Sheryl Sandberg Explains How Creatives Can Make Great Mobile Ads

Examples from Airbnb, Kleenex and Chevrolet

Sheryl Sandberg talked mobile ads at Cannes.
Getty Images

CANNES, France—Five years ago Facebook didn’t have a mobile advertising business. Boy, have things changed since then.

Wieden + Kennedy’s CCO Colleen DeCourcy interviewed Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Airbnb’s CMO Jonathan Mildenhall during a keynote today where Sandberg talked about Facebook’s shift from desktop to mobile and how creatives can make compelling mobile ads. Facebook made $8.03 billion in the first quarter of 2017, with mobile making up 85 percent of revenue.

“We absolutely prioritized our newsfeed and mobile revenue over our desktop revenue and five years later, we have four of the biggest mobile platforms in the world,” Sandberg said. “Organizations don’t move quickly so you often have to overcorrect to get there.”

In addition to slow changes within organizations, agencies also haven’t quickly made mobile a key part of creative presentation. According to W+K’s DeCourcy, mobile is typically talked about in the last 10 minutes of a presentation, after TV, experiential and outdoor.

“Anything you want to shift in your business, you need to shift hard,” Sandberg said.

Mildenhall from Airbnb discussed a campaign that the brand ran last November when it launched its Trips feature that aimed to shift Airbnb’s image toward focusing on experiences outside of the home. His team captured six experiences on Facebook Live in six hours, with comments influencing how the team made the content in real-time.

We Are Here: Paris. Participate in one of our new Airbnb Experiences "Artful Education" with host Anne Marie. #TripsOnAirbnb

Posted by Airbnb on Thursday, November 17, 2016

All told, 6 million people participated in the campaign and lifted brand favorability by 7 point and ad recall by 22 points.

“Mobile is creating the opportunity for real owned experiences to be shared all over the world simultaneously but more importantly to create those real-world experiences on the platform,” Mildenhall said.

Sandberg also asked brands to create mobile video creative that is different from TV and “grabs your attention in the first couple of seconds” that quickly shows the brand.

Chevy recently created a Facebook Messenger bot that doled out tips for sticking with your New Year’s resolutions. The campaign also included 360-degree video and Canvas ads.

Sandberg also said that the advertising industry is, “a little bit stuck in the old metrics because this is an unusual blend of what is art and what is science.”

“What really people care about is, these people saw my ad, these people didn’t—here’s how it drove our business,” Sandberg said.

In another example, Kleenex created an emotional video campaign, resulting in a 4.2 percent increase in new buyers.

A Caring Chorus

We all have a voice inside, and the best teachers help us find it. One group of students took the time to recognize their chorus teacher with a performance she’ll never forget. #ShareKleenexCare

Posted by Kleenex on Thursday, February 18, 2016

“We’re also trying to build tools to get people to test and iterate because that is so important and [we’re] deeply focused on measurement—getting people to measure all the way down the funnel, which is an ability we never had before,” Sandberg said.