Business manager

Facebook’s secret new ‘business manager’ could rival developer partners for marketing dollars – TechCrunch

TechCrunch discovered a big unexpected marketing tool from Facebook called Entrepreneur which allows corporate and agency teams to manage multiple ad campaigns and pages in a single interface. There is only one problem. Business Manager could directly compete with Facebook Favorite Marketing Developers which it has historically left to serve these lucrative clients.

We learned from Entrepreneur from a tipster, and Facebook confirms to me that this is an unlaunched product that has not been revealed to the public. It went into “fine tuning” with a select set of customers a week ago, and will be refined before rolling out to everyone. Facebook hasn’t provided a timeline on when that will happen.

[Update: 4/28/14: Facebook today officially launched Business Manager, confirming the details of this story.  The company wrote “Business Manager is currently available to a limited number of US advertisers. We plan to roll out internationally within a few weeks.”]

Walking on PMD toes

Facebook’s marketing tools strategy to date has been to build simple, basic native tools for small businesses and APIs to allow developers to build more powerful, personalized tools for larger marketers. Facebook’s preferred marketing developer partners then use these APIs to build enterprise-level social media publishing, marketing, and monitoring tools, as well as effective advertising tools that can A/B test and allocate spend. between thousands of ad variants.

These APIs have spawned an entire industry of well-funded startups, some of which have had great releases. In the management of the Facebook page, there is Media Buddy (Sold to Salesforce for around $745 million, Implied, glazing (sold to Oracle for $300 million), Fires (sold to Google for $350 million plus big retention bonuses) and many more. In the advertisements there are Nanigans, Amplification, kenshoo, AdParlor (acquired by AdKnowledge), effective border (acquired by Adobe) and a host of others. If a small business wanted to run a few Facebook ads themselves or post to fans of their page, they could do so through Facebook’s free, native, and self-service tools.

If larger companies or agencies wanted to compare the click-through rates of thousands of ad titles, have a team of humans to moderate wall posts on a page, or track the performance of their page and ads in tandem, they usually had to license a third-party tool. from one of Facebook’s PMDs.

But Facebook Business Manager offers many of these features for free on Facebook. This is the last step of long-standing commodification of Facebook’s marketing services I’ve been watching since 2011. Facebook is making improvements to its native marketing services, and third parties are being forced to find new, deeper ways to find value. For example, Facebook added post scheduling and basic Page admin roles in May 2012, prompting makers of enterprise tools to stay ahead of the curve by integrating creation support. content and rich admin permissions with more granularity than Facebook’s native tool.

Free the fruits at your fingertips

Business Manager takes team support and paid and owned media integration to the next level. It allows brands or agencies to manage their Facebook Pages and ads in a single interface. It completely separates each user’s business and personal Facebook data and allows them to configure permissions and payment access for team members who are not their Facebook friends. Facebook also configured the migration to Business Manager so as not to interrupt or modify existing ad campaigns or content pushes. You can watch Facebook’s intro video for the product here, which I grabbed and embedded in case Facebook takes it down.

The problem was that before, marketing team members from agencies and large corporations feared mixing their personal and professional presences on Facebook, so they created a fake shared account to use for ad and page management. But these fake accounts are against Facebook’s terms of service, require users to remember additional sets of login credentials, hamper security because they’re not tied to a single person, and their screen names make it confusing. giving the right people permission to post or buy ads. . Business Manager sweetens that.

Ads and Pages Business Manager

Amit Lavico-CEO of social marketing company Marketing Envy, explains that Business Manager could make it so that “1. You no longer need to friend a user in order to give them management access to your page 2. You no longer need to know the email associated with someone’s Facebook account in order to grant access to your ad account 3. Large advertisers can transfer funds between accounts independently without waiting for their representative FB through centralized payment methods.

But Lavi says the tool could drive businesses away from Facebook’s partners: “My experience both at Facebook and with agencies is that account management, permissions and finances are the biggest hassles and consume a significant amount of time that should be spent on the core business of managing campaigns for customers Facebook’s PMD partners will not be happy with this product as Facebook continues to copy successful third-party features for its own platform.

[Update 5pm PST: Facebook contends that Business Manager wasn’t secret but instead unannounced. “We’ve started rolling out this tool – and continue to roll it out – with businesses, agencies and PMDs,” a spokesperson says. “We’re also working on API availability so that PMDs can build it into their tools and interfaces, as well as build their own proprietary tools and interfaces on top of it – just like they do with our ads API.” This could give developers an opportunity to cooperate instead of compete with Facebook.]

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Business Manager certainly can’t replace the custom software development that many leading PMDs do for big brands and agencies, and it doesn’t replicate their most advanced features. But Business Manager might be good enough for some customers of simpler page and ad management tools to switch to Facebook’s free native tools. Permissions and combined ad/page interfaces are commonly listed as selling points for third-party Facebook marketing software.

These startups will either have to endure the additional competition or innovate to create new value propositions beyond what Business Manager offers. Facebook may be using its muscles to beat the companies it calls its partners. It is a risk to rely on a centralized platform. But Business Manager should also be seen as a catalyst for developers to improve. Ultimately, Facebook is democratizing access to tools that make the content and ads people see on its sites and apps more relevant and less annoying.