Tips for Setting up a Google AdWords campaign in the UAE

So your content marketing system is up and running but you simply want to funnel more traffic into your website in order to supplement your other channels or to gather quick statistics? Google AdWords might be the answer you are looking for. While AdWords is a paid advertising channel, it seems to fall between inbound and outbound marketing, perhaps both or neither. Even HubSpot themselves have changed their minds over the years on the matter of how to categorize it. The important thing to note, though, is that with Google’s current algorithm, the maximum bid you are willing to pay is merely a factor in calculating your Ad Rank and not its sole component. Relevance of your landing pages and general quality of the ad text also play just as important a role. This means that AdWords are in fact somewhere between inbound and outbound marketing, you send your ad into the ocean of the internet but it is only caught by the nets of those searching for it.

Now that you know that AdWords can be used to supplement all your other marketing methods, let’s get to what you need to consider when setting up a campaign for your UAE business. First of all, when setting up a campaign with all features – as you should be doing – you need to think about your targeting. Specifically, do you want your ads to appear only to those searching on the .ae extension of google or to those searching on, and do you want your results to show up only for searches conducted in English or for those in Arabic as well. Google allows you to target people searching within your selected area or those who are interested in your area. This allows you to make some interesting targeting options to reach specific clients. If you run a French/Arabic fusion restaurant, you might want to run a campaign targeting French tourists in Dubai. You could reach this audience by targeting people searching in French but located in Dubai.

Marketers often say you should get in the head of your consumers and if anything, this is more important in Dubai than anywhere else. The sheer number of different nationalities and cultures means that thinking like your consumer is harder than anywhere else. This becomes essential when selecting your keywords, both positive and negative. While Google’s algorithm accounts for spelling mistakes, it’s not omnipotent when it comes to all synonyms and search terms. Make the best use of broad, narrow, and exact matching keywords as well as broad search modifiers in order to fine tune the audience that you capture with your ads. Be wary that Dubai has many people searching for jobs, and depending on your current hiring situation, you might not want to pay for this traffic. If that’s the case, you can add some keywords like “salary” or “job” to your exclusions. Be creative with your keywords, but careful not to overly restrict your reach.

Finally, whether your ads appear on Google is a combination of both Ad Quality as well as your maximum bid. This means that you can improve the position and/or decrease the amount you pay per click by improving the quality of your ads. There are several ways to do this but the two biggest factors in the UAE are ad extensions and landing page relevance. This means that the landing page that the ad refers to not only features all of the elements that the ad alludes to or claims to provide, but it should also be relevant to an audience centered in the UAE. Clearly indicate what you do and be transparent about the nature and specifics of your services, and do your best to provide the information necessary to site visitors in an easily visible and friendly way. Extensions are also a very powerful tool because clients in the UAE often like to either hear from you over the phone or visit your office in person. This is why location and a phone number in your ad extensions, as well as the occasional callout, can go a long way in bringing more work into your business.

While AdWords gives you a global reach and endless possibilities when it comes to making yourself known to potential customers, its power lies in its ability to focus and capture a local audience extremely effectively. Through many settings like manual bidding and adjusting for location, devices, and income brackets, you can ensure that you capture just the right people at just the right cost in order to attain the optimal ROI through this channel. Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed and be willing to make changes when they are necessary and you’ll be well on your way to capturing the digital advertising market in the UAE.

Luka Stanojevic
Digital Marketing Manager

Luka Stanojevic is a digital marketing manager at Emirates Graphic, a Dubai-based digital marketing and web design agency. He has helped companies of all sizes and from all parts of the world grow and succeed on the web.