Michelle Klein of Facebook on Video, Mobile and “Thumb-Stopping” Content

By WomenAdvancing Archives
Cover image for  article: Michelle Klein of Facebook on Video, Mobile and “Thumb-Stopping” Content

Digital expert and world traveler Michelle Klein actually started her career in “old media” working as a correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia. From there she settled in the U.K. where she worked for the Sea Containers Group (owner of the Orient Express Hotels). It was there that she transitioned to new media as part of an internal digital agency. This led to a stint at Agency.com, followed by Diageo and ultimately Facebook where she is currently the Director of Business Marketing for North America.

Charlene Weisler:  Tell me about your current job at Facebook.

Michelle Klein: My job is to bring the Facebook story to life in the market, for large advertisers to small businesses and agencies alike. We are partners to sales and product working behind the scenes to create meaningful storytelling.

Charlene: How has Facebook changed since you first started there?

Michelle: One of Facebook’s five core values is to move fast -- which has made the last year incredibly exciting. On the platform, one of the biggest shifts we’ve seen is in how people consume video. There are now 100 million hours of video watched daily on Facebook, a significant portion of which happens on mobile. Similarly, we’ve watched video become an important and powerful medium for businesses of all sizes.

Charlene: Where do you think video viewing on mobile is headed?

Michelle: The shift has already happened -- on Facebook, 75% of video views are on mobile. Our research shows that the brain actually engages differently when viewing content on mobile -- people are more attentive and tend to feel more positively toward information presented on the mobile screen. New video products, like 360 Video and Facebook Live will only continue to evolve the way we consume content on our devices.

Charlene: Is advertising on mobile different than on other platforms?

Michelle: Advertising on mobile requires a fresh approach to creative. You have to capture attention through thumb-stopping content, usually with the sound off. So the first three seconds are important in the story telling. There are some really great examples out there of brands creating compelling content with the sound off and through strong, emotive visuals.

Charlene: Has consumer behavior changed since you started at Facebook?

Michelle:The consumer shift to mobile is arguably the most important thing that has happened to the media and advertising world since the advent of TV, and we continued to see its impact over the last year. As part of this shift, we’ve seen the rise of messaging apps around the world that are set to usher in the next great evolution in communication. Six of the ten most downloaded apps are messaging apps. At Facebook, we have 800 million active people on Messenger and a billion on WhatsApp.

Charlene: You must have a very immersive and intensive work life. How do you achieve work/life balance?

Michelle: I am so happy that you asked that question. One thing I love about working at Facebook is how serious our leaders are about everyone leading meaningful lives, both personally and professionally. When you have that balance, integration, whatever you want to call it, you do better work and you can make a larger impact in everything you do. It’s all about understanding what’s important in our lives and working around those things. So for example, if you need to drop off your child at school twice a week, you book the time to do it. If going to the gym regularly is important to you, you take time out of your day to do it. I like to work out in the mornings so I can arrive at work at 9:30 and I can leave by 5:45 to be with my children. Everyone is respectful of that and it has had a profound impact on morale.

Charlene: What advice would you give a current college graduate seeking a career in media?

Michelle: Take every opportunity that comes your way. There is no direct career path anymore and by taking on a variety of roles you can learn and grow into new opportunities. Sheryl Sandberg called this a “career jungle gym” and that has been true of my experiences leading up to and at Facebook. Many Millennials have this ethos already; gone are the days of having one type of career in one type of industry.

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