When you think of how people access the Internet, you might glance at your smartphone or computer and imagine everyone around the world using similar devices. However, 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.
The rate of people using only mobile devices to access the Internet is skyrocketing, especially in high-growth countries. 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 percent, in Indonesia 71 percent and in South Africa 68 percent.
In the past year, our teams in the US and on the ground in Brazil, Indonesia, India, Turkey and South Africa have 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 centers. We’ve used this feedback to create better mobile experiences on Facebook, as well as ad products that are better suited to the needs of people and advertisers in high-growth countries.
Today we’d like to share some of what we’ve learned and offer a glimpse at some of the solutions we’re developing for advertisers.
Reaching previously unreachable people
People in high-growth countries increasingly want to be connected to friends, family, news outlets and brands. However, given fragmented media options and the expense of Internet connectivity, reaching people in certain countries has been a challenge for advertisers.
Last year, 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.
Using local insights to find new solutions
When it comes to mobile communications in high-growth countries, necessity often breeds creativity. In India, for example, there is a “missed call” behavior that started as a workaround for the high cost of voice calls. Somewhat similar to a collect call, people dial a number and hang up before connecting to save voice minutes. Often, the call is used to send a signal to a friend or family member, such as “I’m outside,” or “Call me back.” Some businesses have recently begun sending recorded messages or SMS messages to people who place a missed call to them.
We’re 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. We’ve seen positive results in early tests with advertisers like Garnier Men, and plan to scale this product in the coming months.
Reaching all of the people who matter
Historically, advertisers in high-growth markets have had limited ways to reach and target the right people. To help advertisers reach people across any device, we’ve extended our targeting options in high-growth countries, in a privacy-safe way.
- Life-stage targeting: The same targeting features available in the US and UK — for example, 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: Previously, more limited targeting options like city targeting were available for advertisers in high-growth countries. Today, advertisers can target people by state or even multiple states in India without having to list multiple cities. Our teams are currently working on additional geo-targeting enhancements in Nigeria, Turkey, South Africa, India, Indonesia and across Latin America.
Measurement has been another challenge for advertisers in high-growth countries. With many people in these countries accessing the Internet on mobile devices, we’ve partnered with Nielsen to serve polls to people on feature phones. Our new measurement solution provides advertisers with greater tools to measure brand sentiment, purchase intent and ad recall for the first time on mobile as well as desktop.