In 2015, (Infographic) Are Google and Facebook Teaming up?

As the end of the year approaches, Google and Facebook advertising solution are seeing harmony that has never been reached before to an extend that makes one asks, are they teaming up or at least having a common vision for 2015?

Facebook has announced their new secret weapon and it has been a major game changer in 2014, Kenshoo recently did a study and found that combining search and facebook resulted in 30% increase in return on adspend. Facebook wants to capitalise and build upon the success and investment that advertisers are doing in Google search campaigns.

Search is always a great way to start a digital campaign. It helps the business owners find out how people are searching for their business and what their needs are. Remarketing through Google display network has always been a very important companion to a successful search campaign as it helps increasing the ROI and dropping the cost per acquisition.

Facebook uses the audience that is acquired through Google search as a building block, through their website custom audiences feature they have the ability to find existing customers and target them with a special message. This is a valuable feature as it helps further increase ROI and reduce CPA. Facebook can reach over 50% of the users driven by Google through their tracking pixel.

Let’s face it, driving user registration to SMB websites is not an easy job, building Google / FB audience are more feasible and cost effective alternatives for marketers. Ultimately, growing these lists could be done through using look alike audience feature that both platforms provide.

Here is an infographic that i created to show the level of connection today between Google AdWords and Facebook Ads. Except to see better harmony in 2015.

Integrating Google adwords and Facebook adsDownload integrating Google AdWords and Facebook Ads in your digital campaign (PDF)

Why i will never buy from Souq or Jumia again

I’m sure that you’ve seen Souq and Jumia ads everywhere, whether you are on Facebook or on any website i’m sure you came across their ads which contains some amazing offers with HUGE discounts. There is also a big probability that you already receive their daily newsletters with their special offers and deals.

I have to say that these guys are doing very well in terms of online marketing, their customer service is also good not great. However, they are a disaster when it comes to their core business, the products they are offering in terms of quality and pricing.

I’ve been strongly hit by Jumia in terms of pricing, yes, they are very expensive, much more expensive than average market price, on the other hand souq have pretty good prices but many of the products are not authentic, they are just cheap or moderate copies of the original products.

Here is my experience with Jumia, i bought a Roller travel laptop case, a huge one that fits in lots of stuff plus a 17″ notebook for 750 LE. When i opened it i found the REAL price tag, 660 LE… This this is probably the real market prices as everybody know that jumia is already over priced.

Jumia - Rolling travel laptop case real market price

Jumia – Rolling travel laptop case real market price

I complained to their customer service, and just got back a reply offering me a 100 LE voucher when  i spend 300 LE on Jumia, they didn’t even bother themselves explaining the reason of what happened to me. Having escalated that issue to the management, they were very professional, they investigated that issues and got back to me saying:

Dear customer,

I want to personally apologize on the behalf of the whole Jumia team.

This gives you a very poor experience and I completely take the responsibility for it.

The price tag that you saw is different the the purchase price because it is the price for which we got the item from our supplier. This is not the retail price but a price negotiated with our supplier that is lower than the retail price. This is a special price from a supplier to a retailer (Jumia). On this price we have a margin which accounts for the difference of price.

However, I totally accept the responsibility for your bad customer experience. At Jumia we are working everyday to provide our customers with the best experience possible and in your case we obviously failed. I am deeply sorry for this.

As a compensation, please accept a 100EGP voucher with no minimum purchase: XXXXX

I hope you will give us another opportunity to serve you better.

Regards,

Head of Operations

I find their response very professional. In the second time not the first.

On the other hand my issue with Souq was not the price but rather the quality, Got a newsletter promoting Armani’s classic Acqua di Gio with a 25% discount so i decided to buy it choosing COD payment method, next day i got it, i was amazed about the fast service, i got my package with Aramex paid the amount in cash and this is what i found when i opened it

This is how the perfume i got from Souq looked like!! Terrible!

This is how the perfume i got from Souq looked like!! Terrible!

To begin with, this was the WRONG perfume, it was Aramni code 75 ML not Armani Acqua di Gio 100 ML. The package looked aweful, it looked old and had some wrinkles, and the plastic wrap was torn from the top, it seems somebody used it before. Actually when i saw this i understood this can’t be an original perfume so i wanted to make sure so i opened the box from the top and tried the perfume which was just like water and alcohol, a very cheap replica that you can buy for 20 LE not 500 LE.

So i made a complain, Souq sent somebody a few days later to pick it up, they will inspect the item and the return my money back in about 5 business days. The money should be available in my Souq account and then i can withdraw it or do a bank transfer to my bank account. They also said that the additional 15 LE for shipping and COD fees will be returned to me as well.

Long story short, the customer service of both Jumia and Souq were actually good. They responded to my queries within reasonable time and with reasonable answer.

The bottom line here, i’m never buying form Souq or Jumia again, i expect the problem to be repeated again, they have done nothing to prevent these kinds of issues from recurring, they only provided a remedy for me.

مصر تسعى لزيادة الأستثمار فى قطاع الاتصالات والتكنولوجيا إلى 55 مليار جنيه

مصر تسعى لزيادة الأستثمار فى قطاع الاتصالات والتكنولوجيا إلى 55 مليار جنيه

Check out  my latest Wamda piece. Fantastic progress for ICT sector in Egypt, and amazing strategy from MCIT ministry. Investments in Egypt to reach 55 billion pounds soon in Information Technology and communication sector

7 Things you should know before bootstrapping your startup

Startup business in EgyptMany people think that ideas are worth money and I think all these people are wrong, you can come up with the coolest ideas in the world and you are never able to implement them into real applications because you just don’t have the time or the business knowledge to know how these applications would be useful and addictive for the users.

You can also make the most appealing applications and yet you are not able to attract the critical mass and have the suitable business model to generate revenue streams for your apps.

Here are 7 things you should know before you quit your job and decide to bootstrap your startup:

1. How many cofounders? A startup business should not have more than 2 cofounders, 3 at most otherwise your shares in the new starup becomes so little. Selling your business for 1 million pounds means you get in your pocket 200K if you are five partners. Can’t buy you a flat!

2. Who are the cofounders? If your answer is 2 college friends who will be software developers working with me on the app. Hmmm… What about 2 years later when the application is popular and generating revenue, do you still need 2 partners that share the revenue? Or you would rather get rid of them and hire 2 fresh software developers? Think further down the road, one year later what is the value that my partners add to my startup?

3. Generating the critical mass. Don’t just think build it and people will come. Think why they would come and how. Think how to make them stay and grow the user base.

4. Your business model. Basically how will you make money from the application? What are you gonna sell? The application itself, or you will provide it for free and make out money from advertising? Or make the money from a service within the app? What’s your monetization model?

5. Sales sales sales. Who will make the sales? You need to hire experienced sales agents for your app, if you are an engineer with no sales experience, don’t try to sell it yourself.

6. Go mainstream and add a niche. We are always trying to be innovative which is good and important to have a healthy project. However, many people fall into the mistake of thinking about the niche and forgetting about the mainstream. A niche is an addition to your app but think about the mainstream audience. Think about Amr Diab, Mohamed Mounier and Justin Bieber, before thinking about Hamza Namira and Cairokee, although they have a good fan base, they are not main stream (yet).

7. Direct your users to do what you want them to do. Make them feel that they have control but target them to do what you want by providing the right default options and working on a very well studied UI/UX.. for example let them choose between 2 or 3 options instead of providing them with free textbox and asking them to type in what they want.

Google Officially Launches Google AdWords Premier SMB Parntner Program Page in Egypt

Google have officially launched Google AdWords Premier SMB Parntner Program Page in Egypt. It is the first Arabic page that is launched under that section as Egypt Yellow Pages is officially the first partner in Egypt and the Arab world (After Morocco whcih launched their site in French).

Google explains 5 reasons why you should go to Premier SMB Partner than DIY (Do it yourself) approach.

If you have a business in Egypt and you want to advertise it on Google, you should consult Egypt Yellow Pages to help you plan and execute your online marketing new channel.

free AdWords consultation in Egypt

Yellow Media and Google Enter Strategic Partnership to Support SMBs in Egypt

Yellow Media – Formerly known as Egypt Yellow Pages and Google Ireland have signed strategic partnership agreement that will make Yellow Media the first Google AdWords Premier SMB Partner in Egypt and the second one in North Africa.

The Google AdWords Premier SMB Partner Program enables strategic relationships between Google and companies that can deliver the power of Google AdWords to their local merchants. Small and medium-sized businesses working with a Premier SMB Partner receive professional, full-service AdWords account management, from account setup and activation to ongoing campaign monitoring and optimization.

The official announcement was made on April 22, 2012 in the Four Seasons Nile Plaza hotel with tens of attendees of technology reporters and journalists from major news papers and online news and technology portals in Egypt.

The event was held by: Marc Lambert – Managing Director of Yellow Media, Ahmed Hafez – Head of Sales in Google Egypt and North Africa, Lars Mourey – Director of Sales & Marketing in Yellow Media, and Mohamed Salah – Director of Digital Media in Yellow Media.

Marc Lambert, Ahmed Hafez and Mohamed Salah

Marc Lambert, Ahmed Hafez and Mohamed Salah

Keynote of Ahmed Hafez - Head of Sales - Google Egypt and North Africa

Keynote of Ahmed Hafez - Head of Sales - Google Egypt and North Africa

Following the official launch event, a 2 day intensive training course was given to 200+ Yellow Media sales professionals by the Google Egypt team. Wael Fakharany – Regional Manager Egypt, and North Africa – Google gave a very insightful keynote speech about the success story of how he managed to transform Google Egypt from a country office that only had one individual (Wael Himself) to tens of millions of dollars in a few years.

Wael Fakharany - Regional Manager Egypt, and North Africa - Google: Keynote Speech to Yellow Media Sales Force

Wael Fakharany - Regional Manager Egypt, and North Africa - Google: Keynote Speech to Yellow Media Sales Force

Yellow Media 200+ Media Solutions sales consultants attending Google AdWords training

Yellow Media 200+ Media Solutions sales consultants attending Google AdWords training

To get a free consultation now, or to sign up for Google AdWords fully managed service by Yellow Media.

Egypt Yellow Pages Launches Yellow Media Brand in Egypt

We proudly announce that Egypt Yellow Pages is launching Yellow Media brand today and expanding from being a traditional directory services provider to empowering our customers with a proper representation of their business on social, local, and mobile platforms, arming them to not just compete in the online world, but succeed. Solutions for everything their businesses will require for online success in the years to come, which is encompassed in an effective SoLoMo, or social-local-mobile, presence.

The various range of Yellow Media SoLoMo offerings in Egypt include:

  1. Social exposure over Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+ and Dalili.com.eg (Egypt’s largest businesses and venues review site)
  2. Local needs through Yellow.com.eg and Offeratak.com (Egypt’s leading daily deal aggregator)
  3. Mobile platforms coverage though Yellow.com.eg mobile web, iPhone application and Blackberry application (Android and Nokia under development)

Interview With Hala Deals Marketing Director, Mohamad Kaloub

When I look back at Egypt’s group buying site reviews that i did in last August, I figured out that a lot has changed in the group buying market since then. There is no question that Hala Deals is the fastest growing group buying site in Egypt in terms of its fan base, Hala Deals fans based has dramatically expanded from 2,000 fans in mid August to almost half a million fans on Facebook now!

The success secrets are revealed in today’s interview with Mohamad Kaloub the Marketing Director of Hala Deals.

Mohamad Kaloub, Marketing DIrector, Hala Deals

­­Tell us about your journey to becoming the Marketing Director at Hala Deals?

My journey started in Canada when I was in my first year of university studying Business at the University of Toronto. A good friend and fellow business major approached me with a business idea that I could not turn down; an event management agency that catered to the student population. We registered our business, incorporated the mother company as First Ad Solutions Inc., and named our first brand “X Productions”. After a few months, we decided to shift gears and venture off into Direct Mail. We created our second Brand called Consumer’s First. It was a digest that catered to local businesses who wanted to increase their awareness using a cost effective approach. After two years we realized that the print industry has become very saturated with many competitors offering similar, if not the same services. We conducted a market analyses and found that the print industry was in a decline, so we decided to diversify into the realm of Digital Media.

I have to say, the transition was not easy, but the potential reward ignited our drive. Three years later, I received an offer to join the board of Directors at Hala Deals. I was excited about the opportunity, yet skeptical of the challenges that we would be facing. This was a very difficult decision to make for the reason that First Ad Solutions was on its way to breaking record profits. However, I studied my options very closely and accepted the offer. In North America, I have seen businesses under this model fail miserably, and others rise above the crowd so I began strategizing an approach that would take Hala Deals from being a small start up to now one of the leading Group Buying sites in the region. Ever since I came to Cairo, I never once looked back.

Although you launched after other group buying sites you managed to have around half a million facebook fans in a few months, how did you manage to do that?

In today’s competitive business environment, no company can survive without a strong Social Media presence and we know that fact very well. It was integrated into the Marketing Strategy from day one and I am well aware of the return it has to offer. As this industry is constantly changing, it is crucial that we adapt with it, and the key here is to take the consumer along for the ride. Before Facebook came into existence, companies had it easy. They propagated their messages to the market in a one way stream with no care in the world for what the consumer had to say about their product or service. Little did many of them know, word of mouth; the most primitive yet most powerful form of advertising, would be the missing link. Now that these online social platforms have flourished, they will be neglected no more.

You can’t play a poor football game in a full stadium, but you also can’t play a great game in an empty stadium, you have to find the equilibrium and generate attractive content to your fans.

We were very keen on directing our message through a well established Facebook Fan Page, and this is where we allocated a chunk of our marketing budget towards. We launch various online marketing campaigns including Facebook Paid Advertisements and a QR integrated print campaign to enhance accessibility. This however is not the complete answer you are looking for, and this is why I want to top it off with a key point… content. We as human beings react to different things in many different ways, so the point here is to keep our fans happy with up to date content that’s fun, informative and interactive. Here is an analogy that sums this up: You can’t play a poor football game in a full stadium, but you also can’t play a great game in an empty stadium, you have to find the equilibrium and generate attractive content to your fans.

How is HalaDeal differentiating itself in the local market?

It would be a fat lie for me to say that we are doing something that no one else has done before. We are a clone of Groupon’s business model and that’s that, but it’s what we do within our organization that sets us apart from the competition. We are disciplined and creative in the marketing efforts that we run. We are establishing a network of businesses that would benefit from our services and vice versa. Unfortunately I can’t give you too much information on this topic, because if I did, we would be different no more.

What’s your value proposition for local businesses in Egypt who want to offer deals on HalaDeals.com?

Our value proposition is very simple; Brand Awareness through mass marketing. We are an online Marketing Solution that caters to local businesses who need their names heard. We feature their product or service on the website and allow our online and offline marketing tools to do the work. Our weekly campaigns receive over two million impressions and these figures are constantly increasing. When we inform our prospects that this can all be done with minimal if not zero cost associated, it’s a done deal. The key is to focus on long term gain as opposed to short term reward. It’s not about the profit that you will acquire through the deal, but the long-term client that will feed your bank account for years to come. It’s the power of customer retention that needs to be highlighted in every sales pitch. We have found that the Egyptian Merchant does not want to be sold on ANYTHING; they require an emotional engagement first and foremost. They need to trust you, and we build that trust through friendly consulting and honest business; we strive to find the needs of every business and tailor a package that works for them.

It’s the power of customer retention that needs to be highlighted in every sales pitch. We have found that the Egyptian Merchant does not want to be sold on ANYTHING; they require an emotional engagement first and foremost.

How do you guarantee customer satisfaction and that vendors honor their commitments towards the customer?

To get businesses to honor their commitments towards the customer, they first need to be convinced with the package that they are offering, and that is why we work very closely with each merchant to ensure their satisfaction. As I always say, a happy business owner equals happy customers. Having said that, you can never guarantee customer satisfaction and whoever tells you otherwise is naive. Every customer is different and that’s how God made them. Some will be satisfied with a refund along with a sincere apology, and some may ask for a Ferrari to make up for a hair strand on their plate, and I wouldn’t blame the latter, I like my food hairless.

Some will be satisfied with a refund along with a sincere apology, and some may ask for a Ferrari to make up for a hair strand on their plate, and I wouldn’t blame the latter, I like my food hairless.

The point I’m trying to make is that a company can do everything in its power to keep their customers happy but for some, this may not be enough, and that’s why it is our absolute top priority to minimize dissatisfaction amongst our customers. They pay our salaries and cover our overhead, and with the popularity of social media, we cannot afford to receive any negative feedback. We strive to ensure that our Customer Care Team is well equipped and trained to resolve any conflicts that may arise. As a new business concept in a fresh market, we will encounter many questions, but it is always a pleasure to walk the customers through the steps and ensure that their experience is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

What are your target demographics (age-gender-interests)?

Our consumer base varies, but our marketing campaigns target mainly internet users aged between 18 to 35 years old. Many of our buyers are females but we do our best to offer deals that cater to both genders.

What are you expansion plans locally and regionally?

The great thing about this business model is that it is easily duplicated once you have set a strong foundation.  We have been working very hard to build a framework that we can expand around and believe that this has been accomplished. We have expansion plans that we are going to execute in the near future, but due to confidentiality reasons, we cannot disclose when and where exactly.

What are the new things that you are introducing to HalaDeals in 2012?

Very sensitive questions, so I’ll be very brief. Our goal is to be different, but still offer our fans a great service, so we will be introducing a new addition to our business model that will allow customers to enjoy a bigger bang for their buck (More Value). We call it G2.

What are your different CSR activities?

We blocked our website for two days during the violent protests near the end of November. This was to show our respects to all that have been killed during the crises. Profit isn’t everything, we have a conscience and we truly did feel for Egypt.

Hala Deals prides itself in its efforts to support non-profit organizations in various fields and has been very active in doing so. Diversity is the key to a stable and strong line of networks. It is important not to conflict with the relationships that we have established. We are proud sponsors of organizations that promote causes such as fitness, health, education, entrepreneurship and will continue to venture out into different sectors to ensure strong brand presence. Our partners include such organizations as EMSA, IFMSA, Under-ground Bands, ITLC, Cycle Egypt and AWTAD. EMSA stands for “The Egyptian Medical Students’ Association”. They are a non-profit organization that raise awareness on wide spread diseases and illnesses to the general public. They are also involved with educating parents about the prevention of pneumonia with learning aids such as coloring books for the children. IFMSA, also known as “The International Federation of Medical Students’ Association” is responsible for organizing and funding events that support causes for different types of disabilities.

Our involvement with underground artists comes from our core motivation to support up and coming creative talent that are primarily driven by the need to perfect their art. We strongly believe that these activities will promote positive messages to the always evolving Egyptian youth. The “International Transport & Logistics Club” is a university run organization that aids students in discovering their hidden talents with many options offered to help them find jobs in the field of business. Cycle Egypt is an organization that welcomes bikers who want to pursue an active lifestyle by hosting weekly events where a group of participants ride their bikes through a predetermined rout.  AWTAD is the newest addition to our network of partners and it is a privilege to be involved in an organization with a very clear mission; to mentor young entrepreneurs and provide them with a support system that will help them in reaching their goals to becoming a successful business man or woman.

I would also like to mention our two day Website Block during the violent protests near the end of November. This was to show our respects to all that have been killed during the crises. We did not stop operation within the company; we just didn’t sell. Profit isn’t everything, we have a conscience and we truly did feel for Egypt. Hala Deals’ CSR goals have not yet been achieved, but we have a division that specializes in these efforts and we will continue to offer our love and support to the community.

Get in touch with Mohamed Kaloub through linkedin

Visit website

Or visit hala deals facebook fans page at: www.facebook.com/haladeals

Egypt Yellow Pages Ecosystem

There is no question that local search is now one of the core services of many web and mobile applications offered today. Think about the big market players such as Google and Facebook, both of them offer “places”. Social media check-in apps such as Foursquare, verticals like hotel review sites (Tripadvisor),  restaurant reviews sites, food delivery sites, map providers such as Navteq, or even directory assistance services offered by mobile operators, all their services are based on a venue database. If they don’t get it right there is very little point in offering their services.

Think about the effort and cost needed to maintain your own database. Thousands of businesses open, close, or relocate every month. This is the opportunity where what is offered by Yellow Pages is exactly the need of all these applications and services.

Egypt Yellow Pages is no exception, the integration between Egypt Yellow Pages database and their partners is becoming a key strength for many of these applications making use of the most complete business database in Egypt covering over 220,000 listings and 170,000 map locations.

Here is the ECO-SYSTEM of Egypt Yellow Pages

Egypt Yellow Pages ECHO-SYSTEM

I’ll go through the details of each of these systems and partnerships in future posts.

6.5 Million Egyptians on Facebook

I keep hearing lots of numbers of Facebook users statistics in Egypt, the total number as of today (17 March, 2011) is

6,393,080 people

How did i know these stats? There is a very simple trick to know this number yourself… Go to the advertising link at the bottom of the FB page, click on create ad button, then you will get a page at which you can specify your targeting options…

Make sure to select the date Any-to-Any and the country Egypt, which should be selected by default if you live there. Wait for a few seconds and then you will see on the right side of the page the up to date total number of Facebook users in Egypt. The total number of users is now:

Facebook users in Egypt in March 2011