This post is also available in: Spanish
Study after study indicates that there’s a major mobile migration happening in Latin America, with a big projected growth in device adoption, mobile Internet use and m-commerce. But mobile media buying in the region still offers some challenges. That’s why we put together this basic guide about the key factors to factor in when buying mobile media in Latam.
#1: Mobile Web Versus Applications
Mobile ads run in two basic areas: mobile internet and apps. Mobile internet means the mobile versions of Web sites that people go to by using their mobile phones or tablets. And mobile ads are also sold on apps like Facebook, Deezer and Preguntados. It’s a matter of context, i.e. seeing an ad on the mobile version of a Web site like you would when you go to the site with a PC or laptop or seeing an ad while using an app, maybe an interstitial video or banner that comes up before you start a new game of Candy Crush, for example. You also have to factor in different metrics. With mobile Internet the metrics are similar to those of a regular online campaign but with apps you have to look at average daily users, how much time people spend using the app, their demographic group, etc.
Although apps have gained a lot of ground in Latin America, there are some disadvantages for media buyers and planners. First, not all of these apps run ads. For instance, WhatsApp doesn’t run ads, even though it’s used by 61% of mobile users in Latin America, according to GlobalWebIndex.
Second, apps don’t seem to have ultra-heavy penetration (90% or more) among Latam mobile users. We just saw that WhatsApp, though very popular, only reaches 61% of mobile users in the region. And if we look at a specific market like Argentina, we see that the Facebook app is the country’s most popular app—yet it’s only been downloaded by 76% of mobile users. So you have to factor in that penetration issue when buying in-app ads.
Third, if you buy in-app ads from an ad exchange just to get at the most inventory you can, since you’re not buying directly, the spend may not be as cost-efficient as you—or the client—would like.
#2: Feature Phones Versus Smartphones
When you run a mobile campaign in Latin America, you have to factor in the type of device. Feature phones are still used by quite a bit of people. According to eMarketer’s estimates, out of the 400 million mobile users in Latin America, there are 194 million mobile users in Latin America that use their mobile phones to go online…and these are obviously who can see mobile ads. Of these 194 million, 126 million or so have smartphones, while about 68 million still use feature phones to access the Internet. Given this, you may want to consider putting around 30% of the spend towards ads served on feature phones. Without this, you may not see optimal reach or fulfillment.
#3: Tablets Are Far From Universal
Emarketer estimates that there is a 32% penetration rate for smartphones in Latin America. No surprise here, especially given that smartphone sales have been strong for years. And even if tablets have also sold well in Latam, their sales don’t stack up to those of smartphones. For example, in Q2 2014 tablet sales in Mexico went up by 107% to reach 1.8 million. Great, but in the same period Mexicans bought 6.7 million smartphones. In Q3 2014, Brazilians bought more than 2 million tablets and it’s projected that they will buy more than 10 million in all of 2014. Yet just in Q3 2014 more than 15 million smartphones were sold in Brazil—and it’s projected that 2014 smartphone sales in Brazil will top 55 million. As such, this factor of 4 or 5 in sales volume difference between smartphones and tablets should be considered when you buy mobile ads in Latin America. Unlike smartphones, tablets allow for the same type of display ads that can be viewed on a PC or laptop because tablet screens allow the same web page to be displayed with the same ad formats. This allows for additional segmentation without major modifications of the elements used in a digital campaign.
#4: Not All Sites Are Ready for Mobile
Before running a mobile ad campaign for a brand, it’s important for media agencies to find out the following about the site where the mobile ads will take users:
- Does the site have a responsive design that allows it to be viewed well with a mobile device?
- Does the site have short, easy to use forms for users to fill out?
- How fast is conversion time for the site?
Without a responsive design for a site, a user will click on the mobile ad and find a site that’s difficult to navigate with their device and probably leave quickly. Or if a brand wants subscribers to a service but has a mobile online form with 10,000 fields or that’s difficult to fill out with a smartphone, the user will probably give up and leave. The same applies if a site doesn’t have a quick and easy purchase process for its product once the mobile ad drives the users there. All of these factors can kill mobile ad performance and believe it or not, lots of brands do not factor this in when deciding to run a mobile ad campaign. This makes a big difference with apps and sites, since ultimately what counts is the user experience and this in turn will have a direct relationship with a campaign’s performance.
THE PROGRAMMATIC ADVANTAGE
Ok, so clearly there are a number of factors to consider when running a mobile ad campaign that can quickly become obstacles.
Fortunately, there’s a way to cut through many of these complications. MediaDesk—the leading programmatic buying platform in Latin America—has put together a substantial mobile ad inventory, and there are several advantages with using MediaDesk’s platform to buy mobile ads:
- A real time bidding (RTB) system that allows for a smarter, more transparent spend
- The ability to buy ads and observe the real cost of impressions during campaigns and adjust pricing as need to deliver greater fulfillment as needed
- Reaching mobile users in Latin America with any type of mobile device or operating system
- Reaching consumers in all levels of their user experience of a brand and being able to compare and analyze in real time the way that consumers react to different messages in different devices (smartphones, feature phones, tablets or PCs)
Contact us to get a free demo of MediaDesk and get a direct sense of the power of mobile programmatic buying.