Portada interviewed Marina Mendez, President of Omnicom Media Group (OMG) Digital Latin America. Marina shares her views on the use of social networks in the advertising market, their role in the current pan-regional scene, and Brazil’s importance in the region.

Portada: How important are social networks in connection with the advertising market?

Marina Mendez: "In the last three years or so, social networking has been taking on a predominant role in the advertising market, mainly because users spend more time on them and our chances of getting our message out to them have multiplied.  In addition, new segmentation variables have been added, making them an ideal place not only to advertise, but also to find out who we’re talking to.  It's time to start putting the hyper-targeted data that we’ve been collecting on these networks to use, in order to achieve brand engagement in an intelligent and natural way.  We’re not talking with consumers, we’re talking to people."

Portada: What role do social networks play in the pan-regional advertising market?

Marina Mendez: "The pan-regional market is not very far removed (in types of use) from the global market. What social networks have done is reduce regional disparities and enable us to identify various triggers that activate the use and consumption of content.  This point is so important that it gives us an interesting launching pad for defining effective communication vehicles for each country, according to their social network consumer preferences: games, applications, surveys, etc."

Portada: Do you have data on the effectiveness of online advertising in social networks (click through rates) in Latin America?

Marina Mendez: "To consider only CTRs as a rate of measurement would underestimate the power of online metrics.  Do we need a campaign with high CTRs, but low interaction rates?  Or are we better served by a campaign offering moderate CTRs, but high user interaction rates and content sharing?  We do not believe in average metrics, or those that only allow us to see one side of the ice cube, that is ultimately formed by the same water viewed from different perspectives."

Portada: How is the Brazilian market different from the rest of Spanish-speaking Latin America? 

Marina Mendez: "Fundamentally, its idiosyncrasies, culture, language and market size make Brazil a continent within another continent.  The clearest example of this is Orkut’s success in Brazil, while in the rest of the region it did not achieve the level of importance expected or the exponential growth that Facebook has achieved with Farmville and other social network game applications."

Portada: What type of advertising is the most effective?

Marina Mendez: "The most effective advertising is the one that delivers the best results, and the most recall and impact, or is able to achieve breakthrough compared with previous communication models.  It would be impossible to choose one format or media over another. What works well for one client may not work for another, or vice versa.  There are too many variables to consider, making it impossible to whittle it down to only one type of advertising.  In our opinion, and considering all of the tools we currently count on to receive information and provide feedback, we need to focus on understanding technology platforms and capitalize on them from a humanization standpoint, since our mission as communicators and as business partners for our clients is to impact the greatest number of people targeted, in the best way possible and at the lowest cost possible."

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Portada Staff

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