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Facebook helps brands reach audience in small towns

business Updated: Nov 24, 2016 09:50 IST
Sunny Sen
Sunny Sen
Hindustan Times
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With 166 million users, India is the second largest market for the company that is headquartered in California.(REUTERS)

Seeking to grab a larger slice of the online advertising market in India, Facebook is helping brands, marketers, and advertisers reach out to more users, who don’t speak English.

With 166 million users, India is the second largest market for the company that is headquartered in California. Most users access the internet through smartphones in India. Every day, nearly 15,000 more people access the internet in areas, where many don’t own a computer.

Umang Bedi, managing director of Facebook India and South Asia, said they either target broader audiences during their campaigns or particular clusters in tier-II or tier-III markets.

For instance, sportswear brand Adidas wanted to reach out to kids in the age group of 15-21 years to sell their shoes. However, it did not want to target buyers in markets where it already had its stores. Facebook helped Adidas create a 15-second video of eight cricketing images. The video it made didn’t require a lot of bandwidth. Otherwise, it would have reduced the ad’s impact in small towns and developed villages.

The ad got 10 million views, and reached 1.9 million users in the target segment. “We plan to build on this early momentum by continuing to reach out to more athletes via regional languages,” said Damyant Singh, senior marketing director at Adidas India.

Facebook is increasing its presence in India’s smaller towns when it is reportedly losing users in developed markets like the US to newer rivals like Snapchat. That makes India a more important market than ever before.

Half of its population is below the age of 25, and Facebook is still growing its user base here, helping it generate ad revenue. In the third quarter of 2016, Facebook tripled its profits, and reported 59% growth in advertising revenue.

Its founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said the company will add its next billion users, in areas where English is not the first language. In India, you can browse, upload and interact on Facebook in 12 regional languages.

It’s not only Adidas – chocolate maker Mondelez, condom major Durex and even hair-removal productmaker Veet – are also reaching out to wider audience through Facebook.

“We are putting in a lot of effort in building small businesses. The language-support capability came out of that. You will see a larger number of marketers adopting Adidas-like campaigns,” said Bedi.