Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg Talks With Charlie Rose, Marc Andreessen

By Jennifer Moire 

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg spoke of the importance that mobile will play in the social network’s evolution in a wide-ranging interview with board member Marc Andreessen and talk-show host Charlie Rose Tuesday at IAB MIXX, the annual event held during Advertising Week 2012 in New York, and the interview was broadcast via the Facebook Marketing Talks live channel.

Many of the topics — Facebook’s initial public offering, corporate missteps, and future — mirrored what Sandberg was asked in her interview with CNBC Monday.

Here’s a look at the key topics from the conversation:

Mobile Meets Social Advertising

Andreessen started off the mobile discussion by noting that, “Marketing money is trapped on the wrong side of the online digital transaction. Most advertisers haven’t moved over yet.”

Sandberg added that as users move to platforms, so do advertisers — a concept she first learned at Google. The problem is that most marketing is being done to anonymous users, which is where Facebook comes in:

Businesses can relate to consumers in a way they haven’t done before. The consumer has an average of 130 friends. Mobile is a huge opportunity for Facebook. There are about to be 5 billion phones. The engagement opportunities are much, much, much higher. The average mobile user is 20 percent more likely to come back on a given day.

She added that Facebook has been testing what the format of those ads should look like based on user engagement with advertising and non-advertising content in the news feed.

Sandberg and Andreessen each explained what social advertising means in terms of content and effectiveness. Sandberg noted:

Ad recall is two times greater and brand awareness is 30 times higher. This year is all about showing advertisers the value in social advertising.

Andreessen added that the, “best advertising counts as content.” When you buy Vogue, you buy for the ads, he shared. The same is true for the Super Bowl.

Each tech leader emphasized that mobile presents an opportunity to intersect with more people in the course of their everyday life, which will ultimately prove more meaningful to advertisers.

Sandberg said that it’s been proven that it’s better to get recommendations from friends than from the crowd:

The real key is to integrate social ads into everyday life.

As an example, she cited Best Western, which created a Facebook application that allowed users to create dream vacations and share them with friends and family on Facebook. Sales went up 20 percent year-to-year, which the company attributes to the Facebook campaign.

Future Facebook Products

Andreessen noted that it will take decades for smartphones to play out, saying that we are “going to a level of ubiquity we’ve never had before, and have them constantly at our fingertips.”

Sandberg listed a few of the new products that users can expect from Facebook, especially in the area of ecommerce.

We are increasing our investment in monetization. The primary focus on advertising is in mobile. Since the IPO, we rolled out mobile app ads. There there will be a huge ecosystem around mobile apps.

She added that Facebook is also focusing on things that will help advertisers connect to the right customer at the right time, citing the recent rollouts of Facebook Exchange and custom audiences.

The introduction of Facebook Gifts last week, she said, is part of a broader category of new products that the company is considering.

Biggest Facebook Misconceptions

Sandberg and Andreessen ran down a list of some of the biggest misconceptions about the company. According to Sandberg:

All online marketing is not the same thing.

We are absolutely not selling user information. We don’t make more money when you share more, and we don’t give your information to marketers.

We are not building a phone. We do want to be on every mobile device carried on everyone’s phone.  We are the No. 1 free downloaded app on iOS and Android.

Finally, Rose asked Sandberg to respond to the rumors that she may head back to Washington to serve as treasury secretary, and she replied:

I love my job, and I’m staying. What excites me is that we have 950 million people on Facebook, and those people share. Facebook changes your life.

Readers: Were there any topics you would have liked to see Sandberg address?