How Advertisers Can Prepare For Ramadan 2021

Ramadan is the holy month of the Muslim year; from sunrise until sunset, observers abstain from eating and drinking in order to focus on prayer and reflection. And with 1.6 billion Muslims celebrating Ramadan across the globe, the month is inevitably accompanied by a drastic shift in consumer behavior.

For advertisers, this presents a unique opportunity. Research from YouGov suggests that 53% of people observing Ramadan spend more than in any other period of the year, and that means brands that prepare correctly for the season can see exceptional results.

But in order to prepare correctly, you need to understand exactly how Ramadan will affect consumer behavior in 2021.

How Does Consumer Behavior Change During Ramadan?

As Google has noted, consumers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are increasingly technologically empowered. And during Ramadan, that empowerment translates into far higher demand for consumer goods and entertainment.

We can see this in the huge increase in internet usage: MENA consumers spend more time on their phones during Ramadan than any other period, with internet usage reaching 94% in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – and 98% in Saudi Arabia.

Consumers aren’t just surfing the web though – they’re buying more. Adjust has analyzed data from apps based in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore between March and June 2019, finding that they saw, on average, a 63% increase in revenue.

However, in 2021 consumer behavior will be impacted not only by Ramadan, but the global COVID-19 pandemic. And in order to make a real impact, advertisers need to understand how these two factors interrelate.

Five Ways Ramadan Consumption Has Been Changed By COVID-19

While we only have a single year’s worth of data to analyze, it is easy to see how radically COVID-19 has affected consumers behavior during Ramadan compared with previous years.

2020 can be considered the ‘most digital Ramadan of all time’. And as we head into Ramadan 2021, there are already five key trends from last year we should expect to continue.

1. More digital content

In 2020, Ramadan saw an even bigger increase in digital content consumption than previous years – likely because digital consumption has increased globally during the pandemic. For example reports show that 68% of consumers in Saudi Arabia and 61% of Egyptians watched more ads than the year before.

Digital entertainment also saw a huge increase in 2020, with MENA users spending 50% of their time consuming videos via apps and YouTube – and this was across a wide variety of categories, including cooking, health, family and gaming.

2. Higher engagement

Not only did 2020 see an increase in consumption of digital content – it also saw a huge increase in the level of viewer engagement.

Data from Tik Tok shows that while their platform saw an increase of 17% in terms of viewership, it saw a 91% increase in video engagement, pointing to increasing effectiveness of video content. In Project Agora we also noticed that VCTR for our campaigns during the period of Ramadan was higher compared to VCTR in the rest of the year. For example, VCTR in Ramadan 2020 was 23% higher in Saudi Arabia and 41% in Egypt compared to the rest of the months.

3. Online Shopping

As with previous years, online shopping saw a huge boost during Ramadan. But in 2020, Ramadan was actually bigger than any other shopping moment in MENA – including Black Friday.

This was driven in part by a sharp growth in the total number of people engaging with eCommerce: there was a 79% increase in searches for “How to shop online” during Ramadan 2020, and eCommerce app downloads increased by 13%.

4. Groceries

Perhaps more surprisingly, this increase in online shopping extends to groceries and food delivery – which typically suffer during Ramadan.

With the pandemic making shopping in person difficult, online groceries have seen a large increase globally. One of the world’s leading restaurant chains had 19% more orders coming from their campaign with Project Agora during the month of Ramadan in 2020 compared to the month following Ramadan.

5. Searching for deals

According to Facebook’s research, Ramadan 2020 also saw a great number of consumers looking to find special offers and make better use of their money, with 57% of those surveyed claiming that Ramadan was the best time to find deals.

So with these trends in sight, what can advertisers do to increase their impact during Ramadan?

Four tips for Advertisers during Ramadan

Four tips for Advertisers during Ramadan

1. Focus on campaigns for mobile

Given the growing popularity of mobile for both shopping and consuming content, campaigns geared towards mobile, app downloads and mobile shopping will connect the most during Ramadan. To help brands get the most out of their mobile campaigns, in Project Agora we recently launched Social Cards. With this ad format posts from brands’ Social Media accounts are distributed as mobile ads across Project Agora’s premium publisher marketplace, expanding audience reach in a brand-safe environment, where users pay up to 7x more attention vs social media.

2. Produce more video ads

With the striking increase in engagement for video content, advertisers should focus on video ads that will leverage that engagement – especially if they can make the ads easily shoppable. An ad format that can help brands boost their video campaign is InArticle, our inherently viewable video format that captures viewer’s curiosity.

3. Prioritize the right products

Ramadan influences not just the amount of consumption, but the types of goods consumers wish to purchase. Advertisers should be mindful of this and ensure they emphasize goods which are of particular interest to consumers during Ramadan.

Anghami’s research shows that 96% of MENA consumers plan to buy food and groceries during Ramadan, with other categories – like pharmaceuticals, cleaning products, apparel and shoes, beauty and personal care, gifts, music and movies, sport and fitness, home and kitchen, and mobile phones – all also being popular.

4. Time your advertising right

Consumer behavior doesn’t only change during Ramadan – it changes in different periods of Ramadan. The third week of the month, for example, sees an uplift in online retail sales, while 5pm-7pm and 11pm-1am are peak times for working out during the month.

Advertisers must be conscious of these patterns and adapt their strategy to reflect peak demand periods, targeting the right consumers at the right time to ensure their message truly resonates.

How Project Agora Can Help

At Project Agora, we provide ad tech solutions for digital publishers and advertisers across EMEA.

Our industry-leading range of mobile and video ad formats are perfect for brands looking to connect with consumers during Ramadan, allowing you to create compelling, emotionally engaging content with ease. And with our sharp targeting options, we ensure your ads find their ideal audience – maximizing reach, engagement and revenue.