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Targeting the Middle East (MENA)

Advice on SEM in the Middle East/MENA/GCC

8:24 pm on Jan 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

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My company has been reasonable successful in Asian markets but with growing competition (everything being made MUCH cheaper by Chinese companies) we're now looking to the Middle East as the next 'big thing'. Does anyone have any experience of this market, what works and what doesn't in terms of SEM?

Having had initial discussions with agencies in Dubai we're aware that advertising costs are significantly higher than we'd typically expect in the US/Europe (especially for GCC) but have been promised that conversion rates will be higher (unsure whether real or part of their sales pitch).

We've also been advised that credit card payments for some markets are almost impossible to do through Western providers (no surprise I suppose given Iran, Iraq, Jordan and parts of North Africa are in the mix).

In terms of networks, we've started working with the following with promising results, but would welcome further suggestions.

Adwords (obviously)
AdZouk (premium sites, regional)
iKoo (regional)

We're also looking to target the following in coming weeks - does anyone have any experience of these?

AlClick (regional)
DotMENA (unknown)

And finally, has anyone had any joy with Yahoo's Maktoob? - like most Yahoo properties we're having an absolute mare just getting started.

Any useful assistance would be massively appreciated. :)

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