Abdulla AlMheiri

Best video content marketing examples from the New Media Academy

In July 2020, I started teaching a series of courses at the New Media Academy in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Now, I was just one of the instructors. But, I was part of the team because I’m considered a YouTube guru and video marketing expert.

There were 22 content creators and social media influencers who were “students” in the New Media Academy’s first Impact Digital Creator Program. If you haven’t gotten to know them yet, then read my post, which is entitled, “Creating a video marketing strategy in the UAE and MENA.”

Now, I put the term, “students,” in quotation marks because these creators were already successful:

  • One was a mid-level influencers (with between 100,000 and 500,000 followers).
  • A couple were rising influencers (with between 50,000 and 100,000 followers).
  • Several were regular influencers (with between 15,000 and 50,000 followers).
  • And many were micro-influencers (with less than 15,000 followers).

And they were all interested in finding the smartest strategies for taking their work, which was already pretty awesome, to the next level.

All of the creators in the first cohort had Instagram accounts and half a dozen had YouTube channels. And they were interested in learning the latest best practices for:

  • Revenue Diversification.
  • Content Strategy.
  • Brand Partnerships.
  • Networking Opportunities.
  • Enhanced Content.
  • PR and Media Exposure.

But, during our first class (which I joked would someday be called, “In the Zoom where it happened”) – I asked what they hoped to learn. And, the most frequent response was: “Should I be on TikTok?”

Now, I wasn’t the stereotypical “sage on the stage,” who lectured to them over Zoom. I was more of a “guide on the side,” who plays the role of a mentor figure in the hero’s or heroine’s journey. So, I told them that they should focus on a few of the top platforms for the same reason that Willie Sutton robbed banks: “Because that’s where the money is.”

But, I also told them that Ipsos had just reported that 75% of campaign success is driven by creativity. So, creating content that relates to their target audience’s personal interests and passions was twice as important as being on that audience’s preferred platform.

Nope, I wasn’t making that number up. I had read “What the world watched in a day,” which had been published on Think with Google in March 2020. Yep, you need to read a lot of market research as well as marketing research if you want to maintain your reputation as a guru or an expert in a topic.

Now, “What the world watched in a day” reported the findings of a Google study that asked 12,000 people worldwide in 2019 why they had watched what they watched in the last 24 hours. Um, that’s a huge sample. And, the 12 most important reasons were:

  • Helps me relax and unwind.
  • Teaches me something new.
  • Allows me to dig deeper into my interests.
  • Makes me laugh.
  • Relates to my passions.
  • Is inspiring.
  • Makes me forget about the world around me.
  • Keeps me in-the-know.
  • Addresses social issues that are important to me.
  • Has high production quality.
  • Helps me be efficient.
  • Is on a network or platform I like.

And 8.4% said the top reason was “allows me to dig deeper into my interests” and 7.5% said it was “relates to my passions,” while only 3.8% said “is on a network or platform I like.” So, creating content that relates to their target audience’s personal interests and passions really is twice as important as being on that audience’s preferred platform.

Because of the pandemic, I haven’t seen my “students” face-to-face. But, I’ve been able to follow them on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. And I’m proud to share some of their best video content marketing examples because they illustrate the top reasons why people watch a wide variety of content.

Best video content marketing examples from Cohort 1

  1. Helps me relax and unwind.

People who enjoy listening to music (aka music lovers) often watch music videos or get news about their favorite artists because it helps them relax and unwind. And people who like going out at night to socialize (aka nightlife enthusiasts) also watch travel reviews for nightlife-heavy locales.

And, Marwan Parham Al Awadhi, aka DJ Bliss, is one of the pioneers of the music and nightlife scene in the Middle East. In 2016, he became the first Emirati DJ/Artist to have a number 1 album, “Made in Dubai” on iTunes.

Marwan is particularly adept at telling stories, assisted by his bubbly personality. Although he is known for sourcing the latest luxury hotspot, and collaborating with some of the biggest international stars on the scene, he is best known for being the one and only DJ Bliss of Dubai. Marwan owns Beats & Cuts, a pop culture barbershop, and Karak Inc. – your one stop for the best Karak in town!

Here’s “The Truth About DJ BLISS.” It’s the featured video on his YouTube channel.

When Marwan enrolled in the first Impact Digital Creator Program, he already had 233,000 Instagram followers. Today, DJ Bliss has 307,000 followers on Instagram, 98,800 subscribers on YouTube, 55,000 followers on Facebook, and 41,800 followers on TikTok.

  • Teaches me something new.

People who actively invest their money, follow financial markets, and regularly read financial or business news (aka avid investors) watch investment news and strategy videos that feature prominent investors.

Okay, maybe you’ve never struggled with what to do with your extra Dirhams (the currency of the UAE), but are you interested in watching videos about market trends, the stock market, and business news? If that’s the case, then meet Ahmed AlMarzooqi.

Ahmed is a content creator with a finance slant. He guides his followers on the latest updates, trends, and advice from an economic and statistical perspective. Ahmed currently has a YouTube show called “Ektisadiyat with Ahmed” and an Instagram Short Form Show “Ma3loomat Ahmed”.

In July 2020, Ahmed had 74,200 Instagram followers. Today, he has 134,000 followers on Instagram, 296,500 followers on Facebook, and 127,800 followers on TikTok.

  • Allows me to dig deeper into my interests.

Every day, millions of viewers turn to YouTube for content that speaks to their diverse needs, interests, and passions. Here are just two examples of what the social video platform calls “affinity audiences”:

  • Auto Enthusiasts: People who are passionate about cars, trucks, or motorcycles. They often come to YouTube to watch videos about vehicle maintenance, racing, or news on the latest models.
  • Sports fans: People who enjoy watching, reading about, or participating in sports. They often come to YouTube to watch sports highlights and commentary.

Now, I told my “students” they shouldn’t try to make videos for everyone’s general interests. Instead, they should continue to create content for someone’s special interests.

How useful was this advice?

Well, Ghaith Al Falasi, an FIA certified race car driver as well as a self-taught off-roader and drift enthusiast has collaborated with 30+ automotive brands. He had 66,500 Instagram followers before the class. Today, he has 82,700 Instagram followers and 36,000 on TikTok.

Why is Ghaith trusted by so many people? Because he never recommends a car that he hasn’t driven first. Watch “Ford Bronco sand drift” to get an idea of the kind of content he creates:

And when Nabaa Al Dabbagh took my class, she had 72,100 Instagram followers. Today, she has 135,000 followers on Instagram, 794,000 followers on Facebook, 241,000 subscribers on YouTube, and 437,500 followers on TikTok.

Here’s the featured video on Nabaa’s I Speak Football Only channel on YouTube:

  • Makes me laugh.

One of my “students” was profiled in a story by Saman Haziq in Khaleej Times entitled, “#IAmEmirati: UAE-based comedian aspiring to be role model of his time,” which was published Oct. 23, 2020.

The story starts where I have been ending these examples: “A mechanical engineer, who went on to explore his funny side, has emerged as a promising Emirati comedian who has over 8,000 followers on Instagram and around 25,000 on TikTok.”

Haziq’s story adds, “Abdulrazzaq Al Khaja — better known as Abdo — is pushing boundaries in comedy, a relatively new field for Emiratis, to not only make a mark for himself but also to be a role model for others walking on a similar path.”

And the story explains, “Armed with his passion for acting, coupled with a love for comedy and social media skills, Abdo creates scenarios and relatable situations using either his personal experience or stories he heard from others. He also touches upon serious topics in a light-hearted way.”

All I can add is this: Abdo is married to Zainab AlSawalhi, another one of the creators in Cohort 1. (We’ll take a closer look at her work in a few moments.)

Here’s a funny dialogue between the two creators on the topic: “Do spouses know each other well after 5 years of marriage?

Back when I first met Abdo, he had 7,500 Instagram followers. Today, he now has 17,400 followers on Instagram and 83,400 on TikTok.

  • Relates to my passions.

There’s also an affinity audience called Coffee Shop Regulars. These people enjoy drinking good coffee in a cafe atmosphere for a variety of reasons. These regulars may be fans of a single brand or establishment, or they may choose different spots around the city to satisfy their diverse palates.

And coffee is a huge part of Arabic culture and specialty coffee has been on the rise in the UAE and KSA. New Media Academy created a show with our specialty coffee expert, Abdulla AlMheiri, to educate and entertain coffee enthusiasts in the region. The show initially launched on YouTube and here are some of the highlights:

His show was then recognized by Snapchat and featured on their platform. Coffeee with Abdulla on Snapchat is a show specifically designed for coffee lovers and enthusiasts in the region from one of the best coffee specialists in the UAE. It has more than 10 million views and over 20,000 subscribers.

In addition, Abdulla had 7,400 followers on Instagram a year-and-a-half ago when was a member of Cohort 1. Today, he has 9,400.

  • Is inspiring.

Have you ever parked your car somewhere only to return to it and find a ticket sticking out from under the windscreen wipers? And no, I don’t mean a parking fine, I mean a happiness ticket! 

Zainab AlSawalhi is the inspiration behind The Picture Happiness Project, which sees her spreading compassion and inspiring kindness by anonymously making someone’s day by writing a note. She is amplifying positivity with her natural exuberance and daily content feed.

Here’s another look at Zainab and Abdo, which shows that he is always late for the appointment, which drives her crazy. And on top of all this, he loses his way!

Back in July 2020, Zainab had 5,100 Instagram followers. Today, she has 36,400 followers in Instagram and 106,700 fans on TikTok.

  • Makes me forget about the world around me.

In addition to music lovers, there are also people who are passionate about visual and performing arts (aka art and theater aficionados. For them, there’s Fatima AlHashmi, the first Emirati Opera singer.

In addition to an awe-inspiring voice. Fatima is also an accomplished cellist and pianist. In other words, she is made of music! Her life is pretty fascinating and different from the norm, which she documents with lifestyle content.

To get an idea of the unique kind of content that Fatima creates, watch (and listen to) “DIAFA 2020 – Opening Performance by Opera Singer Fatima Al Hashemi.”

In July 2020, Fatima had 4,400 followers on Instagram. Today, she has 7,900 followers.

  • Keeps me in-the-know.

There also people who follow news coverage through newspapers, online news, or news broadcasts (aka avid news readers). They tend to have favorite news sources that they trust for their information. And they often watch the latest reports from their trusted sources or seek out firsthand videos from eyewitnesses.

One of these trusted sources is Dr. Saif Darwish. Now, he isn’t your everyday doctor. His community-led approach to health taps into traditional Arab values and brings a fresh and modern take on issues that affect everyone.

Everyday Dr. Saif creates a safe space with content based on the things people want to know but don’t want to ask out loud. He grew 1100% on TikTok in under 6 months.

Here’s his advice about COVID-19 vaccine for pregnant women:

When Dr. Saif was a “student” in my class, he had 7,000 followers on Instagram. Today, he has 10,300 Instagram followers, 198,900 followers on TikTok, and 500 subscribers on YouTube.

  • Addresses social issues that are important to me.

If storytelling were synonymous with a person, that person would be Maitha Mohamed. She’s an Emirati animation artist and storyteller who, through her fun-loving and down-to-earth content, has a loyal and engaged following.

For example, here’s the featured video on her YouTube channel:

But, after one of her video clips went viral on social media platforms in the UAE, Lt. Gen. Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, personally called Maitha to offer his support and praise. In one of her videos, “My Story with a Victim of Harassment,” Maitha described how she helped a 13-year-old girl who was a victim of online harassment by a 24-year-old man.

When I first met Myth, she had 4,700 followers on Instagram. Today, she has 57,700 followers on Instagram, 251,500 on TikTok, and 1,800 subscribers on YouTube.

  1. Has high production quality.

Some content creators can use an iPhone 13 Pro, which features a new Cinematic mode, to make videos worth watching. But, others use the New Media Academy’s full service in-house production, which delivers lightning-quick, top-notch quality content.

For example, the New Media Academy teamed up a year ago with Beautiful Destinations, the world’s leading travel content marketing agency, to showcase the UAE’s hidden gems in beautiful cinematic videos for the World’s Coolest Winter campaign.

Check out this video, which is entitled, “Let’s Go – The Emirates.”

Several members of Cohort 1 are featured in the video, including: Fatima and Ghaith as well as Abdullah Omar AlAli, an AlJazira jiu-jitsu player; Fahima Falaknaz, the first Emirati female boxer; and Chef Saud Al Matrooshi, the first Emirati chef at Emirates Flight Catering.

So, what transforms this case study into a success story?

Well, the World’s Coolest Winter, the UAE’s first federal domestic tourism campaign, which was launched on Dec. 12, 2020, and concluded on Jan. 25, 2021, generated measurable results. The country decided to promote domestic tourism because the pandemic had dramatically impacted international tourism. And the direct contribution of the travel and tourism sector to the UAE’s GDP was AED 68.5 billion (USD 18.7 billion) which is equivalent to 5.2 per cent of the country’s total GDP.

The 45-day campaign generated:

  • More than 2,000 media reports that reached over 20 million people across the world.
  • 215 million views on videos that captured the UAE’s beauty.
  • 950,000 domestic tourists across the country.
  • AED1 billion of revenue for the hospitality sector within one month.

Yep, that’s what transforms this case study into a success story.

  1. Helps me be efficient.

And, yes, there are people with professional, managerial, or office jobs (aka business professionals). They are constantly looking for ways to improve their job performance in order to reach the next level in their careers. They can be found on YouTube watching management and coaching technique videos.

But, coronavirus has exacerbated the pressure faced by those with jobs in advertising, communications, and marketing, which was already considered a stressful industry sector to work in. The added stress has led to an increased rate of workplace burnout. In response, the New Media Academy launched a campaign called #StoptheBurn to raise awareness about these industry challenges.

A story entitled, “Why workplace burnout is increasing in UAE’s media and communications industry,” which was published by Arabian Business on Mar. 11, 2021, said, “The campaign looked at how more needs to be done, on the agency side and the client side, to stop workplace burnout, particularly in junior members of communications teams who often feel obliged to put in long hours and work hard. The campaign, which included a short video, emphasized how coronavirus has aggravated the situation, explained Margaret Flanagan, co-founder of Tales & Heads communications agency.”

  1. Is on a network or platform I like.

Finally, there are people who spend significant time engaging with social media, including social networks, microblogging platforms, and other online communities. In the Middle East and Africa (MEA), internet users have an average of 8.4 social media accounts, according to New Media Academy research. And the UAE, with an average of 10.5 accounts, has the highest number of social media accounts globally.

With so many platforms to choose from, this explains why creating content that relates to their target audience’s personal interests and passions is twice as important as being on a preferred platform.

Nevertheless, when Google asked 12,000 people worldwide what they had watched in the last 24 hours, 78% said they had watched videos on YouTube, 45% on a subscription VOD service, 43% on Facebook, 39% on cable TV, 33% on Instagram, 28% on satellite TV, 28% on network websites, and 12% on Snapchat.

Now, this survey was conducted in July 2019 – well before TikTik reached 1 billion monthly active users in September 2021. But, Instagram also has 1 billion monthly active users. And, YouTube has more than 2 billion logged-in monthly users.

So, yes, 75% of your campaign success will be driven by creativity, but uploading your video content to a platform that your target audience likes is important, too. But, it’s still useful advice to focus on a few of the top platforms for the same reason that Willie Sutton robbed banks: “Because that’s where the money is.”

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