Today, we are pleased to feature a Q&A with Kenshoo’s newest partner in Brazil, RIOT. RIOT started in 2006 as the first social media-focused agency in Latin America and is now the Brazil’s largest full-service independent agency, with over 250 employees across 4 offices. Servicing world-class clients such as Johnnie Walker, LG Electronics, Alibaba, Spotify and Renault, RIOT has been expanding its digital offering to include full-service Facebook Ads buying in an effort to provide a more holistic approach to social media and has licensed Kenshoo Social to drive success for their clients. As part of the partnership, Kenshoo may refer clients to RIOT, a preferred partner of Kenshoo Social in Brazil, who need managed services for Facebook advertising in the region. Walter Motta Junior, the Head of Partnerships & Strategic Business Development, joins us now to talk more about the market in Brazil, RIOT’s mission, and the partnership with Kenshoo.

First, tell us a bit more about RIOT? What sets your agency apart in the Brazilian market?

Walter Motta Junior: At the outset, we were the first Brazilian agency to join the Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer program in the beginning of 2012. And despite the fact that RIOT has been the first social media agency in the region, we don’t position ourselves as such. We do carry on our “social DNA”, but are more focused on giving rise to great ideas, rather than concentrating only on innovative technologies. At RIOT, we believe in a post-PC world permeated by several platforms — mobile phones, tablets, video-games, Smart TVs — and hence specialize in connecting touch points so people and brands can be more closer than ever, always in a social context. That’s pretty much how we stay ahead of curve.

Facebook advertising exploded in Brazil during 2013. With this rapid growth, how can companies keep pace with this scale?

Since Facebook’s early ages, I have been following the development of the social marketing ecosystem very closely, especially the rapid development of new capabilities that Facebook has released over the last few years. Without any doubt, my perspective is that using a Facebook Ads API-based 3rd-party solution is definitely the way to go when it comes to scaling operations and optimizing budget towards actual business goals. Whether we wanted it or not, as an agency, partnering up with a powerful technology platform in this segment was just a matter of time. Therefore, we chose the best.

So as 2014 gets underway, what is the opportunity for RIOT with Facebook advertising?

We’re currently managing upwards R$1.5M a month on Facebook advertising, and RIOT has seen a tremendous growth in this key area during the last few months. This fast-paced growth comes along with both a big challenge and opportunity: stay ahead of the curve to deliver best-in-class Facebook campaigns focused on driving ROI in addition to more common engagement metrics. Having said that, our partnership with Kenshoo will play a critical role for that intent.

What would you say is the biggest opportunity for social marketers in 2014?

As we enter 2014, it’s important not only to look back at the past to determine what worked and what didn’t, but also to think about the year ahead as a more mature age. Social media — and its extension on mobile — will genuinely start to play a vital role in today’s consumer decisions, trust, and word-of-mouth.

More than ever, brands will shift away from using likes, comments, or shares as primary performance metrics and pursue macro objectives like increasing sales and revenue, brand equity, etc. — something that can still be challenging for many marketers.

The rise of mobile smartphones and the upcoming World Cup also make a huge opportunity for brands hoping to make it big in Brazil, which was recently dubbed by The Wall Street Journal as the “social media capital of the universe.”

Big data will be cut down to size and broken up into smaller, more-manageable pieces, so ads and messages can be precisely targeted.

To wrap up, there’s one essential component to be understood and used in unique, smart ways: real-time marketing/conversations.

Whoever gets all this right, will absolutely achieve success along this year.

What tips would you give to marketers starting out with Facebook ads in Brazil?

Whether you run your program in-house or with a partner, here are some tips for success:

  1. Even though it seems obvious, map out your goals before anything else
  2. Realize that Facebook can help reach bigger marketing objectives beyond fan acquisition and engagement
  3. Use visual-compelling images, short text and strong call to actions
  4. Be relevant by offering something that provides value in exchange for the time people spend looking at your ad
  5. Be authentic by remaining consistent with brand positioning and tone
  6. Improve targeting via more sophisticated options such as: Custom Audiences, Facebook Exchange, Conversion Pixels, Lookalike Audiences and/or Partner Categories
  7. Identify the issues, commit to execution, and test and scale your program
  8. Ensure your message reaches all of your existing and potential customers, not just your fans