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Facebook introduces Bandwidth Targeting to help advertisers tap into its feature phones user base

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Facebook has introduced a new ad unit called bandwidth targeting that lets advertisers use the Ad Create tool, Power Editor and the API to develop and target ads based on the quality of the Facebook user’s network connection. This ad unit has been rolled out globally, though the primary focus is towards emerging nations like India where adoption of data plans is low and feature phones account for a much larger share of the market than smartphones.

Apparently, Vodafone is already testing bandwidth targeting ads in India, claims this The Economic Times report.

Earlier this year Facebook started testing a new ad type in India that allowed users to place missed calls to an advertiser by clicking on an ad on their mobile phones, and receive additional content like cricket scores and celebrity messages among others. At the time Facebook had claimed that 66% of its users in India are on feature phones as of May 2014. Also, an IDC report released in August revealed that while there were 18.42 million smartphones shipments in India in Q2 2014, the feature phone market still accounted for 71% of the total mobile phone shipments for the quarter in India.

It’s worth noting that India is the largest market for Facebook outside the United States with a user base of 100 million. However, it is not a significant revenue market for the company. While the company has never disclosed how much money it makes in India or what the country specific ARPU is, Facebook’s Asia Pacific ARPU was only $1.08 for Q2 2014, marginally up from $0.93 for Q1 2014, which was the second lowest among other regions. In comparison, Facebook has an ARPU of $6.44 in US & Canada and $2.84 in Europe.

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Earlier this year, Facebook allowed advertisers to distribute ads based on the user’s device, operating system, and the software version. This allowed the advertisers to seed the right form of advertisement that would work on a user’s existing device.

Over the last three quarters the share of mobile advertising in Facebook’s overall ad revenue has been on a uptrend. In Q4 2013 it accounted for 53% of Facebook’s ad revenue, in Q1 2014 it increased to 59% and in Q2 2014 is stood at 62%.

Earlier developments

– Along with the missed calls-based ad format, Facebook had also introduced state-level targeting for Indian advertisers, wherein advertisers can target people by state or even multiple states in India without having to list multiple cities.

– In July, Facebook signed its first ad agency deal in India with WPP’s media and marketing company GroupM.

– Facebook acquired Bangalore-based mobile app performance monitoring company Little Eye Labs in January; its first acquisition in India.

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