How McCann Will Build Its Social Practice Globally

Last week McCann promoted Monica Tailor to senior vice president, global director of McCann Live, the network’s global social practice. 

It is one of McCann’s fastest growing areas, and Tailor is credited with building the service across the U.K. and is now tasked with continuing its global expansion.

In the following Q&A, Tailor discusses her plan for expanding the practice, how clients benefit, social ROI and key issues and trends.

You led the build out of Live in the UK. Are most UK clients using the Live social service now? What is your read on how their budgets will increase over the next couple of years?  

We deliver social to most of our clients in the U.K. and globally in some form or another. Social is such an important part of our client’s communications, integrated into their strategy and campaign execution. In some instances, we are the social agency of record, but in other cases we provide social as part of a full 360 campaign.  

Social is taking a larger share of client budgets every year because it is delivering for them. Social can do everything from brand building through to direct response. In the case of the U.S., it’s also the place where people can buy. It’s almost ubiquitous in its coverage of audience. If someone is on the internet, then they are 93% likely to be on a social network. If brands want to connect with their audience, then what better place to do it?

What about globally? The agency has indicated social is a major growth area. How fast do you see it growing over the next two years at McCann in terms of revenue growth? 

Live already has great practices around the world. We have 29 centers of excellence globally. Our focus will be on driving growth by expanding services as well as launching in new offices across our network so we can continue to support the demand in social that we're seeing from our clients.

What can you share about your blueprint for doing that?

I have some amazing experiences and learnings from the U.K. to take into the global role.

The Live methodology is well established and operationalized within McCann, so the next step is to work with our leading markets to extend and grow, but also to expand into new markets.  

Creativity creates fame on social, and this year we won a Cannes Silver Lion in Social Media for our #freecuthbert campaign for Aldi UK. We are brilliantly placed to create more fame-driving opportunities for our clients and win more.

We want to get everyone excited about social. It brings new ways to connect, new technology brings new opportunities, new formats, new memes, new cultural moments--the list goes on. Social allows us to do so much more than other channels, it rewards risk, experimentation and creativity, which makes it fun and exciting. Plus you get real-time reaction from people. I want to bring that excitement to every single person who works at McCann.

What is the agency’s main social “proposition”-- how do clients benefit most from the Live service, in your view? 

Brands connect with people every day on social platforms. Social is the place where cultural moments are watched and created, and has become the go-to place when anything in the world is happening. With people now spending an average of three hours a day on social, what better place to connect?

Live brings together insights, creative and media to create social engagements that excite and deliver end-to-end experiences. We do this by finding the right conversations to join as they unfold, and creating new hero moments that build fame for brands. 

Live's approach is built on social expertise and local knowledge alongside a shared methodology and data stack to make it consistent and responsive to the needs of the market. Each local Live office is made up of social and local specialists including strategy, creative and media. This tight-knit team enables us to have human insight and then execute at scale and with agility to take advantage of the moment. 

What key metrics do you use to measure social ROI?

Social is mostly measured in impressions, engagements and view-throughs, but we prefer to look at brand metrics and sales. Understanding how we shift brand and purchasing preferences through social leads to much more effective work, and effectiveness is the key to growth for everyone.

What are the top two biggest trends in social right now?

Always my favorite question. The two biggest trends (according to the industry) are social commerce and the metaverse.

The ability to buy and sell directly on social platforms will mean we spend even more time there, because there is no need to leave.

And the merging of our real and virtual worlds will create new experiences and opportunities. AR/VR have been around for a long time now, and Facebook made their intentions known back in 2014 when they purchased Oculus. The launch of the metaverse is likely to make AR and VR much more mainstream.

I’d also add one more that’s not as widely discussed. I think we’re going to see more social for brand building. It’s long been in a space of performance marketing, and I think we’re seeing the realization that social can do so much more.

What are the biggest client concerns right now about social? Brand safety? Privacy? Others? How are you addressing those concerns?

Like any other advertising channel, the concerns are often about performance. And with the removal of app tracking in iOS14 and cookies on their way out, the ability to target, track and report is changing the way brands use social.

It’s likely that brands will have to move away from very tight targeting using data that belongs to the social networks, and concentrate more on their own first-party data strategy.

We’re working closely with our clients on an individual basis to build out the right strategy for them. The beauty of the McCann network means we are having those conversations with specialists from our network such as MRM and Axciom.

Brand safety has been an ongoing issue in the digital advertising space. Concerns about where advertising appears is pretty well-documented and handled by ad platforms, but we continue to work closely with clients and partners to continually improve safety.

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