How to plan your advertising campaigns for Ramadan 2023

Have you planned your advertising campaigns for Ramadan 2023 yet? We share data-driven insights to help you make the most of seasonal consumer trends.

Ramadan is observed by 2 billion people around the world. This year, the period of fasting, prayer, and reflection begins on 22 March and ends in the evening of 21 April with the celebratory feast of Eid al-Fitr (Eid).

During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from food, drink (including water) during daylight hours. They usually eat a meal before dawn, and break their fast after sunset. Eid, the end of Ramadan, is celebrated with a day of feasting.

Ramadan is also an important time for retailers, as people buy food, gifts, new clothes and decorations to prepare for Eid.

These preparations can start as early as the first week of Ramadan, with the purchase of new clothes and decorations. As Eid approaches, sales of groceries and ingredients for traditional meals also rise as people begin preparing for feasting and parties.

How does consumer behaviour change during Ramadan in South East Asia?

As people’s daily routines change during Ramadan, so do their consumer habits. E-commerce websites begin to see traffic peaks as early as 4 am when people wake for Sahur, their pre-dawn meal. And during Iftar, the evening breaking fast, online activity dips.

Data in South East Asia shows that clothes and beauty products are the most popular purchases during Ramadan. This is followed by airline tickets and home appliances. In Indonesia toys and games are the best performing categories.

In Malaysia and Indonesia, most people shop during the third week of Ramadan. There is also a surge of last-minute shopping three days before Eid, thanks to the rise in local delivery services.

The final week of Ramadan in Indonesia is a blackout period. During this time no packages are delivered in preparation of the Mudik Dilik (also known as pulang kampung), where migrant workers return to their hometown or village.

As a result of this exodus of workers, many businesses in large cities like Jakarta close for Lebaran (Eid). Wealthier Indonesians who are temporarily without their domestic helpers, drivers and security guards usually stay in local hotels during this time, or travel overseas.

How does consumer behaviour change during Ramadan in MENA?

In MENA, consumer behaviour also changes during Ramadan. Online searches for ‘best iftar’ and ‘best recipe’ peak, as does the use of apps for groceries and food.

Google also reports that people are more spontaneous in their activities, too. There’s a spike in local searches, such as ‘iftar buffet near me’, ‘mosque near me’, and ‘restaurant near me’, and searches for restaurants’ opening hours tend to happen when people are ready to go out, rather than in advance.

During Ramadan, people try to be better people, performing good deeds and celebrating family. So content in Arabic promoting generosity and kindness tends to get higher engagement rates during Ramadan.

According to research from YouGov, 53% of people spend more, 40% search for offers, and 49% look for discounts during Ramadan. Data also shows that searches for Ramadan equal those for Black Friday, MENA’s biggest shopping holiday.

Five ways you can make the most of seasonal Ramadan purchase trends

So what can you do with these insights? We’ve put together some recommendations to help you make the most of seasonal Ramadan purchase trends:

  1. Time your ads around purchase behaviour
  2. Make the most of the growth of cross-border sales
  3. Ensure your ads reflect the sentiment of Ramadan
  4. Run personalised campaigns
  5. Use video

Read on for advice for each recommendation.

1) Time your ads around purchase behaviour

Global insights into consumer purchases show clear trends in when people plan to buy. Timing your ads around these periods can help you reach people in decision-making mode.

Data shows that 60% of people start planning their purchases before Ramadan. Here are the percentage of shoppers planning purchases for categories:

  • 52% plan experiences
  • 50% plan designer goods
  • 48% plan religious items
  • 48% plan home and garden
  • 48% plan household appliances

25%, meanwhile, plan during Ramadan and Eid. Here’s are what they are planning:

  • 47% plan fashion and apparel
  • 46% plan charitable donations

And 16% plan before and during Ramadan and Eid. Here’s what they are planning:

  • 34% plan restaurants or food delivery
  • 27% plan food and beverage
  • 26% plan confectionery
  • 25% plan financial services

Remember too that data shows clear peaks in traffic in South East Asia as people wake for their pre-dawn meal, and drops in traffic when they break fast after sunset.

We also know that clothes and decorations are popular purchases at the start of Ramadan, whereas sales of groceries and ingredients for traditional meals rise towards the approach of Eid.

2) Make the most of the growth of cross-border sales

In recent years, there has been a significant rise in cross border sales for Ramadan.

Research shows that 44% of Ramadan shoppers around the world made at least one cross-border purchase in 2022, while one in three spent more on cross-border purchases than in previous years. The global cross-border e-commerce market is expected to be worth $2.2 trillion by 2026.

The top consumer categories for purchases in 2022 were:

  • Food and beverage 68%
  • Fashion and apparel 55%
  • Confectionary 38%
  • Restaurants and food delivery 34%
  • Charitable donations 33%
  • Health and beauty 30%
  • Religious and spiritual items 27%
  • Travel and life events 16%

If you are planning a cross-border campaign it is important to note and overcome common concerns by buyers. Here’s what people are looking for and considering when buying overseas:

  • 81% display of all costs
  • 79% localised pricing and currencies
  • 78% easy returns and refunds
  • 77% delivery tracking

3) Ensure your ads reflect the sentiment of Ramadan

Ramadan is a time of prayer, reflection and community, so it’s not surprising that content on these themes performs well during this time of year.

Research by Facebook discovered that 91% of users like to see content that promotes community and togetherness on Facebook and Instagram. And we know that ads in Arabic promoting generosity and kindness do well in MENA.

It is important that any marketing campaign you plan for Ramadan feels respectful, and not exploitative. So working with a digital advertising partner with local offices in each region can be a benefit.

4) Run personalised campaigns

Research shows that 65% of shoppers or observers spend more time watching video content during Ramadan and Eid. Two in three shoppers enjoyed personalised shopping experiences on Meta technologies, and 64% have purchased from personalised ads.

71% of shoppers also agreed that it was easier to complete their Ramadan shopping with personalised product and gift suggestions.

So it is important that your Ramadan advertising campaigns are personalised to each individual person. This requires working with a single programmatic partner with the technology to build legally compliant audiences globally.

You also need a long-lasting user ID like ActiveID that allows you to know when someone has seen an ad before, so you don’t waste your budget or alienate customers by showing them the same ads on repeat.

And finally, you need to ensure your campaigns use dynamic creative optimisation (DCO). DCO enables you to build thousands of ads in real time, using a number of individual elements. Unlike a static campaign of pre-designed ads, DCO means you can show every person an ad tailored to their location, their language, their engagement with your content, and their place in your customer lifecycle.

You can even tailor ads to current weather conditions, local and current pricing, and real time stock levels – all strategies that are proven to be incredibly successful.

5) Use video

Facebook’s research shows that 65% of people spend more time watching video content during Ramadan and Eid. So ensure that video content and pre-roll and instream ads feature in your campaign.

Again, these ads should be personalised and use DCO to maximise their impact and effectiveness.

Video content that helps inform buyers and enables them to evaluate potential purchases and build trust – especially if they are buying from across a border – should also perform well.

Start planning your Ramadan campaign now

If you haven’t started planning your Ramadan campaign yet, now is the time to start. As global programmatic experts with our own proprietary technology, including DMP, DSP and DCO, and regional offices in Asia and MENA, we are perfectly placed to help you plan and run campaigns that meet your goals.

If you’d like to find out how we can help boost your Ramadan sales this year, get in touch and book a chat with one of our local experts.