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Saudi Industry Snapshot: Abdulrahman Saud, Bassmat

Abdulrahman Saud, CEO, Bassmat

How would you describe the Saudi advertising industry from 2021
to 2022?

With the current rapid development of the Kingdom’s entertainment and tourism businesses, the advertising industry in Saudi Arabia has gained more influence and complexity than before. Cinemas reopening, live concerts, and prominent events resulted in new media opportunities becoming available to advertisers. 

In the past few years, we have seen a positive change in government using communication to educate citizens and change public opinion. Government advertising spend has registered a noticeable growth, communicating Vision 2030 goals and how such transformation is going to affect people in Saudi Arabia. Riyadh city has recently become the regional hub for most of the multinational firms moving their regional headquarters to Saudi Arabia. This will positively reflect on the private sector advertising spend in the coming years.

Do you think consumers’ needs and wants in Saudi Arabia have changed in recent years?

Saudi consumers’ buying decisions have changed a lot in the past few years, as well as their media consumption habits. Consumers now have more options to choose from and are constantly looking for the most convenient ways to buy a product or service.

E-commerce has witnessed prime developments, and customers have become much smarter than before. Brands should be keeping up with how to attract and maintain them across different media touchpoints. Brands should work hard on understanding local consumers’ insights and build a strong communication strategy aligned with a local creative mindset to be able to click with modern local consumers. Brand smartness will show the ability to use localised content with relevancy and creativity that link its consumers with their culture while keeping the modern tone of communication.

Where do you see the highest growth potential for the advertising industry in Saudi?

A recent report has shown that the internet penetration rate in Saudi Arabia has attained 98.1 per cent overall, with 100 per cent for the younger population, aged 20-29 years. Saudi consumers are expected to be moving towards more related and local digital content. Social media with platforms like TikTok, Snapchat, and Twitter will continue to grow in usage among younger generations.

Tourism, cultural, and entertainment advertising investment is expected to grow significantly with the launch of new regional festivals and touristic projects. The governmental spending on those areas will show major growth to support several activity launches.

The Saudi advertising market has opened the opportunity for international companies entering the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This will bring diverse, brilliant and creative minds to the local market and help evolve the overall industry.

As CEO of a Saudi marketing agency, what are the main challenges you face in the local market?

Looking at a big advertising market like Saudi Arabia, challenges will always be on the table.

With the growth in the advertising business, we expect more fierce competition from local, regional, and multinational players. Shrewd companies should keep their eyes open to the rapid demographic changes happening around us and the developments of consumer taste in consuming media to obtain the best practices.

We at Bassmat are fully aware of the high competition in our market, and we know that the market will only welcome advanced agencies that have high international standards. Therefore, we took a major initiative in 2022, turning into a closed joint-stock company. Our confidence in the power we can exert and the capacities we can share helped us earn investors’ trust with major fundraising that will allow for future expansion.