Facebook, Friend or Foe? The Financial Times’ Lexi Jarman Weighs In

For years, publishers and brands have had a contentious relationship with Facebook. Brands took a huge hit two years ago when average organic reach on Facebook plummeted below two percent. And publishers have struggled to figure out whether Facebook is a friend or foe when it comes to both relying on the site for traffic and promoting native advertising.

At the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity this summer, I interviewed Lexi Jarman, director of FT², the Financial Times’ branded content studio, about the dynamics of that relationship. Jarman spoke about what true branded content success looks like and her biggest prediction for the next year. Check out the video below, which was produced by Magnet Media, an industry-leading global strategic studio, as part of our Accountable Innovation Series.


Joe: Hi and welcome to Accountable Innovation at Cannes. I’m Joe Lazauskas, Contently’s editor-in-chief. And I’m here with Lexi Jarman, the head of branded content at FT Square, the Financial Times branded content studio. Lexi, we’re so happy to have you here.

Lexi: Thank you so much for having me.

Joe: Now we’re going to put you in the hot seat. Five questions, rapid fire. Are you ready?

Lexi: Sure, let’s go.

Joe: What’s the most important metric for measuring branded content?

Lexi: I think engagement is absolutely crucial for us. We look at things like—I know you said rapid fire, but I’m gonna go into it. We look at things like active time on page, scroll depth. We look at our loyal user rate as well. We know that engagement amongst the FT’s loyal users is really important to our advertisers.

Joe: And what’s the biggest key to a branded content campaign that actually works?

Lexi: Genuine partnerships. Something that is based on honesty and properly managed expectations will always give you the best result in the end.

Joe: Speaking of partners: Facebook, friend or foe?

Lexi: That’s a harsh question. I think both. I think that there is a huge opportunity. They have so much scale and reach, and you can really reach out to the FT’s audience in different places. But I think the duopoly, as it is ominously known, is doom and gloom. I see dark skies coming in. I think, obviously, it’s something that everyone has to be really aware of.

Joe: Let’s get into a more serious topic. Rosé: Overhyped or just right?

Lexi: I think Frosé is the way forward really.

Joe: Frosé 2018, it’s gonna be a thing.

Lexi: I mean, let’s get it trending.

Joe: Speaking of predictions for next year, what’s one big prediction you can give us that we’re going to be talking about more at Cannes 12 months from now?

Lexi: I think that everyone’s lack of preparedness for GDPR is gonna be really interesting. I think that there’s been a bit of a race for the bottom in terms of quality of content, and I think that the quality publishers and the quality sites are really gonna start shining through again.

Joe: Lexi, thank you so much.

Lexi: Thank you so much.

Joe: Cheers.

Image by iStockphoto

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