How brands can ace Ramadan holiday buying in Indonesia

This article first appeared on Marketing Interactive

19 March By Laura Quigley


The holy month of Ramadan is next month. Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world, with approximately 225 million Muslims. The digital buyers in Indonesia are slated to contribute US$66.8 million in 2020 and the numbers are expected to grow to 86.7 million dollars by 2023, according to eMarketer.

Digital ad spend in Indonesia is on the rise and is set to increase to US$742.3 million by 2020 and mobile ad spends is estimated to be US$449.3 million in 2020. Ramadan holiday buying presents a huge potential to savvy marketers to target the Muslims in Indonesia as they traditionally make purchases of big-ticket items – furniture, automotive, and electronics. This comes as they prepare their homes to receive guests in the days and weeks to come. Brands are looking to stand out during Ramadan, one of the busiest holiday buying seasons of the year.

Consumer behavior online and offline changes dramatically around a month before Ramadan begins. Practicing Muslims change their sleep and work schedules and spend more time with their families. They change their focus to self-improvement, worship, and community. According to InMobi’s mobile insights for Ramadan 2020, Indonesians are spending on food and groceries (85%), clothing (67%), home appliances (62%), and travel (55%). Areas that influence their purchase decisions are personalisation (40%), discount coupons (33%), recent brand ads (19%), and brand loyalty (8%).

What does this mean for marketers? For marketers, Ramadan presents an opportunity to connect with new audiences. Google research shows that standout Ramadan content that connects with audiences can boost viewership and drive decisions for the rest of the year. But planning a great marketing campaign alone won’t cut it as in this fight for eye-balls period. Brands need a well-rounded marketing strategy to make sure that they can differentiate and stand out from the other competing brands and gain higher mindshare.

In order to do so, brands need to understand their customers, come up with a creative idea based on those insights and take that idea through to completion. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to marketing during this season. People have different needs, interests, and pain points – these go through lulls and peaks throughout the season. In order to connect with Muslims during this period, marketers need to make sure they are serving the relevant message at the right time so that the consumers are engaged with the ads, which is key to brand success. Otherwise, they run the risk of being seen as tone-deaf or wasting valuable marketing dollars on a blanket approach while hoping that something sticks.

Also, context is king. Ripple Effect findings by IAS in Indonesia revealed that Indonesian consumers are highly discerning to the quality of content environments the ads are seen, with the vast majority (90%) of Indonesia consumers finding it annoying when a brand appears next to low quality content. The findings suggested widespread favourability for premium quality ad placements with almost 8 out of 10 Indonesian consumers preferring to engage with ads on high quality content.

Majority of Indonesian consumers (79%) said that they will stop using brands that appear near low quality or unsafe content.

Also impacted was the effect on brand reputation and appeal – 86% of Indonesian consumers tend to hold the brand accountable for the content that appears next to ads. There is an opportunity for brands to harness the dual power of tailored ads and high quality placement to drive greater brand engagement. However, it is also vital to acknowledge the counterpoint. Placing ads beside low quality content has significant consequences. This carries a high risk of damage to brand perception and even revenue which, over time, will also impact the publisher. To ensure online ads drive the right attention and outcome, relevant content and a suitable context must be a top priority.

Meanwhile, media quality matters during Ramadan buying. A brand has to look for ad fraud and brand safety issues all through the customer life-cycle which includes acquisition and engagement/re-engagement. Many a time, brands only focus on the acquisition of customers. But, as the customer journey goes on, there is also a need for sustaining interest which can be done by an effective re-engagement strategy. Retargeting campaigns are currently mostly unchecked and open to fraud. Most retargeting campaigns end up being programmatic CPC based campaigns, which result in bot clicks and spamming to enter the advertiser performance campaigns.

Making every impression matter is foundational to campaign success. Ad verification metrics are predominantly used to monitor and optimise towards viewable and fraud-free impressions, served in a brand-safe environment. Together as an industry, we have made significant strides in improving the quality of ad impressions that are bought and sold. Improving ad verification measurement and optimisation is an ongoing initiative that is essential to ensuring that digital campaigns have a strong foundation for success. Technological innovation and consumer behavior will continue to dictate which new devices and platforms need to be monitored and managed for viewability and brand safety. Optimising for verification metrics helps improve consumers’ “opportunity to see” the campaign creative.


Here are five key takeaways to help you maximise your return during the Ramadan buying season:

1. Fraudsters go where the dollars go

When it comes to minimising waste, eradicating ad fraud should be at the top of the list. While ad fraud is a risk to be kept in mind year-round, campaigns have proven to be at a higher risk during the holiday buying. Since video typically yields higher CPMs than display, video buys are more susceptible to bad actors. Make sure your campaigns are protected from fraudulent activity by applying pre-bid fraud filters.

2. Beware of supply constraints

Not surprisingly, video inventory is in high demand during the holiday buying season. If your brand wants to heavy-up on video leading up to Ramadan, you may want to increase your bid price to win valuable video inventory.

3. Think critically about video versus display strategies 

While display is great for direct response and video is preferred for branding purposes, consumer behavior patterns show that video viewership traditionally increases around Ramadan. As exemplified by the higher viewability rates and time spent viewing video compared to display, video is more likely to influence consumer behavior. We recommend focusing on video to drive effective and meaningful engagements.

4. Increase engagement through mobile devices

Indonesia is a mobile-first market, where mobile subscriptions make 136% of the total population in Indonesia, according to the Inmobi Ramadan mobile report. People are typically on-the-go and traveling during the holiday season, which means they will be spending additional time on their mobile devices. So make sure you implement a mobile strategy that reaches the full age spectrum of your audience.

5. Minimise wasted impressions through keyword pre-bid and post-bid optimisation

Advertisers are unique and have their own standards for brand safety, but they’re all working toward the same goal: avoid unsuitable content before purchasing an impression. As much as the industry is trying to move away from relying on keyword exclusion lists, most advertisers today still use these lists as part of their post-bid brand safety strategies. Pre-bid targeting acts as additional protection to media buys, as post-bid blocking alone does not provide full protection. That’s why we always recommend using pre-bid targeting and post-bid blocking solutions together to provide full protection. Campaign performance is always important, but it’s critical during the key holiday buying times

Brands need to know that their ads are being viewed by real people – or risk losing the chance to improve ROI on media campaigns. In order to get your consumers into your store in the first place, your ads need the chance to be seen in a fraud-free and brand-safe environment.

Download your ‘Acing Ramadan holiday buying with IAS’ pack by filling out the form below and ace your Ramadan holiday buying in Indonesia today!

You will receive:

  • The latest Media Quality Report- Indonesia Edition
  • The Ripple Effect Study- Indonesia edition
  • Brand Safety Essential Guide
  • Ad Fraud Essential Guide
  • Viewability Essential Guide

Questions? Speak with us today!

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