GroupM’s Susan Schiekofer: Instagram has a ‘huge growth trajectory’

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Susan Schiekofer, chief digital investment officer at GroupM, runs digital investments at the world’s largest media agency where her focus is purely on the brands. With a successful career that has spanned several decades, Schiekofer has learned that one of the most crucial parts of her job is making sure everyone understands where their content is going.

On this episode Schiekofer discussed how Instagram has gone on a huge growth trajectory this year, potentially overtaking Facebook when it comes to marketer dollars. We also discussed the the ins and outs of the pitch process and why clients still aren’t willing to pay for brand-safe content.

Below are excerpts from our conversation with Schiekofer, edited for clarity.

Sticking with Facebook
“I was speaking to somebody in the industry who had said that the other holding companies were paying attention and were reducing usage. We didn’t find that. We definitely have clients who have had great success with Facebook in terms of building audiences, generating leads, generating sales, and generating brand lift. I would say Instagram especially has been on a huge growth trajectory. I think the chatter around stock and potential users actually hurt Snap more in the past year.”

Keeping ads away from fake news
“Where a lot of the fraud exists is in the fake news. So unless you scrutinize that and make sure that you’re nowhere near it, unless you operate on a whitelist versus a blacklist, you’re going to find your way there. Our clients don’t want to monetize it, and that’s why it’s really important. A lot of the editorial that’s been damaging is because it’s fraud, it’s not true journalism, but clients don’t know they’re monetizing it.”

How the pitch process should work
“I think that at the very beginning there should be a conversation with the auditors, client, and agency together in the room to discuss the template, because we see many different types of templates. As much as in the pitch process the clients say they understand the differences, or the ubiquities of the world say they understand them, it’s not an apples to apples comparison.”

Understanding where impressions come from
“One thing that I think we as an industry need to do is to truly understand what the distribution of impressions is. Because sometimes when you do a buy, some clients think they’re only getting O&O’s, but if there is a certain size of a buy that the O&O can’t fulfill than many of the publishers will go off platform, and clients really need to see the reports for what that looks like.”

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