Facebook to target emerging markets with ads tailored to connection speeds

Facebook to target emerging markets with ads tailored to connection speeds

Equality for all is a utopian ideal, but Facebook has plans to treat its users differently depending on where in the world they are. Specifically, the social network plans to change the way adverts are delivered to people based upon the speed of their internet connection. In a blog post drearily entitled "In High-Growth Countries, Reaching People Based on How they Connect", product marketing manager Brendan Sullivan reveals details of the plans which will make better use of available bandwidth.

Facebook has analyzed internet usage in developing, growing nations, and determined that the majority of people in these areas get online via mobile networks. The speed of connections can vary greatly from place to place leading to a huge variation in experiences. Mark Zuckerberg is already involved in projects designed to help get more people online, but the company is also concerned about keeping advertisers happy. "High-growth countries" offer great potential for income streams, and companies need to be sure that their ads are being seen by the people they target.

Rather than responding to users' concerns, the new initiative sees Facebook responding to advertisers' requests for "the ability to segment based on network connection type would help them create better ad experiences". What does this mean in practice? As the blog post points out, trying to deliver a video ad to someone accessing Facebook on their phone with a 2G connection is going to be a fruitless exercise -- few people are going to hang about and wait for the video to load. Instead, Facebook plans to detect the speed of the connection that is in use and deliver picture ads or even just a link if it is found to be slow. It allows advertisers to avoid advertising products and services that require a higher speed connection to people in areas with poor internet speeds.

It's something that's already being used to great effect by Vodafone in India. Senior Vice President, Brand Communication, Insights and Online, Ronita Mitra said: "We are excited about the new mobile targeting option on Facebook which allows us sharper targeting to a relevant audience. We hope to see more such technology innovations across the industry".

The "bandwidth targeting" feature is available to use now with the Ad Create tool, Power Editor and the API. To allay any concerns about privacy, Facebook emphasizes the fact that any data used in ad targeting is completely anonymized.

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