Where is the Facebook SPMD ecosystem going?

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Nangians, a Facebook Strategic Preferred Marketing Developer, recently opened up its offerings and moved to more of a self-serve platform, allowing clients to have more freedom and choice with their social campaigns done through the company.

This is becoming a trend among companies that help brands with Facebook advertising. As brands’ in-house social intelligence rises, more Facebook SPMDs and PMDs are going this route or offering a hybrid of hosted and self-serve options for advertisers. Mladen Raickovic, the General Manager of Facebook SPMD AdParlor, talked with Inside Facebook about what this all means for the Facebook ad ecosystem and how it is changing and evolving to meet clients’ needs.

Inside Facebook: Can you talk about the pros and cons of going self-serve vs. managed?

Mladen Raickovic: Both have lots of values. I think at the end of the day, what it comes down to is — what does an advertiser want? I think there’s a pretty big spectrum that advertisers sit on. You have advertisers who want to build their in-house marketing teams with purely self-service solutions, coupled with good ongoing support. On the other side of the spectrum, you have clients who don’t want to be Facebook advertising specialists and they’re looking for a company who does that for them in that capacity. In between that, there’s many shades of gray, where you have clients who want to take some ownership in that process and are looking for a hybrid solution so they can manage a portion of their campaign and have us manage some of their campaigns as well.

I wouldn’t say there’s really any major pros or cons to either methodology. It really comes down to what the advertiser is looking to achieve with what they have.

IF: Are you seeing this as more of a trend, with PMDs opening up their proprietary software?

mladenMR: I think what’s happening — and I don’t think it’s exclusive to Facebook or social advertising — (is that) digital marketing folks are maturing and the space is maturing. What you’re finding is that you have people who are much more savvy than they were five, six, 10 years ago. The notion of building in-house marketing teams is starting to gain traction because there’s more people who can actually do that well.

If you were to try something like that 10 years ago, you’d have a really hard time because the users of technology were really on the publisher side, versus today where you have a much smarter, more digital capable workforce. You can make self-serve a much more available option.

IF: Do you feel that might help the Facebook ad ecosystem, as there are more companies who know what they want? 

MR: I think what’s going to happen is you’re going to have those clients or those advertisers who want to build in-house marketing teams. It’s not just going to come down to the technology. It’s going to come down to their ability to hire the right people to become Facebook advertising experts. It’s not simply the technology that gets you there. I think that while a lot of clients want to do that all themselves, it’s still going to be difficult to get that expertise in-house, that you’d find with someone who lives and breathes it every day. It’s not impossible, and with the right training and support, I think teams can get there, but I think it’s going to have its own challenges as clients move toward that model.

For us too, we work with both self-serve and managed clients, and it’s really about how can you service the client to help them achieve their objectives. It comes down to: where are they in that spectrum? If they’re a purely self-serve client, we need to be able to service them in a way where you’ve not only given them the right technology, but you also get their teams the right knowledge and education to be successful with your technology. On the opposite end of the spectrum, that’s about intuitively understanding the advertisers’ business and what their KPIs are and working with them to expand their understanding and their capabilities on Facebook.

IF: Where do you see the SPMD ecosystem going from here?

MR: If you think about it, the SPMD group will evolve their own technologies. We all have self-serve offerings and we will grow with the market. So I think this will help the market where necessary. … All of us will grow with the market as necessary. I think, what you’re going to find, is that there are a lot of clients who want self-serve and start off then find that fairly complicated and might need some more support in the early stages, but they’ll grow into it nicely.

As an SPMD, it’s our obligation to help them figure it out in that capacity. Both from a managed perspective, to get them going, or from a self-serve perspective, on the technology side. I think the important thing to remember is that the SPMD community and ecosystem exists because we add value. Value comes in a number of ways. Value comes in the technology and the innovation that we build on top of the Facebook platform. It also comes from the services that we provide our clients. We manage campaigns for our clients, and those are some of the things we provide — consulting services around strategy.

It’s not simply down to the technology; it’s bigger than that.

I think, with the SPMD ecosystem, as it matures, a lot of companies are starting to find their sweet spots. For a long time, there were a lot of similar offerings in market and there wasn’t a lot of differentiation, and that’s changing, as the SPMD ecosystem starts to focus on key areas and key advertiser segments. I think that’s starting to happen. The other part of it is expansion. You’re seeing these companies that were Facebook focused are expanding to new platforms. I think that actually helps Facebook in that it enables the SPMDs to talk to advertisers about bigger dollars and bigger brands and bigger budgets.

Top image courtesy of Adobe.

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