What's the Big Idea?

Spam is apparently still effective. In the Middle East, where new research shows that digital marketing is thriving, the vast majority of companies are using email for marketing much more than online display ads or search engine optimization, for instance. It makes sense because email is apparently the most popular online activity for consumers in the Middle East. Email is also popular with marketers because it is inherently measurable - there are numerous metrics available including open rates, clickthrough rates, unsubscribes, that allow marketers to measure success.

What's the Most Recent Development?

There has been a significant increase in the number of internet users in the Middle East, and in particular in Egypt after the January uprising, and specifically in the number of people actively using social networking websites. The number of Facebook users in the United Arab Emirates has skyrocketed in the last month alone. Business is starting to harness this change but a lack of understanding about online marketing is holding back a significant proportion of companies. Done poorly it can alienate them from their target audience. And the research shows that in the UAE email marketing is considered unappealing and annoying by almost a third of recipients.