Facebook VP Carolyn Everson: The Future Of Ads On Instagram, WhatsApp

Facebook VP Carolyn Everson discusses how Facebook plans to monetize and improve the marketing experience for Instagram and WhatsApp.

Facebook’s VP of Global Marketing Solutions, Carolyn Everson, sat down with The Wall Street Journal’s Media and Marketing Reporter Lara O’Reilly at Advertising Week and discussed, among other things, the future of Instagram and WhatsApp as far as marketers and advertisers are concerned.

IG and WhatsApp are two of the highest profile acquisitions Facebook has made, and their global success is a major part of what makes Facebook so powerful from a marketing perspective—especially Instagram, the rising star of social media.

At the same time, both platforms are becoming the subject of intense scrutiny as Facebook continues to use them as vehicles to drive ad dollars, much to the chagrin of their founders. Everson discussed the public acrimony between Facebook and its portfolio companies—check out the main takeaways, below.


Instagram is not about to become “another Facebook” for consumers

Instagram’s co-founders recently stepped down from the company, and as the former head of Facebook’s News Feed steps into the leadership role, some have worried that Instagram will become a Facebook clone—which is exactly what many Instagram users don’t want.

Everson says that turning Instagram into “another Facebook” would be a mistake.

“We have every incentive for Instagram to have a unique value proposition… that would completely destroy its value,” she said.


Marketers, however, want a simplified backend across all Facebook platforms

While consumers may not see big changes to the Instagram user experience any time soon, Everson did note that a goal for the company was to “simplify” the infrastructure for marketers.

“We have a unified backend infrastructure so that marketers can upload their creative, we can help adapt it to different platforms… and just simplify their life,” she said.

“My team around the world is one unified team to the marketer, because a marketer doesn’t need to have four different meetings,” she added.


Instagram Stories is still the best deal for brave marketers

O’Reilly asked what Instagram would do to increase monetization of the platform’s Stories, which has become an unexpected hit for the company.

Everson responded by noting that monetization always takes time to catch up to a new user behavior, citing the company’s switch to mobile as another recent example.

But when it comes to the prices of advertising on Stories, Everson said that the company wouldn’t raise prices arbitrarily.

“Marketers are rewarded for bravery for moving into new ad formats,” where the prices are just less expensive, she said. “The real savvy marketers have really figured that out and are shifting rapidly into Stories.”


Small business is the driving force of advertising on WhatsApp

Facebook has moved more cautiously with messaging app WhatsApp when it comes to advertising. Everson pointed out that it took time to understand the “consumer value proposition” of the app, which is now revealing itself without Facebook creating a tool to manufacture one.

“People are already communicating with businesses.You go to India—the majority of businesses have WhatsApp accounts, they don’t have websites,” she said. “We saw that people wanted to communicate with businesses… we saw that behavior and started to build out those tools.”


Expect 2019 to bring changes for WhatsApp

Everson emphasized that the company would be “very cautious and slow moving” on WhatsApp overall—but that 2019 would be a year of new things for the app, such as targeted ads.

“What we’ve talked about publicly is that in 2019 we’ll talk about ads in Status [the WhatsApp version of Stories] in WhatsApp,” she said.

Article written by: Eric Goldschein