Dentsu's new DEI lead is a familiar voice around the industry: Kai Deveraux Lawson. Dentsu announced today that it has hired Lawson as svp, diversity, equity and inclusion for the network's creative operations in the Americas. Under Dentsu's reorganization, the company has integrated its creative agency capabilities under Dentsu Creative, which includes agencies 360i, Dentsu...
Facebook went from a college-networking site into a $70 billion digital-ad machine by cultivating close relationships with top marketers and the agencies that manage their multibillion-dollar budgets.
The company developed its ad business gradually and sold marketers on a cheap product with unprecedented growth and scale.
It hired executives away from Google and mimicked its approach by dedicating teams to individual brands and agencies.
The 2011 hire of Carolyn Everson and her development of Facebook's exclusive client council and Marketing Partners groups further cemented its status as an indispensable ad tool.
Facebook also used industry events like Cannes and CES, as well as ski trips, to develop personal connections without the flashier perks offered by TV-network salespeople.
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In just over 15 years, Facebook has grown from a college-networking site into a $70 billion digital-ad machine.
Facebook achieved this unprecedented growth in large part by developing deep relationships with some of the big brands — like Coca-Cola, Starbucks, and Verizon — that are boycotting its platform, as well as the ad agencies that hold the keys to their multibillion-dollar budgets.
A Facebook spokeswoman said, without going into detail, that this story mischaracterized "some elements about the history of our business."
"We have a proven track record of working in close partnership with the advertising industry and together will continue to focus on what's ahead," she said.
Facebook sold advertisers on scale
Facebook made itself indispensable by selling sheer scale — even as advertisers complained it wasn't transparent enough with its data.
In 2008 and 2010, Facebook hired away two key executives from its rival Google: Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Chief Revenue Officer David Fischer. In 2011, it hired former MTV and Microsoft sales executive Carolyn Everson, who became the face of the company's ad business as vice president of global marketing solutions.
Everson cozied up to ad agencies
Facebook created teams dedicated to specific agencies and clients called global marketing solutions. Everson started Facebook's client council and the Facebook Marketing Partners program, which brought advertisers and company leadership closer together.
The client council is a group of marketers and agency executives with outsize influence over Facebook's advertising business, and it has since expanded to include regional and specialty units around the world. The Marketing Partners are companies that have been certified by Facebook as experts in using its ad products.
"The development of the client council created a 'club' that informed advertisers but effectively sold Facebook innovation and insulated Facebook when issues like reporting errors cropped up," said Rob Norman, an adviser to GroupM, the largest ad-buying network.
People involved in both groups signed nondisclosure agreements — which Facebook said is standard industry practice — in exchange for an early look at Facebook features and ad tools before public release. CEO Mark Zuckerberg attended the first council meeting in 2011 via videoconference. Members got a hoodie and T-shirt, which mimicked Zuckerberg's de facto uniform, as swag.
A former holding-company executive said Facebook used the council to shape press coverage, explaining problems to clients in a positive way and encouraging members to be sources for reporters.
"Carolyn changed the understanding of agencies as second-class citizens at Facebook," Craig Atkinson, the chief client officer at digital agency Tinuiti, said.
Agency executives said while Google's sales pitch was based on numbers, Everson's appeal was more emotional. When Facebook went through crises over inflated video metrics, data privacy, and hate speech, Everson was there to reassure clients and do damage control.
"Does Carolyn need to be as close as possible to me and others? Absolutely," a holding-company executive who has been involved in several calls about the boycott said. "If I didn't know her, I would be attacking her."
Facebook went straight to company CMOs
Along with agencies, Facebook also went directly to advertisers.
Chris Cox, Facebook's vice president of product at the time, and other executives met with Unilever's marketing team in May 2010. It was the first time Facebook had reached out to a major advertiser without an agency present, and ad execs feared the platform would threaten their livelihoods.
Matt Britton, the CEO of the consumer-intelligence firm Suzy and founder of the digital agency MRY, said he invited a Facebook rep to a 2011 meeting with Johnson & Johnson and was surprised to see three sales people show up.
"I felt like they were trying to take money away from us," he said. "They needed to get to the source, and the source is the CMO."
Facebook used soft power to woo advertisers
The more time agencies and clients spent with Facebook, the less attention they paid to its competitors. Everson courted advertisers by hosting parties at major industry events like the Cannes Lions festival and CES, where Facebook and Omnicom Media Group cosponsor an invite-only cocktail event every year.
Everson takes industry leaders, like WPP's global chief client officer, each winter on multiday trips to the Deer Valley Ski Resort in Park City, Utah. Attendees can take in screenings of the latest movies, spa treatments, guided mountain tours, skiing sessions, and dinners in Park City every night, a media buyer who has been on these trips said. Everson also regularly invites a small number of the most important executives, like holding-company CEOs, to her home in Beaver Creek, Colorado.
The former CEO of a holding-company agency said she never accepted these invites because she didn't want to feel obligated to direct her clients' money toward Facebook. But Everson found other ways to cater to executives like her, by hosting events with the professional women's group Fast Forward and inviting clients and agency leads to attend with a friend.
Facebook turned off its spigot as it became a major ad player
Facebook's pitch to advertisers paid off early on — in 2006, the holding company IPG spent $5 million to acquire o.4% of the company.
Facebook sealed the deal with advertisers by hooking them with the ability to reach audiences at minimal expense, then charging them for that reach.
During Facebook's first marketing conference at New York's American Museum of Natural History in February 2012, Sandberg and Everson announced new premium ad products and guaranteed that a majority of brands' fans would see their messages — for a cost.
Clients realized they'd spent millions to acquire fans that they were only "renting."
"They flipped the switch, and there was Carolyn ready to take your money," the CEO of the holding company agency said.
Facebook went public less than three months later.
By this point, advertisers had little choice but to work with the biggest social platform. General Motors' chief marketing officer announced that his company would stop advertising on Facebook and found himself out of a job by the end of the year.
Facebook's business has shifted toward small advertisers
Even as they demanded more accountability from Facebook, big advertisers poured money into multiyear deals that gave them preferential pricing and access to new ad formats. Publicis Groupe pledged to put $500 million into Facebook in 2014, AdAge reported at the time. Two years later, the snack giant Mondelez bumped up its spend in 52 countries.
Agencies and clients tried to get an in with Facebook by taking part in projects like its mid-2010s "clean room" program that let firms and clients access internal anonymized data on ad campaigns, as long as that information stayed within Facebook's walls. Omnicom was the first holding company to participate.
A Facebook spokeswoman said this was a pilot program that didn't confer any special advantage. An Omnicom spokeswoman declined to comment.
At the same time, Facebook let anyone run ads on the platform, which made it hard for big brands and agencies to gain a strategic edge.
As the recent boycott has underscored, Facebook depends more on small and midsize advertisers than on big agencies and their clients. The 100 top-spending advertisers represent just 6% of its annual revenue.
And those smaller companies continue to spend, while major firms like Dentsu's 360i and IPG Mediabrands have actively encouraged clients to join the boycott.
Several people said the boycott was a way for execs to express years of frustration with Zuckerberg and his team over their lack of transparency, among other issues. But Facebook wouldn't have become the juggernaut it is today without their help.SEE ALSO: The 19 advertising execs who wield the most power and sway over Facebook
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AppsFlyer, the global leader in mobile attribution and marketing analytics, today announced the global launch of its Solutions Partner Program for Agencies (SPP).The program enables global and regional advertising agency partners to enhance delivery for their brand clients through dedicated training and certification.While navigating the complexities of deploying and effectively using best-in-class technology, many AppsFlyer customers look to their agency partners to help guide them across multiple disciplines where data makes an impact on their budgets and business decisions Martech News.AppsFlyer’s Solutions Partner Program provides agencies with the ability to learn and validate knowledge and expertise in mobile and channel marketing, as well as AppsFlyer platform capabilities.Solutions Partners are also able to gain exclusive access to AppsFlyer products for their clients.“In 2019 alone, AppsFlyer customers made $20 billion worth of decisions leveraging AppsFlyer technology,” said Daniel Kahtan, Senior Director of Global Agency Alliances, AppsFlyer.“We are in a unique position to support agency partners in driving positive performance and unlocking new sources of growth for mutual brand clients.We will continue to prioritize and support agency professionals with education around best practices so that they are well equipped to advise clients about developing data-driven digital strategies Martech.”AppsFlyer’s certified solutions partners have completed advanced training and developed in-depth expertise.The following agency partners have qualified as proficient platform users and mobile experts:360i (United States)Adways (Japan)CyberAgent (Japan)i-Cherry (Brazil)M Saatchi Performance (India, Singapore, United Kingdom, United States)MediaCom (United Kingdom)Merkle (United Kingdom)Mindshare (United Kingdom & United States)Omega Media (Vietnam)PMAX (Vietnam)Reprise (South Africa)Septeni (Japan)Yodel Mobile (United Kingdom)“For 360i, going from micro tech implementation to macro strategic thinking and learning how to guide clients when it comes to the attribution that informs larger marketing decisions is mission critical,” said Vladimir Golinder, Vice President, Head of Media Technology, 360i.
CANNES, France—When HBO launched its ambitious and intricately crafted Alexa voice skill, Westworld: The Maze, the game immediately raised the bar of interactive audio to a completely new level.Today, in what is admittedly one of the less surprising moments at this Cannes Lions, the project from agency 360i was honored with the Radio and Audio Grand Prix at the creative festival.“This is completely pushing the boundaries,” said jury president Jose Miguel Sokoloff, CCO of MullenLowe Group U.K. “It’s got game play, it can only happen if you talk to it, it’s voice-activated, it talks back to you.It takes you on a journey.Every piece of sound, if you listen to it with headphones, you feel like you’re actually in this world.Shortly before the win was announced, Adweek sat down with 360i CCO Menno Kluin and chief strategy officer Raig Adolfo to learn how “Westworld: The Maze” came together.
Comscore is on the hunt for a CEO yet again after a Sunday night shakeup that saw the resignations of CEO Bryan Wiener—over what he called “irreconcilable differences”—and president Sarah Hofstetter.The board named Dale Fuller its interim CEO but has no plans to fill Hofstetter’s position.In addition to those exits, the measurement company has named three new board members, whose appointments are effective Monday: Irwin Gotlieb, Joanne Bradford and Kathi Love.The company is searching for a permanent CEO and said it will consider both external and internal candidates.It has been a privilege to be part of Comscore and to work with so many talented professionals who have been the driving force behind the company’s transformation.”Fuller, the new interim CEO, served as a director since March 2018 and chaired Comscore’s audit committee since last April.
With media companies urgently seeking more accurate methods of measurement across all platforms, Sarah Hofstetter clearly has her work cut out for her.The Comscore president oversees commercial strategy, direct sales and marketing efforts at the cross-platform measurement company.She joined in October from 360i, where she had worked for more than a decade.Adweek caught up with Hofstetter at its Brandweek: Challenger Brands event earlier this month, and chatted with her about how she views her company’s mission, the challenges associated with measurement and how she sees it changing this year and beyond.Adweek: What does measurement look like in 2019 and how does Comscore keep up as viewing habits change?There were certain companies that were really good at measuring digital and certain ones that were good at measuring TV and certain ones that were good at measuring radio.
Ultimately, these new CEOs need to solve the mess that is TV measurement as viewing gets more fragmented.The media measurement giants Nielsen and Comscore have hired big shots from the digital agency and marketing worlds to help them restore the business' credibility and solve the messy TV measurement problem.Nielsen just hired ex-IBM exec David Kenny, who succeeded Mitch Barns, a 20-year vet of Nielsen.And in April, Comscore named 360i chairman Bryan Wiener to be its chief executive, succeeding its cofounder Gian Fulgoni."You've got two people who are very experienced at making advertising work, not justifications," said Dave Morgan, founder and CEO of Simulmedia.Its stock has plunged and it's reviewing its options under activist shareholder pressure.
United Airlines announced it’s expanding its partnership with Dentsu Aegis Network, handing the holding company lead global media and social duties following a review launched this summer.Carat will run media planning and buying on the account, with Merkle handling targeted marketing and 360i running social media.The airline’s creative agency of record is Dentsu-owned mcgarrybowen, which retained the account in 2016 after a closed review.“We’re very proud to have secured the role as the media AOR partner for United Airlines,” Dentsu Aegis Network Americas CEO Nick Brien said in a statement.“This global appointment expands on mcgarrybowen’s long-standing creative relationship with United Airlines across every marketing touchpoint from big creative ideas to social media to targeted media.”Parties close to the matter told Adweek that United managed the review process internally and that mcgarrybowen played a critical role in bringing the client and its new media agency partners together.
Cross-platform measurement company ComScore has hired its second former 360i executive in less than a year as it attempts to assert a more prominent place in the media landscape alongside rivals like Nielsen.Sarah Hofstetter joins the company as president, effective Oct. 4.She reports directly to CEO Bryan Wiener, who worked alongside her at 360i for 13 years before leaving to lead ComScore in April.“Something I have done over and over again in my career is finding out where the opportunities are and coming in early enough to help shape [them],” Hofestetter told Adweek today.“ComScore has all the right ingredients in place.”While Nielsen continues to dominate the TV ratings game, Wiener said in April that “there’s a hole in terms of cross-platform.” ComScore now aims to provide that service for advertisers and publishers alike with a series of new products such as Cross Platform and Campaign Ratings, which launched this month and includes “unduplicated campaign measurement” across linear TV as well as network OTT content and Hulu streamed on various devices.
A top executive at Omnicom’s OMD has made the move to 360i, as the Dentsu Aegis Network company looks to expand its media capabilities.Later this month, Doug Rozen will become 360i’s first chief media officer, reporting directly to Jared Belsky, who was promoted to CEO in April.Rozen previously led OMD’s digital and innovation efforts, overseeing several divisions within the agency including Mobile, Social and Create as well as gaming unit Zero Code and Ignition Factory, which focuses on adopting and adapting to the latest tech trends.He also helped manage several major accounts such as Hasbro, Wells Fargo and Apple.“As our Media practice has continued to scale, this was the right time to bring on a well-rounded and highly motivated leader to fully focus on this area of the business and help our Media teams continue to deliver the best solutions in the business,” said Belsky, who cited Rozen’s “data expertise, technological and innovation orientation, publisher knowledge and business acumen.”While 360i is perhaps best known for its SEO, digital and social media services, media planning and buying also provides a major share of the agency’s revenues.