More than a billion people access Facebook every month from across devices from around the world, but this still is only 1/7th of the population. The next wave of growth for Facebook is likely come when it is able to reach out to rural parts of high growth nations. Facebook writes in a blog post, “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.”
A step further in this direction, Facebook is now using local insights and testing out new solutions- like the ‘Missed Call’ Ads. They’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 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 our partner ZipDial, and plan to scale this product in the coming months with additional partners and markets,” writes Kelly MacLean on the Facebook blog.
The Garnier Men campaign that used a click to missed call ad product that Facebook designed specifically for the Indian market, Garnier Men drove contest entries and saw a 2.5X increase in online sales from the previous year. Results of th campaign according to Facebook- 15 million people reached, 16X more calls generated from Facebook click to missed call ad unit than all other digital and print media combined and 94% more efficient cost per call on Facebook compared to other digital and print media combined.
The idea is not something unique as players like Unilever or the reality TV shows have been using this strategy from long (as pointed out here), and well, ZipDial has built an entire business on missed calls. Facebook’s claim is to get advertisers a new way of reaching out to the next 5 billion users and having stronger ties with high growth nations like India (read more in this piece on Narendra Modi- Sheryl Sandberg meeting). ‘Missed Call’ ads surely opens up an option but the problem of measurement still remains where a lot of work needs to be done in the field of advertisements.