11 November 2013 - 4:37pm | posted by | 4 comments

MMA: Brands are underestimating mobile opportunities in Latin America, says Telefonica’s global ad sales chief

MMA: Brands are underestimating mobile opportunities in Latin America, says Telefonica’s global ad sales chiefMMA: Brands are underestimating mobile opportunities in Latin America,

Brands are underestimating the mobile ad opportunities in Latin America, a continent in which mobile consumption is rocketing, according to Telefonica’s director of global ad sales Simon Birkenhead.

Speaking at the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) forum in London today, for which The Drum is media partner, Birkenhead said brands must look to tap into the mobile market in Latin America, where consumers have a more welcoming attitude to mobile ads than those in Europe or North America.

The number of people using smartphones across Latin America is set to double by 2017, while 38 per cent of Latin Americans are positive towards mobile ads, compared to 11 per cent in Europe and 19 per cent in North America, according to Birkenhead.

“Mobile advertising in Latin America is expected to grow faster than any other region, because of the cultural attitude to mobile advertising and people using their phones. But there are still a lot of myths to dispel.

“Marketers presume that Latin America is not ready for mobile advertising because it hasn’t taken up online advertising as much – but that’s not the case, the audience is ready for mobile,” he said.

He also said that a mobile-first strategy is even more important for brands looking to branch into the ad space in Latin America.

Mobile internet penetration is currently about 20 per cent in Latin America, but this is set to change “dramatically” in the coming years, according to Birkenhead.

“By 2015 about 35 per cent of internet users will be mobile only. That’s very different to Europe where everyone uses more of a mix [of devices]. Many don’t have broadband at home so their first experience will be mobile,” he said.

He also said that that the current land-grab occurring in the programmatic space, best illustrated by the increasingly complex number of suppliers depicted in the well-known lumarscape, has not reached Latin America.

“These companies haven’t even started launching in Latin America yet and it is likely that the winners of this battleground in Europe will be the ones that launch there, and the result is that it will get mobile ad tech right first time,” he added.

He also agreed with earlier MMA speaker – Google’s director of mobile and social ad sales Ian Carrington – who said the role of mobile is not being properly recognised in the overall path to purchase, which means it is losing out on necessary investment.


13 Nov 2013 - 11:16

The overall message here is right but using "Latin America" as a catch-all term is a little problematic. This is a region of nearly 600 million people, in over 20 countries, speaking Spanish and Portugese with massive variations in disposable income and other economic factors that affect mobile adoption and usage. It's true that mobile data and smartphone adoption is growing really fast but there's such wide variations between and within countries and even within cities that you need to really understand those differences to be successful. For example Mexico City has a population of nearly 20m people - the commercial centre feels like any major developed city and mobile is all about high end Android, LTE, iPads etc... but 3km away there are major urban areas with barely usable 2G coverage and people spend <$3 a month. In summary understand your market!

13 Nov 2013 - 11:34


13 Nov 2013 - 12:53
mobil15361's picture

Good to know mobile changes in Latin America. I wish they could come up with advanced technology... Thanks for sharing... Mobilecruze.com

19 Nov 2013 - 14:01
eldes72427's picture

I agree that using "Latim America" to define this market is problematic. Brazil is home to more than one third of all mobile users in Latin America. Mobile penetration is upward of 132% (where 46% of the devices are smartphones) and still growing by about 7% annually and mobile broadband accounts for 42% of all broadband access in Brazil. Your campaigns and mobile actions should consider "Latim America" (countries where spanish rules) and Brazil (portuguese) as different markets.


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