Virgin Mobile KSA’s Digital Marketing Strategy Achieves Lowest Subscriber Acquisition Costs

3 Min Read. |


About the Company

Virgin Mobile is a wireless communications brand used by eight independent brand-licensees worldwide. Virgin Mobile branded wireless communications services are currently available in Australia, Colombia, the United Kingdom, Canada, Chile, France, Saudi Arabia, Poland, South Africa, México, and the United States. Virgin Mobile branded services were formerly offered in Singapore, India and Qatar.

Virgin Mobile KSA

In December of 2014 Virgin Mobile started its own brand in Saudi Arabia and became the first MVNO in the said Kingdom. It operates as a MVNO on the network of Zain in 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE (for coverage and frequencies see above). It is directed to the urban youth.

Business Objective

  • Position Virgin Mobile as a digital innovator and primary choice for KSA’s connected youth in a highly penetrated and competitive telco landscape
  • Drive new mobile subscriptions

It was a challenge to attract subscribers to Virgin brand and capture market share from the 3 major telecome operators STC, Mobily, Zain in the Kingdom who were all well established. Based on reserach and analysis, it was found that the youth of KSA is constantly searching for better customer experience and giving user’s a digital experience in the SIM activation journey is the way forward.

Marketing Strategy

SIM activation is a process where end user’s involvement is necessary at the store because of the Kingdom’s Telecom Regulatory body’s (CITC) rules for SIM registration. So the plan was to offer a mixture of advertising (offline and online) with digital marketing playing a big role for making the end users aware about it and complete few stages of SIM activation online before asking them to visit a store for final SIM activation. The online advertising components were designed to deliver on a well-structured and complete customer journey – from awareness to consideration and purchase – through a highly targeted digital audience strategy with an  end GOAL to achieve higher conversion rate.

Moving from traditional way to next generation

In the traditional world, when a subscriber buys a SIM from a store – he or she had to search through a set of numbers printed on the available SIM packs to find the best digits. Virgin wanted to redefine that process and introduced a new process where Subscriber pre-select the number (MSISDN) via web interface prior to SIM purchase. Web interface provides the ability for the consumer to book or reserve a number in advance of going to the store. On successful booking, the system was designed to generate a reservation code which the consumer can then carry to the nearest store to claim the personalized SIM. Bookings were defined as leads, while in-store activations were counted as conversions. To ensure consumer had the correct knowledge about the process and journey, Virgin published videos on Youtube and their social media feeds.


The results were amazing. High number of customers customers started their journey experience with Virgin Mobile online. Approximately 90% of consumer leads came from the Virgin Mobile Online where rest were started at the Virgin Mobile Store.

  • At only 60% of overall digital budget, Google advertising contributed 71% of bookings from all digital advertising.
  • 35X return on investment – Google Search produced 80% lower CPL than any other digital platform.
  • Higher conversion rate – 30% of customers who booked a number online completed their journey with a store visit to purchase a SIM.

Vice President of Brand Rob Beswick says – “We knew that to reach a hyper-connected youth market segment, we had to build an innovative digital and mobile-first model and then amplify our efforts using digital campaigns and engagement”. “By launching the digital approach pre-commercial launch we were able to not only increase the brand awareness in the market significantly at a relatively low cost, but also engage with our audience in a highly-targeted way.


The results clearly show that an innovative use of digital can build brand awareness, move the masses and be highly influential in initiating the customer purchase journey. Our Saudi audience proved that they’re willing to book online, which means they’re willing to transact online, creating even more exciting possibilities for the future.”

Photo Credits: Virgin Mobile

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