The Telegraph
Thursday , July 3 , 2014
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Facebook to click on local cash link

Sheryl Sandberg (second from left) at an event of Ficci Ladies Organisation in New Delhi on Wednesday. (PTI)

New Delhi, July 2: Facebook intends to monetise its Indian operations through partnerships with cellular operators, handset makers and brands.

“We have invested heavily in India. India is one of the big bets for us. We are in the process of monetising here,” Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer (COO) of Facebook, said here today. Sandberg is in India and is likely to call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had himself used social media tools, including Facebook, in his election campaigns to a telling effect.

With over 100 million users, India has the second-largest user base for Facebook, after the US. However, the average revenue per user for Facebook in emerging markets such as India is significantly lower than in the US and Canada, which account for just 16 per cent of its global users.

In gross terms, Facebook earned $7.87 billion globally in 2013, while it earned just Rs 75.64 crore from its Indian operations in 2012-2013.

Sandberg, who had worked with the World Bank in India in the 1990s, indicated that Facebook wanted to grow through partnerships with cellular operators, handset makers, brands, non-government organisations and the government. She, however, did not specify how the social networking site would monetise its operations.

Facebook will work on promoting its “missed-call ads” feature among advertisers. Capitalising on the huge number of missed calls made by users in emerging countries such as India, Facebook will place missed-call ads on its mobile websites. Facebook users on mobile will click on an ad and place a missed call to an advertiser. The user will then receive a return call from the brand.

The return call delivers pre-recorded audio messages about everything from sponsored football or cricket scores to mall deals, costing little to the advertiser, nothing for the subscriber and ringing cash registers for Facebook.