Charles Awad, MENA CEO on the biggest challenges facing digital communications today

The following interview was conducted by Crimtans CEO of MENA, Charles Awad, for the Middle East Campaign, digital agency and ad tech guide 2019.

What are the biggest challenges facing digital communication today?

People are spending more hours every day on numerous devices, making it harder to maintain consistency of message to a single user, or group of similar users, across different formats. Many people use up to five different digital devices daily, and are bombarded with messaging on digital screens.

Couple this with fierce competition across every industry vertical, and the need to vary the message to where the customer is on their lifecycle, and the number of variations increases exponentially.

How can brands overcome this?

Every business has a customer lifecycle, and to make your business work you need to find new customers and prospect them to conversion – then grow their value through re-engagement.

In each case the messaging, timing and context will be different, and to succeed (while maintaining consistency of brand and message) you need a mixture of creative, investment and audience intelligence.

What are the biggest changes happening now in ad tech?

GDPR has triggered a seismic move to give customers back control of their own data, and the ripple effects have been seen globally. While it’s not legislation in the Middle East, any brand targeting data subjects in the EU needs to comply.

The ripple is browser-based too. Apple’s Safari’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention System (ITP2) renders cookies useless for programmatic targeting and reporting. And Firefox (Mozilla) has made it nearly impossible for a user to enable third-party cookies.

We anticipate third-party cookies being killed off completely, paving the way for more innovative advertising strategies. We’re seeing a bigger focus on creative performance, alongside non-cookie-based contextual and publisher targeting, as well as tying campaigns much closer into the CRM cycle using technologies beyond cookies.

What are brands and clients asking for?

Brands and clients want more transparency on what is delivering performance in their budgets through a dual touch approach. We work alongside an agency with their client as display partner, enabling us to plug into their trade plan.

This allows us to run always-on campaigns that deliver consistency of message across all display formats. We can give full control through this transparency, focusing budgets on what works.

Clients are more interested in incremental ROI and new customer rate, and less on a fixed budget. They know that transparency and a lifecycle approach can turn display into a channel that performs as well as other digital channels for awareness, consideration, conversion and loyalty.

If you want to find out more about how you can overcome the biggest challenge facing digital communication, you can contact Charles Awad via emailor by calling 971 50 6546589. Or if you’re not based in MENA, discover your local Crimtan office.