Mendelsohn asserts Facebook’s dominance in the ‘seismic shift to mobile’

Nicola Mendlesohn used one of her first addresses after her appointment as Facebook’s EMEA vice president at the IAB Engage conference today (17 October) to assert the social network’s standing in mobile – but admitted it struggled to grasp the shift early on.

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Nicola Mendlesohn admits Facebook ‘failed’ to grasp mobile initially.

Mendelsohn told the 800 delegates at the conference technology has now “reached the inflection point of societal change” similar to when TV overtook radio in the 1950s, meaning marketers must put mobile at the centre of their strategies to succeed, something Facebook has been doing for the last 18 months.

Initially, it was a struggle, Mendelsohn said, adding: “We were taken aback by how quickly the mobile tidal wave hit us. I think, if we’re honest, we failed to understand what it meant for our business.”

Facebook was “quick to learn from [its] mistakes”, Mendelsohn said and began to reorganise around mobile by training all its engineers to code “mobile first”.

In 18 months of making that decision, mobile revenue went from zero to about 40 per cent of Facebook’s total income currently. Of Facebook’s 1.1bn users, 469 million of those visit daily via their mobile devices and 20 million mobile active users in the UK.

Mendelsohn then went on to compare Facebook’s scale with TV audiences, claiming its large number of UK users on desktop and mobile is bigger than the 24 million that tuned in to watch the Olympic Closing Ceremony last year.

She also highlighted a Facebook campaign from Pepsi Max, starring street magician Dynamo, which reached 19 million people – “equivalent to Channel 4’s top four programmes” and the video element “was watched more than Sky’s best weekend football game” at a cost per view of 4p.

Mendelsohn said she was not attempting to make a case as Facebook as a substitute for TV and used a Cadbury Creme Egg case study to demonstrate how Facebook can “supercharge” any TV campagin.

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