Facebook Is Helping Advertisers Reach Previously Unreachable People

Facebook reports that roughly 7 out of every 10 people in the world use devices less sophisticated than a smartphone to access the Internet, like a feature phone. Many of these people reside in high-growth countries like India, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa and Nigeria.

Facebook has been working to understand how people connect on all devices, and on all connections. They have recently shared some of what the’ve learned while offering a glimpse at some of the solutions in development for advertisers.

Reaching people in certain countries has been a challenge for advertisers, due to fragmented media options and the expense of Internet connectivity.

In an attempt to reach previously unreachable people, Facebook provided advertisers with the ability to place and target ads on feature phones.

Since then, we’ve improved ad delivery by optimizing for low-bandwidth connections and offered enhanced features that give brands more storytelling options. Advertisers can reach millions for people — some for the very first time — on any device and in any country.

“Missed Call” Ad Units

Facebook has been using local insights to find new solutions. For example, in India there is a “missed call” behavior that acts as a workaround for expensive voice calls.

Think of it like how pagers used to work. People dial a number and hang up before before the call connects, that way they’re not charged for voice minutes. The purpose of this is to send a signal such as “I’m outside,” or “Call me back.”

Facebook is testing an ad unit in India that builds on this 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.

Facebook reports that they have seen positive results in early tests, and plans to scale this product in the coming months with additional partners and markets.

New Ad Targeting Options

Previously, advertisers in high-growth markets have had limited ways to reach and target the right people. In an attempt to help advertisers reach people across any device, Facebook is extending its targeting options in high-growth countries

  • Life-stage targeting: Targeting to new moms and dads; or people who have started a new job; or retirees. (These targeting options are available in the US and UK, and will soon be available in high-growth countries as well.)
  • Geo-targeting: Advertisers in high-growth countries can now target people by state or even multiple states in India without having to list multiple cities. Facebook adds that their teams are currently working on additional geo-targeting enhancements in Nigeria, Turkey, South Africa, India, Indonesia and across Latin America.

Facebook points out that they will continue to rethink how they develop and implement products and services in high-growth countries: “Businesses in high-growth countries need customized solutions to connect with people.”