Facebook's new advertising effort focuses on emerging markets

Facebook has announced that it is introducing country-specific advertising products in some of its key emerging markets. The new products serve as part of a significant effort to increase revenue and allow advertisers to reach users based in what were previously considered to be difficult-to-reach countries.

The decision to implement the new strategy follows a successful testing period in one of its fastest growing markets, India, where the company currently has around 100 million users; a total which has increased rapidly over the last few years.

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During the testing period, Facebook tried out adverts intended to capitalise on India's so-called "missed call" behaviour.

This behaviour refers to a trend which is popular within the country, where people call a phone number and then hang up prior to the establishment of a connection. Such behaviour may be used to convey very basic messages. For instance, it can let someone know that you are outside.

Facebook's new ad product allows Indian users to tap on adverts displayed on their mobile phone, giving the advertising brand a missed call from that user. This then generates an automated call from the brand to the user, providing them with a customised message and offering them content.

The initial testing was conducted in conjunction with L'Oreal's Garnier cosmetics brand. Facebook claims those adverts were able to reach 15 million people in total and rated highly in terms of effectiveness.

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In addition, the social networking giant is looking at creating customised advertising products for other countries and regions, in order to take advantage of current trends. Projections from ZenithOptimedia suggest ad spending will have grown by more than 12 per cent in Latin America and around 10 per cent in China, India and Indonesia from 2013 to 2014.

"We are thinking through where there are nuances from a local standpoint we can capitalise on," said Kelly MacLean, Facebook's emerging market ad team's product marketing manager.