MPA Digital Conference: Facebook CRO ‘Newspaper Industry Has Been Pretty Forward-Leaning’

Kirkpatrick (left) and Van Natta

In discussing media properties that have taken advantage of Facebook’s applications at today’s MPA Digital Conference Keynote Q&A with David Kirkpatrick, Fortune‘s senior editor, Internet & technology, Owen Van Natta, Facebook’s chief revenue officer, said “the newspaper industry has been pretty forward thinking,” citing The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal as prime examples.

Pressed by Van Natta for more media companies that have used the site effectively, he failed to think of any, saying, “I don’t have great examples of where magazines are taking advantage of it well.”

The key for magazines moving online, according to Van Natta, is for the brands to insert themselves in the dialog that’s already happening on Facebook. “Name the topic, it is being discussed at Facebook … How is it that you take advantage of that?” he asked. “You either disrupt it and get it to move to you Web site — and I’m arguing that that will never happen — or you can enter the dialog in a valuable way.”

Van Natta admitted this was self-interested, but added, “for most magazines, the magazine brand itself isn’t a strong enough itself to get people to [come to a magazine Web site and participate] and to get all their friends to [come to the site].”

The outgoing CRO, who’s leaving Facebook within the next month but wouldn’t divulge any future plans, encouraged magazine brands to be bold. “This movement is not stopping,” he said. “Eventually you’re all going to be doing it.”