Interview: GCC Online Search Trends Reveals Huge Demand for Gold

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Following online marketing company SEMrush’s latest report revealing the huge demand for gold from the GCC region, based on the online search trends, we followed up with Adam Zeidan, Corporate Communications Manager for SEMrush in MENA region to find out more on the story.

With gold prices on a rising trend since September 2018, the demand for higher karat gold has taken an upward turn across the GCC during the past nine months, according to website search trend data from SEMrush, a leading digital marketing company.

Trends for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait show a sharp increase in searches for 24-karat since April 2018. The uptake in GCC online searches for 24-karat gold has continued to increase since a significant spike was witnessed between July and August 2018.

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The booming 24-karat search volumes equate to more than 1,200 online enquiries a month on average, with current searches at their greatest volume of any time in the past three years.

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GCC online search trends shows huge demand for goldSearches for the lowest karat gradings have remained steady over the past 36 months, recording far fewer search volumes on average. Searches for 22-karat gold reached almost 800 average monthly online searches in December 2018, followed by 18-karat at 400 and 14-karat and 9-karat with less than 100 average online searches.

“Using digital marketing tools to track such search trends can help jewellery marketers stay ahead of the curve, while dissecting the digital data further cuts through consumer spending volatility and reveals additional insights to help direct marketing efforts in the GCC,” pointed out Adam Zeidan.

“Our digital search trend data also reveals that online searches for platinum had peaked and overtaken yellow gold a couple of times over the last two years, which has helped it become the second most searched precious metal online in GCC after yellow gold, but ahead of white gold.”

Further data from SEMrush shows that current average monthly search volumes in the GCC relating to the term yellow gold are at 30,000, followed by platinum at 10,000 and white gold at 1,000. The vast majority (90 per cent) of gold purchased in the GCC is in the form of jewellery, according to GCC gold industry reports, with the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) noting that the UAE is one of the world’s leading importers and exporters of gold, registering the import and export of gold at around US$30 billion annually.

Arabian Gazette caught up with Adam Zeidan to explore more on the report and how online marketing companies can help businesses to effectively spend their marketing budget to target customers.

Here are the excerpts:

AG: A quick search on Google for ’24 karat gold’ lists some 27 million results. The 1,200 online enquiries in GCC mentioned in your report seems very negligible. Can you please explain?

Zeidan: The 27 million Google results mentioned are for the entire globe and not the UAE. This also represents all the web pages around the world related to gold, and not actual online searches by individuals. Any comparison on a global scale will dwarf internet data focused on a local market. It is estimated that there are over one billion websites in existence on the internet in total. As for Google searches it is reported that there are nearly four billion Google searches a day globally. So, while we might think global we must act on data that is local in order to breakdown the big picture that marketers are often faced with.

Our study focuses on three main GCC markets – UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait – and on actual searches for the term “gold”, and its variants, made by individuals based in the GCC, not globally. The numbers given are for local monthly average search volumes and can be considered as a trend indicator. Overall for the term “gold” there are 30,000 searches a month in the GCC markets as mentioned. This can be broken down further by karat or colour to identify what type of gold is driving the bulk of these searches. When looking at search trends the actual number may not be as important as the trend or pattern of search locally. Hence a sudden spike in search online for 24 karat yellow gold can be indicative of a change in market conditions, a promotion or demand triggered by other factors. The idea is to first know how much search volume for gold in the local GCC market exists online and why search is increasing or decreasing, and what type of gold the public are searching for and where.

AG: Can you illustrate with an example how a jeweller can take advantage of the intelligence that SEMrush provides?

Zeidan: A digital marketer in the jewellery sector can use SEMrush digital marketing tools to enhance his/her brand’s online visibility and develop effective content while at the same time also understand what competitors are doing online. Digital marketing tools allow a jeweller to dissect the daily, weekly, monthly or yearly search trend data geographically or by sub-features to identify where demand is greatest or identify seasonality in sales trends. Such insights allow a jeweller to know what and when and where to promote certain types of gold or precious stones. The same digital marketing data check could be done for diamonds, rubies, or emeralds to identify online patterns related to search demand which could be segmented by city or month or holiday season. Marketing in a destination like the UAE is also done in multiple languages, so search demand could also be segmented by language to identify consumer preferences, which allows jewellers to avoid waste of marketing dollars and to be more effective with their customer targeting. Staying ahead of the marketing curve for jewellery or any product requires constant analysis and our online digital marketing toolkits offer that capability.

AG: What are some of the latest trends and solutions in conversion?

Zeidan: The latest trend in digital marketing overall including conversion can be summarised in one word “mobile”. Business’ must focus more on digital marketing tools that also give them full “mobile” marketing solutions integrated with social media since mobile penetration and mobile internet access continue to be so high and growing. The who, what, why, where and how of purchasing is changing around the globe due to mobile devices.

AG: Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the hot buzzword these days. How is AI useful in predicting trends when it comes to online marketing?

Zeidan: In the digital marketing domain AI is better known as “machine learning” and plays an important role as it weaves into so much of the fabric of social media for example. Machine learning will amplify the abilities of human marketers and allow them to breakthrough complex data and see patterns that marketers can utilise such as customer purchase journeys that vary so much in the modern world.

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