Programmatic in the United Arab Emirates

Researches & Insights
February 3, 2021 / Author: Christina Gaydova

The United Arab Emirates is a modern country that combines a multifaceted culture and a perspective base for foundation and developing digital marketing, and Programmatic Advertising has not been left behind. Programmatic Advertising is a new and advanced kind of digital media, buying spreads all around the world, and the UAE offers Programmatic solutions for many sectors: banking, automotive, online, airlines, textile, luxury, FMCG, and many more.


In the world of digital technologies, the most effective way to promote any business is through digital advertising. And the United Arab Emirates is not an exception; digital marketing is the fastest growing industry in the UAE. In UEA, the amount of internet users has grown during the last 10 years. According to IWS, 98.4% is the spreading of internet users in UAE.

At the beginning of 2016, UAE came first place in the list of GCC countries in digital advertising spending. According to TBWA, as reported by The Gulf Today, advertisers spent $531 million in the UAE, followed in second place by Saudi Arabia with $312 million, Kuwait with $144 million. During the first quarter of 2017, accounting for 46% of aggregate advertising spend in the region. This amounted to AED 1.5billion according to TBWA worldwide.

ZenithOptimedia published data on global advertising spending — $579 billion at the end of 2019, and according to their forecast, it will grow just over 4% by next year. Continuing its growth, regional spend on digital ads is expected to reach 28 percent of total ad dollars spent by 2022, with the lion’s share of digital ad spends forecasted to be search-related.


Reach: 18.23 million cookies

Impressions: 4.01 billion


As with almost all countries in the world, social media step by step is becoming a central part of daily life in the UAE. In 2020, in the United Arab Emirates, 92% of Internet users had mobile phones, 66% of them had a desktop or laptop, and 36% owned a tablet.

Among all popular UAE social networks in 2019 that have a presence in the region, Facebook took first place with 9 million UAE users. Surprisingly the runner-up is LinkedIn, with more than 4 million users in the UAE. Instagram has 3.7 million active monthly users, and also Twitter with about 2.3 million active users.

The number of social media users in the United Arab Emirates increased by 577 thousand (+6.3%) between April 2019 and January 2020:

  • YouTube – 88%
  • Facebook – 79%
  • WhatsApp – 79%
  • Instagram – 68%
  • FB messenger – 62%
  • Twitter – 53%
  • LinkedIn – 45%

Although most of the time spent on the Internet is spent watching videos on YouTube, using mobile banner ads and video ad formats on various sites and apps used in the region can also be effective in many industries.


Top Websites Ranking:,,,,,,,,,,,

Most popular region-specific sites:


UAE Ecommerce:

Some successful eCommerce sites based in Dubai, UAE include the following:,,

Top SSPs used in the United Arab Emirates:

  • Google Ad Manager
  • MoPub
  • AdBook+
  • Adform
  • Rubicon Project
  • 360 Polaris
  • Criteo
  • OpenX

Top DSPs used in the United Arab Emirates:

  • Google Marketing Platform
  • Amazon Advertising
  • Adobe Advertising Cloud
  • StackAdapt
  • Scibids
  • IgnitionOne


It is important to note that in the UAE and Dubai, there are two languages: English and Arabic. What language you choose to use for business communication depends on who your audience is. For industries that depend heavily on foreign people, you will find that the majority of the search volume is in English. Therefore, if industries depend on nationals and other Arabs, you will find that the search volume is mostly in Arabic.

Of course, there are some cases where both Arabic search volume and high English search volume are used together for specific keywords. Depending on the specific product or service you are promoting in the region, it is important to thoroughly do your keyword research to utilize your online marketing budget and efforts most effectively.


There are both Arabic and English versions of the country code top-level domain (ccTLD). In English, it’s .ae for the Arab Emirates, and in Arabic, it’s.امارات .