Facebook's Jane Schachtel delves into personalised marketing for telcos
ITP.net interviews Facebook’s Jane Schachtel and Terry Kane to see how the shift in personalised mobile communication is beneficial to telecommunication and technology companies in the region.
Facebook is a platform which serves multiple functions and purposes. It appeals to individuals, small-to-medium-sized businesses and even large international corporations, but with each having a different reason to use the social-networking site.
What is changing, is the shift in mobile communications and how organisations are seeing the importance of personalising communication to everyday users, whether for increasing ARPU (Average Revenue per User), market share or for commercial returns, whilst using Facebook's various apps and services.
ITP.net speaks to Jane Schachtel, global head of technology and telecom strategy at Facebook, and Terry Kane, regional head of telco and travel for Facebook Middle East for North Africa and Pakistan, to discover how telecommunication companies can reach people through personalised communication.
Schachtel's role is to work with telecom operators around the world and help them understand and implement marketing solutions to drive business outcomes through Facebook's platform.
ITP.net: How is Facebook providing opportunities for telecommunication companies in the region?
Jane Schachtel: When you think about telecom operators, they are the very companies that have enabled this connectivity, and we are not just shifting to mobile, we are officially mobile in many parts of the world. Yet in spite of this incredible behavioural shift that operators have enabled globally, they are only spending 10% of their marketing and advertising budgets on mobile marketing, however it is only 4% in the MENA region.
Terry Kane: I think one of the greatest challenges, which is reflected globally, is that telco providers and network providers are changing how they are communicating to their customer base. Plus how that organisational structure is changing to meet the needs of communicating on a people by people basis, rather than a broadcast marketing basis.
JS: We work with telecom operators who are attracting both consumers, small-to-medium-sized businesses and large enterprises and we can work with them to target and market to all three. Five years ago, or even 10 years ago, telecom operators had an awareness challenge, meaning broadcasting out that they had a network and that they had data plans.
This mass awareness was critical for them but today, there is no longer an awareness challenge for SMBs or consumers, it's a differentiation challenge. Facebook will help them attract consumers of small businesses by communicating to people personally in relevant ways that will differentiate them.
TK: If you look at Facebook's numbers globally, there are 1.6 billion users every month, 400 million Instagram users every month, those are the people that are coming back to these platforms because they are relevant to them. What's not necessarily of huge relevance is 1.6 billion people to too many brands, or the 130 million users in the MENA region on Facebook. However what really is of interest to them, particularly from a network providers standpoint, are the people who we know, who are on Facebook, who are ready for an upgrade, who live in a city or area where network providers or OEM's can speak and target them in a way that is relevant to them personally.
What you see on your Facebook or Instagram is completely different to the next person, and so effectively we have 1.6 billion different platforms and 1.6 billion different experiences and what is crucially important to us is that the content that sits on everyone's newsfeed is of relevance, and that includes advertising as well.
ITP.net: How is it possible to personalise content in the MENA region, especially when content is either restricted or can be seen as sensitive?
TK: The network providers and the OEMs are very efficient in terms of knowing the market place, so what they are doing is they are using the information within Facebook. It is very simple to do, it is not a complex art as other advertising measures, we have built our platform to make it easier for all businesses, from corner shops to enterprises to telecom providers.
ITP.net: What is your relationship like with telecom carriers?
JS: Globally we work with all the top telecom carriers in each country and really there are only three or four and we create relationships with all of them. They are all going through similar challenges and opportunities where they want to gain higher value subscribers to start to create that longer term value, as they add services like fix-line, and so we really work with all of them to adapt to mobile and people based marketing, to enable them to grow their business.
TK: What is prevalent in the MENA market are two things; the movement from feature phones to smartphones, and it's happening really fast. But also the movement from pre-paid to post-paid, that's one of the key business challenges for telecom providers, but we are pretty confident we have the right solutions to help them achieve that.
JS: Ultimately what we want to do is help the telecom carriers help their business, by focussing on marketing solutions, mobile, and targeting real people. We have an open dialogue where we are aware of what is happening in certain countries, in terms of VoIP restrictions, and because we want to help businesses, they almost, all the time want to do the same thing with us. So, it does not create any challenges, we are aware, and we do have an open dialogue.
ITP.net: A report from IDC stated that consumers are not upgrading their smartphones fast enough, how does this affect the industry?
TK: I cannot comment directly on this research, but what an opportunity for telecoms, network providers and OEMs, to use Facebook insights, the data and knowledge that we have, whether it be about which device a consumer is using, how long they have had it and which device they could upgrade to next, to get that personalised message out to the relevant audience is key.
ITP.net: Can you provide an example of how Facebook has helped a telco?
JS: A brand in Australia came to us with a marketing and business challenge which was to get more value out of a sports sponsorship and so we worked with them to develop a programme which generated not just a brand lift and awareness of that sports sponsorship, but also new customers.
It is really to solve that challenge and for them it was to identify a lot of different people that had an affinity for cricket and then developing an array of relative creative, such as 360 videos, images, regular video with compelling cricket creative, and from that it gave them a 3.4% lift in new customers.
ITP.net: What is the future for Facebook and telecommunication companies?
JS: When we talk to telecom carriers about increasing marketing needs to start demonstrating long term business value to the telecom operators, we believe the best way to do that is by owning and managing the entire customer journey, and that way they are creating business value each time they interact with a customer.
This really is the future, to own and manage that entire journey through Facebook's family of apps and services, using mobile through Facebook and Instagram and into the future, perhaps messaging, and that will subsequently enable them to deliver that personalised relevance.
TK: Coming back to the region, 4% is the starting point for us. I think that there is a lot regionally that the telecom providers can do with Facebook and Instagram and by working directly with us. We work with our partners and provide certain levels of services, such as creative shops and we bring the best creative people in the world to focus on a business problem.
Or we will teach them the new scale of measurement, because the old school of measurement, which in the digital world in the last click, is redundant today, because everyone has more than one device and measuring and duplicating that on cookies, is the wrong way of measuring.
Finally, bringing to the front of the conversation, people. It's all about people for Facebook and it's all about people for telcos, therefore we are in a great place for partnership from both parties.