We’ve all accustomed to digital advertising as we browse websites and mobile apps. However, some of these ads are not suitable for Muslim viewing, as they advertise using inappropriate graphics or topics.
Muslim publishers who want to ensure that their earnings from advertising spaces on their websites, or apps, are entirely halal can now be assured that inappropriate ads won’t be shown, thanks to Muslim Ad Network.
Muslim Ad Network started ten years ago in the US, when anti-Muslim and anti-Islam sentiments were still strong. Muslim Ad Network is a pioneer in the digital advertising platform to reach Muslim consumers.
We spoke with its co-founder, Saad Ahmad. to find out more about Muslim Ad Network, and how they work with digital publishers and brands.
Filling In The Halal Gap
According to Saad Ahmad, his entrepreneurial journey started approximately ten years ago with his friend, cofounder Tabish Hasan . “We were website owners ourselves, we owned Muslim websites and blogs.”
“And we had a problem. We identified a problem of running halal ads and earning halal income through advertising on our own websites. After a while, we realized there were very limited solutions for Muslim website owners. “
“So we came up with an idea and executed Muslim Ad Network.”
Mainstream Brands Reaching Muslim Consumers
“After 9-11 in the West, it’s been very difficult [for Muslims] to break into the mainstream. A lot of Islamophobia that has been lingering around. Ten years ago it was much more difficult to talk to a brand.”
Muslim Ad Network is based in the US.
“Now, we’re starting to see brands in the West to openly market to Muslims, or are showing Muslims in their advertising.”
We’re starting to see more inclusion of Muslim identity in mainstream [Western] media, and that’s helping us. In the beginning, that was a very big problem for us because we couldn’t go to a non-Muslim company and talk to them.”
Unlike advertising on other major platforms where ads are based on keywords, brand owners who advertise with Muslim Ad Network can have the certainty that their ads will reach English-speaking Muslim consumers, especially in the US, Canada and the UK.
For brands to advertise on Muslim Ad Network, their advertisements must appeal to Islamic values. Whether images or content, the ads have to speak to Muslim audiences and be sharia-compliant.
Muslim Ad Network’s value is for brands to reach Muslim consumers. They have the data and the targeting to reach Muslim consumers because they work directly with the publishers.
A Great Time For Muslim Publishers
According to Saad Ahmad, “It’s a great time to be a publisher. The Muslim market continues to grow. The Muslim population is increasing. Muslims are becoming more affluent. The value of the [digital] ad network is also increasing”
For Muslim website owners, now is a great time to appeal to the Muslim audience rather than a generic audience. For the publishers, MAN’s objective is to ensure that they won’t be getting any haram ads on their websites.
“Because that’s gonna affect the blessings and the income [of the publishers]. We try our best to be conscious of which brands we’re working with. So [Islamic] websites, are only serving ads that are being filtered through.”
Muslim Ad Network welcomes Muslim and Islamic publishers to sign on with them. The websites and apps are prescreened to ensure that they are sharia compliant. Among the criteria they are looking for are:
- English content only,
- Islamic content, or speaking to the Muslim audience only,
- Quality, updated content
Publishers signing up with Muslim Ad Network have two options: a fully exclusive agreement, or a non-exclusive agreement, where publishers can run other ad networks as well as Muslim Ad Network. According to Saad, their rates are competitive to major ad networks.
The platform gets a lot of applications from owners of new websites. However, as the websites are new, they don’t have the traffic required by advertisers.
“Publishers have to create content consistently and drive the traffic to the websites. If you focus on growing your website, over time you’re gonna see the fruits of your labor.”
“Being consistent is very important. It’s kinda like working out.”
On seeing the fruits of your labor, or rizq, Saad’s advice is “Work hard and have trust in Allah, ultimately, He allows you to have success, in this world and in the next.”
“We do our best but Allah does the rest. ”
Farah Ishak is a Content Writer at Halalop. She grew up in the United Kingdom where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Management. Later, she completed her MBA and held senior-level positions in Malaysian based MNC. She left the corporate world to be with her young kids. She is passionate about issues concerning Muslim women, Startups and Muslim businesses in general.