Facebook plans to double its UK sales and marketing staff to about 40 as part of its launch last week of new “engagement ads”, MarketingWeek says, noting the new staff will “encourage digital agencies and brands” to use the new formats. It won’t be a traditional ad sales job, that’s for sure – the new recruits will have to persuade clients to be community-centric with the new ads, which will let users add comments, give virtual gifts and become “fans” of brands. The new staff will come under European commercial director Blake Chandlee, who remains Facebook’s UK top dog.
It’s all part of the ongoing quest to effectively marry advertising with social media. Forrester analyst Jeremiah Owyang, who was briefed on the new engagement ads last week, said click-through rates of the standard ads were “dismal”. Despite the promise of leveraging social profile data and the interactive paradigm to create insanely hypertargeted ads, Facebook struggled on privacy grounds with its advanced Beacon programme; eMarketer has cut forecasts for social media ad spending as the networks find the whole thing harder than expected. Owyang: “Currently unproven, brands may not be ready for these types of new ads, until they change how they measure success.”