The Holy Month of Ramadan is coming and with it a time for reflection, empathy and connection. It is also at this time that people turn their minds to perennial issues such as food wastage and the pandemic-induced difficulties of gathering with loved ones.
Agencies have used Facebook’s Marketing Solutions to address these topics, and a report from Facebook reveals the research-led insights behind successful campaigns.
Want to know more about how brands and consumers will be spending their money and time this Ramadan? Join our Ramadan webinar on 7 April.
Last year’s Ramadan presented unique scenarios and new challenges to overcome during the pandemic. Usually, food wastage is a worldwide problem with more than 1.3 billion tons of food wasted every year, a problem that gets exacerbated in the MENA region in Ramadan.
Read and listen to how these are brought to life with interviews with Yasser Noueiry, Head of Media Agencies at Facebook MENA in conversation with Samer Chehab, Regional Head of Social Media at Mindshare MENA and Leen Fakhreddin, Head of Creative Agencies, MEA, in conversation with Jennifer Fischer, CIO of TBWA/RAAD .
To avoid the problem of overcooking, especially during Ramadan, regional creative agency TBWA\RAAD MENA came up with an interactive recipe book through an AR filter on Instagram that acts as a meal quantifier. It helps cooks plan their recipes according to the number of people that will be sharing the meal. In the video below, Jennifer Fischer, chief innovation officer at TBWA\RAAD, further explains how this simple solution powered by technology can drive positive change.
The project was executed in collaboration with the Egypt Food Bank, a non-profit organisation that aims to fight hunger through diversity and innovation, with the filters being launched on their social media channels for Ramadan recipes with portions sized to two, four or six people.
Ramadan is a big season for advertisers, and at this time brands’ storytelling needs to be inspiring and engaging. As Fischer explains, audiences are expecting even more from brands. Facebook’s report ‘This is the Joy of Discovery: Ramadan Marketing Insights and Recommendations Guide’ found that 91 per cent of respondents said they have engaged in a charitable activity during Ramadan and 75 per cent agreed that brands should also find ways of giving back. A full 60 per cent said they have become more interested in a brand after learning about its charitable practices.
Engaging with online communities and adopting a hyperlocal strategy can help a brand connect with causes aligned to its purpose.
Ramadan 2020 saw consumer behaviour shifts as the demand for safety drove the exponential development of the digital transformation. In retail, people shifted to mobile shopping. Mobile retail reduces time in stores, and therefore exposure to others and to Covid-19. Facebook’s report revealed that 43 per cent of the people polled said they spent less time shopping in stores during Ramadan and Eid because of Covid-19, and 51 per cent said they spent more time shopping online for the same reason.
Samer Chehab, head of social media and content at Mindshare MENA says: “This is great news for us. As agencies, clients and Facebook itself, we were also able to meet this demand and enable shoppers from the client side to discover and purchase the things they love in Ramadan, during Eid and outside these periods.”
As well as using mobile technology for shopping and entertainment, people use it to stay connected with family and friends during Ramadan. Across all ages, eight out of 10 respondents said they use their mobiles while watching television, and 48 per cent said they spend more time using their phones during Ramadan and Eid.
Brands can capitalise on this by using Facebook’s Discovery Commerce engine to lay the foundations for a simple mobile shopping experience, connecting with interested shoppers using dynamic ads and promoting contactless services.
Facebook has seen successful cases when clients and agencies use Facebook Pixel or dynamic ads. For example, Mindshare’s client – the Saudi Arabian brand Nova Water – achieved almost three times the volume of sales during Ramadan by activating Facebook Pixel, Commerce, Shops and Instagram Shopping. Also, the bottled water brand increased its market share and direct consumer sales by 2.6 times when it ran a Facebook video ad campaign to boost brand awareness during Ramadan. The video ads attracted 7.5 million views from more than five million people.
Mahmoud Gawad, marketing director of Health Water Bottling Co, says: “Facebook and Instagram have proven their effectiveness in building Nova’s brand equity in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Thanks to the collective efforts of the Mindshare and Facebook teams, we succeeded in efficiently delivering our brand message to the right target audience, which positively impacted brand equity parameters and accelerated business growth.”
In Muslim countries, Ramadan is the biggest shopping period of the year, but many advertisers stop their marketing too soon, believing people finish their Ramadan shopping early. Facebook’s research found that the period preceding Eid has actually become the biggest 10-day period for shopping.
The two peaks this year are expected to be on April 11-22, just before Ramadan begins, and May 11-22, just before the start of Eid. Automation, machine learning and augmented reality are all technologies that marketers can use to leverage these great shopping moments. Chehab says Mindshare’s strategy is to use Facebook’s marketing solutions to leverage audience liquidity, budget liquidity and dynamic creative testing. These three elements were key to successes seen last year and will continue to be tackled to leverage the strategy during the Holy Month.
More about the research.
*Facebook’s insights division, FBIQ, commissioned research company YouGov to survey Ramadan observers in 11 countries to gauge their attitudes and look at their anticipated behaviours during the Holy Month of Ramadan this year.
The research found that this Ramadan promises to be different not only to last year’s locked down month but also to previous ‘normal’ ones. YouGov and Facebook IQ found six key trends, and offer marketers ways to leverage these insights using Facebook’s technology and platforms.