Facebook launches slideshow for video content in emerging markets

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by Sophie Loras

Facebook’s new slideshow image tool will be welcomed by brands that hope to serve up more video content to consumers in emerging markets.

Facebook’s new slideshow video content tool is a win for consumers in emerging markets, for advertisers and for the platform itself, as it seeks to engage its next one billion users, industry experts say.

Beginning today, brands can create 10 to 15 second video advertisements from still images. Audio is not yet available, but an ad can be accompanied by text. It gives consumers accessing the Internet from 2G, 3G, and other feature phones in regions where connectivity is low and data rates are high, better access to quality video content.

Here is an example of slides that make up a Facebook slideshow campaign for Brazilian cosmetic brand O Boticário.

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“Here in APAC, we see a need for it,” says Hong Kong-based Jonathan Nguyen, regional director for Social@Ogilvy. “We already have Facebook Lite for emerging markets, and now they have a way of pushing video ads out there.”

Over the past two years, Facebook has invested heavily into the needs of consumers in emerging markets. It sends staff on field trips to countries like India and has initiated 2G Tuesdays, giving employees the chance to opt-in to a simulated, low-connectivity version of the platform to help test new products.

Statistics presented at a Facebook roundtable shows that 85 percent of the world’s population is in emerging and high growth markets, with 90 percent being under the age 30. These markets are all the more lucrative to advertisers, with 60 percent of GDP growth over the next five years expected to come from these regions. Mobile is playing an essential role, with millions of these consumers coming online as mobile-first and mobile-only Internet users.

India and Indonesia are two of Facebook’s biggest mobile audiences. A study by eMarketer found that by 2018, 168 million people in India will access Facebook via their phones at least once per month, followed by the U.S. at 144 million, and Indonesia at 95 million.

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Jakarta-based Safitri Sri, chief marketing officer of Telkomtelstra, says the global roll out of the slideshow tool is a good move, especially for a market like Indonesia.

Some businesses in Indonesia already target consumers with varying degrees of content, depending on the user’s connectivity. For example, at Telkomtelstra, customers with strong connectivity might be served video content, while others may just get an image. Facebook’s latest move will allow for a more consistent delivery of video content.

“Brands want to access these people, this is a very good offer, not just for brands but for users too,” she says.

Sri says the move will also allow millions of Indonesia’s small business operators to create video campaigns on small budgets to grow their businesses.

Coca-Cola was one of the first brands to test slideshow when it promoted the newest season of Coke Studio Africa across Kenya and Nigeria. The slides were compiled using high-resolution screenshots from a video, and then uploaded in sequence with text. The campaign reached 2 million people – twice the goal – and raised awareness by 10 points.

 

“We recognize that our consumers may have constraints when accessing video content, hence the slideshow option by Facebook is spot on in enabling us to still deliver impactful and quality content,” said Ahmed Rady, marketing director, Coca-Cola Central, East and West Africa.

However, despite slideshow’s early success, Nguyen warns brands not to rush into the new tool just for the sake of it.

“You might have access to this new tool, but it doesn’t mean you can upload 10 grand’s worth of images and upload an ad,” he says. “Go back to what the brand story is and adapt it to the medium, instead of rushing to the medium and trying to work out what you are going to talk about after the fact.”