The outlook of Mobile App Advertising in the Middle East Market of Q3 2020

6 min readNov 19, 2020


What were the trends of mobile app advertising in the Middle East market which gains a high ARPU rate in Q3 2020? App Growing Global published “Outlook of Mobile App Advertising in the Middle East Market of Q3 2020” based on global advertising data from July 1 to September 30, 2020, covering UAE, Saudi Arabia, and 18 global mobile advertising platforms including Facebook, Admob, YouTube, Unity, Line Japan, and Twitter.

  1. Overall Advertising Trends in the Middle East Market

In the Middle East market, both in Q2 and Q3, the number of launched mobile games with advertising and their ads numbers accounted for more than half, yet the proportions in Q3 showed a decline. The proportion of mobile games with advertising increased from 32% to 37%, and the number of ads up from 42% to 47%. Q3 accounted for almost half of the market.

In Q3 of the Middle East market, SLG’s mobile games’ advertising number raised by more than 40% quarter-on-quarter; moreover, board games surged by more than 94% quarter-on-quarter. In terms of non-gaming apps, reading and entertainment apps grew by 120% and 56% in Q3 quarter-on-quarter, while the promotion of shopping and financial apps fell by more than 50%. The details will be interpreted on the list below.

2. Hot-advertised Mobile Games and Ad Creatives Strategies

2–1 Mobile Games Promotion List

There is a crazy sweep of casual games worldwide, and the Middle East market is no exception. Represents by Playrix’s “GARDENSCAPES”, “TOWNSHIP”, “FISHDOM”, and “HOMESCAPE”, Firecraft Studios’ “MATCHINGTON MANSION”, which are either tile-matching or construction games. Also, the casual game “5 DIFFERENCES ONLINE” has become the main force in promoting the Middle East market’s casual games.

Historical issues have caused many wars in the Middle East. The regular wars and confrontational elements in SLG make it a popular mobile game type in the Middle East. According to App Growing Global Intelligence, Q2-Q3’s popular SLG games in the Middle East include “MAFIA CITY”, TopGames Inc.’s “EVONY: THE KING’S RETURN”, FunPlus’ “STATE OF SURVIVAL”, Long Tech Network Limited’s “RISE OF EMPIRES: ICE AND FIRE”, “LAST SHELTER: SURVIVAL”, these games basically maintain their positions in the Saudi Arabia and UAE’s Top 20 SLG bestseller list.

The established SLG games “PUBG MOBILE” that has long topped the Middle East’s income list had relatively less advertising in Q3, thus failing to enter the Top 20. It can be noticed that the overall SLG style in the Middle East is more European and American, as is the case for RPG.

2–2 Hot Ad Creatives Strategies for Mobile Games

Apart from Turkey, Iran, and Israel, other countries’ official languages in the Middle East are Arabic. It is recommended that the game content and creatives are in Arabic and well localized. SLG’s ad creatives focus on displaying its strategies and playability, which will arouse players’ competitiveness and desire to control the situation.

Ad Creative of REVENGE OF SULTANS, Source: App Growing Global Intelligence


إنضم لنا للفوز بعرش الملك إنضم لنا للفوز بعرش الملك

قم بالتحالف مع اصدقائك قم بالتحالف مع اصدقائك

Overall meaning in English:

Feel free to join the game and win the King’s throne! Ally with your friend!

Ad Creative of MAFIA CIY, Source: App Growing Global Intelligence

Ad Copy of “MAFIA CITY”:

كون الأسطورة الخاصة بك في عالم المافيا الآن!العب مجانا الآن!

Overall meaning in English: Be the legend in the mafia world immediately! Join the game for free!

The ad creatives of the strong social board game “YALLA LUDO” guides users to move from offline parties to online chats. While showing the gameplay interface, it also emphasizes the relaxed and happy atmosphere of a virtual chat room where many people gather.

Ad Creative of YALLA LUDO, Source: App Growing Global Intelligence

Ad Copy of “YALLA LUDO”:

يلّا نلعب معاً! ???ونتحدّى من نريد وجهاً لوجه ، قُم بدعوة أصدقائك والعبوا على طاولة واحدة معاً ~

فوز كبير في يلا لودو

Overall meaning in English:

Let’s play together! And have a face to face challenge with whoever we want, invite your friends and play at the same table together ~

A big win at Yalla Ludo!

2–3 Non-Gaming Apps Promotion List

The Top 20 Non-Gaming Apps list in Q2 was mainly dominated by live-streaming, video, and shopping apps. Such as Bigo’s “LIKEE” and “BIGO LIVE”, Huya’s “YOME LIVE”, Tipping Points’ “STREAMKAR” which all are live-streaming apps. And the chatting app “YALLA”, shopping apps “SHARETHEMEAL”, “WISH”, “UBER EATS”, and “SHEIN”.

In Q3, the pandemic tends to worsen, and the main promotion is from health and reading apps, whose advertising has increased a lot. Health app has “FITINGO”, “BETTERME”, “FITCOACH”, “YOGA-GO”, “WORKOUTS BY MUSCLE BOOSTER” in the list; while reading app “RADISH” ranked top 1 in Q3.

2–4 Hot Ad Creatives Strategies for Non-Gaming Apps

80% of ad creatives of the chatting app “YALLA” are images, and this app also prefers using images of beauty.

Ad Creative of YALLA, Source: App Growing Global Intelligence

Although beauties dominate the ad creatives of “BIGO LIVE”, for the Middle East sector, the female creatives appeared to be more vertical and localized, and are mostly females with faces covered; besides, there are some live game creatives, such as the PUBG MOBILE” live broadcast that was a big hit in the Middle East.

Ad Creative of BIGO LIVE, Source: App Growing Global Intelligence

3. Ad Creatives Suggestions for Middle East Market

① Due to religious belief, many entertainment activities have been suppressed; hence the user in the Middle East has strong social needs. Besides, Middle Easterners tend to be more competitive and bellicose for some historical reasons. Ad creatives for non-gaming apps can add some social elements, and those for mobile games can use some exciting pictures of battle and victory.

② Users in the Middle East are quite sensitive to ad creatives, and 90% of them are Muslims. Attention needs to be paid to the local religious culture, and be careful not to use alcohol, pig, cross, and unmasked female as creative.

③ Green is the most popular color among Middle Easterners, followed by white, gray, and gold. Number 5 and 7 are their favorite numbers, which represent good luck and reunion, respectively.

④ Apart from Turkey, Iran, and Israel, other countries’ official languages in the Middle East are Arabic. Good language localization of ad creatives and game content is the basic and important way to attract users and distinguish your product from others. The text should be arranged from right to left.

⑤ Friday is a statutory holiday. Middle Easterners go to work around 10 am and leave at 4 pm; therefore after 8 pm is the prime time for advertising. The peak of festival traffic is concentrated in Ramadan, Eid al-Adha, and Eid al-Adha.

More intelligence in the advertising market can be found on the official website of App Growing Global.

*The above-related advertising materials are sourced from App Growing Global, which is only used for research and analysis. All Rights Reserved.




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