Of all the people globally on the internet, about half of them, nearly 1.5 billion, are on Facebook. The question for Facebook is how it and its advertisers will reach what it calls the next billion people, who will often be coming online for the first time, often only on mobile, and often on a slower 2G connection.
Facebook has hit user saturation in its core developed world markets. A strong way to boost revenue is for Facebook to make ads work better in emerging markets with older technology. But video, the hottest ad format, takes too much data for people with low-bandwidth connections to watch.
Now the company is offering a new ad unit that marketers can use to reach users in developing markets with slower connections. Facebook’s newest ad format, “Slideshow” could address this conundrum. Slideshow is an ad format that takes three to seven photos and auto-plays them as a slideshow with transitions so it looks like a normal video but can quickly load on any connection or device. The videos can be set to slide quicker or slower, lasting five to fifteen seconds, though they don’t include sound. Compared to a video of the same length, Facebook says Slideshow file sizes can be up to 5X smaller, which means they will start playing much sooner.
Marketers including Coca-Cola and Netflix have tested the format, which is available globally now.
Facebook says that Slideshow is now available but will be rolling out over the coming weeks to Power Editor and Ads Manager. There is no additional cost to use the tool.
It will likely be available as an ad option on Instagram. There was also a suggestion that Slideshow might be available in the future to create organic posts. That’s still being determined (though assume yes).
At the event, Facebook said that more than half of its revenue comes from non-North American markets and that the next two billion users will come from places where the dominant form of internet access is mobile but on slow connections.
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