Arab News – More than 500 businesses, agencies and brands attended Google’s first “Think with Google” event here on Thursday.
The company announced its intention to increase its efforts in supporting Saudi small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) get online through its SMB partner program launched earlier this year.
Government officials, business owners, marketing industry professionals and media gathered to learn more about how to use digital platforms to grow.
Speakers from Google discussed the trends that are characteristic of the Saudi web, the future of technology, how brands can target consumers in the moments that matter and in real time, branding in the digital age, and the evolution of mobile technology.
The event also featured panel discussions from local entrepreneurs who shared their success stories.
Digital advertising allows businesses to reach their customers with relevant information at the right time.
Ronan Harris, VP, large customer sales for Google in Europe and MENA, said: “Nowadays, businesses need to be digitally present, informed on consumer preferences, and connected to their customers at the right moment. Whether you are a small company, a large company or an advertising agency, Google can help you achieve these goals and grow your business on the web.”
Harris added: “Google Search, Google Maps, and YouTube are some of the products that help users navigate their daily life by operating under the same principle — to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Shant Oknayan, head of SMB marketing for Google in MENA, said: “Research has shown that small businesses with online presence grow twice as fast, generate twice as much in export revenue and create twice as many jobs as businesses with no online presence, so the benefit is clear. Furthermore, the online opportunity in Saudi Arabia is big.”
The Internet allows anyone, anywhere access to the various products developed to empower businesses and in doing so digital advertising is redistributing business opportunities that strengthen the economy.
Saudi Arabia’s digital landscape is among the most established globally: Internet penetration rates are above 64 percent with more and more individuals coming online every day. And users here are mobile consumers with smart phone penetration rates above 72 percent, among the highest in the world.
Although Saudi users are online, only 15 percent of businesses in Saudi Arabia have an online presence; this is low, especially when compared to 37 percent of businesses online in Turkey and 40 percent of businesses online in the United States. Through its SMB partner program, Google wants to help in overcoming this and provide the support needed for businesses to improve their digital presence.
So far, Google has invested heavily in upscaling its infrastructure of Google Search, Google Maps, YouTube and other products to address this rapid growth in Saudi Arabia. Google also launched numerous efforts and partnerships to support the rise of local talent, creators and entrepreneurs to further enrich the new wave of Saudi digital content.

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