Here is a transcript generated by of The Content Mix podcast interview with Leonardo Oliveira, senior global brand & media manager at Vodafone, on paid social media campaigns:

Shaheen Samavati 0:12
Hi, everyone, I’m Shaheen from The Content Mix and I’m excited to be here with Leonardo Oliveira, senior global brand & media manager at leading global telecom provider Vodafone. Thanks so much for joining us, Leonardo.

Leonardo Oliveira 0:24
Thank you. Thank you for the invitation. I’m glad to be here.

Shaheen Samavati 0:28
Yeah. It’s great to have you on the podcast. So where are you joining us from today?

Leonardo Oliveira 0:33
I’m in London at the moment, working from home. I’m in quarantine at the moment because I just came back from Portugal last Sunday. So I need to stay for 14 days at home now.

Shaheen Samavati 0:46
Yeah, crazy times we’re living in. So you work from Vodafone’s office in the UK, in London?

Leonardo Oliveira 0:55
Yeah, the headquarters are in the UK and I work in the group function in Paddington in London. So that’s where I’m based and I just live nearby.

Shaheen Samavati 1:05
Okay, great. So can you tell us a bit about your background? Now you’re global brand & media manager at Vodafone, maybe first of all, just tell us what does that mean? What are you responsible for?

Leonardo Oliveira 1:21
Cool so when I joined Vodafone, it was with the purpose of insourcing, in housing, search and social globally. So there weren’t local media teams, there weren’t media teams at Vodafone, we had everything with agencies. So we established the framework, the process, the job description, team blueprints and so on, to structure for every single market. The process, the partners that we would be working with for the teams to be hired. A lot of interviews happened in these two years. Then get the teams and get the guidance, provide the guidance for the best possible execution, considering all aspects of the digital media buying, from the best practice being put in place when you do Facebook, or when you do research, to what tools to use, what KPIs, what calls to achieve from the tax implementation and so on. So if you think about this in a global perspective, even the platforms that you use, for instance, in Ghana are completely different from the portfolio of tools that you add to social platforms that you have in the UK or Germany. In Ghana, they don’t use search, it’s entirely focused on Facebook in the digital world. So it’s quite interesting what you see from market to market.

Shaheen Samavati 2:57
So you’re in charge of the strategy, overseeing it, in all of the markets all around the world and Vodafone is in a lot of markets?

Leonardo Oliveira 3:04
Yeah, so it’s the guidance, the global guidance that we put in place, and the markets, which we try to follow. The fact is they’re always tweaks that you need to implement properly in market because of the way the platforms operate in market. As an example, if you search, the Czech Republic, Google has about 50% of the market share. They have another search network/search engine, Seznam, which has 50% of the market share. So when we provide recommendations on what tools to use, how to use them, goals and KPIs and so on, the measurement, you need to think about what is in markets, there is always that balance that we need to take into consideration.

Shaheen Samavati 4:09
So, I saw that you started out in your first role as a product marketer. So how did you become so specialised in paid media and social media advertising in particular?

Leonardo Oliveira 4:19
It was 12 years ago, I believe. I studied marketing. Then I was a product manager and then I became a product and brand manager in a sewings and zips company. It was a global leader at the time. I was managing the European markets but then I started a master’s degree in digital marketing. Facebook was startong at the time, but not they were not monetizing the platform so it was only for organic content. So you could create your own pages and post there but there wasn’t much advertising or no advertising at the beginning. With the masters in digital marketing, I started thinking this is the way forward, I needed to start looking to digital because I could see that the investment was slowly going from the offline channels to the digital channels and I think we should follow the money. It’s the easiest way to really make a career. So I started looking into the digital, then one of the teachers from the my master’s degree invited me to join this company. It was a startup at the time and I did a bit of everything there, I started with email marketing, I did abit of media buying in terms of display. Affiliates, I did a lot of affiliates. I then went for paid social and paid search. At that time, there was no Facebook business manager, it was a prior to that. So the platform was with the mentor. So really old school, but that’s how I started. Then I moved to Havas Media in Lisbon to manage the performance client as well and the focus on search. Then I moved to London where I did a bit of everything. Working for big agencies like Havas and IPG Mediabrands, then moved to an e-commerce company, Digital River, where I learned a lot from the e-commerce perspective and looking to the Oceania channels. The old view, it’s important to have that view on the landscape on the entire ecosystem, and looking to see our own. I then moved to a small, independent company where I was the paid media director and looking to some of the biggest clients that they had at the time, and then I moved on to the client side. So I started focusing a lot more in digital, obviously. I had diverse experience from big agencies, to small agencies, to e-commerce and client side. So it was intentional, in a way, a good time to get a broader experience but it was happening with a time change.

Shaheen Samavati 7:36
Yeah, so in your experience there’s been a lot of changes in the media landscape. So I’m curious, what do you think is the role of social media in society today and where are brands placed in that?

Leonardo Oliveira 7:53
Social is quite complex, because when we talk about the social platforms, we think about Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, TikTok, but there are a lot more platforms, a lot more social platforms. Nowadays, increasingly, we see more people on those social platforms because we are human beings and as human beings, we need that social part of the network, right, but there are pros and cons. The pros, we are much more connected than ever. Obviously, that means that brands have a greater opportunity to engage with their audience, their customers and potential customers as well. On the danger, the negative side of it, if we look back, there were some of the major events that we have seen in the past few years that were organised on social platforms. So we have seen events, big events in the US, in the UK, in Egypt, even some of the rebellions and even the boycott we have seen on Facebook, it started with a small thing and became what we have seen. I think we cannot forget the mission, the values of the company’s social platforms. If you look into their websites, what they say and what they claim, there is no negativity. They all started with a positive purpose, nothing wrong in that. Obviously, they want to make money. They want to monetize their websites, their platforms as much as possible, and surely in the right way. But when you are proactive, dynamic and an entrepreneur you cannot really foresee what dangers will come in the future, it’s hard to control that. Facebook has said that they don’t produce any content, similar to all other platforms, they are UGC, user generated content. So it’s the users that produce the content, but they are tech companies. They need to make sure they have the right way to monitor the content that the platform has, whether it’s produced by them or by the users. That’s where the danger comes from because we are now in an area of misinformation, miscommunication, as well. We don’t know what is true or what is false, right? Because there is so much content, everyone can produce content and you can become a trust person from thousands of people without telling the truth. So that’s the positives and the negative sides. I think, although it will be hard, because it’s UGC, I think it’s possible for the social platforms to monitor and control this content, they really have an ethical and moral responsibility over the content, to ensure that the content is monitored.

Shaheen Samavati 11:16
Definitely. I remember early in my career, there were brands that I’d worked with who were not sure if they should even participate in social media at all, because they were afraid of the risks. I think nowadays, that’s not an option. You have to you have to participate, you have to be there. How do you think brands can protect their image and have the right approach to social media?

Leonardo Oliveira 11:39
Good question. So I think the platforms are becoming increasingly aware of this. Obviously, some of the big organisations like WFA and Eizber, are working with advertisers and with these plaforms to collaborate and to tackle this issue. The fact is, some of these platforms have some measures and some features that help on protecting content from being displayed alongside politics or terrorism or any content that they don’t want to be shown. Some don’t have these features, but there are third party tools, with the job to do that, they exist for this purpose. What is really needed, is these major tech platforms to allow these tools to work with them, alongside them. To allow the integration to happen in real time, to allow the integration to be fruitful for the user, for the advertiser. So we can ensure that the content is still relevant, but comes in the right way and for the advertiser, to have the full reports to monitor, track and effectively say, I’m happy to be shown alongside this and that, but now I don’t want to be shown alongside this and that. If we recall what happened with YouTube three years ago, I believe, there was a big buzz around some brands which adverts were seen alongside with the high season content, and they stopped investing. We’ve seen this here, some of the biggest advertisers in the world have stopped investing. They’ve said that they will not put any money on Facebook or Google until the end of the year. So we are in an industry and we have a responsibility of trying to make it as efficient, but as safe as possible. For us and also for the next generations because it’s the industry that we are working on.

Shaheen Samavati 14:09
Yeah. It’s very good point. Going into social media advertising, what do you think brands most often get wrong when it comes to advertising?

Leonardo Oliveira 14:23
I would say the measurement. A lot of advertisers, for many reasons, because it’s easier, because it can be expensive to do the opposite. They just look into the last click, they just go to Facebook, create campaigns, they create content and then they look into what was the cost per acquisition or the revenue, the ROI, but they are looking into signups, so they are not looking to cross channel advertising. It’s really important to understand that the end user is not only on Facebook, they might be browsing across multiple websites, to just reading the news. It might be on Google searching for something, it might be on TikTok, or Snapchat or other multiple platforms. So the same user might have had multiple touch points before converting on Facebook or coverting on Google. So measuring it is critical for brands to understand what is the return of the investment on every single platform, because Facebook might be a great channel for performance campaigns but it might not be as good for awareness campaigns, to drive awareness. I think there is a need around that because, we just look into the numbers that we get from the platforms and there is a struggle nowadays, with the changes in the browser, the changes on the apps, and so on. To measure across channels, like multi-touch attribution is quite a challenge. So econometrics is one way, media mix modelling is another way, incremental tests are another way. Even the recent changes on Facebook, they are changing the cookie window from 30 days to seven days. So I’m pretty sure that everyone that does Facebook advertising will see the conversion dropping quite drastically, soon. Some of them will know about this change on the cookies and some of them will not know.

Shaheen Samavati 15:36
What does that mean exactly? That’s the amount of time that it’s tracking cookies?

Leonardo Oliveira 16:53
Yeah, and it means that the conversions will drop and they might think that Facebook is not driving the same performance as it used to. No, it’s exactly the same, it’s just the cookie window. So you need the broader perspective and it’s hard to say to the guy that is managing the Facebook campaigns, well, your performance is not good. Or the performance from the channels that you work on is not good. You need to look into the media mix as a realistic view, not just the search or Facebook or TikTok, you need to look at the search social programmatic, e-commerce, marketplaces, TV, radio tours, podcasts, everything and try to measure everything in a possible way.

Shaheen Samavati 17:52
Yeah, there’s anoverload of data that’s available now. It’s difficult to make a decision. You need a PhD to be able to do a social media report now.

Leonardo Oliveira 18:09
One of the things that I’ve seen quite often with Facebook is, you look into Facebook as a good, strong last touch conversion channel. So it drives conversions but it’s when you’re looking for the last touch. On the CPM basis, it has a really low CPM. But the fact is, on Facebook you are always scrolling down, right? You are scrolling, scrolling, scrolling and you might not even see it yet. Right? So your CPM might be low but in reality, if you consider the Ads that you have actually seen and paid attention to, the CPM might be even higher than YouTube, Snapchat or Tiktok, or any other platform. These are the perks that we need to look into when effectively looking to the performance and how the different channels work for us, because it might be good for something, for a certain purpose, certain campaign, but not be the best one for another campaign.

Shaheen Samavati 19:19
Speaking of complexity, could you share anything about how you strategize global campaigns when you’re working with so many different markets, platforms and nuances of each market?

Leonardo Oliveira 19:31
It’s definitely a challenge. So usually we share the assets or the global assets that can be adapted to local markets, obviously. We say what is the main purpose, the main driver, what should be the content on the website. Obviously, what are the objectives and what we want to achieve with this specific campaign? What should be the channels and formats. Then it’s about sharing the right way to measure it. So we should be looking to these, this and that. So if the engagements are the goal, we should set up the company this specific way because it’s the best way to do it according to the best practice implementation. What are the partners that we should work alongside, whether it’s on the brand safety side, like we said, on the viewability side, but also on the tech platforms to make advertising more efficient. So, there are those platforms that are turning the advertising much more automated. So on social you have Sprinklr, the, Kenshoo, and so many others, right? There are those for the creative side like VT and so on. So these platforms will help you not just creating variations of the assets, multiple variations according to the way the content is being perceived, and the performance of those specific formats. But also, according to the cost per click or cost per acquisition or cost per engagement. Changing and tweaking which creative should be served to that persona in real time. So this can really help on getting the best possible results because I think that everything is becoming much more automated and we need the help of the automated tools.

Shaheen Samavati 21:54
And you created some kind of playbook, right, for all your teams, right?

Leonardo Oliveira 22:02
It was a challenging, but a really interesting exercise. So I co-wrote quite a few playbooks. But the purpose of the playbook was one, to explain how to transfer the accounts from the agency to our local media teams, when possible, because Facebook, for instance, you can transfer the business manager, but you cannot transfer the data that is within the business manager, on Google it’s different, it’s quite straightforward. But it’s for all the social platforms, the content of the playbook is some context on what each platform does and how it works, on what you are able to achieve with each one of them. How to work with each one of them and when to work with each one of them. Then how to measure, things to consider, integrations and how to make the most of those platforms. This was summarising what is in the social playbook but I also did this for the search and for others.

Shaheen Samavati 23:27
What do you think are the advantages of managing the whole process internally versus working with agencies?

Leonardo Oliveira 23:35
Well, that’s another story.

Shaheen Samavati 23:37
Well, the summarised version, because we don’t have much time left in the interview.

Leonardo Oliveira 23:41
There are pros and cons. I think, nowadays, considering the current situation, there are more pros than cons. But I would say greater speed in activation because you have the team. Not now because everyone is working from home, but within internal communications, it’s easier because whoever is managing the paid social campaigns has the context and understands the company a lot better than someone in the agency. So they know, the strategy of the company, they know the inside out of what the company is aiming for, even internal information, right? So if we share the assets, it’s quickly activated without going back and forth. Obviously leveraging first party data is a critical point, then obviously more control and ownership over the brand message and creativity. These are quite important matters. There are more factors. I would say on the con side, it’s important that we have external inputs and external views, perspectives that will bring a fresh air from what is happening from the outside. Most of the time, we are so much into the weeds in what we do that we need someone from outside that can effectively look into these things and say oh, you could have done this, you could have done that. It doesn’t mean that it’s better or worse, it just means that it’s a different perspective.

Shaheen Samavati 25:24
Yeah, that’s true. That’s a good point. So switching gears a little bit, I wanted to ask you, what’s your favourite social media channel and why?

Leonardo Oliveira 25:34
I would say Twitter, probably, although I really love Instagram, as well. Twitter, is the faster spreader of information now. But obviously there is a danger that we have just talked about, misinformation. Twitter is the real time news platform nowadays, if something happens in the next minute, i’m pretty sure someone can go on Twitter and search for it in the following minute, because someone will be talking about it. They will find the content, you can obtain the information, you can engage with it. It also allows both consumers, users and the brands to let loose and build relationships. It’s quite an easy platform to engage and to entertain.

Shaheen Samavati 26:29
It’s true, but I think it’s also one of the most challenging platforms for brands just because of that, because it requires so much interaction and constant publication compared to other platforms where you can post the nice picture maybe once a day or whatever. On Twitter, you really need to be on top of the comments and interacting with views.

Leonardo Oliveira 26:49
That’s the challenge. I think Twitter is high maintenance compared to Facebook.

Shaheen Samavati 26:56
Definitely. But in terms of advertising platform, it’s also your favorite?

Leonardo Oliveira 27:01
I don’t think so, I would say probably Facebook and Instagram because of the variety of formats that you can have. So I think it’s much easier if one format doesn’t work, surely there will be a format will work. A format or a creative will work in a different way and will work for a certain audience, while on Twitter it’s slightly different. I think nowadays, we have a platform for every single artist. So what works on Facebook might not work on Twitter, depending on your audience, right?

Shaheen Samavati 27:50
Yeah, definitely. I mean, when it comes to advertising, Facebook as a company has put a lot of emphasis into making great resources for advertisers. So you can definitely sell that with the business manager.

Leonardo Oliveira 28:07
The thing is Facebook has been the most dominant for years, right? And I think it will remain for some time, despite the TikTok growth. The fact is that pretty much every social platform is now growing because people are spending so much time at home and like we said, the human nature requires socialisation and the social platforms really offer that.

Shaheen Samavati 28:37
Actually that reminds, me towards the beginning you were saying that there’s a lot more platforms out there besides the main ones that we all know, but are you talking about regional or which platforms are you referring to there?

Leonardo Oliveira 28:51
I found out about the platform yesterday or last week, Guild. It’s a social network. I’m always finding new platforms that I have never heard about in the past like,, Twitch platform. There are so many platforms that are created either for a specific niche or networks, Reddit and so on. There are so many platforms that it’s quite difficult to understand exactly where you should go and what is the best one for you.

Shaheen Samavati 29:39
Yeah, I mean, you’re saying if they’re focused on a particular niche maybe that’s where you need to be, if that’s your audience, but it requires analysis and knowing what’s out there.

Leonardo Oliveira 29:50
Think about Pinterest, Youtube, Reddit, Flickr and so on. Just, different purposes and different audiences.

Shaheen Samavati 29:57
Yeah, definitely. So going to the recommendations part of the interview, I wanted to ask you for your recommended recommended books.

Leonardo Oliveira 30:10
I would recommend my book, my playbook.

Shaheen Samavati 30:14
But it’s not available to the public?

Leonardo Oliveira 30:16

Shaheen Samavati 30:18
That’s too bad. It sounds like it has some great information in there.

Leonardo Oliveira 30:23
No, But there is a book, “Paid Attention” by Faris Yakob. I quite enjoy it because it looks into the overall ecosystem and not into one specific format, not one specific network, but it’s about how brands try to get attention from users in multiple ways and look into the creative side, the message, the call to action and so on. The other one that I really like, is “Thinking Fast and Slow” and it’s by Daniel Kahneman. I cannot pronounce the second part of his surname properly. Thinking Fast and Slow, is about how the brain works in two different ways, two different speeds, according to the environment, and the needs. The better you realise that, the more efficient you will be in your communications. Regardless if it is personal or professional. When you are in a meeting and you need to really be quick and fast, you know what part of the brain is really working, now you need to react now you need to think, and you have the time, you can really think slower, but more precisely, I would say.

Shaheen Samavati 32:07
Very cool. We’ll put the names in the blog posts so people can find those books. You did mention you’re taking a course with Mark Ritson, is that right?

Leonardo Oliveira 32:18
Yes, Mark is someone that is quite inspiring. I’m taking the Mini MBA with him and it’s really interesting, I’m learning quite a lot. It’s great to effectively understand what you really know and what gaps you have. To keep up to date with the trends, he has vast experience in marketing, working for the major brands in the world in their marketing plans, in their strategies. So it’s really interesting. He’s one of the guys that I follow. But again, I do not agree with everything he says.

Shaheen Samavati 33:12
Yeah. So take it with a grain of salt, but learn what you can and use your own experience to balance it.

Leonardo Oliveira 33:18
Yeah, exactly, even Mark Ritson says that it doesn’t mean that everything I say works for you, or you might have an experience that really says opposite.

Shaheen Samavati 33:34
Yeah, that’s true. Lastly, do you have a recommended industry group or events?

Leonardo Oliveira 33:43
Industry group? I love the WFA events. So…

Shaheen Samavati 33:52
This is the DMEXCO, or a different one?

Leonardo Oliveira 33:55
DMEXCO I love as well, but I would say the WFA is also really interesting. DMEXCO is surely one of the best events in the world, they have all the major players in there.

Shaheen Samavati 34:12
This is a digital marketing event in Germany, right?

Leonardo Oliveira 34:16
Yes, they have all the major players in there, but also the advertisers and agencies and everyone sharing their experience, their learnings and talking about what they can do, what are the challenges. Some of the advertisers, even within the same industry, have the same challenges obviously, right? So we talk about how to overcome those challenges, for instance measurement or attribution or planning or globalisation. So there’s so many, not issues but challenges that marketers need to overcome on a day to day basis. So it’s good to talk to peers and colleagues in the industry, regardless if they are digital focus or not. I think it’s a way to learn more and engage, right?

Shaheen Samavati 35:14
Yeah, definitely. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get back to in person events soon but I know a lot of these big events are doing virtual versions these days. So we’ll post the links to those as well in the article. So we’re reaching the end of the interview, but I just wanted to give you the chance for any last parting advice you have for our audience of marketers across Europe?

Leonardo Oliveira 35:38
So, going back to the social and how to do social in the best possible way, I would say even for the paid social managers, when you are measuring and optimising what you are doing, try to get away and out of the weeds. This means that try to look into the omni-channel perspective, the broader view, the broader landscape, on the social and what is the interaction that you want to give or provide the user within the customer journey, until they purchase or buys or whatever is your objective. I think it’s important that we don’t look only into one channel, one platform. We look into everything as a whole because that’s marketing.

Shaheen Samavati 36:46
Absolutely, yeah. That’s a great note to end on. Thank you so much for the interview. I know I learned a lot and I think it’ll be really useful for everyone. So thank you for being on the podcast.

Leonardo Oliveira 36:57
Thank you. Thank you very much for the opportunity. It’s great to be with you.

Shaheen Samavati 37:02
Thank you. Thanks everybody for listening in, for more perspectives on the content marketing industry in Europe, check out and keep tuning into the podcast every weekday for more interviews. See you next time. Bye

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