‘Facebook is collaborating with partners in trying to figure out the kind of internet we want to build for the future’
Political ads on Facebook are transparent and you can see any political ad, and see all of the advertising done to whichever cohorts
Sandeep Bhushan is director and head, global marketing solutions (GMS) at Facebook India. In an interview, he spoke about how Facebook is helping fight fake news and help brands leverage the power of the digital medium. Edited excerpts:
What is Facebook India’s vision for the coming decade?
We’re working with governments across the world on what is, for example, the right way for political ads. Political ads on Facebook are transparent and you can see any political ad, and see all of the advertising done to whichever cohorts. And I think the whole piece of standards across all aspects of the internet, meaning what should be privacy standards, for example, we are partners in that discussion. We are certainly in agreement that there needs to be great privacy, and greater regulation. We are also collaborating a lot with partners, stakeholders and the government, trying to figure out the kind of internet that we want to build for the future—a safe internet. What should be great behaviour on the Internet? For example, on Instagram, we run very specific programmes to look at anti-bullying. It is an issue that needs to be tackled.
What are some of the key trends you’ve seen on the Facebook family of apps?
The biggest trend is that both users on our platform, and their engagement on all our platforms continues to increase. According to our data, 400 million people access WhatsApp every month, 328 million people access Facebook every month while 195 million active users access Facebook daily. We have 60% of returning users on Facebook and if you look at the overall ecosystem of behaviour of consumers, to be going back almost 60% every day means engagement is very deep.
In what manner are you working with brands on the digital medium?
We work with partners, whether it’s measurement partners like Nielsen, the best creative agencies from WPP such as Ogilvy or with the Dentsu Aegis Network to figure what is now the whole set of tools that can be given to marketers so that they can make the transition smoothly. The question is how to bring TV and digital all together. So we’ve taken help from global leaders who are present in India. That’s Nielsen, Kantar, Oglivy and we have put together all of the fundamentals today that a brand needs to now bring it all together to be effective on mobile, because consumers have gone mobile.
Do you think millennials are moving away from Facebook to Instagram?
It’s not so, we are finding that over the last 2-3 years, much less replacement is happening, more addition is happening. Look at your behaviour as compared to two years ago, how many apps are we using today? Millennials are digitally native and they are able to play the portfolio far more. Think of food ordering, for example, they know where to go for food, they don’t even like, think twice for that and therefore they’re able to use every aspect of the internet in more ways and therefore, we see increased expression everywhere. So, we’re adding more and more use cases to the internet.
In your opinion, how do brands build in 2020 and beyond?
Brands absolutely have to reboot. In fact, take again your objectives. So, ask the question of where’s the reach? How’s the question of how am I measuring the results? And ask the question on is that capability in the ecosystem to write the right language? I think they have to ask the question and not take the truth of yesterday for the truth of tomorrow. You can’t put a TV ad on mobile and expect it to work, so there’s a new creative language involved. Digital is no longer just a support medium for brand campaigns - it is the core medium, and it needs to occupy a central role in media plans.