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Facebook targets low-end phone audience with Creative Accelerator

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Facebook targets low-end phone audience with Creative Accelerator

Facebook has announced the launch of a new programme for high-growth countries called the Creative Accelerator. The programme is specifically designed to enable brands engage audiences not on smartphones or high speed internet.

Facebook said that through the programme, the Facebook Creative Shop is working with seven clients and their agency partners in India, Indonesia, South Africa, Kenya and Turkey. Some of these clients include Nestle (India), Coca-Cola (South Africa) and Durex (Indonesia).

“The goal is to help establish best practices for high-growth countries by developing campaigns tailored to the people in each country and the devices they use to experience Facebook,” said the social giant in a statement.

What this means is that Facebook can use Creative Accelerator to determine the device and net speed that a user currently has and then tailor content that he/she sees accordingly. A case in point was the campaign done by Nestle, where people on low-end devices and slower bandwidth received still images from Nestle while those with stronger bandwidth and more sophisticated devices received videos in News Feed.

The programme also allows advertisers to change content depending on the gender of the user, as seen in the Durex Indonesia campaign where male and female users received different communications.

Facebook has recently turned its eyes to the non-premium users in emerging markets; the vast majority of mobile users who do not own a high-end smartphone and do not have access to internet or at most basic broadband. Under its initiative, it aims to provide access to basic internet services to the “unconnected”. With the launch of the service earlier this year in India, now reaches six counties across the world.

Is as altruistic as it sounds?

The is not without its critics with many claiming, for good reason, that Facebook and its partners are not driven by just considerations of philanthropy. After all, the more people who get connected to the internet and sign up on Facebook, the better it is for them. For these critics, is seen as the bait attached to the fish hook.

A 2013 GSMA study indicated that over half of the world’s total population will access internet through mobile devices by 2020, i.e. about 3.8 billion. Current estimates suggest around 40 per cent of the world has access to the internet, the majority of which is driven by mobile, which is fast outpacing fixed line internet access globally.

The feature phone market has become a minority, being overtaken by low-end smartphones, which is booming with manufacturers like Samsung, Microsoft, Motorola, etc. all focusing on this category. Low-cost smartphones (sub US $250) will account for 46 per cent of smartphone shipments by 2018 said a 2013 research by market intelligence firm ABI Research. For a country like India, with a number of indigenous manufacturers offering even sub $100 smartphones, the market size is even bigger.

Considering these trends it is easy to see why Facebook wants to target this category of users and the launch of Creative Accelerator is a smart move for the company as well as potential advertisers.

Facebook’s mobile revenue has been growing rapidly over the past few years and is now the significant driver of the company’s profits. In its last public filing, Facebook reported that its mobile ad revenue stood at $2.8 billion (nearly 70 per cent of its overall ad revenue) and research firm eMarketer predicts that it will account for 75 per cent of its revenue by 2016.

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