Eastern Europe, The Middle East and Africa are all regions that are rapidly developing when it comes to web use and becoming increasingly popular targets for global organisations.
We speak to Google’s Steffen Ehrhardt ahead of the International Search Summit Munich to find out more about targeting these emerging markets, display advertising and global search in general.
As an Emerging Market Specialist, you focus particularly on Central & Eastern Europe, The Middle East and North Africa. What are the main online trends you are seeing in these markets at the moment?
More and more people are going online but the big difference to Western Europe is that in Emerging Markets more people go online via mobile devices. Especially in countries where there is a poor landline infrastructure mobile devices are key for online access and with all the new high-end devices a lot more people have the opportunity to go online for the first time. So one interesting development that is happening because of this are a lot of innovations around mobile e.g. m-banking. Another interesting trend is for example the creation of content in non-English languages – Arabic is currently the fastest growing language on the web.
How do these markets differ from more developed online markets say in Western Europe? What do marketers targeting countries in these regions need to be aware of?
Generally you can say that Western European markets are a lot more developed in direct online transactions, so have also a lot more direct response online campaigns, mainly because conversion rates are easier to track. Emerging markets often lack a standardized, trusted form of payment, clearly defined ICT regulations etc. so direct transactions are less often made online. Also competition and user interests and behaviour can heavily vary from market to market.
You’re also part of the Google’s display team – how does display compare to other online advertising mediums in EMEA in terms of usage? Has there been an increase? Does it vary much by region/country?
Display is currently getting a lot of attention and more and more people realise the potential display advertising has. Growth rates in display are really impressive globally and in a lot of markets it is growing even faster than for example search advertising. I think advertisers are realizing the effect of having a holistic view on online advertising so aligning search with display and other online advertising activities. Display offers a lot of different solutions today like Video, Dynamic Ads or Remarketing that combined with creativity can deliver great results. Usage of display in general varies a lot from market to market e.g. in some Middle Eastern countries display is more important in the whole advertising mix than in some Western European markets.
In your opinion, how should organisations be using display as part of their international online strategy? How does it integrate with other online tools & techniques?
First of all you have to define a clear strategy of what you want to achieve with the internationalisation of your products or services and if you have an offline business you have to make sure activities are aligned cross channel. Online definitely makes it easier to internationalise but I still see a lot of companies totally underestimating the work that is required when you want to go into other markets. You can not just copy a successful campaign, translate it and hope it will work in another countries – you need to know market specifics, what are established forms of payment, regulations that may affect your business etc. With regards to tools – there is a wide range of great tools in the market, from Google I’d like to specifically highlight: AdPlanner, Remarketing, Global Market Finder Tool, Insights for Search and of course Analytics.
If you could give one prediction for what we should expect in 2011 – either in search and/or display – what would it be?
The biggest growth in 2011 that I see is in the following areas: Mobile, Local, Social and Video & Dynamic Advertising. So my one prediction is that the combination of all these areas opens up an incredible potential for advertisers where the user will also see a lot of benefits.
Finally, why should people attend the International Search Summit?
There are a lot of great online events but most of them are focused on what is happening in a specific markets or in a specific region. International Search Summit is for me personally a key event you have to attend when you want to be be successful in online marketing across several markets globally, at the same time. There are a lot of roadblocks you need to be aware of – campaigns can be successful in one market but not in another one and the International Search Summit sessions will help you to minimise risks and to understand what is required to be successful in all markets.
Steffen will be speaking on the Impact of Display on Search at the International Search Summit Munich on April 4th. Also speaking at the event are Evgeny Lomize, Yandex; Cedric Chambaz, Microsoft; Florian Reisinger, BMW; Andy Atkins-Krüger, WebCertain and Thomas de Buhr, YouTube.
Tickets for the Summit, which will take place alongside SMX Munich, are still available.