“For the first couple of years it was really about Facebook justifying our presence on the media plan,” he said. “What we’ve seen in the last six to 12 months is mainly a focus on creativity.” With a background at creative agencies, this is music to Corsi’s ears. “It’s been a long time coming.”
Corsi leads a team that works with some of the world’s largest global advertisers, including the likes of P&G, Samsung, Unilever and Mondelez, on their Facebook strategies. And since he joined the social network in 2011, a lot has changed.
“The sorts of questions that we are being asked now by large advertisers are very different to what they were two or three years ago,” Corsi told Campaign Asia-Pacific. “Back then we were still being asked: ‘Why Facebook?’ And now, they’re asking us how to do it better.”
Corsi believes that brands and agencies are now applying the same creative rigour and the same benchmarks that we’ve seen for traditional advertising in TV and print.
“There’s been a big shift on creativity," he said. "That’s not to say measurement is no longer important, it’s still crucial. But we know the most important thing is getting the creative right.”
The Facebook Awards are designed to recognise the best creative work on the platform, and this year will include entries from Instagram. The programme, which will host its winners party at Cannes, receives thousands of entries globally, but Corsi said that Asia-Pacific is historically “underrepresented” and he wants to see more entries coming from the region.
“I think we are behind in Asia-Pacific," he said. "It’s definitely getting better, but we are behind. I think the education level that we have in the region is still low compared to the likes of in the US and Europe."
Corsi said clients here can be somewhat risk-averse, although that too is changing.
“There is some really good work that’s being done," he said. "Not just in terms of creative, but also just in terms of the way agencies are targeting. There’s been some interesting stuff, for instance, in Indonesia.”
One area that the region is leading in, however, is mobile. Earlier this month, Facebook unveiled a new program within its Creative Shop, designed to help boost brands with their advertising on mobile in high-growth markets. The Creative Accelerator program has been rolled out in several markets including India, Indonesia, Turkey, South Africa and Kenya.
With the world’s fourth-largest Facebook population, it’s no surprise that Indonesia is a focus.
“All markets are important,” said Corsi. “But Indonesia is a big player for us. If you look at the brands we work with and asked them what their five priority markets were across the world—not just across Asia—India and Indonesia would probably be in those top five.”
Instagam’s inclusion into this year’s Facebook Awards should come as no surprise, either, as the social network looks to further expand the photo-sharing platform in the region.
“At the moment, Instagram, from a marketing point of view, is obviously limited to Australia. But that will change,” said Corsi.
In October last year, the Facebook-owned platform rolled out its advertising model in Australia, with brands including Vegemite, Tourism Queensland, Ben & Jerry’s and McDonald’s.
“Activating Instagram as a platform will probably be a big focus for the next year or so," he said. "That will be a big driver, especially for our global partners.”