Facebook has gotten real big, real fast. Apparently they have gotten big enough organically that are turning some of their sights to the industries that can help them with the application of the platform. It’s more than just numbers when you go after building relationships with ad agencies. Now it’s about money.
By deciding to educate the professionals working on the behalf of brands through the Facebook Studio, Facebook is doing the right thing by courting the group that will likely take Facebook to the next level from a marketing tool perspective. Of course, that doesn’t mean they will do the best or most creative work but ad agencies own the relationships with major brands and major brands mean cash.
Facebook executives say this move is a first step in a give-and-take dialogue between Facebook and the creative advertising world. Until now, Facebook has been mostly hands-off with agencies, letting them navigate the frequently changing Facebook waters without a compass.
“We need to do a better job of engaging with agencies,” said Blake Chandlee, head of Facebook’s newly formed agency relations team, adding that the site will focus on best practices and highlight quality campaigns uploaded by the creators of the content. Of course, users will be commenting and clicking that like button, so the most talked-about work will get the most attention. Facebook wants the people with the advertising smarts to take the lead. “So far we’ve felt like they’ve been pulled along,” Mr. Chandlee said.
A surprisingly honest assessment coming from Facebook who regularly shelves honesty for whatever it is they need.
Facebook will be running events with the next one being May 12th in New York. The idea of drawing closer to the advertising agency world is one that has been missed to a large degree by the search world (unless of course you spend gobs of money on paid search then you get to talk to actual humans). So far the agency world is responding well to Facebook’s overtures (like they have been asked to, I suspect)
Agencies are interested to see what happens, and ultimately want more. “Beyond the studio, which is a great first step, we’re looking to Facebook to open the kimono more in areas like product development to bring smarter, more integrated programs to our clients,” said Sarah Hofstetter, senior VP at 360i, who has worked with Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods and Bravo.
“The tools and products Facebook develops, which spread information about their platform, will not only help it seem less daunting, but encourage brands to further utilize the platform as well as experiment with it,” said Jasmine Summerset, strategy supervisor at Pereira & O’Dell.
Of course, it’s real early to be giving out gold stars to Facebook for its progressive stance with the creatives of the world. We’ll have to sit back and see how this unfolds because like anything else the idea has potential but how it’s actually implemented will be the proof.
What’s your take on the Facebook outreach?