Facebook’s new vertical by vertical approach to building marketing solutions

Facebook’s latest Collections posts with “Want” and “Collect” buttons for users to add products to wishlists on their Timelines are a promising new opportunity for retailers. It reflects the social network’s new approach to building marketing products that serve specific verticals.

At the IAB Mixx Conference in New York last week, Facebook Vice President of Global Marketing Solutions Carolyn Everson spoke about how the company has reorganized its teams to focus on different business categories.

“From a solutions perspective, the most important thing to do is understand what a marketer wants to achieve and tailor solutions and find out what they need to do that,” she said. “We’re increasingly doing that by vertical, which has been a shift for us.”

Facebook has sales and marketing staff dedicated to retail, e-commerce, automotive, CPG/beverage, entertainment, travel, mobile/finance, tech/socialcom and gaming, according to listings on its Careers page over the past year. Everson leads the sales side, and Facebook Director of Global Vertical Marketing Michael Fox oversees the marketing side.

Everson noted that this model is similar to other professional services firms which organize by vertical. She said Facebook aspires to play an advisory role for brands and other advertisers so it needs to understand the objectives in each market. For example, mobile carriers care most about branding, new customers and churn. “I need all my people working on those accounts to know that cold,” she said.

With a better grasp of the unique opportunities and challenges of different verticals, Facebook can develop more effective marketing products. For instance, offers and collections address retailers’ needs. The new mobile app ads allow mobile developers to precisely reach their target audience. Facebook Exchange is a strong direct response channel for travel companies, e-commerce sites and others.

Everson suggested that more solutions were on the way, but made it clear that Facebook is learning along with its partners and advertisers.

“We are a very new platform,” she said. “None of us in our careers have ever seen a platform with 950 million users.”

When a reporter asked about GM pulling its ad spend, Everson confirmed that the auto company is still not advertising on Facebook but the two companies are “working incredibly closely.” She said Facebook has a team in Detroit meeting with GM every week. Until Facebook can deliver results for GM, Everson says, she doesn’t want them to spend money on advertising.

“When they spend, I want them shouting from the mountain tops that we’re their best marketing partners and they can’t live without us.”

In addition to creating value by vertical, Everson said Facebook is looking to build marketing and advertising products that cover each stage of the purchase funnel. Facebook Exchange brings in a new retargeting opportunity and Custom Audience targeting allows businesses to reach different groups of consumers based on CRM data. And with more direct contact with advertisers across industries, Facebook is learning what businesses want and framing its new efforts in familiar terms rather than constantly introducing new vocabulary.

“We’re now speaking in marketers’ language,” Everson said.

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