Ramadan 2023: Marketing Ideas to Connect with Your Audience

Join us as we look at how you can connect with your audience during the month of Ramadan, as well as things to consider when planning your campaign!

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What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and an important period observed by Muslims around the world – estimated to number around 2 billion or 25% of the global population.

With time often devoted to prayer, reflection, and community – as well as daily fasting from dawn until sunset – it ends with the start of the religious holiday Eid al-Fitr.

When does it take place?

Since the Islamic calendar is based on lunar cycles, the dates for Ramadan change slightly each year. In 2023, Ramadan will take place from 22 March – 21 April. Eid al-Fitr, which is the celebration marking the end of Ramadan, will take place from 21 April – 22 April.

Being respectful as a brand

The concept of running a marketing or promotional campaign during Ramadan is nothing new – especially in parts of the world with majority-Muslim populations. The key is to ensure that campaigns are respectful of Muslim culture by understanding and appreciating the values and traditions that underpin it.

Ramadan is a special time of year for those who observe, with a strong focus on the principles of gratitude, generosity, family, and community. Promotional campaigns should therefore do their best to reflect these values. As Mouna Kalla-Sacranie writes in The Drum:

“The month of Ramadan is not about mindless consumption, but mindful abstention… Building authentic relationships with Muslim consumers in Ramadan is less about the promotion of ‘stuff,’ and more about showing these audiences that they are seen, and that the nuances of their beliefs are understood and valued.” (Source)

If in doubt, it’s always a good idea to run your campaign ideas by local or cultural experts to make sure they’ll strike the right note with your audience.

Ramadan imagery and symbols

As you’d expect, the imagery and symbolism associated with Ramadan reflect the core values and principles of its observance – community, gratitude, generosity, prayer, and food (as it relates to breaking the daily fast). Popular symbols include:

  • Crescent moon + star (marking the start of a new lunar month)
  • Mosque/minaret (representing the place of worship)
  • Open palms (representing prayer, also known as salat)
  • Lanterns (representing light)
  • Coins or money (representing alms or charitable giving, also known as zakat)
  • Dates (a popular food for initially breaking the daily fast or sawm)
  • Qatayef (a sweet dumpling enjoyed as part of iftar, the fast-breaking meal)
  • Ramadan drummer (traditionally beats a drum through a neighbourhood at night to wake people for the pre-dawn meal)

This imagery finds its way into all sorts of areas including decorations, gifts, media, entertainment, products, and advertising.

Ramadan Marketing Symbols – Crescent Moon, Minaret, Lantern, Coins

Image sources: unsplash.com (Jacob Dyer, Rumman Amin, Sylwia Bartyzel, Matthew Lancaster)

Consumer spending

Ramadan can be a big sales month for brands, particularly those in the food and drinks sector. Nestlé, for example, often sees a big spike in sales and plans major campaigns each year to connect with shoppers ahead of the event.

Here are a few interesting stats from around the globe:

  • In 2020, it was estimated that UK Muslims donated a record-breaking £150m to charities during Ramadan.
  • In 2022, in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, it was projected that online consumer spending during Ramadan would rise to $6.2 billion – an increase of 39% compared to the previous year.
  • In 2022, 58% of Muslim consumers said that they planned to start shopping for Ramadan a month in advance.
  • In Indonesia – home to the world’s largest Muslim population – full-time workers receive a statutory religious holiday allowance (Tunjangan Hari Raya) in the form of an extra month’s wages.
  • Research by YouGov found that 70% of Indonesians planned to spend this extra allowance on shopping, with another third of respondents saying they would put it towards charitable donations or investments.

Mobile-first approach

These days, it’s vital that brands focus on a mobile-first approach to their marketing and promotion efforts. From online purchases to social media and games, people are spending an increasingly large chunk of their time on their personal devices.

Ramadan usually marks an increase in social media usage, with many consumers looking for entertainment and helpful content such as cooking tips or spiritual guides. In 2021, global mobile gaming apps also saw a surge in popularity during Ramadan, with installs up 13% and sessions up 9% compared to the year’s average.

Whether it’s making sure your website is responsive, planning an ad campaign on social media, or trying out a branded game with your audience (more on that below), mobile should be a major focus for brands – social media experts from across the MENA region agree.

Close-Up of Hands Holding Mobile Phone

Image source: unsplash.com (Jonas Leupe)

The rise of games

In case you hadn’t noticed, games and gaming are a huge deal these days. Here are a few interesting stats around gaming in majority-Muslim countries and during Ramadan:

  • According to one article, 44% of Indonesians choose online gaming as their preferred digital activity in the first week of Ramadan.
  • One report found that games revenue in the MENA-3 region (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Egypt) would rise from $1.76 billion in 2021 to $3.14 billion in 2025. This represents an increase in the number of gamers from 65.32 million to 85.76 million.
  • Twitter found that, in the wider MENA (Middle East North Africa) region, existing gamers spend 35% more time on gaming during Ramadan.
  • In Indonesia alone – home to the world’s largest Muslim population and already one of the largest online markets – there were 21 million new internet users in 2021.

Ramadan marketing ideas

1. Branded games

With a branded online game at the heart of your campaign, you’ll offer your audience a fun and playful experience that allows you to connect with them in an unforgettable way. You could use a branded game to:

  • Run a prize giveaway competition
  • Make charitable donations on behalf of winners
  • Offer discount codes on products or services
  • Promote new products or services
  • Count down to a specific date or event with an additional calendar page

During Ramadan, consumer interests are heavily centred around the themes of food. Whether it’s grocery shopping, searching for recipes, meal planning, or eating out, the brands that already exist in these spaces are looking for ways to stand out – games could be just the thing to help them do that.

To see examples of branded games in action, check out these case studies from Domino’s and Borden Cheese.

You can also check out our library of free ebooks full of tips and tricks to help you get started!

Peek & Poke Branded Game Examples – Domino's and Borden Cheese

Social media

During Ramadan, social media platforms can be useful for sharing info such as a change to business hours or any promotions that you might be running. You can create brand-relevant hashtags and encourage your audience to tag you in their posts, resulting in user-generated content (UGC) that extends your organic reach online.

These platforms also provide an easy way to show the human side of your brand and interact with followers. You don’t need to have a grand plan or detailed posting schedule to find success – simply showing up and being genuine will help you to build meaningful connections with your audience.


Email is arguably one of the most under-used gadgets in the digital marketing toolbox, yet many businesses still seem to underestimate its power.

Whereas social media platforms are in a state of constant flux as they try to innovate and compete with one another, email is the trusty stalwart that continues to deliver a direct line of communication with your audience of subscribers. If you’re running a promotion or discount during Ramadan – or possibly a prize competition – remember to shout about it with regular emails to your mailing list.

While we’re on the subject, remember those branded games we mentioned earlier? Turns out they’re great for growing your mailing list by capturing GDPR-compliant data from players who submit their score to the leaderboard. 👀

Peek & Poke Leaderboard Screenshot

Product packaging

Walk into any supermarket and you’re likely to find examples of product packaging that’s been revamped to match a seasonal theme or event. These limited-time makeovers are designed to capture the attention of shoppers, remind them of the upcoming event, and stand out from any competition on the shelves.

Here are just a few examples:

Ramadan Marketing Example – Nutella Packaging

Image source: klfoodie.com

Ramadan Marketing Examples – Cadbury and Coca Cola Packaging

Image sources: minimeinsights.com / Cadbury, packagingoftheworld.com

Ramadan Promotion Examples – Jewels and Heinz Packaging

Image sources: susieofarabia.wordpress.com, packagingoftheworld.com

Charitable giving

Charitable donations are a great way for businesses to make a positive impact and raise awareness of important causes. By gamifying these efforts, you can get your audience involved in a way that’s fun and interactive.

Take hosting company Melbourne, for example, who added a fundraising totaliser to their game and donated £5 to charity for every player who achieved a certain score and submitted it the leaderboard.

Rhodar have done something similar through their branded game campaigns, with winners asked to choose the charity that the prize money goes to. To mark the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, they launched a football-themed game with prizes including a £500 donation on them!

Branded Game Charitable Giving Example

Wrapping up

As we mentioned above, Ramadan is a special time of year for those who observe. At its core are the principles of gratitude, empathy, generosity, family, and community, and the best marketing campaigns will be those that reflect these values.

If you’d like to learn more about how a branded game could work for you and your organisation, simply get in touch and we’ll be happy to discuss.

You can also check out our library of ebooks, which are all free and available to download today.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading – until next time!

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