With Ramadan just around the corner, digital marketing representatives from the world over have joined a virtual gathering to discuss some of the challenges of reaching the right audience.

At MMA Ramadan Insights 2022, they elaborated on issues facing marketers during the holy month and proposed a couple of potential solutions. In addition, Insights 2022 panelists discussed what role social media has played in how Indonesian users are adapting to the pandemic, as well as social media’s importance in reaching different types of audience groups.

The panel is a veritable treasure trove of practical information for digital marketers looking to prepare and adapt their advertising campaigns for Ramadan. We’ll go through a couple of social media insights first, and then we’ll delve into inclusive ad targeting. By the end of this summary, you should have a clear understanding of what the best advertising practices are and how you should plan your strategy accordingly.

Social media insights

Since the start of the pandemic, the way in which most audience groups and marketers prepare for Ramadan has evolved. With a greater emphasis on personal health and safety, people have turned to online venues for shopping and communication, and Ramadan is no exception.

According to the panelists, about 74% of people expect to spend more time on their social media channels this year, while 67% are expecting to dedicate more time to streaming movies, music and TV series. However, Ramadan also brings an increase in online shopping activity, so it comes as no surprise that 36% of Indonesians will spend the holiday browsing goods and services online. Not only that but also every other Indonesian is likely to keep Ramadan shopping online, even once the pandemic comes to a conclusion.

So, what does all of this mean for marketers? The substantial increase in the number of Indonesians on social media is an excellent opportunity for reach and engagement, especially during a period of high online shopping activity. Twitter and Spotify have become the two most prominent social venues for a variety of audience groups in Indonesia.

Twitter is seeing a 6% growth in user numbers, while Spotify grows by 16.2% year over year. About 48% of Indonesians with free Spotify accounts are parents, who also happen to be more trusting of brands they come across on their social media feeds. Since free Spotify accounts include an online ad experience, it’s a perfect opportunity to adapt your marketing strategy to those people who are looking to spend money for this year’s Ramadan.

Spending more time on social media has its downside, though. Grim news of wars and the pandemic can affect how an audience perceives ads and can even negatively influence brand safety. To avoid this, and to reach precisely the audience groups you want, you will need contextual targeting. More on that later.

In-app performance marketing during Ramadan

According to Maria Abdull Latif, regional manager at INSEA - Remerge and one of the panelists at MMA Ramadan Insights 2022, there should be a much greater emphasis on the retention of app users around this time of the year. She discusses the importance of in-app performance marketing during Ramadan and points out that retargeting is an excellent way of improving user lifetime value by engaging them with relevant and personalized mobile ads.

App uninstalls can be quite problematic during this period, which is why retention needs to be the number one concern. The cost to acquire new users is 5 to 10 times more expensive than re-engaging existing users. Retargeting will help you generate more revenue than new user acquisition would.

The goal for in-app performance marketing is conversions, so you should focus on users reinstalling or reactivating apps rather than brand awareness. Using contextual targeting, you’ll be able to enrich the app experience by serving complimentary ads in real time, thus successfully monetizing your existing audience.

Inclusive ad targeting

On average, ad spend increases by 20% for the duration of Ramadan, and online shopping activity triples. The problem is that the shift from third-party cookies back to first-party ones has left many brands worried and wary about spending more money on ads. Ad targeting has become significantly more challenging without the excess of tracked data, so the risks are higher.

The loss of 3P data isn't the only issue, however. As Alex Chaban, one of the speakers and the head of sales at MGID noted, the impact of the pandemic is not to be neglected, thus making brand safety one of the top priorities for businesses and marketers alike. When asked about the biggest challenges of inclusive ad targeting in this day and age, he emphasized identifying the user as the number one issue facing marketers. Over reliance on first-party data leads to marketers making incorrect assumptions about who their target audience is, limiting the advertisers’ reach and damaging campaign results.

Other challenges Alex mentioned included improving the online ecosystem for users, developing new methods for engagement as opposed to pushing ads on users, and striking a balance between user vs. audience targeting, while still thinking of success in terms of ROI and campaign goals.

As a solution to all of the above challenges, Alex Chaban of MGID presents contextual targeting, a method of inclusive ad targeting of high precision, even without the cookies. Since it relies on effective targeting, it ensures brand safety and a positive user experience without sacrificing the user’s privacy. Contextual targeting focuses more on the context of the page and the sentiment, rather than the user. In return, it captivates a broader audience that’s not determined based on its demographic or device data, solving the problem of inclusiveness, as no audience groups are glossed over.

Contextual targeting is a win-win for both advertisers and audiences. The former can reach a wider and more engaged audience by not disparaging between users along demographic lines, while the latter receives content that aligns with their current state of mind without giving away private data in return.

Final thoughts

The increase in social media activity and online shopping habits of Indonesians during Ramadan is an excellent opportunity to reach millions of users across a variety of audience groups. Using contextual targeting, you’ll be able to determine which ads to show based on the context of the page users are viewing, increasing engagement and ensuring brand safety.