Facebook is targeting its ads based on cell signals

To reach consumers in emerging markets and remote locations, Facebook Inc. is getting smarter about how it’s targeting its ads.

Advertisers now have the ability to target their ads on Facebook, based on their audiences’ cell signal strength when they log into Facebook from their phones. This means they can ensure their video ads only reach people whose phones have enough signal strength to be able to watch them, according to a story in Ad Age. Advertisers will also be able to target ads with third-party apps on Facebook’s mobile network as well.

For example, that might mean sending video ads to people with 4G connections, and just text-based ads to someone on a 2G network – something that isn’t solely handy in developed markets, but can be a huge boon for marketers looking to reach people in places like India and Thailand, where cell reception tends to be weaker.

This is also an important capability for Facebook itself. While the U.S., Canada, and Europe account for about 72 per cent of Facebook’s ad revenue, the number of people checking in on Facebook from those regions only make up about 38 per cent of its user base.

However, a lot of the social network’s other users live in developing markets, and their number is rapidly growing – and many of them aren’t using smartphones. Sixty-six per cent of India’s Facebook users are checking in through feature phones, rather than smart mobile devices that can handle more bandwidth-heavy activity like video playback. As part of its efforts to reach this demographic, Facebook launched the Facebook for Every Phone project last year, allowing marketers to target ads to low-end devices like feature phones.

Not reaching out to India, Thailand, and countries with a similar number of people using feature phones could mean leaving a lot of money on the table, for both Facebook and marketers – so this latest way of targeting ads could help both the social network and advertisers with making strides in these markets.

Candice So
Candice So
Candice is a graduate of Carleton University and has worked in several newsrooms as a freelance reporter and intern, including the Edmonton Journal, the Ottawa Citizen, the Globe and Mail, and the Windsor Star. Candice is a dog lover and a coffee drinker.

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