Are Brands Shifting Ad Dollars After Cambridge Analytica?

Are Brands Shifting Ad Dollars After Cambridge Analytica?

Where Facebook stands

An interview with:
Angela Yang
Director, Connections
T3

Following the Cambridge Analytica data revelations and Mark Zuckerberg's appearance on Capitol Hill, brand marketers are taking stock of their Facebook campaigns and social media marketing mix. eMarketer's Sean Creamer spoke with Angela Yang, director of connections at advertising agency T3, about marketers possibly altering their social budgets, and the lessons to be learned in the aftermath. Yang was interviewed as part of eMarketer's June report (available to eMarketer PRO subscribers), "Changes to Facebook Advertising After Cambridge Analytica: What's Happening with Usage, Advertising and Data Privacy."

eMarketer:

Has there been a drop in engagement on Facebook since the Cambridge Analytica revelations?

Angela Yang:

We haven't seen a ton of change in metrics from what we observed in previous quarters, whether it's reach or clicks. It'll be a little bit longer until we see a marked change in engagement.

eMarketer:

It sounds like it's business as usual in regard to user behavior, but are clients asking about channel performance in light of the headlines?

Angela Yang:

We had clients ask us to obtain past channel performance across all the campaigns we ran for them. It sounded like senior management at these companies wanted to know what's being done about the issue. The attitude right now is, "Now what? How are we thinking beyond just Facebook?"

The attitude right now is, 'Now what? How are we thinking beyond just Facebook?'

eMarketer:

Are there any plans to move ad dollars to other platforms?

Angela Yang:

We've done some evaluations of what platforms are better for engagement and reach. For instance, we're talking internally about how we can roll Snapchat into a more evergreen, unpaid strategy. We're having those discussions about Twitter as well, knowing video performs very well there.

If we see other platforms perform well in particular situations, we're more likely to incorporate them into the mix.

eMarketer:

What about Instagram?

Angela Yang:

While brands might be a little hesitant to use Facebook, I don't foresee Instagram outpacing the investment that we have with Facebook. Historically, for us, Instagram has not been a strong performer for particular objectives. There is more top-of-funnel usage instead of intent-based or conversion-based traffic or app installs. But Instagram is still definitely in the mix.

eMarketer:

To get in better standing with marketers, do you think Facebook will mimic Google's quarterly report on all of its flagged and blocked content?

Angela Yang:

Facebook is doing more developer reviews and creating blacklists of those who don't fall in line or have been banned from the platform. We've seen a couple of applications come under fire because of that.

Facebook could continue to do something similar—maybe they'll curate a list of third-party app developers that aren't following the guidelines. That way, there is more awareness of where consumer data might be going. But I don't know if Facebook would publish this.

Marketers should be prepared to take a look at other platforms that can complement what Facebook does so well within the social channel mix.

eMarketer:

What else is Facebook doing to protect itself from further scrutiny?

Angela Yang:

Facebook domain verification is on our radar. They put it into place in 2017 to ensure that ads are actually linking back to a website and there's ownership over the content on that site. It was originally for publishers, but as of this May they extended it to brands. Without it, brands can't edit the appearance of linked content. We've heard rumblings they may face ad delivery penalties, but have yet to see that happen.

eMarketer:

What are the takeaways for marketers after the revelations?

Angela Yang:

First, everyone is taking a closer look at all the campaigns they're running to ensure they're in line with Facebook's changes to the platform. Second, marketers should be prepared to take a look at other platforms that can complement what Facebook does so well within the social channel mix.

Finally, it's important for everyone to consider their audience's data and think about how they can create a better digital ecosystem. Marketers need to ensure that the data is something they truly own, it's actually usable and it's ready to be leveraged within the social context. These aspects will be very important for us in the next couple of months.

Interview conducted on May 8, 2018