The holy month of Ramadan is only about one month away, and many are preparing for the seasonal shifts in consumer behaviour. Ad fraud prevention specialist TrafficGuard and digital market intelligence company SimilarWeb has released a guide to web and app usage over Ramadan.
The report explores the changes in consumer behaviour across Muslim-majority markets in Southeast Asia and MENA. Both parties aggregated data over the four weeks of Ramadan activity, as well as the four weeks before and after in the years 2018 and 2019.
Luke Taylor, COO and founder of TrafficGuard said for companies looking to develop campaigns in Muslim-majority countries during the Ramadan period, and beyond, it is important to be taking changes in consumer behaviour into account. "Start planning early to fully prepare for behavioural changes. Advertisers need to go beyond ‘seasonal greetings’, take the time to understand how their brands fit into the spirit of Ramadan and allocate budgets accordingly," he added. According to Taylor, it is important for marketers to align their efforts to capitalise on the engagement peaks of any category in order to maximise advertising return on investment.
Here are some of the findings:
Community and lifestyle
As a time for reflection, self-improvement and family, engagement with websites in the lifestyle category - which would include content such as religious guides and blogs - surged by more than 10% during Ramadan, compared to the preceding four weeks. Two distinct peaks in traffic were evident at the start and then at week three of Ramadan as observers prepare for family gatherings and hosting friends during the holy month, and for Eid al-Fitr.
Continuing the theme of community, social networking apps saw the biggest increase in downloads compared to any other app category at 12% during Ramadan. In particular, the third week of Ramadan saw a significant spike in both downloads and app usage - perhaps corresponding to the coming together of communities ahead of Eid al-Fitr, or the ‘Festival of Breaking the Fast’, which marks the end of the season.
Food and drink
According to the research, food and drink apps saw a 7% spike in downloads over the course of the holy month, with the average time users spend in-app increasing by up to 22% - likely in preparation for evening meals following the daily fast.
That said, while time spent in-app decreased post-Eid, the four weeks immediately following Ramadan saw an additional 21% growth in downloads in the food and drink app category. This was mirrored across web traffic, which also jumped by an impressive 34% in the same category.
Entertainment and gaming
While abstaining from food, the Ramadan period does note modest growth in entertainment web traffic and app downloads. However, the real champion is the gaming category. Games see a 4% growth in downloads during the four-week fast and a whopping 16% surge in web traffic. This is followed by another sharp increase in the week of and following Eid - when entertainment and gaming apps experience a 28% and 13% uptick respectively.
According to the report, eCommerce web traffic does not increase over Ramadan, but is significantly loaded to the earlier weeks. Of the 12-week period analysed, the highest eCommerce traffic peak was recorded in the third week of Ramadan. This could be a sign that eCommerce activity is driven by consumption that happens over Eid - in fact, the substantial drop in eCommerce traffic on the week of Eid further supports this theory, the report said.
Ecommerce apps are the second most downloaded category during Ramadan, with an 8% growth in weekly downloads. Similar to web traffic, eCommerce app downloads are highest in the start of Ramadan and drops over Eid, representing the importance of timing for eCommerce advertising campaigns in the lead up to and during Ramadan.
With the wind-down of Ramadan comes the take-off of holidays. From the first day of Ramadan to the traffic peak just after, daily website traffic to accommodation and air travel sites increases over 50%. Meanwhile, the local travel app category experiences the greatest post-Eid jump in downloads, recording a whopping 34% spike. For marketers, knowing how seasonal events such as Ramadan impact their target audience’s propensity to spend is crucial in aligning efforts with user shopping intent for the best advertising return.
Taylor also added that while these trends are on the rise, "It is not just about allocating budgets carefully, but ensuring that ad spend is protected from ad fraud and going towards generating real revenue."
"As is often the way with large calendar events, the threat of ad fraud is ever present - it is therefore important to take proactive steps to capture high shopper intent, instead of waiting for bots to rear their ugly head," he said.