LONDON--Two of the communications world's more advanced digital firms have made new hires that aim to bolster their "paid media" capabilities.

In London, social media firm We Are Social has launched a new paid media division led by David Gilbert, former sales and client service director at TBG Digital, a major buyer of Facebook ads.

In New York, meanwhile, Edelman has hired MindShare social media strategy director Cassel Kroll. As VP of media strategy, Kroll is charged with integrating paid media throughout all social media programmes at the firm.

While hires from the paid media world (and vice versa) are nothing new in the public relations sector, the trend is likely to accelerate because of the breakdown of traditional boundaries on social media platforms. Numerous PR firms, for example, have merged or acquired digital PR specialists in recent years. 

“Today’s social environment demands that media planning be integrated into brands’ social media strategies and for media buying to operate in real-time and in synergy with always-on social content creation and community management," said We Are Social global MD Robin Grant.

Grant added that "traditional media agencies, hampered by legacy structures, just aren’t geared up to take this approach."

We Are Social has grown rapidly since launch  to become one of the world's largest social media specialists. A key rival for digital business is Edelman, which has added Kroll to a social media business that is already worth around $80m worldwide.

“With the emergence of converged media, we are excited to add Cassel’s expertise to help leverage paid media to amplify our content and earned social at scale amongst our 300-plus social communities that we currently manage,” said Edelman Digital global chair Kevin King.