Facebook goes ‘inside’ fast growth mkts to offer scale to advertisers

In the last two years, Facebook has seen more than its share of headline space for the continued growth in its advertising revenues. What makes the subject more interesting is that over half of these revenues are coming from mobile platforms – an area that not many comprehend fully yet.

It is evident from Facebook’s efforts in the last year and a half that the social media network has focussed on two areas with consistency – cracking the mobile code and understanding the vast belly of users who are experiencing the internet for the first time, and who are not necessarily seen as the high-end connected users. Facebook’s efforts, and consequent growth, in its feature phone connections was rooted in the fact that seven out of every 10 people in the world, many in fast growing markets such as India and Indonesia, use simpler devices to access the internet.

It appears that these efforts are now paying off. The rate of people accessing the internet, using only mobile devices, is skyrocketing, especially in high growth countries. 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.

“People around the world, especially in maturing countries such as India and Indonesia, want more information to better their lives and are accessing that information on mobile at an increasingly rapid pace. Our advertising partners want to connect with people in these countries, however, limited and scaleable 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,” explained Cheuk Chiang, CEO, Asia Pacific, Omnicom Media Group.

India Indonesia

The insights and the execution thereof
In the past year, Facebook in the US and on the ground in Indonesia, India, Brazil, Turkey and South Africa 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.

Reaching previously unreachable people
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.

Developing ad solutions from local insights
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.

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 Asia and Africa, 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,” commented 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 customized solutions to connect with the most relevant people. We look forward to sharing more about this work,” a company post explained.

Facebook-Garnier case study in India, developed on the insight of missed call behaviour in India

Garnier Men Facebook Missed Call India

Via Digital Market Asia Mobile

Copenhagen INK

Lars M. B. Anthonisen is Global Account Lead @ Google. Previously, he held various digital marketing positions at media companies across Europe and Asia including Regional Digital Director at MediaCom APAC, CMO at Adform and Digital Manager at Universal McCann Worldwide.

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