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Facebook Wants to Show More Video Ads in Africa, India

Facebook now has video-like slideshow ads.

Steven Sinofsky

Facebook loves video content — specifically video ads — and now it’s looking for ways to get video ads in front of people who might have trouble viewing them. Namely, people in emerging markets where Wi-Fi is crummy.

To do this, the social network rolled out a new ad product called “Slideshows” on Thursday that’s exactly what it sounds like: A photo slideshow, created by a brand, that works on all devices and connectivity levels that Facebook users might be using, including 2G and 3G networks common throughout India, South America and Southeast Asia.


The idea is that while traditional video ads popular in the United States are tough to load in emerging markets, Slideshows are not. A 15-second slideshow ad is five times smaller than a traditional video ad of the same length, according to Facebook’s blog post. And while you could debate whether a slideshow is actually a video, it is video-like, and probably more engaging than the static images most advertisers typically use.

The point of all this is simple. Facebook is growing quickly in places like India, where Wi-Fi and mobile networks are weak, and it wants a way to make money from those markets. Video ads are typically more lucrative for Facebook than a static image, so it’s reasonable to assume a slideshow ad offers a similar bump in ad costs.

The new product comes just a day after CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke in India, defending Facebook’s initiative, with which the company is trying to bring wireless Internet to the masses. That effort is often presented by Facebook as a humanitarian effort — Zuckerberg said yesterday that it was our “moral responsibility” to get the world connected — but it’s abundantly clear that universal Internet access also benefits Facebook’s bottom line. The more people who are online, the more people who can join Facebook.

The ad, which also works in markets where Wi-Fi is stellar (like the U.S.), is available beginning today. Facebook also has plans to bring the same slideshow format to Instagram in the future.

This article originally appeared on

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