MARCO CORSARO: I would say that 20% to 25% of our business today is on Facebook, which is divided between media, development of applications, open graph, consultancy, and other things. With Google, another 30% of our business is in the search activities divided between SEO, SEM, consultancy, YouTube, and other activities. When I refer to mobile, the activities can range from consultancy to development of mobile applications and mobile sites to media buying on mobile.
Our business model is very simple. We have about half our work turnover as a traditional agency fee, so a retainer or percentage of budget. About half of our turnover is in performance, which is taking a risk and providing the results to clients.
Mainly our clients are companies headquartered in the UK, in the Netherlands, and in Italy. A lot of those companies do run campaigns worldwide, including North America.
You are an independent agency. Can you tell me a little bit about your future and if you plan to stay independent?
We are open-minded. Being a business that has been providing and delivering profits for ten years in a row, we are aware of the fact that we are an appealing target for companies that want to grow in cyberspace. We have an open mind and will continue doing this as best as we can in terms of profits. We are also open and have had conversations with potential buyers.
What do you think of the sheer number of companies that are now PMDs on the Facebook platform?
There are over 300 PMD partners and only 12 strategic partners. There is a massive opportunity in every country for developing on the Facebook platform and there is a great need for people to have an expertise. The market is growing, so there is more opportunity for anybody who can actually provide value. I don’t think you can be serious about being in our business without being a PMD. The PMD is a must for a company.
Companies can look for strategic PMDs when they don’t want just a certified agency, but a certified agency that is also strategic and provides digital contribution. Clearly, for us, we are in a completely different layer [than the standard PMDs]. As a business, it is a great recognition. It is hard to tell you what direct result the strategic PMD [designation] is bringing to our bottom line, but the feeling is that the strategic PMD is a great recognition and is really helping make us a more robust player and a more trusted player for the clients.
How is 77Agency preparing for growth of the Facebook Exchange?
We come from a long expertise on the Google AdWords platform and what we are seeing on Facebook is what we were expecting from the beginning, which was similar to what we have already experienced with Google. It is challenging to be on top of that, as the platform becomes more complex and advanced, but it also means that we are more capable of taking advantage and providing our clients interesting opportunities in accessing Facebook.
What are your observations about the Facebook platform overall, and the direction it’s going with regards to mobile, graph search, and things like that?
The Facebook platform will be one of the major sources of mobile inventory in the world. The number of users who access Facebook through a smartphone is staggering. We know that in Italy, probably more than 10 million users are accessing Facebook through a smartphone, out of a Facebook population of about 24 million. The more Facebook continues to grow, the more that growth will belong to mobile users. The opportunity is there.
As the platform becomes capable of providing geo-targeting and behavioral targeting, it becomes even more powerful. It is one of the most interesting areas of growth that they will experience for Facebook, in addition to search.
Short-term, search will probably be more exciting than mobile because Facebook will just replicate the business model of Google by introducing this semantic way of targeting users who use search. Mobile is just growing organically, and will be in a few years a big part of where we plan.