Facebook aims to target customers in emerging markets like India with its new 'missed call' ads. The service allows mobile phone users to click a button that calls a brand advertiser, immediately hang up and then receive a return call.
The advertisement would cater to the 100 million Facebook users in India who will be able to request cricket scores and more by placing a "missed call" and receiving a recorded call or text message back. Facebook said that it has been researching cell phone usage in India and has found that people used missed calls to avoid the high cost of voice calls. The practice has become so common that some businesses have started sending recordings or SMS messages to people who place a missed call to them.
Facebook is currently testing the service in parts of India and is expected to roll out more widely over the next few months. This is Facebook's first foray into new ad formats tailored to a particular country. The social networking giant is planning to expand this approach to other emerging countries, like South Africa, Indonesia and Brazil.
"There's an opportunity for us to get much more localized with what we're building and developing," Kelly MacLean, Facebook's business lead for emerging markets, said in an interview. "That's an area we're really going to invest in."
"We've seen positive results in early tests with advertisers like Garnier Men and plan to scale this product in the coming months," Facebook said.'
The model will help Facebook's increase its advertising revenue in emerging markets. The company has a 39 percent increase in its mobile user base over the year-ago quarter with nearly 945 million monthly active mobile users. Facebook's advertising revenue grew nearly 76 percent y-o-y to $2.34 billion with mobile ad revenue making up 53 percent of the total amount.