Facebook intensifies search for new CMO, Ad Age reports
- Facebook last week posted a job listing on LinkedIn in search for a new CMO, Ad Age reported. Gary Briggs, the company's current marketing chief, announced plans to resign in January but said he would stay on until a replacement was found.
- Briggs' plans for departure — rare at a company that excels at retaining high-profile executives — arrive amid high-profile scandals and mounting business pressures at the social media giant. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg earlier this year testified before Congress to address the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where the data from millions of users was misused by a firm with ties to the Trump presidential campaign, as well as other user privacy issues. Since the 2016 presidential election, Facebook has also more frequently grappled with its role in spreading fake or misleading news and inappropriate content.
- Facebook spent $325 million on marketing in 2017. The company is searching for a CMO with experience managing marketing budgets of $500 million or more, which means candidates would likely need to come from one of the top 100 advertisers, according to Ad Age. Facebook recently launched a campaign that promises to get back to the platform's better days and reinforces its pledge to combat fake news. It was reportedly one of its largest-ever advertising purchases.
Facebook ramping up the search for a CMO now, including through outside channels like LinkedIn, underpins the difficulties it's likely experienced in finding a proper replacement for Briggs over the past several months and how daunting managing the company's current marketing duties must be. Facebook frequently shuffles its management around to fill executive roles but very few executives actually depart the company, even during tough times like the peak of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, per a report in Recode
The new CMO must be able to wrangle Facebook's massive advertising budget but also have experience with PR crisis management given the deluge of controversies that continue to plague the platform. Beyond the bad PR impacting Facebook's image, its business has also started to slow down after years of explosive growth. In second-quarter earnings reported late last month, Facebook posted a 42% increase in revenue, reaching $13.2 billion, but its overall growth decelerated and that trend is expected to continue.
Facebook executives have previously warned about a potential slowdown in growth, especially as display advertising real estate on the platform crowds out. Facebook also at the start of the year tweaked its algorithm to downplay organic brand and publisher posts in a way that could hamper time spent on the site. Still, news of the company missing Wall Street analysts' estimates for Q2 2018 sent its stocks tumbling, at one point slashing the company's market value by $151 billion — a historic collapse for a U.S.-traded company to see in a single day.
Facebook's marketing under a new CMO will likely continue to focus on rebuilding trust with users who have broadly become more skeptical of social media playing a role for societal good. Consumer satisfaction with social media has dropped 1.4% and the channel now ranks the lowest among e-businesses, according to a recent analysis by the American Customer Satisfaction Index.