Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg: Digital is causing the collapse of the marketing funnel

Facebook’s chief operating officer suggests the growing importance of digital and mobile and the speed at which consumers can find information is causing a fundamental change in the way brands communicate.

Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg has suggested the rise of digital and mobile is leading to the collapse of the marketing funnel.

Speaking at ad tech conference Dmexco in Germany today (13 September), Sandberg told delegates: “The marketing funnel itself is collapsing. It used to take time to go from research to discovery to awareness all the way to a purchase. But now you have digital and mobile that is happening faster than ever, and that is for the largest brands to the small corner shop to non-profits.

“[That means] the way you work on your brand and the way you communicate who you are has never been more important.”

Sandberg said that for brands to grow in this digital world they must focus on three areas. The first is “focusing on your brand mission”, the second “building communities” and the third “engaging that community” for the long-term.

‘Creative still wins the day’

She advised marketers operating in a mobile world that “creative still wins the day” and that Facebook was “passionate” about creativity in advertising.

Sandberg pondered: “Mobile is more than text or copy, it is creating experiences that speak to people. When you are scrolling through you feed what makes you pause, what makes you stop, what makes you think? And even when you don’t pause what makes you remember?”

That last point is key for Facebook. It has faced growing questions over what should constitute a view and how that view should be measured over recent months. Facebook’s viewability standard is when an ad is in view for one second, but many marketers would argue that isn’t enough for consumers to remember a brand.

She only briefly alluded to the growing concerns around the security of digital marketing. Facebook has made some big moves in this area at Dmexco, announcing new ad controls and plans to improve third-party measurement and verification.

And Sandberg, while speaking about the importance of trust in building brands online, touched on why this is important for Facebook.

“For anyone building a community, trust is the most important thing because it is the foundation of their community. This really matters to us. We take very seriously our responsibility to earn and maintain the trust of people and businesses. We hear [the] concerns about safe environments, about standards, about measurement. And this is critical to us,” she said.

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