‘They don’t tell us what’s coming’: Candid thoughts from European marketers on Facebook and other platforms

Brand marketers continue to wrestle with how to best distribute their ads on social platforms without becoming beholden to them.

During a closed-door session at Digiday Brand Summit Europe in Monte Carlo this week, held under Chatham House rules, brand marketers discussed common challenges and frustrations when it comes to figuring out how to deal with algorithm changes, and creating content plans around new product launches that come out of the blue. They also discussed how Instagram, rather than Snapchat is the platform du jour. Here’s a sample of what was said:

Coping with Facebook algorithm changes
“When Facebook changed its algorithm, our content flatlined, so we have moved from them being our first or second priority to not using them at all. It’s all about how to work with the platforms without relying on them or being beholden to them.”

“I’m pushing Facebook to find a more open and transparent way of measuring what they do. I think there is a lot more they need to do, and I’d like to see them work with others in the industry to come up with a more unified way of measuring.”

“They don’t want to tell you how their algorithm works, so you have to navigate around that. Facebook isn’t going to tell you — they will pretend they don’t know, like it’s a magic secret like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, but they do know.”

“Twitter, and more recently Facebook, have been much more accommodating about how to help us make the best creative that performs well on their platforms.”

“Facebook has definitely opened the door more to us in the last year or so.”

“Google is far more streamlined in its approach to produce releases, whereas Facebook can suddenly produce 30 products all at once and you don’t know how to use any of them.”

IGTV teething problems
“IGTV just sort of landed and no one [brand advertisers] really knows quite what to do with it.”

“They don’t tell you what’s coming up. I found out about IGTV about two days before it launched. I was like why didn’t you come to me six months before to tell me it was happening — then we could have developed a content plan for the year to build that out. So at the moment, we haven’t experimented with IGTV, because they’re not proactive in telling us about it.”

“Even though Snapchat revenue is in decline, they were a lot better at teaching brands how to use it. With Instagram, that’s not the case, so people [brand advertisers] are resistant to diving into IGTV unless they have loads of resource and time. So the format is there but, no one really has figured it out.”

Bad news for Snapchat
“Snapchat has no place at all on our marketing plans.”

“We steer clear of Snapchat entirely. The reach and engagement on Instagram is so much better.”

“We don’t have the means to create content that disappears every 24 hours; we want to focus on creating content that lasts.”

“Advertising performance on Twitch is amazing.”

“Twitch is interesting; they’re on my radar.”


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