million active mobile internet users. While the estimated number of internet users in the country now stands at 9.52 million, or 99 per cent of the population. Other reports have noted the UAE’s big lead in the region’s digitalization race, with 91 per cent of its population are mobile internet users.

Utilizing the powerful digital tools to achieve your marketing objectives is a practical route to take in the 21st century. This keeps you align with the digital transformation initiatives happening across the GCC region. Optimizing the benefits and becoming an expert in the 5Ds of digital marketing are considered a step in the right direction in today’s highly competitive era.