One night matters more to TV advertisers than any other: That's the Super Bowl, which reaches more than 100 million sets of eyeballs over three hours in February. Facebook's new message to advertisers? We can give you that, on phones.
“We have a Super Bowl on mobile every day,” Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said during an onstage presentation for New York’s Advertising Week Tuesday morning.
CBS is planning to charge $5 million for 30 seconds in the big game, but as more eyes move from TV to mobile, Facebook is making the case it has the scale to be a viable alternative or at least a component of big TV ad buys. The best campaigns, she said, "do Facebook. They do Instagram. A lot of them still do outdoor and print. … All of them work together if you tailor your definition to your audience,” Sandberg said during the interview with Bloomberg’s Josh Tryangiel.
Smartphone users spend 80 percent of their time in just five mobile apps, with Facebook leading the way, Forrester Research found.
“What we offer is really broad reach,” Sandberg said. Facebook has been touting 4 billion video views per day and 1.49 billion -- almost 1.5 billion Sandberg emphasized -- monthly active users. As television viewership numbers slip, Facebook has experienced continuous growth, up from 1.44 billion in March, and their video views have increased, up from 3 billion in January.
The social network has successfully gained exclusive content and launches from some prominent figures on Facebook and major companies, which Sandberg highlighted in her talk. Sandberg, an outspoken supporter of Hillary Clinton, noted how the Democratic presidential contender has frequently published her campaign videos on Facebook first. Last week, Facebook hosted an exclusive trailer for the upcoming movie “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
“Star Wars gave us the video first. I think people are seeing it as a way to reach directly to consumers,” Sandberg said.
Much of Sandberg’s conversation -- indeed a pitch of her product as an advertising vehicle to a room full of marketers -- also focused on the targeting that Facebook offers. Sandberg noted while traditional mediums are categorized by age and gender, Facebook provides a narrower scope.
As a social network since its founding in 2004, Facebook has been gathering users’ interests and continues to create unique profiles of its users, now customers. “You can target by professional district. You can target medical professionals. You can target people who like golf,” Sandberg said.
That pitch has, in part, convinced more marketers to sign on. This week, Facebook announced the company has reached 2.5 million advertisers, a bump from 2 million in February.
Facebook does not break out of its revenue for video ads, despite an inquiry from the onstage interviewer. But Facebook’s last quarter, in which the company beats analysts’ expectations by reaching $4.04 billion in revenue, was described by Sandberg as “unbelievable.”
The company touting its mobile-first strategy three years back at Advertising Week has now changed the conversation to television. Indeed, Facebook has been investing more into video content and making changes that adhere to traditional TV advertisers’ desires. One of their biggest investments, a $2 billion acquisition of virtual reality company Oculus Rift, also aligns with a push for video and entertainment.
“We think Oculus is the future. … We’re willing to take some of our investment and make it in the long run,” Sandberg said.