The impact of COVID-19 on Advertising Agencies


The year 2020 was a challenging one for us all but empathy, togetherness and optimism are just some of the key traits that have kept us united in this fight. The first case of the coronavirus in the United Arab Emirates was confirmed on January 29th, from a 37-year-old woman traveling with her family from Wuhan, the Chinese city from which the virus originated. The country saw its lives change dramatically ever since, as all major cities went into complete lockdown and all physical businesses had to be shut down, we entered a new era of digital living.



As every industry saw the pandemic affect its services differently, what were the effects on advertising agencies in Dubai?



The COVID-19 pandemic has caused sweeping and fundamental changes which have affected everyone’s lives – domestic isolation, social separation measures, work and education from homes, the popularity of the internet and social media platforms has dramatically increased. There has been a radical shift in consumer habits and corporate processes, and in the light of these changes, businesses have been forced to reformulate their marketing objectives and have led many advertising agencies in the UAE to redefine their current objectives and business models.


Initially, the advertising sector took a massive hit. Things went downhill pretty fast with numerous amount of companies going out of business. Whether you are a big or a boutique advertising agency in Dubai, there were many challenges to be overcome. Many were faced with situations such as clients abruptly canceling contracts and others choosing to postpone since there was no economic stability and an indication of how it would all unfold. Most advertising agencies in Dubai believed that the impact of this virus would last between 6 and 12 months. Only time would show how long the impact would actually last, but only one thing was certain, everything had changed and so had we.


In the early days of the pandemic, companies had halted their marketing budgets. As the world started to adapt to a new way of living, the digital world kept growing. Companies in Dubai started shifting from traditional and costlier marketing such as television, radio, and outdoor to digital marketing such as Connected TV, social media advertising, and more. Connected TV Ads can be placed on any device that has an active internet connection. It can access any type of video streaming platform, gaming devices and smart televisions, content beyond the reach of normal offerings from a cable provider.


The shift in the way we work has been marked by platforms such as Zoom and Slack, which have connected the world through a single click and just like that, changed how most companies operate.


This has shown to be extremely effective for advertising agencies in Dubai as they can now confidently expand their range of clients and staff across the world. Over 500 million people joined a social media platform between 2020/2021, pushing the overall number to 4.48 billion people, making up 57% of the world’s population.


It is no wonder why companies are maximizing their marketing budget on social media. It is the one place where you can reach millions upon millions of people, dramatically expand and target your preferred audience, with strategically placed ads that are likely to convert them into leads, and they can come from anywhere in the world.


The crisis has undoubtedly changed the way we view digital advertising, making it an even bigger part of our lives. As we all get even more comfortable with having such easy access to how to communicate every day, social media only grows stronger. Any brand that wants to be known, needs to have some sort of a solid social media presence to establish trust. The importance of advertising agencies in Dubai and across the world has now reached an all-time high, and provides us with a key insight: a new digital era has started.



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