Three reasons why Facebook must pay attention to the performance marketing industry.
During the first few years of Facebook's existence there was one part of the advertising community that immediately adopted its advertising platform as a key part of their campaigns: the affiliate and performance marketing industry. Facebook was written up in every affiliate blog and every journal about performance marketing as the savior of the industry. As marketers learned to use Facebook effectively, Facebook revenue skyrocketed, and based on that income Facebook was able to grow into the monster it is today. At one point Facebook had an entire team dedicated to affiliates, with their own account managers and way to contact Facebook.
Sometime in early 2010, however, Facebook changed its strategy. Its affiliate team was dismissed and performance marketing campaigns were slowly phased out. Facebook even got rid of its ROI tracking, now only secretly providing it to a few select agencies. Somehow Facebook had decided that supporting the performance marketing community that had helped build it was no longer important.
The reason Facebook started to do this was simple: it wanted brands to think that it was a great branding mechanism, and its team believes that providing support to performance marketers means that it isn't really a good branding mechanism. For those who wanted to engage in performance marketing, a plethora of third-party companies have popped up providing all sorts of optimization and other functions through Facebook's API. If you are a small business, affiliate marketer, or frankly even a performance marketing agency, you are dead in the water in trying to get support.
Facebook is making a huge mistake in not paying attention to the performance marketing industry, period. Here are a few recommendations I have:
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Pace Lattin has been working in interactive advertising since its inception. From being a co-owner of the company that sold advertising in ClickZ before the turn of the century to founding a major interactive advertising publication, he has been involved with all aspects of the interactive advertising industry. He is currently the executive director of the Executive Council of Performance Marketing, an industry organization that represents over 100 C-level executives.
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