The Words ‘Social’ And ‘Digital’ Are Dying: Facebook’s Stephen Scheeler

BELCHATOW, POLAND - APRIL 06, 2014: Facebook application on smart phone screen.

The term ‘social media’ doesn’t even flow past the lips of Facebooks’s Stephen Scheeler, head of ecommerce and retail, Australia and New Zealand, anymore as he told the audience at the Digital Marketing Forum in Sydney today the word ‘social’ is starting to cark it.

“I think ‘digital’ as a word is dying, it’s virtually dead. And I think ‘social’ as a word is virtually dead,” he said. The statement was in response to the Forum’s introduction about how companies need to have a digital marketing strategy and how they can go about employing one.

“You need a customer strategy, you want to reach the people that matter to your business and those customers are all over the internet, all over mobile devices, all over Google and Facebook,” Scheeler continued.

“If you don’t have a strategy that encompasses that you are not reaching your customers, no matter what business you are.

“So we’ve really gone past the era of digital and the words like ‘social media’ don’t pass my lips anymore.”

DDB Melbourne’s executive creative director Darren Spiller told B&T recently he also thought the word ‘digital’ was the worst thing to have happened to the industry.

“The worst thing that’s happened to agencies in the last 10 years or 15 years was actually the word ‘digital’,” he said.

“Not because of what ‘digital’ brought,” he added. “It opened up the world of advertising, I thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

“However, what it did is clients thought it was the new mecca and that’s all it was about. Strategy kind of started to go out the window. The influence that agencies could have over the Big Idea, the Big Idea almost lost its potency, which was insane!”

Furthering his opening remarks at the Forum, Scheeler said what’s really driving this stature is the onslaught of mobile phones.

Going back a few years, Scheeler said many analysts were questioning Facebook’s business model when its share prices dropped, and it was during the time when users were shifting their consumption habits from desktop to mobile. In 2012 Facebook’s shares almost halved from $US38 to $US18.75, according to The Guardian, slashing the fortune of founder Mark Zuckerberg. However, it bounced back and continues to increase, with its current shares trading at $US95.12 according to American stock exchange NASDAQ.

“The problem was we had built an app that was really good…on desktop, but we didn’t have a great app on mobile,” said Scheeler. It was a problem for the company, however he said the team hunkered down and worked tirelessly to make the platform work on mobile devices.

Besides coming out the other side with an app that now has a huge amount of engagement with on mobile, Scheeler said the team also created a “great advertising product” so advertisers could reach the people on Facebook.

“A few years ago you couldn’t buy an ad on Facebook in mobile, we didn’t even sell them. This was three or four years ago,” he continued.

“And now that’s about 75 per cent of our sales comes from mobile.

“That’s the shift we’re seeing. So if you don’t have a strategy that focuses on mobile devices and where your customers are spending their time, you are not talking to your customers.”

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