The Facebook Global Opportunities Brands Ignore

Facebook has announced the acquisition of mobile messaging app WhatsApp for $19 billion, providing one more avenue for search marketers to reach a global audience on the platform. As more search marketers continue to take on the responsibility of social and mobile marketing for their respective companies, here are the numbers from Marin Software released Thursday.

The data suggests marketers in search of growth opportunities should target ads to Facebook members outside North America. Most advertisers focus on reaching Facebook's North American members, but opportunities exist elsewhere. Marin predicts the global share of Facebook users will fall from 15% to 12% by 2015. Although eighty-five percent of Facebook members live outside North America -- however, according, to a report only 52% of the budgets spent on ad targeting gets earmarked for regions outside North America.

About 15% of Facebook members call North America home, and this accounts for 48% of Facebook advertising spend, per Marin. The company compiled the report from its global client's aggregate advertising spend data for about $6 billion annually on digital advertising, as well as publicly available reports.

It appears that Asia-Pacific will become the most promising region in 2014 for brands, per the study. It has more Facebook users by volume than any other market, but captures a mere 11% of ad spend, five times less than North America. Spend is also relatively low in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, and Eastern Europe.

Latin America leads all other international markets in Facebook user ad engagement. Not only does the region have the world's highest percentage of Facebook penetration of Internet users at 66%, it also generates the highest Facebook ad click-through-rates (CTR) -- about 33% higher than North America and 54% higher than Western European markets.

The study also theorizes on obvious reasons why brands under invest in markets outside of North America. One points to an under-established global market for many brands operating in the region, while the other suggests brand marketers traditionally underestimate the potential business value in marketing to Facebook users outside of the region.

"Holding Hands Across the Globe" photo from Shutterstock.

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