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Regional Head of Mobile at Mindshare MENA


Dana Adhami
Regional Head of Mobile
Mindshare MENA

As Regional Head of Mobile at Mindshare MENA, Dana loves the resonance mobile has with millennials across the Middle East. She talks to Maddict about how mobile captured her heart a couple of years ago, and how she’s introducing mobile thinking across all touchpoints in Mindshare’s digital planning.

Dana Adhami started her digital career in 2004 with a local startup agency. In 2008, she was headhunted by Mindshare MENA where she worked her way to head of Digital for the UAE and later became the Regional Head of Mobile. She establishes thought leadership and reporting standards to integrate mobile effectively into business. Adhami has created her “Second Screen Mandate” with the aim of pushing 20 percent of her budget towards mobile device targeting and mobile content.

Is mobile growing in the region?

There is certainly higher penetration. But we also need to take a step back and examine the groundwork. Mobile is driven by content and consumers, and the latter are certainly present. There are a lot of eyeballs and subscriptions, namely within entertainment apps & social platforms. However, we also need to look at other variables where mobile needs to grow which are in location based services, utility and transactions/commerce.

In the Middle East, I’d like to see the development of an ecosystem across all the three axes I’ve mentioned. We want users to be creating and sharing content on mobile, and deriving utility and transactions at hyper targeted locations from their devices. That’s when we can be absolutely sure mobile has matured.

Are mobile spends rising as brands find mobile to be an effective channel of consumer outreach?

Absolutely. But a large part of mobile spend is driven by device targeting, where Facebook and Google lead the way. However, mobile advertising is far more than that, and we want to see other areas grow especially within video and premium native content.

What does the rise in mobile mean for the desktop?

As mobile goes up, desktop reach will be cannibalised. If you look at the trends over time, web traffic is going through a trough while mobile is at a peak. This isn’t just a local phenomenon – analysts across the world will tell you that desktop web traffic is diminishing.

What sort of ad units do you tend to buy for clients’ campaigns?

First, I always tell internal teams and clients that native is the name of the game. It’s seamless and integrated. People in general don’t like being interrupted by ads, regardless of the channel.  Therefore, native ads tend to offer better performance and branding all in one.

Second, interstitial video ads are seeing great results. It’s a good format that uses the entire screen and gets better response rates. Video is a big opportunity area for everyone – publishers, ad networks, and our clients. In mobile, it’s the best performing type of communication because it’s very immersive.

On the other hand, standard banners – particularly those towards the bottom of the screen – are often subject to “fat-finger syndrome”. They get clicked on by accident, which means the Click-Through Rate (CTR) is needlessly inflated. They also get in the way of the consumer experience.

You’ve said video is a huge area of opportunity. How can publishers and ad networks make their video offerings more compelling?

There are currently no standards for the region. There’s no IAB or MMA. So mobile here tends to apply knowledge from global metrics and add a bit of local understanding, but that means these standards are always in question and unifying them is going to be a challenge. As agencies, we should work on unifying standards before passing the responsibility onto publishers and networks.

However, I will say that pricing is a key deciding factor for ad units. But increasingly, so is the analytical information and reporting that is provided on what has been served.

What’s your opinion on blind vs. premium network advertising?

My experience is that the split is currently around 50-50 for display components. The good news is that there’s a move towards sophistication. Programmatic is growing but premium programmatic is also growing through private marketplaces (PMPs). So we’re going to see a move away from blind to premium.

It’s simple, really. Advertisers want transparency. They want to know where their money goes. And they’re beginning to understand that quality and transparency both have a price. Content is king, which means that premium advertising will eventually also be king. It’s the buying methodology that is still being decided.

What metrics do you tend to prioritise in measuring mobile ad campaign success?

The metrics used depend on the KPIs, and those have really changed with time. For instance, awareness campaigns still work on CTRs and impressions but is moving more towards understanding reach & its impact across the audience.

At Mindshare, we define clear roles for each mobile touchpoint, and then look at corresponding metrics. It’s not all CTR anymore. User journeys are very fluid, and more than one type of reporting is needed to understand them. A dashboard of metrics needs to be put together to assemble right story.

Finally, have you collaborated with Maddict on any interesting campaigns?

Maddict is a preferred partner for Mindshare. Team-wise, Maddict is extremely knowledgeable, and has one of the best solutions when it comes to advertising metrics and premium local Arabic inventory. Maddict also is a market leader when it comes to local Arabic content.

We ran an interesting campaign for Vimto with Maddict last year, built around the ideas of delivering voice reminders during Ramadan. Maddict made it work creatively, and the contextually relevant campaign yielded very good results.


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