March 12, 2022



General, News


To Grow Trust & Transparency In Our Industry, We Need To Work Together

Posted on: Saturday 12 March 2022 | IAB GCC Ian Manning

It was only a few years ago when sitting with some of the industry’s good and great, that we collectively pondered the question; ‘how big is the digital market?’ A seemingly simple question that you’d expect every industry leader to know the answer to, and if not, then surely, they would all estimate roughly the same ballpark. Yet, when going around the table, it was soon clear that there was no ballpark, estimates varied wildly as each player didn’t have the same perspective or visibility. You simply can’t grow an industry if you can’t agree on the starting point.

Fast forward three years, and we collectively have a much better grasp on the scale, the splits by channel type, where the data is flawless and where we need to tighten up the estimates.  By working together, we had done what seemed impossible at the time.  Aligning on a starting point and setting a vision for growing our industry.  (The digital adspend industry was $3,6B across MENA in 2020 if you were wondering. We’ll be repeating the exercise in the next few months to provide the 2021 estimates, adding growth rates and some additional granularity). This was the real birth of the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) in the MENA region; an industry funded, led and managed body focused on our vision to be the catalyst for growing the MENA digital advertising economy by nurturing the community, accelerating knowledge sharing and establishing accountability standards that cultivate trust and credibility.

In two short years, we have managed to grow our membership to cover many aspects of the ecosystem, representing the buy side from agencies and advertisers, the sell side, such as publishers and sales houses and the enablers such as measurement, research and technology players. A truly representative industry body working together to solve the big challenges we face, of which there are many, and equally, to capitalise on opportunities. Aside from the flagship Adex market sizing study, we recently coordinated a group of 20 experts from 15 members companies on a Programmatic Insights study to better understand the barriers and drivers of this part of the industry. These insights will provide our members with knowledge, not available anywhere else, that they can use to improve their offerings and drive sustainable growth when it is released shortly.

Of course, providing visibility on insights and market data is only a means to an end. What we are striving for is a trusted, sustainable and world class advertising ecosystem across MENA. To do this, we also need to partner with others and learn from the rest of the world, identifying the best they have to offer and encouraging them to look at MENA as a viable expansion market, enriching our industry and bringing investment. Recently we collaborated with the the ABG (Advertising Business Group) to help TAG’s (Trustworthy Accountability Group) entry into MENA. TAG provides a certification for publishers providing more security to advertisers that their investments are fraud-free, a critical aspect for sustainable growth. Initiatives like this and those of our Measurement standards subcommittee help to ensure that MENA’s digital advertising industry is trustworthy, transparent and sustainable, removing barriers to growth.

Ultimately, all of these rely on our people and their development. Accelerating knowledge through networking connections in our subcommittees, through accredited training programmes and unparalleled access and exposure to senior leaders from the industry ensures our members’ talent is always growing, always up to date and driving positive change. To fully leverage the talents in our region, we encourage all our members to build a gender equal industry. The IAB Itself has put in place 5 gender diversity principles for our own operations as recommended by our DEI subcommittee who actively support our own initiatives and collaborate with others to enhance their efforts in this area, collectively contributing to a more sustainable and desirable industry for current and future generations.

As a member organisation, our impact Is dependent on member engagements and Involvements. We need you to help us shape the future of our industry. An industry that is a desirable place for smart people to work In. An industry that can be trusted. An industry characterised by sustainable growth.

For more information on the IAB’s regional initiatives and on how to join us, visit

Written by

IAB GCC CEO Ian Manning

Post by IAB GCC

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