Facebook eyes role in media mix

Rachael Micallef
By Rachael Micallef | 13 May 2015

Facebook has been “mobile first” and video-focused for some time, but the platform wants brands and advertisers to follow suit. Facebook head of brand, Brent Annells, told AdNews it is now actively working with brands and creative agencies as it looks to decipher how it works within the media mix and prove it has the success metrics to be competitive.

As part of the push, Annells moved from a role as head of telco, tech and entertainment in February this year, specifically to drive brand partnerships. He said his job is to understand how Facebook works as a specific channel by working with clients. One of the more recent examples of this is its work with the Optus Netflix ad starring Ricky Gervais.

Optus director of active consideration Karen Phipson said the aim of the campaign was to build association between Optus and Netflix – which have a streaming deal – and was distributed entirely through digital channels and primarily through Facebook. In its first 10 days, the campaign reached six million people, 2.8 times. But more importantly, for Facebook and Optus, are the business metrics. In this case, the change in association of Optus and Netflix moved from negligible to 36% over the 10 day period.

“Consumers know Optus as a mobile and broadband brand and with Netflix it was an opportunity to talk less about what we deliver, which is that broadband and mobile service, and more about the benefit of that, which is entertainment,” Phipson said.

We knew people didn't associate us as a big entertainment brand, so it was about saying we are an entertainment platform by showing and not just telling.”

Annells said the latter point is significant for the platform as it looks to find where it fit in terms of a brand's media mix. Despite its foray into video, Annells is adamant it isn't trying to push itself as only a competitor to TV, noting that the News Feed element places Facebook somewhere between TV and outdoor. He also said the platform views itself as something different in the market to digital.

It is this reason why it is focusing on further building the relationships with external partners. Annells said part of changing the view of Facebook as a separate channels means working on the content side, and said he is engaging with creative agencies, rather than media agencies as Facebook did historically.

“We're working with those agencies to show them what best practice looks like and how to create effectively with Facebook,” Annells said. “What we're doing at the moment is working with a range of different brands on different models to see the role it can play.”

Annells said he has one client who is actively testing a video ad that will be on television eventually, but using Facebook only in the first week to “turbo charge reach and frequency”. Another way it is being trialled by some clients is using Facebook after a packaging has been on TV for a while and engagement is starting to skim off, as a way to re-accelerate the campaign.

“There is a lot of attention around what is the right media mix, what is the role of TV and how do different media work together,” Annells said.

“So our approach is to go out, form hypothesis on how we think we can make an impact and test it.”

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