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Facebook: ‘Social and data has led to the renaissance of the brand manager’

The creative use of social and data in conjunction by marketers has led to the “renaissance of the brand manager”, according to the head of Facebook’s EMEA creative shop Rob Newlan.

Facebook EcoSport Ford

Rob Newlan, the head of Facebook’s EMEA creative shop, says a Ford EcoSport campaign is an example of a recent data-driven Facebook campaign.

The use of data and targeting across the industry – and on Facebook using tools such as Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences - to inform campaigns in real time, rather than just report on them at the end has led to the brand manager resurgence, Newlan told Marketing Week.

“In data we are seeing the renaissance of the brand manager who want to be all over data because of what it provides but with respect to people’s time and personal space.

Newlan said he has seen a “huge evolution” in storytelling and the quality of marketing on the platform in the past two years – moving from a time when social was treated as a different and experimental budget to becoming part of major brand building campaigns that could potentially become Cannes Lions award winners next year.

A recent example of creativity, he said, was a campaign by Ford which saw the car marque launch its Eco Sport model exclusively on Facebook, using News Feed ads to attract people to a landing page to configure and reserve their car. In fewer than three weeks, all 500 cars had sold out across Europe.

Another case study of using data as a starting point was a campaign from Crest White Strips in the US that targeted sisters of people getting married, Newlan said.

Newlan said these examples highlight how there is “no way a blueprint for creativity” on Facebook.

“Sometimes it’s about taking an exciting piece of data and a micro-insight and using sophisticated targeting as a creative launchpad…as people get more and more comfortable in formats and experimenting and using other targeting and insights we will see more and more examples.

“We want science [on Facebook] to not just be something other people do at the end when you get a report. We want it to be something designated and used as a launch platform for creative,” he added.

Newlan said the work he is most proud of from brands on Facebook is “impression based” rather than posts that deliberately look to ratchet up thousands of interactions via likes and shares.

He said: “This [‘like this post if you’re happy it’s Friday’-type content from  brands] is not meaningful. We understand the value of an impression – likes and shares do add to that but [in the street] you don’t bash a poster to say it’s important to you. We need to shift away from that. A number of big advertisers have and that should hopefully really cut through to the organisations that are not.”

In the UK, Facebook attracted 25 million daily active users in its fourth quarter to December 2013, up 4 per cent on its second quarter. Of that number, 21 million users visited daily on their mobiles, up 5 per cent on the second quarter.

Facebook says its shift towards mobile in the UK over the last six months is outpacing overall internet growth (3 per cent), according to eMarketer figures.

The social network marked its first $1bn mobile ad revenue quarter in the three months ending December, equal to 53 per cent of its total advertising revenue. 

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