The Thumb-Stopping Moment: Tips From Facebook For Advertising On Facebook

The shift to mobile has already happened. Here’s what you can do to make sure your mobile ads are grabbing people’s attention.


“Everyone’s phone is personal,” Carolyn Everson, vice president of global marketing solutions at Facebook, reminded the audience during a panel on mobile advertising at Fast Company’s Innovation Festival on Thursday.


Because of this, the expectation for marketing on Facebook and other mobile apps is that brands “show up in a delightful, useful way–otherwise you are noise; consumers want you to add value to the experience.”

The panel–moderated by Fast Company executive editor Noah Robischon–also included Marc Mathieu, U.S. chief marketing officer at Samsung, which advertises on Facebook. Mathieu said the platform’s personalized data can deliver ads to “the right person with the right message at the right time.”

Marc Mathieu and Carolyn Everson

For instance, Facebook can tell which users have been using a certain phone for two years and may be up for a change in contract. “People don’t want to be advertised at, interrupted. You want to really bring utility into people’s lives, from an information standpoint or with great moments of entertainment,” Mathieu said.

So what advice did the duo have for companies wanting to improve their mobile or Facebook advertising?

Don’t Live in the Past

First, Everson said, accept that the shift to mobile has already happened.


“It’s clear we are spending more time on mobile apps than on television. You couldn’t consume ads before while waiting on line at the grocery store,” she said. “We lived it and we know this is a big challenge for most companies, and if you were going to start a business, you’d likely start it today as mobile first.”

Although it’s early days, she says, one of the first lessons they’ve taken away is that the first three seconds of an ad are crucial.

“What is the ‘thumb-stopping’ content?” is an important question, Everson said, given how people consume content on mobile–likening the process to stopping on a magazine page versus flipping past it.

Nobody Likes a Noisy Ad

The second consideration is sound.

“Many people consume mobile video with sound off, initially,” Everson says. “If sound suddenly comes on, that can be a disruptive experience.” So it’s important for companies to think more about arresting images or visually interesting text like title cards.


Data Unlocks Creativity

Finally, Facebook’s increasingly sophisticated targeting capabilities mean a richer data set that can enhance advertising experiences.

“Data becomes the unlock for creativity–that’s what we’re going to hear more about,” Everson says. For instance, a recent Lexus campaign featured a thousand different variations based on 47 different demographic variables such as gender, location, and interests. “If I was a woman in L.A. who surfed, I would see an ad for that Lexus SUV that had a surfboard and imagery from L.A.; if I was a male in San Francisco that had other interests–it’s the same vehicle, but you are showing up in a more powerful way.”

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About the author

Erin Schulte is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in Fast Company, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Harper's Bazaar, and Entrepreneur, among other publications. You can find her on Twitter @erin719nyc.