GPI’s own Yasser Ahmad attended this key conference in Cairo, held October 19-20, and shares highlights in this blog. With 600+ attendees and 40 renowned speakers, ArabNet Cairo Conference proved to be a great opportunity for digital marketers and startups to get together and to join discussion panels, keynotes, and specialized workshops for two days.
ArabNet is one of the most important conferences in the Middle East and Arab region. This conference explored the latest trends and issues in the web industry with online markets expanding and a wave of entrepreneurship sweeping across the region. As a language translation services agency with heavy experience in Arabic and MENA issues, GPI was proud to participate in one of the first major conferences to be held in Cairo after the recent revolution.
ArabNet Conference Highlights
The conference, held in Cairo, featured leading digital executives and entrepreneurs who discussed the challenges and opportunities in digital marketing, online content, social media, mobile apps, e-commerce, gaming and investing in startups, throughout the Arabic speaking region.
The discussion panels were rich with information and trends about the online markets in Egypt and the entire Arab region.
Investing in Web & Mobile
The first discussion panel was about funding and investing in digital, web and mobile technologies. The discussion was rich with insights into the digital media funding in Egypt and the Arab region. The panel was mainly about the funding process and key decisions necessary for startups in early stages of development.
This panel features the co-founders of the first web services in Egypt including: Mazzika, Otlob, Gawab, ITWorx, and e-Dar. The speakers reviewed challenges with the local market in its early stages and how they were able to succeed by providing new ideas and effective services.
The panel discussion included useful information and analysis of e-commerce Egypt and the right model for selling online, and how to help growth in e-retail for marketers and online consumers. Several ideas specific to regional growth were shared.
The discussion, held by professional thought leaders in the region, brought interesting information to light about one of the trends in MENA online marketing. Group shopping still faces a lot of challenges in the Middle East, but in the last two years growth has been massive, especially in the UAE market, followed by Lebanon and Egypt. The discussion included tips about how to use the digital tools to connect local businesses.
Check our previous blog about Online and Mobile Shopping in UAE and MENA region for more information on this topic.
Social Media Case Studies
The panelists presented some brilliant case studies for social media marketing campaigns. The discussions were very interesting with Q&A about what to do and not to do in social media marketing, how to understand your target audience and how to increase the ROI of your social media initiatives.
Ammar Bakkar explained the challenges with new media and the digital revolution. Smart TV with interactivity and applications is the future of media globally and in the region.
Media and Advertising
This discussion was mainly about media consumption after the “Arab Spring” revolution and how it is shifting quickly to digital and online. There were also briefs about online advertising in the Egyptian market and competition among traditional advertising. The panel explored trends in online content creation, especially in the Arabic language.
Gaming localization was one of the key points in this discussion as the Arabic market is relatively still new to online games and apps. The panel also explored the region’s gaming landscape and the unique interests of Arabic gamers.
Arabic and region’s search statics – William Kanaan (Google)
William Kannan, head of new business development for Google MENA shared impressive statistics about the Arab region’s online behaviors, including top sites visited by Arabic users. The statics from Google search also displayed interesting numbers about the searches by language in the region showing that KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) has around 80% of its searches done in the Arabic language, Egypt 70% and MENA 56%. Arabic content and Arabic SEO are still among the most effective approaches for businesses in the MENA.
Arabic Mobile Apps
The need for mobile apps is increasing rapidly in the Arabic region’s market. The panel included significant insights into the mobile development in the region and especially for the Egyptian market.
Check our previous blog What to consider for Mobile Application Localization for useful information about Mobile apps and language localization.
This was a very interesting panel about the role of technology and social media in the Egyptian revolution and Arab Spring. The panelists discussed social media’s role after the revolution and how to build better awareness and deal with censorship.
Key conference take-away
The conference was a great opportunity to build relations between professionals and entrepreneurs in the Middle East who are trying to lead the online market and succeed with its ongoing challenges.
Many hot topics were uncovered by the conference and discussion panels, including:
- The need for more Arabic online content
- Availability of broadband throughout the region
- Digital media vs. traditional media
- Need for Arabic localization of applications and games
- The importance of investing in digital
- Continuing challenges for entrepreneurship in the Arabic-speaking region
Further reading on social media
As a diligent language translation services agency, GPI always attempts to keep its customers and followers up to date with useful information on social media, among other topics.
To appreciate just how far we’ve come in social media and social networking, you may also enjoy reviewing over some of our previous blogs, which include predictions from industry experts nearly a year ago:
- Social Media Localization
- 2011 The Year of International Social Media
- PubCon Part 1: Google’s Matt Cutts shares his SEO vision
- PubCon Part 2: Social Media & Landing Page Optimization
- PubCon Part 3: Google Caffeine, Keywords and Blekko
- Highlights from Search Marketing Expo (SMX) 2011
- Highlights from International Search Summit 2011