02 Jun Social Advertising: Focus on Power, Not Parity
Since Facebook was founded more than 12 years ago, there have been several inflection points that changed social networking and social marketing forever.
I remember the first—the launch of Facebook Platform May 24, 2007–like it was yesterday. Giving application-programming-interface access to application developers helped accelerate Facebook’s growth from 20 million users to more than 1 billion daily users less than 10 years later. At the same time, it led to the creation of companies like Buddy Media, Vitrue, Wildfire and Involver that focused on publishing and tab management. Most of those companies were acquired in 2012 and 2013 in a spending spree by enterprise software vendors, but after a failure to integrate what were effectively agencies, not software platforms, the Facebook partner market shifted drastically.
The second inflection point came when Facebook expanded API access to its ads marketplace, at first via a limited beta in 2009, and later formalized into the ads API program in August 2011. Giving advertisers the ability to target via identity and interest was an incredible opportunity that made personalized marketing at scale possible for the first time.
Over time, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest rolled out new marketing API programs themselves, adding dozens of additional companies to their partner programs. These companies, generally referred to as “buying tools,” focus myopically on the tactical features that help brands create social ads.
These companies are about to see their businesses disrupted, as well, primarily because of a third inflection point that is quickly approaching. Despite what people would have you believe, no one is ever going to provide better social ad buying tools than the social networks themselves.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest employ the some of the world’s best software engineers. No ad tech vendor is going to build a better buying tool than the ones these industry giants are devoting massive amounts of money and talent to.
Consider Power Editor, which is effectively the lifeblood of the Facebook advertising platform. Advertising fuels Facebook’s growth and allows it to invest in areas like artificial intelligence andvirtual reality.
It’s silly to believe that Facebook and other social networks wouldn’t ensure that their native buying interface have everything that marketers need to invest ad dollars into their ecosystems. Any innovation that buying tool vendors introduced–from bulk uploading and targeting profile creation to mass ad creation and A/B testing–is now available in every platform’s native buying user interface or coming quickly.