Currently a lot of the ad formats used on Facebook simply do not work in emerging markets. Consumers in countries across Africa and Asia typically access the internet on mobile devices with 2G networks and data is relatively more expensive. That means hot new formats such as video simply don’t work because they take up too much bandwidth.
That is why Facebook is launching ‘Slideshow’. It allows brands to take between three and seven photos which it then autoplays so it looks like a normal video. Facebook says these files are up to five times smaller than a video of the same length.
Facebook has been trialling the format with a number of advertisers. Coca-Cola, for example, ran a video ad in Kenya and Nigeria to raise awareness of the new season if its show Coke Studio Africa.
It reached more than 2 million people – double its target – and led to a 10-point uplift in brand awareness, according to Facebook.
“We recognise 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,” says Ahmed Rady, marketing director for Coca-Cola Central, East and West Africa.
Speaking at an event in London yesterday (29 October), Facebook’s product marketing manager for emerging markets Brendan Sullivan said the format is aimed at dealing with some of the big challenges brands face in reaching consumers in emerging markets.
“It is our responsibility to minimise the challenges on the advertiser side,” he explained.
However the format also has uses beyond emerging markets. For example, small and medium-sized businesses that perhaps don’t have the capability to create high quality video ads will now be able to do so simply by taking pictures. Facebook also has a stock library brands can use it.
The hope is brands will also “hack” the feature, he said, to find ways it will work for them.
For example Netflix in the US has used it to introduce characters in its new series The Walt Longmire Mysteries while O Boticario, a Brazilian make-up brand, used it to create an instructional cosmetics video.
Other use cases could include testing out ideas for new video campaigns to see if they work before committing budget to them or being able to create video ads quickly to react to recent news or events.