Out of the 200 million inhabitants of the Dark Continent, if as many as 100 million show preference for a social media platform like Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), shouldn’t it be regarded as an achievement? Under the circumstances, it is but natural to boast of user growth figures and use it as leverage to improve its market share. Another reason for the company to be proud is the fact that it echoes the management’s commitment to render the platform more accessible and useful to people in emerging markets.
What is unique is the fact that as many as 80% of the 100 million users access Facebook via mobile devices, something that Nicola Mendelsohn, who is an EMEA VP with the company acknowledged when he said –
“People in high-growth countries want to be connected to the world around them. In countries such as South Africa, Nigeria, Turkey, and elsewhere, mobile devices are increasingly the way people find new information, and share their new experiences in the world. We also know that people will experience Facebook in unique ways across the world, especially in high-growth regions like Africa.”
Now the question remains as to how Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) can best tap into this growing market’s potential and it has already begun applying various strategies in place, the foremost amongst which was the introduction of an app for Zambian users that enabled them to Facebook, Google, Wikipedia and other websites free of charge. This was followed by the more recent bandwidth targeting and is likely to pave the way for an ad format based on ‘missed call’.
Having applied a similar format in India which is still under experimentation, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) intends to tweak the same format to enhance its suitability for the African market. With its growth gradually tapering off in USA, this is a good opportunity for Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) to tap the seemingly huge potential of the African market which so far has not contributed much to the company’s revenue.
That this will be an uphill task is something that the company realizes as is expressed by Mendelsohn –
“We know we have lot of work ahead of us, but we have a great team in place focusing on this effort. We are partnering with clients and agencies to test these mobile-first solutions and work together to deliver rich brand messages at lower data costs through solutions such as bandwidth targeting or new products.”
This article has been written by Vinita Basu.
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