Mobile and emerging countries is where Facebook’s money lies. According to Facebook more than one billion people access Facebook on mobile every month and many do so across multiple mobile devices. In many countries, a majority of those people experience Facebook on a feature phone: in India 66%, in Indonesia 71% and in South Africa 68%. With more than 100 million monthly active users in India, Facebook has come up with some new roll outs to make advertisers happy in the country. One of the experiments that Facebook is doing is having an ad product build on the missed call feature.
Missed Call – a common feature to save costs, whereby the caller calls the person and hangs up after a ring or two. This is kind of an indication to the other party that they are currently outside and/or request for a return call.
Facebook is testing an ad unit in India that builds on the missed call behavior. “When a person sees an ad on Facebook they can place a “missed call” by clicking the ad from their mobile device. In the return call, the person receives valuable content, such as music, cricket scores or celebrity messages, alongside a brand message from the advertiser — all without using airtime or data,” says Facebook.
Gillette India is one of the brands who has run Asia’s first campaign targeted towards feature phones. Gillette used Facebook Ads on feature phones to drive measurable awareness of its new Vector 3 razor among its target group in India. The campaign reached a target audience of more than 60%.
Apart from this, Facebook has made targeting more finite across any device to give advertisers better ROI for their ad budgets. These include Life-Stage Targeting and Geo-Targeting. Life-Save targeting that allows targeting to new moms and dads; or people who have started a new job; or retirees — will soon be available in high-growth countries as well.
Geo-Targeting will allow advertisers to target people by state or even multiple states in India without having to list multiple cities. Facebook also states that it is working to bring similar geo-targeting features to Nigeria, Turkey, South Africa, Indonesia and Latin America.
While smartphone penetration is increasing quite rapidly, the feature phone market still dominates in the country and other emerging markets. According to Facebook, roughly 7 out of every 10 people in the world, many in high-growth countries like India, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa and Nigeria, use far simpler devices like feature phones to access the Internet.
Recently Facebook quietly undertook a massive engineering overhaul of its Android app to make it easier to use around the world. It now starts up 50 percent faster than six months ago, uses 50 percent less data than a year ago, and the download itself is 65 percent smaller since the start of 2014.
Clearly Facebook’s focus is on mobile and emerging markets with primary markets having already reached a saturation point.