With Facebook stock down some 45 percent since its IPO, the company is taking steps to publicize its efforts to grow ad revenue.
For the first time since going public, the company’s Vice President of Marketing Carolyn Everson is talking to the press — clearly looking to get out the word about the company’s strong relationship with the nation’s largest advertisers and its efforts to grow their return on investment. (Related: Who Has Option to Sell Facebook After Lock-Up?)
We talked to Everson on the phone Wednesday and she also spoke to the Wall Street Journal for a profile on the company’s "Push to Woo Big Advertisers."
Everson broadcast a few big messages in our conversation:
1) Companies are on board for Facebook’s big mobile push.
She stressed that some of the biggest brands advertising on Facebook , like Coca-Cola , Nestle, and Unilever , expect their next leg of growth to come from emerging markets.
She pointed to Diageo , which is “experiencing incredible growth in countries like Nigeria and South Africa."
And in those markets people who don’t have access to the Internet, do have mobile phones, with access to Facebook. Everson said the fact that “Facebook is the equivalent of the Internet for many people living in those countries,” means companies are eager to invest in Facebook’s mobile ads.
2) Marketers are willing to re-write the rules with Facebook, Everson says.
While most ads are disruptive — TV commercials interrupt a programming, pop-up ads interrupt articles — she says that advertisers want Facebook messaging to be anything but. In sharp contrast, “Sponsored Stories” are designed to weave seamlessly into the rest of the page.
Everson said brands are telling her “not to fall back into the trap of disruptive advertising,” urging her to stay away from the likes of home page takeovers, and to make sure that the ad experience is “organically woven in.”
3) Facebook is working on measurement and data to assure companies of a return on investment.
Facebook ads face the fundamental challenge of being more focused on brand messaging than instant-response clicks.
Everson said the company’s been focused on return on investment for “quite some time” and that the company has been working with its Client Council to settle on standard methodology of measuring the effectiveness of ads. She and her team have new measurement methodologies for various types of companies, from auto, to consumer products like Unilever and P&Gs. Her biggest tasks: figuring out that ROI number and educating the market.
Facebook gets that investors are concerned about its slowing advertising revenue. The problem: The number of people who see Facebook ads is growing more slowly than its user numbers, thanks to people using Facebook increasingly on mobile devices, where there are fewer ads. (Related: What Should Facebook Do Now?)
In addition to rolling out more ads, the company needs to make sure that all its ad formats are effective. And now the company’s talking so investors will see the promise of growth ahead.
—By CNBC's Julia Boorstin
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