How much marketing budget do I need to market my business in Saudi Arabia?

Shannon Correia March 08, 2021

In this article, we're answering all of the questions related to marketing budgets in Saudi Arabia. When you're targeting this audience, some contextual factors need to be considered, as these will directly influence the cost involved. Here's all you need to know about marketing in this part of the world.

marketing budget Saudi Arabia

How much should I budget for marketing to a Saudi Arabian audience?

Unfortunately, there is no definitive general answer to this question. Many factors contribute to the amount you'll need to budget, from your marketing channels to the duration of your campaigns. Whatever you can allocate to marketing should be seen as an investment that’ll bring your business great returns when spent wisely. You could be spending a few hundred as a boost, or allocating thousands to campaign roll outs.  

What should I know about the Saudi Arabian target market?

Mecca and Medina are holy Islamic cities that welcome millions of pilgrims each year. Marketers need to have a keen awareness of this when targeting these audiences. Dammam is on the Eastern side and often visited by others from the GCC, while Jeddah on the West is known as the least conservative part of the country. The capital city, Riyadh, has the highest concentration of middle to upper classes and where many digital marketers focus their efforts. 

What makes this an attractive target market?

Saudi is a rich nation as the world's largest oil exporters, with plans in place to develop the country in other fast-growing industries. With that being said, Most of Saudi Arabia's 34 million people live urban lifestyles and are at a median age of 30 years old. This is an appealing demographic for marketers as there is a broader audience to reach compared to other countries in the Middle East, with a higher standard of living due to the low rates of unemployment. 

What kinds of marketing are effective in Saudi Arabia?

Traditional marketing costs more than digital, but if you have the budget for it, consider advertising newspapers, radio, or outdoors. With high levels of internet usage, Digital marketing is very effective here. Social media marketing is a must, as the growth rate of these platforms and the amount of sharing across them is booming. For PPC marketing, use Google Ads, with a lot of SEO opportunities for content in Arabic. 

What is the key to marketing in this region?

The key elements of marketing in Saudi Arabia are building trust, providing luxury, and understanding the culture. Building trust is a way of doing business within the Middle East in general, where value is placed in building longstanding relationships. Once rapport is built for your business, your Saudi consumers will remain loyal to your business. It comes as no surprise that this wealthy nation values high-quality products and services in terms of luxury. But to charge premium prices, your business will have to provide the desired and expected quality standards. Finally, in terms of culture, the religion must be understood and respected as this is of the utmost importance to these audiences. 

What are my options when it comes to marketing my business here?

  • Language: Many businesses here either only do marketing in Arabic, or they offer translated versions in English as well, though this may not be necessary given that most of the nation speaks Arabic. 
  • Location: Saudi Arabian audiences shop traditionally as there is a strong mall culture, though the e-commerce sector is ever-growing. 
  • Marketers: As with any marketing, you can either use your in-house team, work with a consultant on a project, or hire an agency. Regardless of which option is best for your business, an in-depth understanding of the region and language cannot be understated. 

What are the stats about marketing in Saudi Arabia that I need to know?

Over 70% of Saudi's are on social media, where they spend 3 hours a day. The most popular platforms are:

  • YouTube: 26+ million
  • Instagram: 22+ million
  • Facebook: 21+ million
  • Twitter: 20+ million
  • Snapchat: 15.5 million

According to Global Media Insight, in 2020, 70% of social media advertising was directed towards a male audience across Facebook and Instagram. That audience is the largest social media presence by country in the world. Regionally, they are also the most active Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat in the MENA region.

When it comes to social media budgeting, you can spend as many or as few Saudi riyals as you wish. It allows you to target niche audiences effectively and is flexible in terms of the costing options, as you can either set it based on the duration of the campaign or based on the results that the campaigns receive. 

While it's important to have a well-rounded digital marketing strategy that includes content, email, influencer, and online marketing, social media marketing is the primary channel for businesses to use. This, mixed with video marketing, is your best bet since Saudi Arabian audiences are the platform's biggest users per capita globally. It's the channel of choice for consumers to follow vloggers, entertain their kids and catch up on comedies. 

What can I do to stretch my budget?

With many financial constraints due to the setbacks of the global pandemic, many businesses are having to cut back on their budgets. There are ways to do this, especially with affordable digital marketing efforts like niche social media advertising and creating content marketing on a shoestring budget. You should, however, continue to market your business and ensure that you are keeping your presence front of mind for consumers - with a lower pool of competition, this is a chance for your business to increase its share of the market.

Do you have more questions?

Reach out to us at Nexa - we're happy to discuss further and make sure you have all the answers you need when marketing your business in Saudi Arabia. 

Nexa is a leading marketing agency within the MENA region, with clients who target Suadi Arabian audiences. We can help you with everything from strategy and market research through to translations and reporting.