| SAN FRANCISCO, July 2
SAN FRANCISCO, July 2 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
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)