I recently spoke at the Arabnet Digital Summit in Dubai, a conference for digital businesses in the Middle East. The advertising spend in the region is continuously growing - with this massive growth marketers need their their digital advertising campaigns to be efficient and impactful. This is where Artificial Intelligence (AI) comes into play.
AI has already nearly infiltrated every aspect of our daily lives. We consult Siri, the intelligent personal assistant developed by Apple, enjoy multi-player games on our Xbox, or appreciate the personalised film recommendations on Netflix.
When we look at the marketing universe today, many of the jobs people have now didn't even exist a decade or two ago: web designers, SEO consultants, social media experts and mobile and web app developers are all relatively young professions. We're seeing yet more roles emerge in this world of big data driven decision making. The role of the CMO has already been revolutionised by AI - there have never been more channels with which a marketer can reach their target market, nor have CMOs had so much data available to them with which they can use to make decisions. There is too much complicated data for humans to manage.
The potential to utilise marketing technology like Rocket Fuel's is enormous. In the MENA region there are currently 151 million internet users, and 86 million smartphone users - with a particularly high percentage in UAE and Saudi Arabia - and 24 million tablet users. Rocket Fuel currently sees 31 million Display ad opportunities per day in Saudi Arabia, 10 million in Qatar, and in UAE 38 million.
And the online advertising spend in the region is continuously growing. A recent report from PwC predicts that Internet advertising will grow from roughly $707 million in 2014 to $2.46 billion in 2018. And especially the mobile channel is booming. Currently users from the MENA region upload around two hours of video every minute on YouTube and view 285 million videos every day, which puts the region in the number two spot for video views in the world according to the fifth Arab Social Media Report by the Dubai School of Government. Consequently mobile advertising is growing, in the UAE in particular, and PwC predicts that by 2018, mobile internet advertising revenue will be four times larger than display and reach $494 million in UAE.
One thing is certain, the emergence and continued development of AI in the marketing sphere is revolutionising the sector, and I believe for the better. It provides marketers with more time to identify their goals, achieve them with greater accuracy whether this be generating awareness, attracting new customers, or identifying new revenue streams. Most importantly, AI will continue to free up human creative potential and create a myriad of new roles and opportunities that we can't even begin to imagine.