Facebook's Free Basics campaign, aimed at providing developing regions with slow Internet connections free access to basic Internet services, is now getting monetized. The $240 billion company is building a new advertising program while trying to bring in the next billion people into its social media portal.
In a press release on Thursday, Facebook officially announced Facebook Slideshow, a new advertising model targeted for regions with slow Internet connections. Facebook argues that the growth of online video consumption makes users want to engage with more video content, which includes ads.
"A recent report suggests that in countries like Nigeria and the Philippines where connectivity can be slow, expensive or both and where feature phones are prevalent, people are even more receptive to video ads," Facebook elaborates.
However, no matter how engaging a video is, it would fall victim to slow Internet connectivity. Moreover, video ad production, with the budget needed, is often not feasible for small local businesses. Facebook addresses this problem with its introduction of Slideshow, playing lightweight content made using a series of still images.
"We found that a 15-second slideshow can be up to 5x smaller in file size than a video of the same length," Facebook reports.
Facebook also streamlined the process for making Slideshow ads. All that's really needed from the advertiser are three to seven stills. Once the images are uploaded or selected from Facebook's own library, setting the video length at five to 15 seconds concludes the procedure.
Note that there will be no audio for slideshows. Facebook sees this as a "new way to tell brand stories to people everywhere."
The Coca-Cola company is one of the first to use the new advertising model, which was field tested in Kenya. Facebook claims that through Slideshow, the carbonated drinks maker was able to reach out to and inform two million people of its new show, "Coke Studio Africa."
"The campaign over-delivered on reach by one million and had a 10 point increase in ad awareness in Kenya," said Ahmed Rady, Coca-Cola's marketing director for West, East and Africa.
Slideshow ads is expected to charge less per view than video ads, but is also assumed to cost more than plain text ads.