How Facebook and Its Brand Customers Are Tackling Emerging Markets by Going Low-Tech

June 12th, 2015

Facebook is well aware that if it wants to continue its amazing growth, it needs mobile-connected consumers in emerging markets — and it needs to help brands connect to those consumers.

That’s why Facebook recently started rolling out a Lite version of its app in countries across Asia, and parts of Latin America, Africa and Europe. Designed to load quickly on slow networks, Facebook Lite lets people post updates and photos, scroll through their newsfeeds and receive notifications; they just can’t watch video.

The social network also launched the Creative Accelerator program back in March to help brands and agencies connect with people through personal storytelling in South Africa, Kenya, Indonesia and Turkey.

A couple of success stories from the accelerator program involve Coca-Cola in Kenya and Nestle in India, Facebook recently posted on its business blog.

Coca-Cola launched a photo ad campaign in Kenya to spread a locally relevant message of happiness. Compared to similar photo ad campaigns in Kenya, ad recall increased by 18 percent.

In India, Nestle’s “Everyday’s Theatre in a Cup” campaign targeted people in rural and metro areas using photo or video ads, depending on the person’s device and connection speed. Compared to similar campaigns in that region, brand awareness increased by 9 percent.

A couple of takeaways via Facebook:

  • Build for everyone, not just the people with high-end devices
  • Respect people’s bandwidth and network connection. Develop still images and text content for those accessing Facebook on weaker connections

Uber has also taken a low-tech approach in emerging markets. In May, Uber added cash as an option for payment on a trial basis in Hyderbad, India.

“Indians are more comfortable paying in cash,” an Uber spokesperson told Quartz. “We are in the process of understanding the potential and we are currently testing it out in Hyderabad. As we look to expand operations in India, we have understood that cash payments will be a crucial factor in driving that growth.