Looking to increase revenue from emerging markets like India, Facebook has announced that it rolling out a new "missed call" ad service that allows users to easily access information from brands and advertisers without incurring data or voice charges.
The new ad service allows users to place a "missed call" to an advertiser by clicking on the ad block from their mobile devices, which will initiate a return call containing pre-recorded messages. The messages can be anything from brand adverts, cricket scores, messages from Bollywood celebrities, information on product discounts, sales and much more.
Although the missed call model is followed by most carriers in the country, this is the first time a social network like Facebook has implemented the service. By allowing customers to register their interest by placing a missed call, Facebook has the potential to deliver ads to a much wider audience, at the same time ensuring that its users do not accrue any data and voice charges.
Even though Facebook has 100 million users in India, the amount of revenue it generates is significantly lesser when compared to countries like the United States, Canada and the UK. A likely reason for this is due to the slow proliferation of 3G services and the high tariffs involved therein.
A majority of Facebook's users in India use feature phones that lack touchscreens and the ability to access 3G networks. As such, the social network has optimised its ads to run on slow wireless connections, and worked with carriers in the country to bundle unlimited Facebook access to users who do not have a dedicated data connection.
Currently, Facebook is testing out the missed call service with a limited user-set, with intentions of rolling it out to a wider audience in the coming months.
Indian users, would you be interested in using this feature? Do you think Facebook will be successful in its endeavour?
More coverage: Reuters