Advertisers Sticking to Facebook: Publicis CEO

The chief executive officer of Paris, France-based Publicis Media, Steve King, believes that Facebook Inc.'s (FB) data scandal isn't scaring away advertisers, according to CNBC. Publicis is one of the oldest global marketing and communications companies.

Advertisers Love User Data

King was speaking in the context of Facebook’s recent Cambridge Analytica fiasco that revealed how the social media platform was used to breach the privacy and security of user data. While the incident has led to many users losing faith in the social network and some even deleting their accounts, advertisers continue to hold on to the platform as it provides the ideal way to target viewers based on demographics. (See also, Facebook Now Says More Users Hit By Data Scandal.)

"Each of these issues has had a different reaction," King told CNBC, referring to the scandals that have plagued Facebook. "Unlike the brand safety issue, none of our advertisers have paused their advertising" because of Cambridge Analytica.

Though there have been a few instances of big advertisers pulling massive digital ad campaigns, they were primarily because of “lack of transparency around metrics used to measure the effectiveness of the campaign.” For instance, Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) cut $200 million in digital media campaigns last year after the data remained inconclusive about the campaign's efficacy. (For more, see World's Biggest Advertiser Cut $200M of Its Digital Ad Spend Last Year.)

Other instances include ads appearing alongside content with extremist tones, like those on Google’s YouTube online video platform.

Facebook acknowledged the issue and promised simplification and clarity in its metrics this February. Google too is investing in keeping the content neat and clean. Efforts by both the companies include hiring a large number of content monitors to ensure that the uploaded content adheres to the platform guidelines, and keeps the advertisers appeased.

The Publicis Groupe, the parent company of Publicis Media, has recently faced strong competition from U.S.-based technology companies like Facebook and Alphabet Inc.’s Google (GOOGL). Amid declining customer spending, the two American companies have eaten into a significant chunk of Publicis' market share over the last years, as they jointly command more than 50 percent of U.S digital advertising spending. Owing to the troves of data that Facebook and Google maintain, the platforms continue to remain “valuable for clients that want maximum exposure and the ability to target ads based on the mountains of consumer data,” King said. Facebook remains the second largest advertising platform Publicis Media partners with.

Last year, Publicis Groupe developed a new platform called Publicis Spine, which combined its technology and data arms to sell clients more targeted ads. Earlier in 2015, it acquired digital firm Sapient to prop up its marketing, consulting and technology capabilities.

"If we can learn from these digital disruptors, then we should have a model that is as future-proof and that is as strong for capabilities of growth as the last 90 years," King said. (See also, How Much Can Facebook Potentially Make from Selling Your Data?)

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