If you thought the number ‘Zero’ was India’s greatest contribution to the world, think again. You’ll find that placing a call and hanging up after a couple of rings – the act of giving a ‘Missed Call’ – might just beat Zero to it. Why?

Because the Missed Call may well possess the power to further swell Facebook’s profits by adding more Zeros at the end.

Reuters reports that the social media giant is testing a new type of ad format in India that allows mobile phone users to place a “missed call” at the click of a button. The return call then delivers a pre-recorded audio message – from sponsored cricket scores, celebrity updates, shopping discounts etc – to the user, thereby helping minimize data charges billed to the user.

Placing calls and hanging up while it’s ringing is a common practice in India, used as a way to get a friend’s attention or for young people to request a call back from their parents to conserve their mobile minutes.

This unique approach to advertising is said to be Facebook’s first foray into new ad formats tailored to a particular country. If it works, the company will hope to replicate its success in other big markets such as Indonesia, South Africa and Brazil. The “Missed Call” campaign is at present being tested in remote parts of India, and will soon roll out to other parts of the country.

In early tests of the missed call ads by L’Oreal-owned haircare product Garnier Men, the ads led to a 2.5 times year-on-year increase in online sales, according to Facebook.

Kelly MacLean, Facebook’s business lead for emerging markets said in an interview –

There’s an opportunity for us to get much more localized with what we’re building and developing. That’s an area we’re really going to invest in.

Almost 66 percent of India’s mobile users have feature phones, MacLean said. Although Facebook has optimized the ads on its service to work on slower wireless connections in emerging markets, the company still needed to adapt further as more and more advertisers clamored for new ways to reach the hottest emerging markets.

Did any of you get a chance to try this out yet?

Source: Facebook seeks India revenue boost with ‘missed call’ ads

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