“The number of events and exhibitions dedicated to digital signage is limited in the region, resulting in poor awareness about the industry and a lack of people’s understanding of the benefits of using digital signage. We believe there is a need to create greater awareness about the benefits of digital signage.” Said Ahmed El Ridi, CEO, AIMS.
In an interaction with MediavataarME.com, he further reveals the growing importance of digital signages in the region and how this could be a brilliant way to enhance your flat communication.
1. How do you think booming digital media in the region has changed the way companies look at as fundamental marketing as a signage?
Over the past few years, the Middle East has experienced a boom in digital media owing to rapid advances in smart phone and broadband technology as well as the growth of social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter etc. The sizeable youthful population has also contributed in the growing popularity of more sophisticated marketing platforms such as digital signage networks. This has accordingly led to a decline in demand for traditional mediums of advertising, which lack the ability to integrate accurate measurement tools to correctly assess the impact of a campaign.
On the other hand, digital marketing platforms have gained attention as they offer a quantifiable return on investment. This is evident in the fact that while digital advertising only accounted for as little as one per cent of overall spending in the Middle East only two years ago, the rate now stands at four per cent. The digital advertising market is expected to undertake a dramatic growth in the coming years because of emerging platforms such as digital signage, which will provide a huge opportunity for advertisers in the region as well as the industry overall.
2. In terms of number how do you estimate the size of the digital OOH market in the Middle East?
The digital OOH sector accounts for approximately 15 per cent of the digital signage value chain, according to the Invidis/OVAB market model. The total digital signage market in the MENA region is valued at around USD 70 million.
3. Tell us about the latest interactive digital campaign that AIMS designed to celebrate 100th anniversary of ‘Oreo’.
We developed and deployed an interactive digital campaign for the 100th anniversary celebration of the best-selling sandwich cookie “Oreo”. The campaign, which ran across four weeks, was dubbed “100th Birthday of Oreo” and it featured a customized kiosk shaped like a milk glass where children and parents could engage and interact with the brand. For this campaign AIMS collaborated with Starcom MediaVest Group.
AIMS developed a concept for the campaign, and this featured an interactive kiosk and engaging screen content to suit the occasion. The kiosk was equipped with back-to-back screens, that showed video advertisements from Oreo, and it also had a touchscreen that allowed guests to sign up for future email messaging to extend the brand interaction. Upon the completion of registration, guests could use the touchscreen to choose the birthday photo themes they liked and they could then take pictures that would be uploaded on the Oreo Facebook app. An email with the picture was sent to each participant thanking them for taking part in the activity. The campaign ran across different malls in KSA and the UAE.
There was also a special Audience Measurement System integrated into the campaign to evaluate its success and gather relevant information, including the total number of people who took part, the time they spent at the kiosk and their gender.
4. What makes your clients opt for Digital OOH for their campaigns, how do you define ROI for them?
The advent of advanced technologies has opened more efficient and convenient ways to measure ROI. Using sophisticated computer applications, it is now much easier to collect and analyze business data and be able to compare various variables in a variety of ways. Moreover, with the exponential increase in computing speeds, it is now common to generate up-to-the-minute ROI measurement reports that allow business enterprises to immediately respond to market changes as they happen. Leveraging the latest advances in digital technology, ROI measurement mechanisms are now aggressively incorporated in digital advertising campaigns.
With the use of Audience Measurement Devices in digital signage, advertising campaigns have now become more efficient and responsive to the evolving needs and preferences of target audiences by providing accurate and up-to-date information to advertisers. For instance, some digital advertisements now have measurement add-ons that are able to tell how many persons came in proximity to the screen and how many actually saw the content being displayed.
Digital signs are not just powerful tools for communicating key messages to the audience. They are also very effective in measuring ROI by simply incorporating special add-ons that can collect data about consumer habits, demographics and even their opinion of the product or service being advertised. This key feature makes it easy to gauge the success and measure the ROI of any digital advertising campaign, while providing vital information that allows advertisers to further enhance the impact and value of the advertisement.
5. Throw some light on the status of your agreement with Alliance to develop intelligent transport solution in UAE, last year?
It is an ongoing project and we will announce details about this partnership in due time. This agreement is an important breakthrough that demonstrates the wide ranging possibilities that have been unlocked through advanced digital signage technology.
6. How do you source your technology?
We have our in-house software developers who build new applications as per each client’s requirements, such as way-finding solutions and meeting room management systems. Moreover, we have partnered with leading digital signage hardware and software suppliers in the market that provide us with all the necessary solutions and requirements.
7. Do you see more and more companies adopting digital OOH solutions for their brands?
Yes, more and more companies have recognized the benefits and advantages of digital advertising and are now therefore adopting digital OOH solutions for their brands. Moreover, advertisers are increasingly taking advantage of the powerful and user-friendly functionalities of the content management software from Scala, a server-based application that allows the scheduling and management of the transmissions of multimedia content to thousands of digital signage displays, from any internet-connected computer
8. How do you see your competition?
The digital signage market is growing in the MENA region and so does the number of competitors in this industry. However, AIMS is the only one that has been in the market for over 10 years. To sustain a profitable business in this sector, it takes a lot more than just having a solution on hand; it requires professional experience and knowledge to succeed and have a vision for the industry’s future.
We have competitors that present cheaper solutions to the market, however, clients that choose to go with it realize that the solution does not meet their organization’s needs, and they eventually approach us in search of a more effective way to address their business challenges. This happens, when they understand that the software and hardware are not the only elements that provide proper system, the dedication, understanding of internal and external needs, environmental requirements, as well as the experience are more important for the delivery of a working model.
9. What are the difficulties faced in making a digital campaign work?
One of the key challenges when developing a digital campaign is the lack of people’s awareness about the benefits of using digital signage; as opposed to traditional forms of advertising, which they are accustomed to.
10. As a medium what according to you are the parts that still need development and wide acceptance in the region?
The number of events and exhibitions dedicated to digital signage is limited in the region, resulting in poor awareness about the industry and a lack of people’s understanding of the benefits of using digital signage. We believe there is a need to create greater awareness about the benefits of digital signage, particularly in terms of increased return on investment, reduced environmental impact, and the fact that digital signage is a cost-effective solution when compared to static signage, which have to be printed and shipped every time the message is changed.
11. What is in the pipeline for your company?
AIMS has recently been awarded contracts for the Etihad Towers Hotel Digital signage system in Abu Dhabi, Central Market Abu Dhabi project, new branches of ADIB, and also the upgrade of the digital signage network at the Mall of the Emirates and the City Centre Malls.