More than half of Facebook’s revenues come from non-North American markets and the next two billion users will come from places where the dominant form of internet access is mobile but on slow connections. For instance India, Facebook’s biggest market after US, still survives on slow internet connection.
Even with slower connection, Facebook states that in countries like Nigeria and the Philippines where connectivity can be slow, expensive or both and where feature phones are prevalent, people are even more receptive to video ads.
But at the same time video poses some challenges to advertisers, especially for small businesses and businesses reaching people in emerging and high-growth countries around the world, where connectivity and the prevalence of basic devices make it difficult for advertisers to deliver video to their entire audience. Additionally, the investment required to shoot and edit a video is often beyond the reach of advertising budgets.
To make video ads easier and possible to watch on every device and connection speed, Facebook today has launched Slideshow, a new type of lightweight video ad created from a series of still images. Slideshow is easy for advertisers to use and engaging for people.
Slideshow is easy; simply upload three to seven still images and choose the length of your slideshow, from 5 to 15 seconds. Not only it saves times and cost of an advertiser, Slideshow ads are eye-catching ads to people on basic devices or with poor connectivity.
Initial results show that a 15-second slideshow can be up to 5x smaller in file size than a video of the same length.
Coca Cola was one of the early companies to try out a video ad in countries like Nigeria and Kenya to raise awareness of the new season of their show, Coke Studio Africa. To extend the reach of their ad to people within their target audience who were on slow connections or features phones, they took high-resolution screenshots from the video, uploaded them in sequence along with some basic text and ran the story as a slideshow on Facebook.
And the results were encouraging: Coca Cola reached 2 million people—twice their goal—and raised ad awareness by 10 points in Kenya.
Slideshow is rolling out to Power Editor and Ads Manager over the coming weeks. Looks like the ad would be available as an ad option on Instagram. A natural extension since Facebook owned Instagram recently rolled out ads globally.
Facebook’s interest in emerging markets isn’t a hidden secret. While the emerging markets are giving Facebook new users via mobile, revenues have been close to negligible. Facebook, which has 132 million users in India, second biggest market after US for the social network is still paying very little. Facebook earns 15 cents per user in India every quarter, compared to the $7 to $8 it makes on each U.S. user.
Facebook has been focusing on emerging markets for quite some time with innovative ideas. But the challenge has been to spike up revenues from emerging countries. Last year ET reported that India market accounts for less than 0.1% of Facebook’s revenues.
In Q2 2015, mobile advertising represented more than 70 percent of Facebook’s total ad revenue, and mobile is particularly strong and attractive to advertisers in emerging markets, Carolyn Everson, vice president, global marketing solutions at Facebook said.
Slideshow ads build up to Facebook’s offerings in emerging markets and build gain advertiser confidence.