'Agencies are critical', says Facebook's marketing chief

Carolyn Everson: vice president of global marketing solutions, Facebook
Carolyn Everson: vice president of global marketing solutions, Facebook

Media and creative agencies have a "critical" role to play in Facebook's future plans, according to global marketing leader Carolyn Everson.

Everson, Facebook's vice president of global marketing, said 80% of her time is dedicated to helping both advertisers and agencies understand how to get the best out of the new opportunities unfolding across the social network.

The site's 850 million users around the world have already enabled Facebook to forge strong direct relationships with many global clients, but bonds with agencies are viewed as an essential part of the mix.

Talking about the role of media strategists, Everson said: "Agencies are critical... It is absolutely essential for us to have tight relationships with the agencies, which helps us scale.

"My team compared to most of our competitors – Google or Microsoft – we're smaller, and we're smaller for a reason. We believe it helps us to be more nimble.

"We want to partner with the agencies, we have zero interest in dis-intermediating them. I have a dedicated agency team now that works under me at a global level, and we have folks in each region.

"So we have a team in the UK that focuses exclusively on the agency community. The faster we can make sure that the agency community is not only up to speed but really being strategic advisors to clients the better for our business, because they help us scale."

Talking to Campaign in the week Facebook’s average cost per thousand impressions (CPM) were reported to have increased 41% since Q1 2011 by TBG Digital, Facebook's marketing leader was equally ebullient on the importance in harnessing and inspiring advertising agencies.

Everson said: "We need them in our corner. Creative agencies are critical. The way the creative agency community has to think about this is that for many decades they’ve been thinking about the 30 second spot or the print or the billboard.

"They have to think about Facebook as an open, creative canvas, and their skillset around sparking a conversation is probably a new skillset.

"Creative agencies used to think about why should someone care, they now have to think about why would they care and why would they share?"

Facebook's advertising revenues rose 69% to hit $3,154m (£2bn) in 2011, according to accounts filed for its $5bn initial public offering in February. Advertising was cited as Facebook's driving commercial force, responsible for 85% of its $3.7 billion total revenues last year.

In the filing, Mark Zuckerberg’s social network reported a 42% lift in the number of ads it delivered and an 18% increase in the average price per ad in 2011.

Follow Arif Durrani on Twitter @DurraniMix

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