Written by Bella Dalima
03 Jul, 2014 | 3:48 pm
Demonstrating its adaptation to the idiosyncrasies of world markets, Facebook has introduced “missed call” ads in India that address a common practice in the country.
Since voice calls are expensive, many Indians call and hang up to communicate a message. Somewhat similar to a collect call, people dial a number and hang up before connecting to save voice minutes and send a signal to a friend or family member, such as ‘I’m outside,’ or ‘call me back,'” Facebook explained in a blog post.
Facebook is testing an ad unit in the country that addresses the practice. When users see an ad on Facebook, they can click and place a “missed call” from their mobile device. In return, they get info like cricket scores, celebrity messages or a message from the advertiser. Garnier recently tried the program and got a strong response, according to Facebook.
The missed call unit was part of an announcement Facebook put out Wednesday touting its expanding reach in markets outside of North America and Europe. Often called “the next billion,” the market includes areas in which feature phones are still the predominant mode of mobile communication. For instance, in India, 66% of people who experience Facebook do so via a feature phone. In Indonesia and South Africa the figures are 71% and 68%, respectively.
Facebook doesn’t disclose the breakdown of smartphone users to feature phone users, but the company claimed 100 million users accessed it via feature phones last year. Globally, about two-thirds of mobile phones are feature phones. Facebook also has more than 100 million monthly active users in India vs. 202 million in the U.S. and Canada.
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