What Is the Scope of Digital Marketing in UAE – 2023?

What being a digital marketing agency in Dubai was like in 2022

COVID hit us all very hard… 

Whether it was panic, outbreaks, illnesses and losses, or the business ramifications of all of those, it’s safe to say COVID-19 changed everything about our lives. 

Then, just as we were getting accustomed to the “new normal”, the Russia-Ukraine war hit. 

Globally, businesses suffered from supply chain deficiencies, revenue drops, major stakeholder uncertainty, and ultimately, numerous rounds of layoffs. It may not have been a global pandemic, but it did affect the world on a global scale. 

With no imminent end to the war in sight, communities and businesses across the globe are having to adapt to a new “new normal”, and the UAE is no different. 

As media budgets, customer spending patterns, and product inventories continue to spiral downward, marketers have been forced to find ways to navigate this “newest normal” for their employers with emphases on bringing down costs and communicating effectively with members of Generation Z, whose disproportionate spending habits present a large opportunity for marketers across the globe. 

For us, as a digital marketing agency in Dubai, we’ve certainly felt the impact of recent global events, and we’ve seen firsthand the effects they have had on key marketing metrics. However, through developing a keen understanding of the current situation and continuously optimizing our internal and external processes, we’ve been able to weather the storm effectively for ourselves, and much more importantly, for our clients. 

The scope of digital marketing in UAE in 2023

To build an informed understanding of the scope of digital marketing in UAE in 2023, it’s important to understand the key statistics and trends from 2022. In this article, we’ll be looking at four main factors: 

  • 2022 Digital Marketing Statistics in UAE 
  • The Current Digital Marketing Trends in UAE 
  • The Top Digital Marketing Platforms in UAE 
  • The Future of Digital Marketing Careers in UAE 

Most importantly, we will discuss the impact of each of these factors on SMEs, corporations and digital marketing agencies. 

2022 Digital Marketing Statistics in UAE

The first notable statistic to take note of is that out of the 10M+ residents in UAE, 98.99% of them use social media with 810,000+ new active users added in 2022. This highlights the massive opportunity being wasted by any UAE brand that is not making social media a priority in 2023. 

The top 10 reasons listed by users as to why they use social media included: 

  • Keeping in touch with friends and family (53.4%) 
  • Filling spare time (34%) 
  • Reading news stories (33.7%) 
  • Finding products to purchase (29.9%) 
  • Following sports (29.7%) 
  • Looking for things to do or buy (29.6%) 
  • Activities for work (28%) 
  • Finding content (27.4%) 
  • Livestreams (27.4%) 
  • Making new contacts (27.3%) 

A quick look at that list can help guide your 2023 digital marketing strategy to shift toward a more user-centric approach. 

Among UAE internet users, an average of 184 minutes (about 3 hours) is spent on social media platforms every day, while an average of 516 minutes (about 8 and a half hours) is spent on the internet, showcasing the larger opportunity present online when it comes to other digital marketing channels such as search, email and audio. 

When it came to digital advertising, 68.1% of digital ads were served to males and 31.9% to females, presenting a potential opportunity to reach females at lower advertising costs in 2023 at a perfect time as companies race to close the gender gap in UAE. 

As far as ad spending goes, social media ad spending increased by over USD 70M to reach USD 357.8M. With this figure projected to reach USD 664.5M by 2027, it’s more crucial than ever to ensure that your brand is putting its media budget to good use. 

Speaking of brands, FMCG brands continued to spend massive amounts of money on digital advertising, constituting 29.9% of the UAE’s ad spend. Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare, Retail, Telecom, Government, and Energy and Fuel made up the rest of the big spenders with over 5% of the country’s ad budget going into these crucial sectors. 

Of this spending, banner advertising actually received more investment from marketers in 2022 than social media. Per user, brands spent an average of $40.83 compared to social media’s $36.98, although social media spending is expected to surpass banner advertising within 2023. Search advertising and video advertising came in 3rd and 4th, with $26.52 and $22.07, respectively. 

*Statistics according to research by Statista, Global Media Insight and Aiwa Digital 

The Current Digital Marketing Trends in UAE

These are some of the digital marketing trends in UAE that are taking over the landscape, and which marketers would be wise to keep close track of. 

Vertical Videos

If you missed the vertical video trend, you’re missing out on the next big social media revolution. A quick read through this article written by our founder Bassem Saber will tell you everything you need to know: Vertical videos are on the rise, and it’s not just a Gen Z thing now. Almost every major social media platform’s algorithm is currently favoring vertical videos in a very big way, and introducing them to your brand’s content strategy is no longer optional. 

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is still in its relative infancy, but it’s already blowing minds with what it could do. In fact, with Chat GPT’s recent rise to fame, you can’t be too sure whether this, or any other recent article, was written by a human or a computer. In all cases, AI’s impact on digital marketing is sure to be major within the coming years, which is why it’s important for marketers to keep up with the latest advancements that could potentially change the game. 

Virtual and Augmented Reality

As with the potential of AI, the potential of VR and AR to reshape the digital marketing landscape is seemingly limitless. Whether it’s eCommerce taking a boost thanks to augmented reality tools’ ability to make online shopping much more immersive or the sheer potential of emerging VR experiences to become a marketer’s playground, the VR/AR trend does not seem to be going away any time soon. 

Ad Automation and Programmatic Ads

Automation has grown to play a vital role in the advertising landscape in recent years. Advertisers are increasingly relying on automation to maintain key campaign metrics, optimize spending and audience selection, and even experiment with different sets of creatives. 

Influencer Marketing

With younger generations increasingly demanding authenticity and personalization from the brands they like, influencer marketing has become an increasingly important cog in almost every marketing machine. Whether to opt for micro or macro-influencers depends on your budget and objectives, but we believe the potential results of influencer marketing are too good to miss out on for any brand looking to grow awareness, followers, or revenues. 

Keeping up with these trends, and the many others you’re bound to come across as you navigate the digital marketing world can be confusing. If you’re in need of a digital marketing agency in Dubai to bring your brand’s digital presence to life, we think you might want to click here

The Top Social Media Platforms in UAE

With a whole host of social media platforms appearing every year, keeping track of all of them can be difficult. While a few newcomers have recently taken up large chunks of users’ time in 2022, certain platforms continue to dominate the scene. In both cases, making sure your brand is present and active on these crucial platforms has become a must. 


With 87.4% of UAE internet users using YouTube on a monthly basis, it’s important to ensure that your brand is actively promoting itself on the platform. Whether that’s through regularly creating valuable content, engaging YouTube Shorts, or investing in video ads on YouTube, the platform will remain one of the most important marketing channels in 2023. 


81.6% of internet users in UAE use Facebook at least once a month, signaling that the OG social media powerhouse is nowhere near a decline. While organic reach has taken a hit for most brands in recent years, advertising on Facebook remains one of the most lucrative, and cost-effective channels for many businesses and digital marketing agencies. 


With 77.5% of users remaining active on Instagram, it is still one of the most important social media platforms for many brands. With a unique combination of its massive user base and versatility towards various content formats, as well as being the home of a substantial portion of influencers, Instagram is a platform any business needs to be active on in order to remain top-of-mind. 


59.7% of UAE users frequent TikTok, and we expect the addictive video app’s grip on the market to continue growing deeper. With a unique bite-sized vertical video formula that has been copied by a whole host of competitors, currently unparalleled organic reach for brands, and the fact that a sizable proportion of Gen Z consider TikTok as their search engine of choice, it’s clear that TikTok should be an important channel for any business looking to reach their audience, especially younger audiences. 


Even with the whole “will he or won’t he” fiasco perpetrated by Elon Musk, Twitter remains one of the top social media platforms in terms of local and global usage. Its unique user interface is perfect for news, quick tips, and discussions on major events, which provides an opportunity for marketers to jump in and truly bring their brands into important conversations. 


The undisputed king of B2B ranks 6th in terms of usage in UAE, but that does not mean you should be ignoring LinkedIn by any means. While it’s not the place for humorous memes or snackable videos, it’s hard to find a platform better suited to B2B marketing and lead generation than LinkedIn. 

Honorable Mentions 

2 major social media platforms that just didn’t make the very top of the list are Snapchat and Pinterest. While they weren’t at the very top, they do have their unique audiences and use cases. Snapchat, for example, is seen by many as pioneering the future of AR experiences for brands, which is especially major for eCommerce brands. Pinterest, on the other hand, is where many young women search for inspiration for their birthday parties, weddings, interior design, and others making it perfect for brands that operate in those spaces. 

Digital Marketing Careers in UAE – 2023 

With so many platforms, continuous updates and emerging trends, it can be hard for graduates and entry-level professionals to understand the UAE digital marketing landscape or where they can fit in. 

Nowadays, a huge number of digital marketing positions are made available on a weekly basis in UAE from major corporations, SMEs and digital marketing agencies alike. The vast majority of these positions fall into one of three major categories. 

Account Management and Customer Success

Those who feel most productive when dealing with people, solving problems and ensuring the accurate flow of information to and from clients would find that account management and customer success positions come naturally to them. While these positions do require a good base of digital marketing knowledge, they do not necessarily require an in-depth technical understanding. 

If this sounds like you, you should search for vacancies such as Account Manager, Account Executive, Customer Success Manager, or for those who also enjoy persuading potential clients, Business Development Specialist. 


Creatives are creative by nature. Their jobs involve tasks such as creating monthly content calendars, designing digital graphics, creating videos using animation or real-life footage, coming up with campaign ideas, keeping an eye on competitors and their initiatives, and writing digital content such as social media copies, email campaigns, or blog posts such as this one! Successful creatives bring more than creativity to the table, it’s important to deeply understand client needs and marketing methodologies in order for them to create ideas and campaigns that make sense from a business perspective. 

Some of the most common creative positions out there are Content Creator, Graphic Designer, Copywriter and Video Editor. Depending on your other skills, you can select one of them as a specialty where you work to continuously hone your skills in order to keep up with the best. 


Those who enjoy crunching up numbers, experimentation, and bringing abstract ideas to the real world may be perfect for performance marketing positions. Any business’ performance team represents the heart of its digital marketing team. Because performance specialists usually care more about the numbers than anything else, one of the most important skills for a performance professional is the ability to understand other team members’ concerns with their initiatives and requests in order to find a solution that blends between achieving results and being on-brand and aesthetically pleasing. 

Most agencies and companies will always be on the lookout for an accomplished Media Buyer, MarTech Specialist and SEO Specialist to join their team to bring them results, especially those who are able to contribute to more than one department’s success. 

What does all this mean for digital marketing in UAE in 2023?

The main lesson learned from 2022 which will affect marketers in 2023 is the importance of keeping up with the tech in order to stay ahead of the competition. Brands that embraced new ways of doing business, whether it was vertical videos, AI, or influencer marketing, were by far more successful in 2022 than those that didn’t.  

On the flip side, new graduates should be knowledgeable about these trends in order to appeal to potential employers, and skills should be developed to match the needs of today’s job market. 

When it comes to UAE, it’s clear that the country will continue to grow economically, and with its firmly digital-first mindset and growing digital viewership, it’s even more crucial for marketing professionals to be on top of their brands’ digital presence across the plethora of popular digital platforms. 

How a digital marketing agency in Dubai can bring it all together for your business

It’s been proven time and again that simply hiring a “Digital Marketing Specialist”, or even a small team of 2-3 people, to manage your brand’s entire online presence, create stunning designs that visually represent your brand, work on SEO, SEM, social media advertising, and the dozens of other marketing efforts it takes to see real growth from digital marketing simply does not work. 

On the other hand, hiring an entire full-fledged team solely for digital marketing can be an expensive hassle. 

When you work with a digital marketing agency in Dubai such as us, you get the benefit of working with a full-fledged digital marketing team that checks all the boxes, and that can effectively grow your brand at a fraction of the cost.  

When you work with Igloo, you get a dedicated team whose core mission is to help you grow your brand with a unique 360° approach that enables your internal teams to focus on developing your product or service, shipping orders, or closing leads. 

Do you want to know whether working with Igloo could be beneficial for your brand? Contact us now to get a free consultation! 


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