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:
- Facebook needs to provide customer support for everyone. Google still supports all size marketers. While Google doesn’t necessarily love affiliate campaigns, it provides support for all size businesses. Google’s learned that small businesses sometimes become big businesses and since it provides a suite of services for businesses, it wants to make everyone happy. Facebook needs to learn from Google’s plan and provide everyone with support even if they are seen “only” as affiliates.
- Facebook needs to integrate its sales team with its quality review team. If you are fortunate enough to have a contact within Facebook, it often does little good. As it stands now, Facebook sales people have absolutely no idea why their clients are having issues getting products approved on Facebook. The advice that the sales team gives clients sometimes has no basis in reality of how the quality review team acts.
- Listen to clients. Facebook has a serious issue thinking that it rules the world because it’s the biggest name in the game right now. If we’ve learned anything about the Internet, it’s that companies’ fortunes can change overnight. Remember MySpace? Facebook is trying so hard to have its own way of doing business that it’s ignoring pretty much anyone else’s opinions on how to run its revenue generation.
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