The Internet social networking company is testing a new type of ad
in the country that allows mobile phone users to click a button that
calls a brand advertiser, immediately hangs up and then receives a
The return call delivers pre-recorded audio messages about
everything from sponsored cricket scores to information about
shopping discounts, minimizing data charges for the user.
The so-called “missed call” ad was specially created by Facebook to
appeal to users in the world’s second-most populous country, and
potentially in other emerging markets. Facebook has more than 100
million users in India, with the majority accessing the service on
so-called feature phones, which lack touchscreens and other
capabilities of higher-end smartphones.
The ads are part of Facebook’s effort to bolster its business in
countries such as Brazil, India and Indonesia, which could help
Facebook boost its overall revenue.
Roughly 84 percent of Facebook’s 1.28 billion monthly users are
outside the United States and Canada, but the average revenue per
user that Facebook generates in international markets is
significantly lower than in the United States and Canada.
Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg is in India this
week visiting the company’s offices and meeting with partners. Last
week, Facebook rival Google Inc Inc announced plans to bolster its
business there by developing a sub-$100 smartphone that uses its
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Facebook has optimized the ads on its service to work on slower
wireless connections in emerging markets and it is improving its
tools in individual countries to help marketers better target
different groups of users.
The company has also recently opened sales offices in Colombia and
Indonesia and it is working with measurement firm Nielsen to measure
how mobile phone users react to ads.
In early tests of the missed call ads by L’Oreal-owned haircare
product Garnier Men, the ads led to a 2.5 times year-on-year
increase in online sales, according to Facebook. In the coming
months, Facebook said it plans to make the missed call ads more
(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
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