Zenith Optimedia projects that digital ad spending in Brazil will
be $1.2 billion this year, and the social networks are competing
with Google and portals such as UOL, Globo and Terra for a slice of
the pie. And while Facebook in the U.S. is known to be vying for TV dollars, it faces a
still more herculean task in Brazil, where TV is predicted to
account for 69.4% of ad spending this year and holding steady,
compared with 38.4% and falling in the U.S.
"I always say we have two Super Bowls per week in Brazil," said
Fabio Saad, online-media director of DDB Brasil, referring
to the soccer matches and soap operas that captivate the nation. He
noted that most Facebook spending has been carved out from digital
and CRM budgets.
But Facebook's Latin America sales chief, Alexandre Hohagen—a
Google vet who in 2011 opened the Sao Paulo office, which has about
50 staffers—says Facebook's reach is persuading marketers to
shift money there from traditional media.
"This is a big country, so there's a lot of opportunity to
migrate revenue from one medium to another," he said.
While Facebook has recently been making the case in the States
that Twitter isn't TV's only second
screen, it may have an easier time doing so in Brazil, where
38% of Facebook users surveyed in an August study co-authored by
ComScore reported checking the site while watching TV "all of the
time" or "most of the time."
Mr. Hohagen's team has been able to turn the connection between
Facebook and TV into a revenue opportunity. For example, last fall
its monthly ad spending 10% to run an intensive two-day campaign
for its Seda shampoo brand timed to coincide with the finale of the
soap opera "Avenida Brasil." Creative was connected to the show,
with text like, "Today is the last appearance of our dear Isis in
the show. :( We will miss her."
And Facebook's log-out ad—its nearest equivalent to a
home-page takeover—has had
"massive adoption" in Brazil, according to Mr. Hohagen, who said it
sold out in Brazil in December.
It was he who suggested the product to Facebook's Silicon Valley
engineers in 2011, and their first reaction was that "no one logs
out," he said. He then pointed out the propensity of Brazilians to
log out from public computers at cyber cafes and universities.
"If you go to an emerging market, the number of people logging
out is huge," he said.
Meanwhile, Twitter is essentially a newcomer to Brazil and has
had limited advertiser adoption, because agencies had previously
needed to route their buys through the U.S. and pay a premium in
taxes on top of them. Its Brazilian user numbers are also hard to
gauge, since ComScore's most recent report of 9.2 million monthly
uniques doesn't include mobile.
Twitter's Brazil manager, Guilherme Ribenboim, said his team
will focus strategically on the underdeveloped mobile market, since
Twitter's retention of mobile users is better than on desktop.
(Smartphone penetration in Brazil will be just 23.3% this year,
according to Zenith Optimedia.) It will also look to enter into
strategic partnerships with local mobile carriers.
"They're a very important part of the ecosystem to get users to
access data and, consequently, Twitter," he said.