Facebook has mastered the game when it comes to engaging users on a constant basis, hitting over 2 billion monthly active users on the platform. To put that into perspective, over a fourth of the world's population uses Facebook at least once a month. And yes, advertisers and marketers have clearly taken note.

When it comes to mobile, 1.15 billion people globally log into Facebook from their mobile devices daily— and that growth isn't stopping. However, this hasn't always been the case. At Skift's Global Forum last November, Sarah Personette, Facebook's VP of Global Business Marketing, explained that the social networking company "wasn't a mobile company until 2012, having been predominantly desktop until that point." It's hard to believe given the numbers we see today of the brand's mobile engagement.

From the ad and monetization side of Facebook's approach, mobile has no-doubt become a huge priority. In fact, our palm-sized devices accounted for approximately 87 percent of advertising revenue in Q2 2017. Now, with Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp as three additional mobile properties under the Facebook umbrella, video becoming a hot priority, the launch of "Collection" for mobile retailers, among an array of other solutions, mobile marketers have their pick on what's best for them when acquiring and engaging users on the social platform.

Sarah will be speaking at Button's third annual TAP conference this month (Thursday, September 28), featured as one of our highly-anticipated keynotes, where she'll dive into the company's approach to mobile. Be sure you don't miss out on Sarah's talk along with the rest of our amazing lineup. Use code "TAP-Content50" at checkout you can score 50% off your ticket!

How does Facebook think about monetizing Messenger and WhatsApp? We have heard quite a bit about bots, customer service business accounts, perhaps even payments. Where does Facebook see this going?

SP: Messaging platforms present a meaningful opportunity to businesses, with research consistently showing that people are more inclined to spend with a business they can message with–in fact, 53% of people* are more likely to shop with a business they can message directly. Some of the ways we explore for brands to build engaging experiences are managed manually, some with automation, and others leveraging artificial intelligence. We will continue to look for ways to shorten the distance between people and businesses through messaging across all our platforms, with new products and opportunities coming in the near future.

Facebook's mobile ads business was originally built around driving installs. While that is still an important piece, you have shifted to driving engagement and other key outcomes. What types of engagement and outcomes are your largest advertisers looking for you to drive? How are they measuring these outcomes?

SP: Originally, the install piece was just a small part of our business and we're currently focused on helping every marketer optimize for real business outcomes across devices, channels, and publishers.

"We are focused on sharing how people connect across these different media channels, measuring those cross-device connections and tying them back to the underlying business goals."— Sarah Personette

In today's omni-channel world, this is challenging as the path to conversion is rarely linear, making the connection back to value difficult to understand. We help marketers do this in three ways:

  • Focus on people: People-based measurement is the gold standard in helping marketers understand the impact of a campaign‚Äìthis means that advertising effectiveness is attributed to the person to whom an ad was served, seen or acted upon, rather than a proxy metric like cookies. In today's multi-platform, cross-device world, people will consume advertising from multiple devices, across apps and browsers and continue through to purchase both in-store and online. People-based measurement gives marketers the tools and technology to understand effectiveness of advertising based on people, instead of looking at a single device or a single channel (such as online) for an outcome. Our goal is to help marketers see how different campaign strategies deliver real business outcomes by comparing ad performance across channels for a complete picture of campaign results.
  • Measure real outcomes: With our focus on people-based insights instead of cookies alone, we enable a shift from siloed reporting to true, cross-channel reach and ROI.
  • Compare across channels: We build solutions that provide consistent and accurate data that links ads to real business outcomes like sales and brand lift.

As video advertising becomes increasingly important on mobile, do you see it used primarily as a branding format, a performance format or both? How do you think the split will look in 2020?

Facebook's recently launched "Watch"

SP: Seventy-five percent of mobile traffic will be video by 2020. Video is the predominant language that people use to communicate, share, and build communities on Facebook. We're committed to continue to make discovering video content seamless on our platforms and we've also introduced Watch, a new platform dedicated for watching shows. For advertisers, regardless of their objective, mobile video presents a massive opportunity to connect with their customers in a meaningful way and drive business results. At Facebook, we have developed a spectrum of video ads solutions to match the different ways people view video on our platform–from short, on-the-go consumption, to longer, planned viewing sessions. Advertisers have the ability to use video across all marketing goals, from top of mind awareness all the way to conversion.

Instagram is a very unique property with a strong visual component. Many of the largest accounts are either influencers or retail brands who are looking to drive commerce sales. What are some best practices for these influencers and marketers to drive sales?

SP: The breadth of visual communication is becoming wider— beyond mobile feed to ephemerality, direct messaging and more. Instagram is at the forefront of this shift, from feed content and the personal moments shared on Stories, to using direct messaging to visually message with friends. For businesses, this visual expression inspires people to take visible action. As people continue to use Instagram to discover brands they love (80% of Instagrammers follow a business today on Instagram), businesses of all sizes are finding it the perfect place to stand out and tell their story while also driving meaningful business results (60% of people learn about products and services on Instagram and 75% of people take action after being inspired by a post). Since launching performance-based solutions in 2015— like mobile app installs and website conversion link ads— we've seen success across the marketing funnel.

What is Facebook doing to prove out efficacy of your ad units for retailers and other merchants who sell real world goods and services?

SP: Mobile plays a critical role in purchasing decisions and provides new opportunities for marketers to reach and influence their customers earlier in the shopping journey.

" [Marketers] must invest in acquiring customers in ways search can't, by generating demand for what they offer on mobile— from people likely to purchase from them."

To grow sales online and in stores, marketers can no longer play the waiting game at the bottom of the funnel. At Facebook, we help businesses grow by:

  • Helping their products find the right people: Facebook can connect what we know about people with what businesses know about their most valuable existing customers— across websites, apps, or stores— to accurately and predictably connect the right products and services to the right people, rather than the other way around.
  • Capturing attention and driving action: Facebook's engaging ad units (e.g. collection, carousel) and friction-free solutions (e.g. dynamic ads, lead ads, mobile app ads) are built for mobile, giving marketers the ability to generate demand and sales online and in stores from people's most-used, most-loved apps.
  • Helping them understand what's actually working: Facebook's people-based measurement solutions give marketers a better understanding of their customers— what influences them to purchase, their value over time— so they can invest in the channels that drive incremental growth for their business.

How has working with agencies impacted Facebook's business?

SP: Having spent a significant portion of my career either working at agencies or partnering with them, I have seen how powerful the combination of agency, client, and Facebook is. When we all come together, we create marketing programs that are built for people and deliver on a brand's business results. Facebook is very committed to deeper, on-going collaboration with agencies through programs like FBIQ Insights, our Blueprint eLearning and Certification program, and an on-going emphasis on service. I look forward to the continued future ahead with agencies and Facebook working side by side.

*(Source: "Facebook Messaging Survey" by Nielsen | Facebook-commissioned study of people ages 18+ who use messaging apps across AE, AU, BR, FR, ID, IN, JP, KR, MX, TH, TW, the UK, the US and VN, Mar 2016. Data is on average across the 14 markets)