What’s On

Facebook goes inside fast growth mkts to offer scale to advertisers

  • Due to media fragmentation & data costs, mobile translates to connectedness in high-growth mkts
  • More than 100 mn people are on FB in India (84% on mobile), 69 mn in Indonesia (87% on mobile), and over 87 mn in Brazil (72% on mobile)
  • FB has accelerated development of new local ad solutions for advertisers in high-growth countries
  • FB is building customised solutions for each country
  • The network is also developing partnerships with key clients like Unilever, Nestle

In the last two years, Facebook has seen significant media attention for the continued growth in its advertising revenues; more so because more than half of it comes from mobile platforms that remains an area not many fully comprehend. If Facebook’s efforts in the last two years are observed, there are two areas that the social network has focussed on consistently – mobile as a connection platform, and the urge to understand and reach out to newly connecting audiences, who are not only experiencing the internet for the first time but doing so from simpler devices.

Facebook’s efforts, and subsequent success, in becoming available and offering solutions through featured phones was based on the insight that seven out of every 10 people in the world, many in fast growing markets such as India and Indonesia, use simpler devices like feature phones, to access the internet. According to the company, more than one billion people access Facebook on mobile every month and do so across multiple mobile devices. In many countries, a majority of those people experience Facebook on a feature phone — in India 66 per cent, in Indonesia 71 per cent and in South Africa 68 per cent.

In the past year, Facebook in the US and on the ground in Indonesia, India and other growth markets has worked to understand how people connect on all devices, and on all connections, from 2G in rural parts of the world to higher-speed data networks in expanding urban centres. The feedback has been used to create better mobile experiences on Facebook, as well as ad products that are better suited to meet the needs of people and advertisers in high-growth countries.

“People around the world, especially in maturing countries like India and Indonesia, want more information to better their lives and are accessing that information on mobile at an increasingly rapid pace. Our clients want to connect with people in these countries, however, limited and scalable mobile options make that a challenge. We are working with Facebook to explore new ad solutions which are directly built from the way people communicate on mobile every day. As the world’s largest global advertising platform Facebook can help our advertisers reach the right people at scale,” observed Cheuk Chiang, CEO, Asia Pacific, Omnicom Media Group.

India Indonesia

Beating media fragmentation & data costs
People in high-growth countries increasingly want to be connected to friends, family, news outlets and brands. However reaching people in certain countries has been a challenge for advertisers given the fragmented media options available and the expense of internet connectivity. For many people, feature phones have helped bridge the gap, bringing people closer to the world around them. Last year, Facebook provided advertisers the ability to place and target ads on feature phones. Since then, the social network has improved ad delivery by optimising for low-bandwidth connections and continually enhancing features to give brands more storytelling options. Now advertisers can reach millions of people — some for the very first time — on any device and in any country.

In high-growth countries, necessity often breeds creativity in mobile communication. In India, for example, there is a ‘missed called’ behaviour which started as a workaround for high voice costs. Somewhat similar to a collect call, people dial a number and hang up before connecting to save voice minutes and send a signal to a friend or family member, such as ‘I’m outside’, or ‘call me back’. Recently, some businesses have begun sending recorded messages or SMS messages to people who place a missed call. Facebook is testing an ad unit in India that builds on this behaviour. When a person sees an ad on Facebook, they can click on the ad to place a ‘missed call’ directly from the mobile device. In the return call, the person receives valuable content, such as music, cricket scores, celebrity messages, alongside a brand message from the advertiser — all without using airtime or data. The early test results are positive and Facebook plans to scale the product in the coming months.

Garnier Men Facebook Missed Call India

Reaching all of the people who matter
Historically advertisers have had limited ways to reach and target the right people, especially in high-growth countries compared to developed countries. Facebook has extended its targeting options in high-growth countries, in a privacy-safe way, to help advertisers reach people across any device.

Geo-targeting: Previously, more limited targeting options like city targeting were available for advertisers in high-growth countries, such as India. Today, advertisers can target people by state or even multiple states in India without having to list multiple cities. Facebook is currently working on additional geo-targeting enhancements in India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Turkey, South Africa and across Latin America.

Life-stage targeting: The same targeting features available in the US and UK — for example, targeting to new moms and dads, people who have started a new job or retirees will soon be available in high-growth countries as well.

“Across emerging markets, people who have never been online before are now connecting to the internet using mobile devices, meaning advertisers have the opportunity to reach the audience they have never been able to reach before. In many markets in Africa and Asia, Facebook is nearly the front door through which people access the rest of the web. We are working with Facebook to build bespoke solutions for our clients’ needs – whether you want to reach a business audience or stay-at-home mothers, new customers or existing ones, Facebook offers marketers the ability to reach audiences at unpredicted scale, with unmatched targeting,” explained Ben Phillips, Global Head of Mobile, MediaCom.

“Our work represents the first steps to better serve people and businesses in high-growth countries. We have challenged ourselves to rethink how we develop and implement products and services. And we’ve come to believe that businesses need customised solutions to connect with the most relevant people. We look forward to sharing more about this work,” a company post explained.

Noor Fathima Warsia

A veteran journalist in the Indian marketing, media and advertising fraternity, Noor Fathima Warsia took on the role of Group Editor -– APAC for Digital Market Asia in May 2013. Noor has focussed on tracking trends and developments in the Indian media industry.