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Feature Phone Ads Hold Strong in Latin America

Feature phones take 27% of mobile ad impressions

Roughly three-quarters of mobile phone users in Latin America will be feature phone users this year, eMarketer estimates. Reflecting that sizeable user base, the October 2013 StartMeApp “AdSMART Quarterly Report Q3 2013” found that over a quarter of the mobile ad impressions it served in the region during those three months were shown on feature phones. By contrast, only 14% of ad impressions served worldwide went to the basic mobile device.

eMarketer estimates the number of mobile phone users in Latin America will grow 3.2% during 2013 to reach 414.7 million. Meanwhile, the base of smartphone users will expand by 43.6% to reach 111.6 million.

Also in sync with the region’s fast-paced smartphone adoption trajectory, StartMeApp records showed that feature phones are quickly being phased out of mobile advertising. According to the ad network founded in Argentina and with headquarters in London, as many as 43% of the impressions it served in Latin America during 2012 landed on a feature phone. By Q2 2013 that figure had dropped to 30%, with a further 3 percentage point reduction the following quarter. Meanwhile, the share of mobile ads served to smartphones and tablets experienced 9 and 7 percentage point gains, respectively, between 2012 and Q3 2013.

While the share of mobile ad impressions served via smartphones (63%) in Latin America in the past quarter will likely grow further as feature phone users pick up advanced device thanks to a widening entry level smartphone offer, the region was still well behind Asia-Pacific (73%) , Europe (79%) and North America (77%) in the category during Q3 2013.

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