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The Ramadhan Rush: Advertising in the Month of Mobile

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Posted on Li Lin Tan on February 5, 2018
Mobile Advertising During Ramadhan

With 62% of Muslims living in APAC, Ramadhan is one of the region’s busiest advertising seasons of the year.1 And APAC consumers’ move to mobile is opening up a huge opportunity for advertisers looking to engage with the Muslim community during Ramadhan.

Ramadhan is celebrated by 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide, with the some of the largest Muslim populations located in Indonesia, India, Malaysia and Singapore.2 This religious holiday is not only a time of spiritual discipline, but also a time for social activities, shopping and travel — each of which is highly driven by mobile devices.

Mobile traffic and sales see an annual surge in the period leading up to and during Ramadhan, as mobile is the season’s preferred device for shopping and entertainment. Ramadhan-related and religious content apps, as well as entertainment and travel apps, all see spikes during this month-long period — and as consumers’ mobile connectivity and usage continues to rise throughout APAC, these surge periods are predicted to get longer, with the spikes becoming progressively more intense.3

Interest in Ramadhan-related mobile content ramps up one week prior Ramadhan. Prime usage time for mobile browsing during this religious holiday period typically occurs before breaking fast in the evening, during the first meal, during lunch hours and after night prayers.3 Throughout Ramadhan, mobile users are primarily focused on content relating to family, charity, household, travel and shopping. Female users tend to prefer topics such as family, food, household and apparel, while male users focus on Ramadhan schedules and religious practice.4

Popular App Categories During Ramadhan

Popular App Categories During Ramadhan

Last year, Ramadhan-related apps saw a strong uptake in installs. Almost half of the fastest-growing apps in Indonesia were related to Ramadhan. Growth of Ramadhan-related apps in Malaysia exceeded +30%, with the highest-ranking app growing nearly 10X. The most popular app categories included service apps as well as music and entertainment, each of which saw high downloads during and following Ramadhan.5 Ramadhan-related music and entertainment, in particular, drove up mobile video consumption +13% during the holiday period, peaking one week before the end of Ramadhan.6

Reach Ramadhan Observers at the Right Mobile Moments

Here are some useful tips for marketers and advertisers to precisely target their campaigns and ensure they are reaching their ideal audience. Most importantly, marketers must be aware that all advertising content during this religious period should be appropriate and culturally-sensitive.

1. Engage Consumers at Key Times

The most effective mobile advertising strategies send targeted content to users during specific mobile moments when they are most likely to be engaged in an app. During Ramadhan, nighttime mobile usage really comes to life. For example, while mobile shopping decreases from 12pm to 11pm during Ramadhan, compared to non-Ramadhan months, it sees a major uplift from 12am to 5am. In fact, over 4.8X more mobile conversions happen at 4am during Ramadhan than during non-Ramadhan months.7

2. Create App-Driven Advertising Campaigns 

Apps are increasingly dominating mobile time, with a spike in app installations and usage during the Ramadhan season. In APAC, in-app advertising accounted for 94% of mobile ad spending on the Smaato platform in Q2 2017. In-app advertising offers accurate campaign targeting solutions, including location, gender and age groups, as well as powerful conversion measurement capabilities.

3. Optimize Content Across All Devices

For advertisers to maximize their campaign impact from end-to-end, they should embrace omnichannel browsing — and as consumers continue to turn their attention to apps, in-app advertising is a crucial component of any cross-device campaign. In Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, nearly half of online shoppers use multiple devices when viewing products online, with one in four switching devices at least three times throughout the purchasing journey.8

Ramadhan is a time of rest and reflection as observers reconnect with their faith and spend time with friends and family. This combination of free time and celebration results in increased mobile usage and engagement during this time. By utilizing this mobile behavior, APAC marketers and advertisers can efficiently and effectively reach these consumers via in-app advertising campaigns and maximize mobile conversions.


1Pew Research Center, Jan 2017 | 2Muslim Pro, Jan 2018 | 3Tech in Asia, May 2016 | 4ecommerceIQ, April 2017 | 5Cheetah Mobile, March 2017 | 6Tech in Asia, May 2016 | 7Facebook, 2017 8WIT, July 2017

Written by Li Lin Tan

Marketing Associate @ Smaato

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