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Middle East’s influencer marketing industry to reach $1.3bn this year

By Jalaja Ramanunni

The influencer marketing industry in the Middle East is expected to be worth $1.3 billion in 2023 as brands shift their marketing budgets from TV, print and outdoor to influencer marketing.

According to YAAP’s new report titled, ‘The State of Influencer Marketing in UAE, marketers have identified influencer marketing as a key priority for their brand, ranking it second only to social media.

In 2023, the budgets allocated for influencer marketing have significantly increased, with over 75 per cent of marketers diverting their investments from TV, print, and outdoor advertising towards influencers.

The report highlights the competitive edge of the UAE in influencer marketing globally, as well as the increasing role of mid-tier and socially-conscious influencers. 79 per cent of respondents feel that mid-tier influencers are most important to deliver their brand message.

The research broadly suggests that AI is becoming increasingly important in influencer marketing in 2023, with virtual or CGI influencers poised for wider adoption. “Today, influencer marketing is like Facebook was in 2008 — at its nascency compared to its full potential, with early movers gaining a competitive edge and others experiencing a fear of missing out (FOMO). For the marketing industry, it is a tangential moment with influencers beginning to chart a new course,” expressed Arshad Zaheer, Senior Partner, YAAP.

The importance of technology and measurement was highlighted by the fact that over 71 per cent of marketers reported that they measure engagement for their influencer marketing campaigns. The report also emphasises the global competitive advantage of the UAE in influencer marketing and the growing significance of mid-tier and socially conscious influencers— over 79 per cent of respondents felt mid-tier influencers are most important to deliver their brand message

Launching the report, Sadia Akhter, Partner, YAAP, said, “Influencer marketing has gained significant ground in the Middle East, particularly the UAE, necessitating marketers cut across sectoral lines to explore its viability for their businesses.”