Vice President, Global Marketing Solutions
Facebook is no longer positioning itself as just a social media solution. Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s vice president of global marketing solutions, spoke with eMarketer’s Rimma Kats about the key role social advertising and real-time marketing play for the company’s clients, as well as how mobile is constantly opening up opportunities.
eMarketer: Will advertisers see social advertising as a necessary part of the arsenal next year?
Carolyn Everson: Marketers are already seeing advertising in this medium as an essential part of the marketing mix. If I look at our own experience at Facebook, we do business with Advertising Age top 100 advertisers, and we’ve now hit 1 million advertisers working with Facebook. We clearly have conversations and relationships with a large number of marketers, and they see it as a very critical component of their plan.
eMarketer: How big a chunk of digital advertising will social media on mobile get?
Everson: At the end of the day, marketers want to be where consumers are. If consumers are spending an increasing amount of time on digital and particularly mobile, which is growing incredibly quickly, you’re going to start to see budgets shift in those directions.
eMarketer: Facebook does a lot with native advertising. Where do you see it going next year?
“Mark Zuckerberg’s vision is that the marketing is as compelling and engaging as the content you would see from your family and friends.”
Everson: We don’t actually look at it as native advertising, because we think about it from the consumer perspective first. We wanted to create an environment where the content people see from the marketer is as good and as interesting as what they might see from a friend or family member. I remember when I was interviewing at Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg laid out that vision to me, and it was incredibly inspiring. His vision is that the marketing is as compelling and engaging as the content you would see from your family and friends.
That’s how we thought about it, which is to be in an environment where people are spending the majority of their time—in newsfeed. They spend about 50% of their time in newsfeed, 14 times a day, according to International Data Corporation, and we have roughly 1 in 5 minutes of people’s time in mobile in the US.
We think of it very organically; we want people to be able to consume content, and that could be a story from a friend who may have just had a baby, to a marketer’s message, to a news story that’s of interest.
eMarketer: When it comes to real-time marketing, how much social advertising will be created, bought and placed in real time?
Everson: The way we think about real time is much more opportunistic. We believe marketers are going to set aside budgets where they can take advantage of trends they’re seeing on a real-time basis.
For example, take Nestlé’s KITKAT brand. When Felix Baumgartner was doing his jump and trying to break the sound barrier on behalf of Red Bull a little over a year ago, his jump was delayed because of the weather. KITKAT’s agency, JW Key, thought it was a really compelling opportunity to go to the KITKAT CMO and say, “What if we offered Felix a break from gravity—because that’s KITKAT’s brand mantra—and what if we actually launched a KITKAT from space?” That’s what I define as an opportunistic marketing opportunity.
[KITKAT] looked at what was happening in the moment and in culture, realized there was a great way to tie in the brand to that moment, and launched something very quickly.
Marketers are going to need the flexibility to be able to react to those moments. I also think the cadence of creativity, which is how often creative gets developed and how quickly you can adjust the creative, is going to be increasingly important.
“The cadence of creativity, which is how often creative gets developed and how quickly you can adjust the creative, is going to be increasingly important.”
eMarketer: What are the challenges that marketers need to overcome when it comes to real-time marketing?
Everson: I think it’s a very different way of working—there’s a lot of processing that needs to be rethought. There’s a basic dynamic of having budgets available in an opportunistic way, which would lend itself to not committing all of the budgets up front or locking it in for the year ahead and having virtually no money available to take advantage of these opportunities. It is important to make budgets more available—or at least set aside money.
The second is your creative process. The creative industry was built on a premise that you would get a creative brief, you’d have some time to work through that brief, you’d be able to do your storyboards, and eventually you might create your 30-second spot or your print campaign, and that campaign would run over a certain amount of time. [Real time is very different.]
There are implications in terms of how quickly we can respond in terms of the media buying. We have marketers on Facebook that if they see one of their posts is getting a lot of attention and traction, they want to put money behind that to boost it even further. Yes, you have money set aside, but you also have people in place who are looking at those trends and looking at what is actually getting some engagement and then putting additional paid media behind it.
eMarketer: How much will Facebook disrupt the ad exchange business?
Everson: We think about it as Facebook is the preferred option to reach targeted audiences at scale, so our value proposition is compelling for marketers because we release daily numbers. That is very important because we can reach a significant audience every single day. So the opportunity for an auto company that may have had a consumer looking at Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds.com or maybe even doing something custom on its own site—knowing it is likely to find that consumer today on Facebook is a really compelling value proposition.
eMarketer: Facebook made significant changes, which spoke to the advertising community. What can we expect next year?
Everson: If you think about Facebook and what we offer from an earned media perspective—that remains important in the eyes of marketers when you have social context around what fans and friends of fans are doing. However, they have opened the aperture to realize that we actually are starting to, and are able to, deliver incredible targeted reach at scale, which is a very different and larger conversation than we’ve had in in the past.
“There are implications in terms of how quickly we can respond in terms of the media buying.”
eMarketer: Will budgets grow in 2014 in terms of paid social media in advertising?
Everson: Clients willing to invest in brand-building objectives are already starting to look at Facebook with a much wider lens beyond the social media lens—and really see Facebook as a formidable marketing partner to meet their business objectives.
eMarketer: What other trends in paid social advertising do you see rising in importance next year?
Everson: The scale on mobile has achieved such a high level that brands are looking at mobile as a true brand-building platform. That’s a very important driver of how we think about our business and our opportunity to be an indispensable business partner to our marketers because we’ve got incredible scale in the mobile environment. It’s where consumers are spending more of their time. Mobile is the first screen, and I think it’s the most important screen, which means it’s going to be used for virtually every aspect of the marketing funnel—from brand building all the way to driving very specific direct-response objectives.