The Fishbowl: Richard Costa-D’sa, Meta
The Media Leader’s interview series asks the media industry’s top salespeople 10 revealing questions, drawn from our fishbowl. The questions will be drawn at random and contain some tricky posers set by the commercial chiefs themselves.
This week is Richard Costa-D’sa, head of industry, media agency at Meta.
Prior to joining Facebook (now Meta) three years ago, Richard Costa-D’sa had worked exclusively agency side, most recently at Heard Group as its chief growth officer.
Previous to that he was CEO of the digital creative agency Jam, part of the Engine group, and he started his career as a media planner and buyer at the digital independent agency i-level.
As head of industry, media agency at Meta, he is responsible for building strategic relationships with WPP’s agencies.
**Peer question** What has been your biggest, or most insightful mistake and what did you learn from it?
Trying to evolve a business into a new market segment too quickly. As my wife would call me out on, I am impatient. I could see the bigger upside and wanted to get us there, and the biggest mistake was my impatience led to hiring too far from the core to make that happen. It created two parts of the business and two cultures, without a clear bridge. Building the path to the new world is gradual but consistent in messaging and ambition. In many ways how Meta is signposting the metaverse, and our bridge from mobile to the metaverse, is a good example of how to do it well.
Question from James Cornish, VP of international sales at Vevo.
If you could learn any new skill from scratch, what would it be?
Architectural design. I think I’ve got a good balance of left and right brain. Architecture for me has that perfect balance of creativity and mathematics. I’m at my best when I have a blank piece of paper, and I can sketch a complex idea in a simple way. I’d love to combine technology and aesthetics. I would just need to work out if I had the patience for seven years of training…
What are clients most excited about right now?
Understanding what AI and new solutions like Advantage plus campaigns can do to liberate their agency business models and teams, into focusing on the ‘why’ of campaigns not the ‘what’. Identifying new growth audiences, not over-planning, optimising and reconciling. This is where the real agency value sits and where smart agencies are building new, chargeable models on top of.
** Peer question** If you could click your fingers and change one thing about the way your company operates, what would it be?
At Meta we are passionate about building next generation technology platforms and we do a lot in this space. We ruthlessly prioritise and move fast which suits my personality well.. But every now and then a short breather would be good.
Question from Dave Randall, commercial director at Future.
If you could take a year off from work, what would you do?
Getting really good at DIY. I hate outsourcing stuff in the house and not finding a solution myself. I’m getting pretty decent around the garden and even building the odd bit of furniture, but would love to learn the full suite. Wiring to plumbing. Something intensely satisfying about completing a DIY job (successfully!)
What one thing would you change when dealing with media agencies?
Proving to our partners that Meta can be more than just an activation partner, but a business one. We sit on a wealth of data and insight, and our AI system is essentially the largest focus group for understanding what people do and do not care about when it comes to their clients’ products and services. It can help shape new products, new services, new markets. I’d love to work more with strategy and planning departments to help liberate that opportunity for their clients.
Who’s the best media salesperson you know (other than yourself)?
I’ve worked with some excellent ones through the years, but given the recent news at Twitter, I’d like to shout out my first rep at Microsoft all those years ago when I started my first job in advertising at i-level, Chris Gilbody. At that time we looked after the biggest digital accounts in the UK, so he was having a field day looking after the agency. However, he also helped shape my early views on getting the balance right when it came to the media owner/agency relationship. The balance of business, fun and empathy.
**Peer question** What if anything is your business planning on doing differently in 2023?
I’m not sure it’s planning something new, but more double-down on continued areas of growth that we are seeing such as Advantage Plus. We’ll see continued focus on short-form video, as Reels continues to grow exponentially each quarter. Further investment into AI technology, to ensure that advertiser’s investment is delivering even more ROI. Finally, business messaging is growing and monetising significantly. Billions of people and millions of businesses use WhatsApp and Messenger every day and Click-to-Messaging ads is one of our fastest growing ads products, with a $9bn annual run rate.
Question from Richard Bon, UK managing director and Europe commercial lead at Clear Channel.
What are the three most important skills that a media salesperson needs in 2022?
Empathy for what agencies are going through, understanding where growth lies for their advertisers in the platform you represent (and helping agencies understand how to liberate it) and being great at both ideation and delivery (seeing a great idea through flawlessly).
Who’s your best friend in the industry?
Wow, that’s a dangerous question. Actually, my wife works at Google. Let’s go with that. Keeps everyone happy.