Facebook starts busy week of IAB UK’s Digital Upfronts with ‘Building Connections that Count’

Facebook’s presentation at the Regent Street Cinema in central London served to outline the need for marketers to leverage a range of cutting-edge tools in order to create engaging communications in today’s fragmented media landscape. 

Ed Couchman, Facebook’s Director of Agency Partnerships in the UK, started proceedings by introducing Professor Jenni Romaniuk, Associate Director (International) at the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science, who delivered a powerful presentation about evidence-based marketing.

Following large-scale empirical research, Romaniuk said that evidence tells us that brands grow primarily by penetration and that this has profound implications for marketers. 

“It’s about being easily thought of in buying situations,” she said. “And we need to design advertising for brains that are distracted and only vaguely interested.”

Ian Edwards, Facebook’s Head of Comms Planning, Northern Europe, was up next and pointed in particular to the growth of video, which he said “fundamentally changes how ideas are transmitted.”

Edwards also stressed that maintaining reach necessitates understanding how traditional channels like TV work alongside newer channels such as Facebook. For instance, he said that the use of TV and Facebook together can be “incredibly” powerful for “hard-to-reach, younger audiences”.

Edwards also said that signals about life stage and what he termed ‘category entrance points’ can be leveraged very effectively for marketing purposes, thanks in part to the range of data Facebook has at its fingertips. He outlined the importance of specific moments in the calendar, such as Black Friday, which he described as a ‘juggernaut’ for marketing purposes.  

Finally, to help in the quest for marketers to create what Facebook terms ‘thumb-stopping moments’, he announced that Facebook has recently created PockeTVC which allows clients to optimize TV commercials on Facebook and Instagram.

“Don’t just put your TV assets on our platform,” he urged the audience. “Make sure they are optimised for [in] feed.” 

This morning’s event also served to outline various other tools Facebook is developing to help advertisers to join the dots in the on- and offline worlds.  

These include ‘dynamic ads for retail’ – which connects in-store inventory to Facebook; and ‘offline conversions API’, also still in beta, and which allows marketers to understand when someone has been served content online and then made transaction in store. 

“Cookies fall short in a cross-everything world,” warned Facebook’s Harry Davison, of its Atlas “marketing sciences” offering, who said, too, that clicks are “not a good proxy” for brand results.  

Couchman then returned to the stage, inviting the audience to build “communications that people want to spend time with”. He urged the industry to leverage the dazzling array of opportunities available to digital marketers today. 

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