Facebook seeks India revenue boost with 'missed call' ads

SAN FRANCISCO Wed Jul 2, 2014 3:13pm IST

A smartphone user shows the Facebook application on his phone in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, in this photo illustration, May 2, 2013. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Files

A smartphone user shows the Facebook application on his phone in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, in this photo illustration, May 2, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Dado Ruvic/Files

Stocks

   

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc wants its users in India to hang up on advertisers.

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 return call.

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 Android software.

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 widely available.

(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Politics

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Fund Raising

Fund Raising

Flipkart raises $700 million in fresh funding.   Full Article 

Reforms Push

Reforms Push

Modi may order insurance, coal reforms if vote delayed - officials.  Full Article 

Reuters Exclusive

Reuters Exclusive

India looks to sway Americans with nuclear power insurance plan  Full Article 

To Boost Growth

To Boost Growth

Crank up public spending to revive growth - chief economic adviser.   Full Article 

Bold Steps

Bold Steps

SpiceJet rescue plan marks bold bet on Indian aviation recovery.   Full Article 

New Airline

New Airline

Tata, Singapore Air venture Vistara to take off on Jan 9.  Full Article 

Online Sales

Online Sales

Knock knock. Who's there? Amazon's best-selling holiday author.  Full Article 

Hacking Attack

Hacking Attack

N.Korea says did not hack Sony, wants joint probe with U.S.  Full Article 

Reuters Poll

Reuters Poll

BSE Sensex to hit 32,980 by December 2015  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage