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Resources / Blog

The Rise of Programmatic Advertising in the MENA Market

21st February 2024

Topic: Audience data, Market Reports, Programmatic
  • Overview of the Programmatic Advertising Industry in the MENA Region
  • The Impact of Digitalization on Programmatic Advertising in MENA
  • The Key Drivers for Programmatic Advertising Growth in MENA
  • Top 3 countries of MENA Spending the most on Programmatic Advertising
  • The growth of total Advertising Expenditure in MENA 2010-2024 
  • What is The Future of MENA Programmatic Advertising Market? 

Programmatic advertising is experiencing notable growth in the Middle East and Africa. According to industry forecasts, the programmatic advertising market in this region is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.89% in the period of 2022-2027, underscoring its increasing relevance in the market.

In the context of the Middle East and Africa market, programmatic advertising’s increasing relevance is closely intertwined with the region’s growing adoption of digital advertising. Furthermore, the use of data and technology in programmatic advertising is pivotal in effectively reaching the vast customer base beyond walled gardens, aligning with the evolving digital landscape. 

The anticipated expansion of programmatic advertising in the Middle East and Africa is fueled by the increasing embrace of digital technology, the growth of e-commerce, the desire for personalized advertising, improved data capabilities, the transition from conventional to digital platforms, and advancements in technology. 

Overview of the Programmatic Advertising Industry in the MENA Region

The advertising sector in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is undergoing a significant transformation. It is anticipated that advertising spending will exceed 12 billion U.S. dollars by 2024, showing a substantial increase from the approximately 9.2 billion in 2021. This indicates substantial growth potential in the MENA region’s advertising domain.

Ad spend in mena_2005_2024

In 2020, Saudi Arabia emerged as the largest digital advertising market in the MENA region, with the United Arab Emirates closely following. Egypt led in digital advertising spending growth in 2021, with Morocco and Tunisia also demonstrating notable progress. Conversely, Qatar, Jordan, and Algeria experienced slower growth in digital advertising spending. As the region continues to impact global ad tech trends and display significant growth potential, it presents an intriguing landscape for advertisers and industry stakeholders to explore and capitalize on the diverse advertising opportunities within the MENA region.

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The Impact of Digitalization on Programmatic Advertising in MENA

Digitalization has significantly transformed programmatic advertising, notably through the increased utilization of data and technology along with the growing importance of mobile programmatic advertisements in driving market growth. 

Utilization of Data and Technology: The increasing digitalization of media consumption and advertising has empowered publishers and agencies to leverage data-driven insights and advanced technologies. This has led to optimized ad targeting, delivery, and performance measurement, enabling more precise audience segmentation and personalized ad delivery, resulting in more effective and efficient advertising campaigns.

Significance of Mobile Programmatic Advertisements: The rise in mobile usage globally, particularly in the Middle East and Africa, has made mobile programmatic advertisements a pivotal driver for market growth. The mobile platform offers unique opportunities for precise geo-targeting, engaging ad formats, and seamless integration with apps, contributing to the effectiveness of programmatic advertising in driving engagement and conversions.

Rise of Digital Out-of-Home Advertising: The MENA region is witnessing a steady integration of digital elements and advanced technologies, with DOOH accounting for about 50% of total OOH investments. Additionally, the adoption of programmatic DOOH is on the rise, offering flexibility, precise audience targeting, and dynamic, data-driven campaigns, promising a more relevant and responsive way to connect with audiences. The MENA digital out-of-home (DOOH) market is projected to grow from USD 335.59 million in 2024 to USD 717.40 million by 2029, at a CAGR of 16.41% during the forecast period.

Impact of Covid-19: The Covid-19 pandemic has further accelerated the digitalization of advertising in the MEA region. Advertisers have shifted their focus towards digital channels, including programmatic advertising, to reach and engage with consumers in a predominantly digital environment beyond walled gardens, reflecting the resilience and adaptability of the programmatic advertising landscape in response to external market forces.

Regulatory Landscape: The evolving regulatory landscape surrounding data privacy and consumer protection in the MENA region has influenced the digital advertising ecosystem. Advertisers and agencies are adapting their programmatic strategies to align with changing regulations, emphasizing the responsible and compliant use of consumer data in programmatic advertising campaigns.

The digitalization of media and the emphasis on mobile programmatic advertisements have revolutionized the way publishers and agencies optimize ad campaigns, leading to more effective and targeted advertising efforts, especially in engaging audiences within the mobile-first digital landscape.

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The Key Drivers for Programmatic Advertising Growth in MENA

The Programmatic Advertising Market in the Middle East and Africa is projected to experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.89% from 2022 to 2027, indicating significant growth driven by the region’s advertisers’ innovative storytelling approaches to enhance brand experiences for customers. 

Furthermore, the MENA region is expected to witness a substantial increase of around 20% in online advertising spending by 2024, with the advertising spending forecasted to reach approximately 12.3 billion U.S. dollars in 2024. This growth reflects the region’s competitive digital advertising landscape and its potential for significant expansion in ad spend, particularly in the digital sector. The increasing adoption of digital advertising and the surge in mobile programmatic advertisements are anticipated to be key drivers of market growth. 

  • Mobile-First Region – The MENA region is widely recognized as a mobile-first market, with a strong preference for mobile apps. This shift in consumer behavior is poised to drive increased social media expenditure by retail chains and corporations, presenting a prime opportunity to capitalize on the region’s inclination towards mobile usage. 
  • Out-of-Home (OOH) Advertising: The region is experiencing growth in the form of Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) advertising, driven by government-led initiatives to foster technological innovation and an increasing trend towards utilizing programmatic methods in OOH marketing activities. The integration of digital technology and strategic placements in high-traffic areas is revolutionizing OOH advertising in the region, offering interactive experiences to reach consumers more effectively.
  • Gaming Industry: The gaming boom in the MENA region presents an opportunity for advertisers, with projected growth in gaming revenues and the total gamer population. Understanding how to effectively plan media for in-game advertising is crucial, especially given its ‘always on’ nature. Programmatic in-game advertising emerges as a potent strategy for advertisers to leverage in this fast-paced environment.
  • Data Privacy Concerns: Data privacy concerns are shaping the future of ad tech in the MENA region, with the phase-out of third-party cookies on Chrome and the legal requirement for brands to have data privacy and governance measures in place beyond the walled garends. Retailers have started to capitalize on the rich consumer data they possess, developing advanced retail media capabilities in response to these trends. 

These factors indicate the unique mix of innovation, shifting consumer habits, and here-to-stay trends that are reshaping the advertising landscape in the Middle East and North Africa, providing insights into the expected growth of programmatic advertising in the region.

Top 3 countries of MENA Spending the most on Programmatic Advertising

Saudi Arabia 

In Saudi Arabia, advertising spending has shown steady growth over the years. From 2017 to 2024, the total advertising spending has increased significantly, showcasing a consistent upward trend. In 2017, the total advertising spending was 557.6 million USD, which grew to 1,796.0 million USD in 2024. This indicates a substantial growth of over 221% during this period. By 2028 the advertising spending is anticipated to reach 2,497.0 million USD, showcasing a consistent upward trend in the coming years. The consistent growth trajectory suggests a promising outlook for the advertising market in Saudi Arabia, reflecting the country’s increasing investment and reliance on advertising to promote products and services. 

United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is poised for substantial growth in digital advertising, with ad spending projected to reach US$1,134.0m in 2024, and banner advertising emerging as the largest market segment with a volume of US$429.8m in the same year. The market is anticipated to witness significant growth driven by the region’s mobile-first approach, as 46% of total ad spending will be generated through mobile channels by 2028. Moreover, a noteworthy 76% of digital advertising revenue in the UAE is expected to be generated through programmatic advertising by 2028, reflecting the increasing adoption of data-driven strategies and technologies in the region’s advertising landscape. 



The digital advertising market in Egypt is projected to reach $1,689.00 million in 2024, with search advertising being the largest segment at $662.30 million. The country is experiencing growth in digital ad spending, with an expected increase to $952.80 million by 2027. With a high internet penetration rate and a significant number of social media users, digital advertising, particularly programmatic ads, plays a crucial role in reaching the diverse Egyptian internet audience. Additionally, Egypt’s e-commerce market is thriving, expected to generate $7.74 billion in revenue by 2022, with a yearly growth rate of 19.43% between 2022 and 2025.

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The growth of total Advertising Expenditure in MENA 2010-2024 

In 2020, advertising expenditure in the Middle East and North Africa experienced a decline of 8.2 percent, with the total spending across all advertising segments in the region surpassing eight billion U.S. dollars. Subsequently, in 2021, the growth rebounded to 15.1%, followed by a 7.3% increase in 2022, a 9.2% rise in 2023, and a projected growth of 13.5% in 2024.

AD EXPENDITURE MENA_2010_2024What is The Future of MENA Programmatic Advertising Market? 

The Middle East and Africa’s programmatic advertising market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.89% from 2022 to 2027, driven by the adoption of programmatic guaranteed and contextual targeting practices. Mobile programmatic advertisements, shaped by the region’s mobile-first approach, are anticipated to drive market growth. The region’s digital advertising landscape is rapidly evolving due to changes in digital privacy practices and new regulatory laws. 

Additionally, the region’s ad tech industry, with an estimated worth of $5.9 billion last year, is forecasted to reach $6.9bn in 2024, reflecting the region’s potential for growth. With the increasing mobile usage and social media influence, the region’s online advertising expenditure is expected to rise to $7.9bn by next year. Furthermore, the region is witnessing a surge in digital out-of-home advertising and in-game opportunities, indicating a shift towards innovative advertising strategies. These trends are set to shape the future of advertising in the Middle East and North Africa.

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