Thursday, June 13, 2024
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    MEET THE PEOPLE Rabih Jreish, Business Development Manager, Mobile Arts

    What does the company do?

    Rabih Jreish, is Business Development Manager of Mobile Arts Group, a multinational company specialising in cutting-edge monetisation solutions. Our primary focus lies in empowering enterprises by offering a comprehensive suite of services designed to elevate their operations.

    Our expertise shines in Mobile Payment Services, where we deliver expert solutions facilitating seamless transactions through varied methods like Direct Carrier Billing (DCB), Credit Card payments, and a spectrum of other mobile payment solutions. Additionally, we function as a pivotal multichannel source for Digital Advertising campaigns, not just securing but optimising digital advertising efforts to expand reach and enhance customer acquisition.

    As a trusted technology partner, our diverse clientele, including mobile operators, payment aggregators, advertisers, publishers, developers, brands, and businesses seeking robust lead generation strategies, benefit from our range of offerings. Beyond payment and advertising solutions, we extend comprehensive support in e-commerce integration and innovative brand advertising methodologies.

    At Mobile Arts Group, our dedication lies in empowering businesses to fortify their presence in mobile payment services while excelling in the dynamic landscape of digital advertising. Our priority is delivering unparalleled technological solutions that drive growth and success for our valued partners.

    What sectors does your business operate in?

    Technology Services: Mobile Arts Group specializes in technology solutions, including mobile payment services, digital advertising, e-commerce integration, and innovative brand advertising methodologies.

    FinTech: Operating within the technology domain, Mobile Arts Group specializes in monetization solutions, specifically targeting mobile payment services like Direct Carrier Billing (DCB) and Credit Card payments.

    Advertising and Marketing: Mobile Arts Group acts as a pivotal multichannel source for digital advertising campaigns, securing and optimizing digital advertising endeavours for their clients.

    Business Solutions: Providing a comprehensive array of solutions to diverse businesses, encompassing mobile operators, payment aggregators, advertisers, and publishers seeking technology for payment and advertising needs.

    Which countries or regions do you feel represent the greatest opportunity for your Telemedia services in 2024?

    I believe that in 2024, several countries and regions present significant opportunities for Telemedia services but Africa stands out as a rapidly growing market for mobile services, boasting a sizable, youthful population with a strong appetite for digital services and content. However, one challenge is the limited penetration of traditional payment methods, such as credit cards. This gap has created an opportunity for mobile payment solutions like direct carrier billing and mobile wallets. Notably, we observed substantial growth in these solutions throughout the year 2023.

    Which content and/or applications do you see being the most likely to benefit from Telemedia billing technologies?

    Throughout 2024, our focus is on developing services that are gaining increased attention within the industry. Telemedia billing technologies offer potential benefits to various content and applications that rely on monetization strategies. Our expertise lies in aiding businesses, especially in AI-driven monetization strategies. I see that Cloud gaming platforms and e-vouchers are poised to gain considerable advantages from these billing technologies. Such applications and content can adapt to diverse payment structures, accommodating small transactions through Direct Carrier Billing (DCB) and larger transactions through credit cards.

    Do you think that Direct Carrier Billing can become mainstream and in which markets?

    I believe that DCB can become mainstream in both developing and developed markets because it offers convenience, security, and accessibility for consumers and merchants.

    In developing markets, DCB can reach the unbanked and underbanked populations who may not have access to traditional payment methods, such as bank accounts and credit cards. DCB can also enable them to access digital services and content, such as gaming, video, and music, that they may otherwise not be able to afford or access.

    Africa is one of the regions with high potential for Direct Carrier Billing (DCB) growth in developing markets, aiming to establish DCB as a mainstream payment method. Operators in this region are extensively utilizing DCB to sell both digital and physical goods on a large scale. This significant trend was observed during the Africa Tech 2023 event held in Cape Town, South Africa.

    In developed markets, while Direct Carrier Billing (DCB) can provide a smooth and rapid payment option for online purchases, particularly for microtransactions and subscriptions, a substantial number of consumers still prefer paying through Credit Cards or bank-to-bank payments. This preference persists despite the high penetration and usage of mobile devices in certain markets. Regions such as Europe, the Middle East, and Canada exhibit high adoption and innovation of DCB in developed markets.

    The trend is on the rise because more and more people are getting smartphones, with an expected 80% in developed countries by 2025, according to GSMA Intelligence’s Global Market Report 2023. So yes, DCB is becoming more mainstream every day, and it is especially useful in countries that are still developing like those in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America, where many people use mobile phones, and digital economies are growing quickly.

    How do you balance payment flows, operator relationships, and customer satisfaction?

    Balancing payment flows, and operator relationships, and ensuring customer satisfaction presents a complex and ever-evolving challenge for any business offering mobile payment solutions. While there’s no universal solution, one key strategy we employ involves adopting a unified user journey experience for payment flows across all operators, maintaining a consistently optimized checkout process.

    To foster trust with operators and nurture strong relationships, we prioritize compliance with regulatory and marketing standards. We’ve implemented a third-party anti-fraud cybersecurity solution for Direct Carrier Billing (DCB) within our digital marketing framework. Additionally, we’ve developed an in-house AI-powered compliance toolkit for marketing, safeguarding banners, and landing pages to prevent misleading information. Moreover, for enhanced customer satisfaction, our support team operates throughout the working week, promptly addressing customer inquiries and concerns.

    What are the key drivers and inhibitors for growth?

    In our industry, the key drivers and inhibitors for growth vary based on market conditions and specific business circumstances. However, our primary focus centres on two influential factors: Market Demand and Innovative Technology Advancements, along with Strategic Partnerships.

    We diligently work to identify new markets and fulfill market demands, particularly in the digital marketing sector for Direct Carrier Billing (DCB) services. Our efforts involve user acquisition campaigns that adapt to emerging trends and diverse subscription flows (OTP, SMS, Click) for optimal customer engagement. Notably, we heavily invest in technology, recently integrating AI within Mobibox for campaign automation and developing our proprietary AI compliance marketing toolkit. This toolkit is instrumental in combating antifraud and misleading campaigns.

    Our pathway to sustained growth involves selecting the right partners who can support expansive operations with favorable business terms, leading to strategic partnerships. We maintain strong relationships with over 20+ master aggregators, 50+ content providers, and a network of marketing agencies, all centralized through Mobibox, our in-house monetization platform. Additionally, we have established strategic partnerships with renowned entities like Google, TikTok, Evina, and Dizzle.

    Which specific VAS verticals are you expecting to have a great year and why?

    Gaming has emerged not just as a popular pastime but also as a highly profitable sector within Value-Added Services (VAS). Companies are heavily investing in gaming, especially in the realm of cloud gaming. We’ve witnessed gaming studios stepping beyond traditional boundaries, and forming strategic partnerships with telcos. Moreover, the rise of e-sports platforms featuring tutorial videos has garnered significant attention, fostering robust engagement, notably within online gaming communities, particularly on platforms like YouTube.

    While gaming remains a frontrunner, the landscape is evolving, presenting opportunities for AI-based verticals to shine. Despite a relatively slow pace of growth for AI-based services across markets, we’ve taken a proactive stance. We’ve introduced our groundbreaking AI product, the ‘AI Avatar,’ now available across various app stores.

    This strategic initiative reflects our commitment to harnessing the potential of AI technology to offer innovative services. The AI Avatar isn’t just a product; it’s a leap into the future, capitalizing on AI advancements to meet the evolving demands of diverse markets. We aim to redefine the VAS landscape by delivering unique and immersive experiences.

    Do you see affiliate marketing being a primary, trusted channel for Telemedia propositions or do you think alternative routes to market will become more popular?

    I believe affiliate marketing can no longer serve as a primary, trusted channel, especially for DCB services. Over recent years, it has gained a negative reputation due to misleading practices and auto-subscriptions, resulting in damage across multiple markets. Consequently, operators have taken stringent measures, limiting advertising exclusively to social media and Google platforms, while imposing additional monitoring tools. This effectively restricts the use of affiliate marketing.

    In our industry, the pursuit is for sustainable and cost-effective user acquisition costs, which is crucial for maintaining long-term advertising campaigns. Initially, many turn to affiliate marketing, but its limitations have become evident. As an Ads Technology provider, our role is pivotal. We’ve focused on sustaining our customers through campaigns that are not only cost-effective but also low-risk, utilizing diverse channels across social media and Google.

    Enhancing our services with anti-fraud solutions has fortified our offerings, providing assurance for the operators and evidence in case of any raised complaints. Additionally, we’ve established a dedicated in-house team specifically focused on managing social media and Google traffic, ensuring our strategies remain effective and compliant. This strategic enhancement has yielded significant dividends, with Google now serving as our primary traffic source, constituting 80% of our media expenditure.

    Your words of wisdom: on a more personal level, what is the most inspiring piece of advice that has seen you through life in business to this day, and who gave that advice to you?

    My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is simple: ‘the sky is the limit.’ There is nothing that can hinder you from realizing your dreams, regardless of how distant or challenging they may seem. Stay relentlessly focused on your goals without divulging too much to others. This counsel has been my guiding principle for anyone endeavouring to kickstart their own business.

    Our entrepreneurial journey commenced in Beirut in 2013, in a humble small office. We were dedicated to developing our first mobile application, ‘Secret Box’ for mVAS while laying the groundwork for the Mobibox SDK—an advertising toolkit for launching DCB advertising through IN-APP subscriptions. Reflecting on these past years, Mobibox has evolved into the first AI-powered SaaS monetization platform.

    We’ve established a vast network of partnerships with master aggregators, payment gateways, content providers, advertising agencies, and networks. All of this success is attributed to ‘Secret Box,’ our first mobile application. Through it, we were the first to launch DCB services in the UAE when Etisalat officially announced carrier billing.

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