A few of us were fortunate enough to get a seat at NABS’ first Tuesday Club Talk of 2015 last night in Manchester. And what better way to kick off the year than with EMEA Director of Facebook, Steve Hatch answering questions on his career and the future of technology and advertising? Steve, formerly Chief Executive of WPP’s MEC, was first interviewed by CEO of BJL Nicky Unsworth, then Emma Slater, Deputy MD at MEC, in front of a large audience.
Steve started off the evening by answering questions about his early career. He was generous in dishing out advice for anyone starting out in the advertising and media industries; know yourself, be internally motivated, take risks, and do the jobs no one else wants to do!
Steve spoke about the differences between working in an agency compared to working at Facebook. He said that there are many similarities, for example he still asks the question, “How do I grow the clients’ business?”, but on the other hand he says the rhythm is very different at Facebook. We all know that life in an agency runs at an ever-changing pace. Steve drew similarities between working on a pitch and going to sea(!), with occasional shore leave. The pace at Facebook is apparently much more predictable and steady.
Emma Slater turned the conversation to the future of Facebook. She quizzed Steve on his favourite trends and predictions for the company. Steve mentioned 3 trends: Personalisation, Localisation and Video. Steve shared with us some fascinating stats on personalised online content. He discussed examples of ROI being pushed through the roof off the back of global content being turned into something more local and therefore meaningful to the individual. Lastly, he spoke to us about how important it is for brands to be using video content. Video, and more importantly, the normalisation of video on social media, has exploded over the last 18 months and continues to expand as an accessible medium.
What shone through, was Steve’s love for his workplace and for Facebook as a company more generally. He was very clear in his passion for putting the consumer at the heart of all things, whether it be a creative campaign or Facebook’s latest investment. He fondly spoke about his first day at Facebook when he was handed a book with the words “Facebook was note created to be a company” on the front cover; a constant reminder that everything they do is for the users on their platform rather than for their own commercial gain.
His closing remark for agencies who use Facebook for their clients was that above all, know your client’s business objectives. Likes and shares are just one, often unreliable, way of measuring the success of a social campaign. The evaluation of advertising on Facebook should be holistic, and should chase a business objective like any other type of advertising. Reach is not an effective business strategy, ROI is.
Music to our ears.