Digital media is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the Middle East and the growing popularity of social media in the UAE has accelerated the dominance of the influencer. Make-up and fashion brands, luxury chains and entertainment are the most popular sectors promoted by UAE-based social media celebrities – an activity that has not, until now, been regulated leaving influencers to demand bottomless budgets with no certainty of success.

As the influencer landscape has adapted quickly to the changes in the social media tide, the UAE government has been hot on their heels. 

Delivering a statement outlining new requirements for anyone conducting “commercial activities” through social media, influencers must now register for a government-issued license to partake in paid promotional activities with brands. 

Officials say the new rules are not likely to inhibit creative content, but will professionalise and regulate this fast-growing industry and to solidify influencer marketing as a reputable segment of the media landscape. 

This strategic move is designed to infiltrate the kind of digital content that is published, so that it falls more tightly in line with religious, social and cultural values of the UAE. But what does this mean for marketers wishing to identify and penetrate spheres of influence?

Introducing Mapper360™ Influence

Choosing the right influencers for your campaign can be notoriously difficult, and these new license requirements may increase difficulties in identifying Middle Eastern influencers which fit the tone and essence of their brand identity and values. It’s more important than ever, then, to stray away from a selection criteria are based on subjective measures or on superficial data such as headline follower numbers, leading to wasted budgets and inefficient campaigns.

To provide a solution for securing successful influencer outreach we have developed a rigorous approach to influencer selection which can be applied globally. It assesses the quality of the influencers’ audience, their affinity with the brand’s target audience plus channel visibility and content analysis. Each influencer identified via audience mapping is scored on a sliding scale across more than 20 potential variables – including sphere of influence, brand fit, and content analysis, weighted according to client brief and campaign priorities. The team then liaises with the top performing influencers to agree contracts and set content guidelines, ensuring posts are well planned and complement the overall strategy, while still maintaining the influencer’s tone of voice and credible connection with their fan base.

Mapper 360™ in action 

For one UK government campaign, we used Mapper360™ Influence to identify the most effective and relevant influencers to start a conversation around parental leave. By analysing key metrics such as affinity, follower authenticity and sphere of influence we identified the ideal influencer for our four identified audiences. 

As influencer marketing rockets as the fastest-growing online customer acquisition strategy across the globe, it’s more important than ever to take a data-driven approach when identifying suitable personalities which enhance the longevity and sustainability of digital campaigns. 

If you want to find out more about Mapper360™ Influence email Kath Ludlow, managing director of Four Engage, here.