Facebook is now officially eyeing the MENA video market, as it transpired in a recent day-long event it held in Dubai last week as part of its video roadshow, held under the theme “Sight, Sound and Motion” at Marina Mall’s Reel Cinemas theater.
Opening the talk was Matthew Corbin, Facebook’s global agency lead, who asserts that people have gradually gotten accustomed to video and auto-plays in their Facebook newsfeed – people being the operative word. “In most scenarios in other media, you can really target based on age, gender and other factors. Facebook sits uniquely in the capability of targeting people,” he says, adding that there are three pillars supporting the platform’s video offering, of which the most important are “bringing brands to life at the center of discovery” and “reaching people with the right relevant creative”. “One of the powerful things about Facebook is the notion that because we do have people, because we do have their true identity, we can connect that back and really start doing storytelling,” he explains.
Facebook video helped Beyonce, apparently
Supporting his statements, Corbin gives the example of Beyonce, whose managers recently worked with Facebook to release a teaser snippet of one of her music videos. “The interesting part is that she put it [the video snippet] up on our platform and also on YouTube. Within the first four hours of being up on Facebook, Beyonce got 2.4 million views. That’s massive. On YouTube, she got 7,000 views;” not that he’s trying to make a YouTube versus Facebook comparison, he asserts, but, rather, showing “that YouTube is a search engine where discovery is happening on Facebook. Additionally, it drives results. Beyonce was able to reach 11 million people, and over 130,000 tickets were sold just because of this video initiative,” he’d go as far as saying.
Everything is competing with everything
This might seem like a rather confrontational comparison from Corbin, but an understandable one given that, today, “everything competes with everything”, according to Mark D’Arcy, VP, chief creative officer at Facebook Creative Shop, Facebook. Everywhere in the world, people have access to all information generated pretty much everywhere else in the world. “From an entertainment standpoint, our content is now competing with all content ever made anytime for people’s attention,” D’Arcy says.
Respect people’s time, attention span or lack thereof
As marketers, creative people, media planners and strategists undergo fundamental shifts in what they do for a living, they must understand that people are in a completely different position to choose where they spend their time and attention. D’Arcy had been in the business for quite a while before he figured out what advertising actually meant: “to advert attention. For a long time, that’s been an excellent model for advertising. I think that is a losing battle, long term.”
Rather than disrupting experiences and “coming up with new ways to blow up websites and have popups, we need to really look at targeting as a thing of service to the people,” he explains. In this regard, brands need to build everything around manifesting their service, purpose or philosophy through their advertising. “We need to respect people’s time. Those of us that spend the time we do on Facebook use it for very meaningful experiences. Do we think because we’re rich, because we’re powerful, because we’re marketers, that we have the right to disrupt people? i think that’s a losing battle.”
So, what works?
“What’s the best ad on Facebook? That’s a question i would ask somebody with my title. We really need to start thinking about the breadth and adversity of people who are on the platform and how different they are. The best ad on Facebook is the best ad for each of those people. I am not suggesting we go make 1.35 billion ads a month, but the premise is correct,” says D’Arcy, adding, on a more philosophical note: “Facebook doesn’t exist in the absolute. Every one of the Facebooks you have in your pocket is unique to you.” On a less philosophical notes, he invites agencies in the region to take part of the Facebook Studio Awards, which were launched by the network around three years ago. “And the reason we built these is because there was no spotlight really shining a light on the different things people were doing on Facebook.”
As broad as the eye can see
“Creatively, we all talk about big campaigns, big movements, big campaigns. But big ideas are more powerful when they are delivered at more eye level to people as individuals. And the more we can do that, the more we can take a broader concept and make it of personal relevance,” says D’Arcy, giving several examples of Facebook-centric and Facebook-successful campaigns. Below are some of them:
Nescafe’s “Really Friends”
Coca-Cola’s controversial “America The Beautiful”
And Musee de la Grande Guerre’s “Facebook 1914” campaign, which followed the what-could-have-been life of French warrior Leon Vivien if Facebook had existed back in 1914: