A Data-based Approach to Drive Ramadan Content Decisions
The holy month of Ramadan is one of the most special times in the Islamic calendar, as the month marks the time during which Allah gave the first chapters of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad. During Ramadan Muslims fast between sunrise and sunset, abstain from some activities, and pray more often. Working hours are shorter, and breaking the fast tends to become a far more social occasion, with families and friends joining together to enjoy ‘iftar’ (a simple meal to break the fast).
But did you know that during Ramadan your customers spend more time online and consuming your content?
So how should content marketers harness this opportunity to share their message with consumers, and what should shape should that message take? With more data about online behaviour available to us than ever before, the insight we now have regarding what our customers like is invaluable in planning and creating compelling content which can not only build brand strength, but also drive new business.
How We Consume Content During Ramadan…
To explore these questions in more detail, it’s useful to have a clear picture of what people are doing differently during the Holy Month. According to the Google 2017 Ramadan Series during Ramadan consumers will:
- Perform more internet searches
- Consume more video
- Spend more time on mobile devices
- Engage up to 57% more, commenting on blogs, videos and reacting on social media posts
But Google also found as part of its research that this increased activity is sustained for the remainder of the calendar year, meaning that if you can get consumers to engage with your brand, you have an opportunity to keep them with you well after Ramadan has finished. Whilst smart search ads may attract customer’s attention, high quality, relevant content continues to develop that initial relationship long after the ad has faded from memory.
Create Content Your Customers Want to Consume
As always, the ‘old rules’ still apply; you should continue to make sure that you deliver content which is relevant to your audience; tackles pain points, addresses their needs and desires, and delivers the information they need to make informed decisions about which brands to engage with.
By creating Ramadan-specific content, brands have another opportunity to demonstrate that they understand the issues which matter most to their customers. With themes of sharing, helping those in need, and developing good habits both spiritually and physically, being important to this observing Ramadan, crafting a message carrying one or more of those themes will create engaging content which shows consumers that the brand cares about the same things that they do – during the Holy month and beyond.
A great example of putting this into practice is this superb 2015 video ad from dairy brand Almarai.
Cleverly crafted without dialogue, it can be watched and understood without needing sound, and is accessible to both Arabic and non-Arabic speakers.
A Data-driven Approach
But now we can also add another layer of insight; before, during and at the end of Ramadan, certain types of searches surge in popularity.
- Food and recipe searches and video consumption spike 50% higher before and at the start of Ramadan
- Restaurant searches peak from 6pm to around 2am as customers look for Iftar and Suhoor
- Towards the end of Ramadan travel-related searches surge by up to 25%, as people look at going away over the Eid break.
This knowledge is naturally of interest to any marketer trying to decide the best time to schedule their digital campaigns, but for those who plan and create the content within those campaigns, we now also have a better picture of the content themes our customers are exploring, and what keywords we could use to get their attention. If you know what your customers want, then you’re halfway to creating a targeted message which will help them find you, engage with you, and hopefully, stay with you.
Show Your Brand’s Human Side
During Ramadan we know that people spend more time socializing with family and friends than usual. Research from Social Media Today suggests that brands inspiring higher emotional intensity generate 3 times as much word-of-mouth marketing than brands which are less connected. Whether you video the team sitting down to iftar, or take viewers on a tour of your office decorated for Ramadan, or simply show a more human side to your usually corporate offering, showcase the people behind the brand to help your customers build an emotional connection (and hopefully, tell their friends about what they’ve seen or read over suhoor).
But perhaps you’re thinking that getting your CEO to share her favourite cookie recipe online won’t wash with your crowd, or maybe discounting your offerings isn’t a strategic fit? There are still some important data-driven learning points here for you:
Present Content in a Format Your Customers Want to Watch
Google’s research gives us insight into content formats that work well when people have a little more time on their hands. During Ramadan, consumers will:
- Invest more time in engaging with longer formats
- Consume more video content
- Watch more multi-part stories and web series
Since our customers are willing to engage with longer formats, and so this could be a great time to roll out a longer-form (1,000 words plus) blog, which can touch on a wider range of issues and can therefore include a wider variety of keywords, making the most of the opportunity.
If you’re already making video, you’ll be able to explore new and creative ways of telling a story with more time to tell it. Typically we have an 8.25 second window to capture viewer’s attention, and as a result short form video, or even micro-video is growing in popularity; rather than entirely replacing longer formats, they can supplement them as ‘conversation starters’, leaving viewers keen to find out more about your brand, products or services.
However, with an opportunity to boost engagement, how about using multi-part videos or video series to tell your brand story in a rather different way. Kuwaiti telecoms company Viva Lantern Award-winning video series ‘Where’s My Bowl?’
Demonstrated that with each subsequent episode viewers actually engaged more than the previous.
And if you’re not yet making video, you may be interested to know that watchtime in MENA is growing by 60% year on year and by 2021 video formats will drive 82% of web traffic.
Finally, re-considering the timings you publish your content may be something that could make a difference to your engagement. During Ramadan many people will shift their routines towards the night-time hours, and as a result search volumes for certain categories (for example, restaurants) surge from 6pm until around 2am, so scheduling your social media content for times other than when people are on their lunch break or have the kids in bed may repay the initiative in increased engagement.
At a time of year such as Ramadan when online behaviour changes, a more data-driven approach can provide helpful direction and insight for content marketers looking to maintain or extend their reach, by planning content themes and creating content formats which will resonate with target audiences, and keep them engaging with your brand long after Eid.
Emma Easter is Content Manager at Acorn Strategy, an award-winning, GCC Marketing and Communications Agency, helping our clients to grow from the smallest of acorns to mighty oak trees. Acorn Strategy unravels the complexities of the market and competition to create strategy and plans that optimise your performance. To find out more about our innovative strategy-led approach, including content strategy, planning and creation, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us on +971 (0) 2678 7926.