Earlier last week Facebook announced the launch of Facebook Lite, a new stripped down version of Facebook for Android that uses less data and works well across all network conditions. “More than a billion people around the world access Facebook from a range of mobile devices on varying networks. In many areas, networks can be slow and not able to support all the functionality found in Facebook for Android. Facebook Lite was built for these situations, giving people a reliable Facebook experience when bandwidth is at a minimum,” said the company release.
Facebook Lite - an app less than 1MB includes core experiences like News Feed, status updates, photos, notifications and more. To begin with Facebook has rolled out in Asia, and over the coming weeks it will be available in parts of Latin America, Africa and Europe.
Facebook has been chasing consumers in developing markets now for years. In 2011 U2opia launched Fonetwish which allowed users in emerging markets to access Facebook on basic phones without any data plans. In India, it was available to almost all mobile phone users, except those who are using network of BSNL.
Later on Facebook acquired Snaptu and integrated its technology to build “Facebook For Every Phone” In mid 2013 Facebook announced that there were more than 100 million people using the technology and getting accustomed to the world of social networks.
Post that Facebook revealed its plans to bring Internet to the third-world via drones, satellites, lasers, and more. Things haven’t been good, plans for building satellite has been shunned due to the price tag. However, Facebook’s another ambitious project Internet.org - an initiative to provide basic internet access has been gaining pace even though it has been heavily criticized in India. Internet.org was recently launched in Pakistan after gaining presence in Indonesia.
Definitely Facebook is pushing the envelope by bringing basic and faster services in emerging countries but it is keeping advertisers happy too. According to ClickZ, Facebook Lite will give advertisers greater access to consumers in developing regions across Asia, especially in India and Indonesia.
A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to ClickZ that users would be able to see some ads on Facebook Lite. “But right now we’re focused on creating the best user experience, and will continue to improve the experience based on feedback we gather from people using Facebook Lite,” she said.
While the complete suite of Facebook ads might not work but Facebook missed call ads should be the best fit. Whenever a user see these ads 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.
Last year Facebook tested the product with Gillete India 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%.
Prior to that Facebook executed a similar campaign for Garnier Men India in collaboration with ZipDial. With the objective to drive sales for Garnier Men India, Facebook created a click to missed call ad campaign for Garnier Men, in partnership with ZipDial, during IPL 7.
Facebook has its dominance in the emerging markets but these markets contribute a very small portion in its revenues. Products like these will keep the investor faith alive from these high-growth markets.