How Facebook Targets Ads Globally Based on Users’ Phones

Coca-Cola, Durex and Nestlé adjust for slower devices

How do you get the word out about Durex in Indonesia or Coca-Cola in Kenya? How does Nestlé target consumers in rural India?

The challenges of serving ads in emerging countries are different than in more mature markets like the United States and Europe. So this week, Facebook launched a program for the top worldwide agencies to learn about advertising in less developed areas—it's called the Creative Accelerator. For now, Facebook says, the program is not for small businesses and independent retailers. It's for the Cokes of the world to learn how to build ads that work on phones running on slower networks in far-flung lands.

The creative program includes agencies like McCann, Publicis and Omnicom, working with brands like Durex, Samsung and Axe to build campaigns that can run no matter what device a consumer is using or at what speed.

"Technical limitation is not a limitation of cultural sophistication," said Mark D'Arcy, head of Facebook's creative shop. "Creativity is not limited by the bandwidth or by any one phone a person owns."

The creative program puts Facebook's team on the ground overseas to work directly with local offices of the agencies and brands. Together, they set up campaigns that send video ads to users on faster networks and photos to users on flip phones, among other targeting tactics.

The international market is a key area for Facebook's growth. In a program unrelated to the Creative Accelerator, the company is trying to connect the next billion people through its program, which hooks people up online but does not feature ad experiences.

Also, with 1.4 billion monthly users, 436 million of them are from countries outside North America, Europe and Asia. That's almost a third of its audience. Meanwhile, only about 10 percent of its revenue comes from outside more developed markets.  

Here's a look at how Durex, Coca-Cola and Nestlé ran Facebook ads overseas, according to a new report from the social network:


Country: Indonesia

Goal: Target consumers with a message that showed condoms are more than for safety. The message was to make "love pleasurable."

Targeting: They built the creative to run on low-end smartphones and flip phones and changed the copy for men and women.

Results: 25-point lift in ad recall, 4-point boost in purchase intent, and 3-point lift in brand recommendation


Country: Kenya

Goal: Spread the word about happiness and sharing a coke, a classic theme from the soda company.

Targeting: Flip phones are most dominant in the African nation, and the types of devices and networks people use are diverse. The campaign shared photos with Kenyans of their fellow citizens drinking a Coke and included the hashtag Kenyan Happiness, prompting people to share their own photos and continue to spread the message. The campaign also hit ex-pats and tourists in the country.


Country: India

Goal: Increase sales of Everyday Dairy Whitener, a creamer, and for the first time present it as a direct rival to milk for use in tea or coffee.

Targeting: They went after people 18 years old and older in cities with video ads because of faster bandwidths and better phones. In the rural northeast part of India, they went with photos to accommodate lower-end phones and slower connections.