Digital Advertising Opportunities in the UAE

by Zaara 16, Feb 2022

Digital advertising in the UAE region is, according to estimates, one of the most attractive sectors with potential growth in ad spending. Several markets are protected by the area, including the GCC countries, and many other leading markets.

The lack of data and statistics is the biggest obstacle to understanding digital ads’ stats in the UAE region. The numbers are generally not up to date, and there are contradictory numbers. Also, owing to the shadow economy, personal companies and the absence of research institutes, some data is difficult to access.

A significant change in digital ads continues to be seen in the advertising industry. The Internet is taking over in 2020, according to estimates from Statista, with 44.2 per cent of overall ad spending, while TV is declining at 30 per cent. In particular, with newspapers going down to 1.9 per cent, conventional outlets are drastically decreasing. Due to the growth of video streaming and YouTube, experts expect further improvements in the coming years. Although budgets will switch to digital video platforms, the TV will continue to decline.

The UAE, the nation in which Dubai operates, is rich in opportunities for digital advertising. This country is probably the most Internet-savvy of all the UAE region countries, from SEO to PPC to Social Media. You find that a broad segment of society relies on the Internet, mainly because most of the nation’s population is expatriates from other countries. There is an excellent need for web-based and localised online marketing services with free trade zones, specifically international IT investment. The United Arab Emirates is one of the most linked countries in the region because of the heavy investment in telecommunications.

2020 has undoubtedly been an unfortunate year so far. The companies have faced "unprecedented challenges'' from being a tragic reality to a dark-humour joke. Business leaders are pivoting strategies to respond to the economic downturn, consumer behaviour that is rapidly shifting, and the need to manufacture and deliver products and services in an inconsistent manner.

Some companies have to change their marketing and advertising strategies in response to today's problems on a week-by-week basis. That is why many have switched to digital ads to continue to connect with consumers and companies. The versatile nature of digital ads has made digital channels the characters of 2020 so far, and their ability to continue engaging people even when they stay home. As other advertisement platforms, digital provides unique ways to influence the audience in motion, but it also has possible pitfalls when mismanaged.

As businesses determine the optimal tactics for their digital campaigns, we need to recommend and analyse all digital advertising coin sides carefully: the incredible possibilities are unique to digital marketing and the conservative factors that might help you avoid angering your audience.

Digital Advertising Opportunities

1. Pivot Messaging Quickly

Everything is changing very rapidly right now, shaping how people feel, what they say to others, and how they choose to make purchases. Using the same message for a long time and finding yourself a step or two behind the conversation may lead to message fatigue. You can quickly develop and execute new messaging ads with digital advertising that suits your brand, your priorities, and the evolving world in which they are viewed.

For example, right now, in a time when negative messages are so prevalent, messaging that conveys motivation, positivity, or understanding has a more significant effect. You may try out messaging with digital advertising that matches an encouraging or positive tone. As you monitor your audience’s reaction, you will focus on the messages that best suit their attitudes and behaviours. Replace overplayed or ineffective commercials with new creative ones at any moment.

Either has a data-driven strategy to consistently update your advertising to take advantage of the ability to reach people online or keep a wide range of ad sizes and messages circulating on your digital channels in the queue. It will help prevent message fatigue and help you stay in line with your audience shifting realities.

2. Short Lead Times and Quick Responses

We operate in a fluid situation, and the only things that shift fast are not conversations. Businesses need to make difficult choices as they continue to balance cash flow, availability of goods, prospects for growth in market share, and any incentive that might help them keep going forward. Digital advertising alleviates some of the burdens by providing the means to keep customers engaged in the brand without having to commit to a long-term campaign. If activities change overnight, digital ad strategies change the very next day.

Digital ads are highly trackable, allowing business owners to instantly identify the ROI of their advertising and each digital channel. It ensures that they can quickly turn off advertisements on underperforming media and have more ad investment on platforms that achieve their objectives. As their digital advertising flexes to satisfy their audience’s demand, brands may gain new followers and new interest in their business.

3. Following Trends

Not all trends are equal, but it can have some incredible effects when a business can land on a trend and impact the brand. Although we would never suggest attempting to "go viral" as a tactic, tracking new digital channels and advertising patterns carefully helps your business remain a step ahead of your competition.

The rise in time spent online is a persistent pattern since the COVID-19 pandemic reached the UAE. We see this on smartphones, while we see heavy usage of cell phones. We can suggest creating call-only ads or mobile-only ads tailored explicitly for phone screen sizes and inspire customers to call your company, depending on your goals and audience.

4. Blurred Lines: Google, Facebook, and Amazon

As the triopoly rises to the surface and aggressively competes for digital ad dollars with each other, the search, social, and eCommerce worlds will continue to fuse. Marketers need to struggle to link the dots through all these various channels and seek an independent view of the entire consumer journey, especially as advertisers and smartphones blur lines.

5. The Rise of Instagram and Facebook Stories

Since stories are such a rich, immersive ad format, there are plenty of potentials to experiment with creative engagement. But brands are at the hands of the thumbs of users scrolling quickly through the message, as Facebook has not yet launched unskippable advertisements such as Snapchat. So, it's more important to get creative than ever.

6. The Chatbot and Messenger Brand Advantage

Messenger apps provide an opportunity for brands, unlike any other medium, to drive conversations forward in a way. Brands can have asynchronous discussions at different points in the customer path, where they can pop in and out of the app.

7. Brace for Impact

While these changes may seem overwhelming now, it is essential to note that it is still possible to meet customers courteously, value those who choose not to share their information and honour those who share their story but even want it covered. This shared agreement and promise of openness will keep businesses in a positive light. They may not discourage them from building consumers and prospects with meaningful, engaging and appropriate advertisement and marketing experiences.

8. Data, Data, Everywhere

The smartest marketers can retain mining search and other data types to stay competitive, improve customer experience or inform decisions on products, services and merchandising. Marketers use search intent and take advantage of specific terms and consumer expectations to fuel ongoing brand campaigns and tactics to uncover valuable insights across channels.

9. Next-Gen Search: Visual and Voice

Both voice and visual quest are likely to be marketers' game-changers, and there are still possibilities for brands in the early days. For sure, voice and visuals cannot be treated in the same way as conventional search. In reality, Alexa and Google Home may be remarkably free of traditional "ads," if Google and Amazon concentrate on extracting value from the transaction. The value is in the query, and marketers will need to find out how to rise to the top.

10. AI’s All Over Search, but Creative’s Not Dead

ML/AI’s rise will open up advertising opportunities for advertisers to focus on their customers, create relevant and engaging ads, and spend more time thinking about what priorities matter. Spending less time reviewing several creative trenches would encourage marketers to focus on every marketing campaign's actual deliverables.

Free Zones Incorporate Advertising Activities

Dubai Media City – The Highest Potential for an Advertising agency set up in Dubai

Starting a company in Dubai Media City, which specialises free trade zone, addresses the following;


  • International ownership of 100 per cent
  • Repatriation of earnings and capital 100 per cent
  • For all the media players, an optimal business climate.
  • For different government services, one-stop-shop
  • Free duty on personal taxes and imports
  • For the next 50 years, Zero Income Tax.
  • The working climate of a cluster that enables the media to communicate and cooperate


It is essential to select an appropriate jurisdiction before establishing an advertising agency in Dubai. An ideal choice for this company in Dubai Media City’s free zone with a special economic status.

Twofour54 Free Zone

The twofour54 Free Zone of Abu Dhabi serves a variety of advantages primarily for publishing, media and related industries such as animation, graphic design, music production and talent management businesses. This free zone provides entrepreneurs with a rare opportunity to set up an office in the vicinity of some of the leading media and publishing sectors, including the Financial Times, BBC, CNN, Fox, Sky, and National Geography, etc. It controls the more official matters of the free zone, such as the licensing procedures and regulatory development.


Ajman Media City Free Zone

The Ajman Media City free zone is also in Ajman and caters specifically for creative and media enterprises.

Benefits include:

  • Special packages for creative companies
  • Quick and easy registration

Fujairah Creative City

Fujairah Creative City, located near Fujairah International Airport, is the state’s media hub and complements the area’s media clusters.

Advantages include:

  • Ownership at 100 percent
  • Scalable company solutions
  • No Auditing
  • No compulsory rental of offices


Ras Al Khaimah Media Free Trade Zone

This Ras Al Khaimah Media free trade zone is intended for media companies’ benefit, particularly in broadcasting, animation, event management and entertainment sectors.

Advantages include:

  • Company Set-up One-stop-shop
  • Start-ups' value-added kits
  • Access to the competent support team inside the free zone

Sharjah Media City Free Zone

Sharjah Media City Free Zone specialises in delivering innovative media and creative industry services.

Advantages include:

  • Corporate tax of 0 per cent for 50 years
  • No annual audit or paid-up capital of shares
  • International ownership of 100 per cent

Conclusions and Insights on digital advertising in the UAE

  • Though TV advertising continues to lead traditional advertising to dominate the largest share of advertising in the country, demand for digital ad spending will continue to grow in 2017, with a massive chance of catching up with global market rates in the coming years. The region can not avoid the change in advertising globally.
  • Along with improved market insights and analytics, consumers have begun requesting payment by results (ROI & Return on ad spend ROAS). Even from creative agencies, as well as consumers of newspapers. It suggests that the entire industry will move to more responsible digital and sophisticated programmatic advertising.
  • In the MENA field, the UAE still leads to digital advertisement. The majority of Dubai-based international and local brands invest heavily in digital services. However, a significant chunk of technological and artistic work is outsourced to startups by the agencies.
  • Sadly, because of the lack of advanced targeting, programmatic technology, and expertise, there is still a massive digital advertising efficiency gap. There are, however, very sophisticated local agencies who need to spend more on developing strong digital ads and marketing technology capabilities.

Why Commitbiz?

Business setup in UAE is a significant risk, and establishing an advertising agency is risky in today's competitive environment. No concerns, don't worry.

We at Commitbiz provide the requisite services to set up a business in the UAE. Our expert advisors have more than 15 years of experience in the industry. Inculcate your company with professionals to address your issues. Feel free to contact us! We would be glad to help you.



What are the digital advertising opportunities in the UAE?

The opportunities are pivot messaging quickly, short lead times & quick responses, following trends, the rise of Instagram & Facebook stories, the chatbot & messenger, brace for impact, data everywhere, visual & voice, etc.

What are the advantages of company formation in the Ajman Media City Free Zone?

They are quick & easy registration and special packages for creative companies.

What are the benefits of the company incorporation in the Fujairah Creative City?

They are 100% ownership, no auditing, scalable company solutions, and no compulsory rental of offices.

What facilities can be availed while setting up a business in the Ras Al Khaimah Media Free Zone?

They are value-added kits for start-ups, a one-stop shop for company setup, and access to a competent support team.

Which country leads in digital advertisements in the MENA region?

 The United Arab Emirates.