I’m hitting the road again – and this time around it’s during the run up to one of the craziest periods for advertisers in the mobile app world: Ramadan.

Just like the syrup advertisements and the special Ramadan dramas that’ll soon be filling up the peak hour TV slots, I’m also preparing for this season – in a different way. For me, it means hopping on a plane and heading East, collecting my many thoughts, pulling out my laptop and writing articles like this for my marketing team back in Berlin.

Billions of people celebrate this holiday in countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. So, it’s an extremely busy time for me and the team in Berlin, along with leading advertisers and brands coming up with unique proposals that fit their brand.

This is a wonderful month and I miss celebrating BukBer (Buka Bersama) as its always a great excuse to meet old friends and colleagues. Throughout Ramadan families come together to give, share and reflect on what it means to live a better life, but that’s definitely not all. This 4-week period is now also popular for other things like shopping, discovering new forms of entertainment and making travel plans, which have all made their way to the mobile world.

I have worked in the industry and in this region for several years and I can tell you that the impact of Ramadan on the app market is bigger than ever and remains a seriously profitable opportunity. Install rates are higher, in-app engagements continue to soar and in-app consumer spending spikes.

To make the most of all this, companies must plan ahead and inform themselves about the best ways to attract valuable and relevant users.

I’ve collected some of the insightful things I’ve found out about this festival for mobile and marketing.


Emotional storytelling combined with interactivity

Unlike other festive seasons with 1-2 days of celebration, Ramadan happens for 30 days, allowing more time for advertisers to reach more audiences. Most of the video ads will highlight the emotional aspect of things, like forgiveness, family and harmony with people from different religions and ethnicity. The reason? Simple, the more touching the ad is, the easier it will go viral – and the easier it will be to remember the brand. But I believe mobile marketers should take this a step further and incorporate interactivity.

Recently we’ve heard that even if people don’t necessarily click on a video ad online, the ability to interact makes it 32% more memorable compared to non-interactive ads. Investing in this format can bring the long-lasting effect advertisers crave.


Knowing your audience should not be understated

One of the first, and most obvious steps for a successful Ramadan campaign is knowing exactly who you want to target. There’s a lot of people out there to speak to, but there isn’t much point in having conversations with the ones who aren’t interested in what you have to say.

I’ve seen businesses spend big on the scattergun approach to reach as many users as possible. This can reap big rewards too (especially for massive branding campaigns), however, with improved understanding of user behavior and advanced segmentation methods, marketers now have access to so much more precise information, which wasn’t as readily available in the past. This can be used to show relevant content.

I recently came across Google’s “Winning Ramadan with Digital” and I encourage you all to take a look. They have taken their own data from 2018 and build a comprehensive guide to what should be considered when planning media spend around this holiday. Within this, you’ll find a fantastic breakdown of the different audience types you should be marketing to – from the Devoted Faster, who searches for and downloads religious related content and apps, to the Tech Follower, who watches product reviews and installs e-commerce apps.


Facebook is still playing its part

Did you know more than 280 million people globally had approximately three billion interactions with content related to Ramadan 2018? Well, Facebook did. And according to their official data, at the end of Ramadan 2018, more than 150 million people worldwide also came together on the platform to wish a “Happy Eid” to their community.

Those are some significant numbers and tells me that marketers should still allocate spend for social media this Ramadan. We know Muslim audiences spend more hours on their devices throughout the holiday and from Facebook IQ’s insights, we can see there is still high engagement on this channel.


Hashtags continue the conversation

The biggest stores and brands in SEA continue to use hashtags as part of their marketing strategies. Shopee used #memberidarihati (giving from heart) to get people involved in conversations about Ramdan. Zillingo went for #siapasihlo, while Watsons encouraged people to spread acts of kindness, positivity and sincerity with their #MisiIkhlasAidilfitri campaign.

As I said, social media still matters, so adding a # can help build and maintain momentum throughout the holiday.


How will brands get creative this year?

Last year was a special and rare opportunity for brands to get even more creative during Ramadan. The 2018 World Cup took place in June, just before the holiday started, and there were some that decided to combine these two massive events for their campaigns.

Vodafone is probably the best example. They made effective use of the hype around Ramadan to capture people’s attention and carry this through to the summer’s football tournament – where Egypt featured in the group stage. The network brought in some famous faces, which included stars from the Egyptian national team. You can see how they did it here.

I’m intrigued to see what today’s global players come up with this year.


What do you think?

Did you notice anything from Ramadan 2018 that you’d like to share? Or maybe there’s something from 2019 I’ve already missed? Join the conversation on our social media channels.

Julie Huang

Head of Business Development SEA/ IN, Glispa

Based in Berlin, Julie is working with major clients in multiple verticals across Southeast Asia and India - with devotion: Her miles prove how much she has traveled between Europe and Asia. She has never stayed in Europe for more than three months in a row. Want to chat about optimizing your mobile campaign? Reach out to Julie via LinkedIn.

Connect on LinkedIn