Publicis CEO: Data Scandal at Facebook Not Scaring Off Advertisers

The data privacy scandal that rocked Facebook has not scared off the social media giant’s advertisers, according to the CEO at one of the world’s major advertising firms.

CEO of Publicis Media Steven King said that Facebook experienced a loss of trust following allegations that Cambridge Analytica, a right-wing consulting company used Facebook data of tens of millions of users for fake news as well as other uses that many described as underhanded.

However, sentiment amongst Facebook advertisers never changed. A different reaction has been brought about from each issue, said King when referring to different scandals that plagued Facebook. However, no advertisers with Publicis, said King, have paused any advertising because of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The third largest advertising firm in the world, Publicis Groupe, which is Publicis Media’s parent company, has faced strong headwinds over the last few years amidst shrinking budgets of clients and huge competition from Google and Facebook, which take in over 50% of the digital advertising spending for the U.S.

The platforms have proven to be valuable for clients wanting to maximize their exposure and to target ads that are based upon large amounts of consumer information, said King, who added that Facebook is the second largest ad platform that Publicis Media is partnering with.

However, big advertisers have shown growing frustration with a lack of transparency related to the metrics that are used in measuring the effectiveness of ad campaigns on digital platforms such as Google and Facebook.

In 2018, Proctor & Gamble, the largest advertiser in the world, said it had cut over $200 million in spending for digital advertising in 2017 after data had showed that the ads had not been effective.

Facebook announced that it made changes to clarify and simplify its metrics to appease its advertisers, acknowledging flaws in the calculations it made.

King added that declining trust in that platform amongst users, and the increased wariness over the use of personal data, has become more of a concern.

Of recent, Publicis Groupe has attempted to build its ability to adapt to the ever-changing digital landscape.

Three years ago, it acquired Sapient a digital firm to increase its technology, consulting and marketing capabilities, citing the importance of the developers it employed across India. In 2017, it created Publicis Spine, which is a platform that combined its data and tech divisions to sell clients ads that were more targeted.

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