by Jeff Cunning
This year’s Facebook Global Partners Summit made it clear that the social network is still growing, and growing quickly. More than a billion users engage with three platforms: Facebook, Messenger, and WhatsApp. More than 70 million businesses use Facebook, 15 million businesses use Instagram, and 20 million of them use Messenger. And beyond the growth of its own products and audiences, Facebook made it clear that its partner ecosystem is growing and thriving. It’s an ecosystem that’s outpaced Facebook’s growth, increasing revenue by five times in the last five years.
To continue this growth, Facebook is hard at work building sophisticated products, both for their users and their technology partners. And to support these innovations, Facebook’s overall goal for their technology partners is to create complementary technology that provides solutions for new verticals, geographies, and advertiser segments.
During my time at the Summit this week, I identified three areas where Facebook hopes its partners can make an impact: creative testing and optimization, supporting the millions businesses not yet advertising on Facebook, and delivering on outcome optimization.
Creative Testing and Optimization
This was a unifying theme throughout the event: to be successful, marketers need to develop, test, learn, and iterate with creative. Facebook is uniquely suited to provide optimization of bidding methodology, budget management, audience targeting, and attribution. But the social network still relies on marketers and partners to develop strong, engaging creative.
But engaging creative isn’t easy, and oftentimes the gut instincts driving creative development and decision-making are flawed. Creative needs to be tested to be optimized. And marketers are much better suited when they begin campaigns with a large set of creative to hone in on what resonates most with particular audiences. A statistic shown during the conference indicated that top performing marketers on Facebook already begin campaigns with five times more creative options than lower-performing marketers. That makes experimentation with creative essential to discovering successful ad combinations.
Supporting More Business Segments and Verticals
Historically, Facebook and its partner ecosystem have focused on businesses with sizeable advertising budgets. But as partners work to support businesses with varying amounts of monthly spend, it’s vital to focus on the challenges of specific verticals and sub-verticals. Many companies either need or are going through a digital transformation, offering Facebook and its partner ecosystem an opportunity to accelerate that process.
Let’s put this in perspective: of the 70 million businesses on Facebook, only 5 million include Facebook as a social advertising channel. Facebook and its partners have roughly 65 million businesses out there waiting to be supported–and the more businesses that can leverage Facebook, the better.
“Outcome Optimization: The Future of Ads”
Jon Eide, Director of Ads and Business, Platform Product Strategy for Facebook, made this proclamation to reinforce one of the company’s key priorities. Eide told the audience that Facebook is focusing on driving true value for customers — not a like, a click, or a view, and perhaps not even a traditional conversion — but outcomes definable by advertisers that yield true value.
To support this mission, Facebook emphasized the importance of receiving signals of user activity from every possible digital property: a website, a mobile app, a brick and mortar location, even tags from other ad channels. Facebook’s data science and optimization is incredibly powerful — and as advertisers provide Facebook more data and signal of user activity, Facebook will be able to optimize outcomes for your spend.
This year’s Summit was an excellent chance to interact with Facebook product managers, partners and other experts and learn more about activating content on Facebook’s platforms. The exchange of ideas, methods and roadmaps made it highly valuable to attend.