There is no better window into the fast-changing world of social media marketing than a conversation with Facebook’s top marketers and strategic partners.
For a recent report, BI Intelligence spoke with some of Facebook’s ultra-elite “strategic preferred marketing developers,” or SPMDs, of which there are only 14 in existence. They have privileged access to Facebook, and often help the social network develop marketing and ad-focused products.
BI Intelligence interviewed executives at four leading SPMDs, who pointed to the key factors driving social media marketing’s future, like the changing relationship between paid, owned and earned media. They spoke about why the future of social media marketing will be determined by the companies with the best data, software and technology. Creative will play a role, but it won’t determine the kingmakers. And they described the best tactics for driving results on social media.
Here are some of the insights gleaned from our conversations:
- Moving beyond last-click attribution: One Adobe client, a hospitality and entertainment group, realised their apps were driving sales through other online and offline channels. They only realised this once they stopped obsessing on the last click before a sale, and tracked customers across channels.
- Pre-Testing Paid Media: Other elite Facebook marketing partners like Brand Networks and Adaptly understand that owned and earned media isn’t just valuable in and of itself. It’s also valuable as a source of analytics and data that will hint at what types of content will work as paid media. One airline brand using this technique saw total reach more than double to 63% of its targeted fans.
- Measuring Quality Of Engagement: SPMDs understand that the best metrics don’t just measure quality, but quantity too. SPMDs have the best technology and interfaces for sifting through data.
- Understanding Facebook Activity In Emerging Markets: SPMDs and PMDs more broadly can be marketers’ field experts, sensitizing them to seasonal, cultural, and local economic factors.
- Influencing Facebook Product Development: SPMDs have influence at Facebook and have pushed Facebook to make many needed changes such as streamlining its paid media ad product line.
But the landscape will change quickly:
- With over 260 PMDs all vying for the same pool of ad dollars, it is unlikely that they all will be able to remain in business. Our sources see industry consolidation via bankruptcies, mergers, and acquisitions.
- The key to this game is the technology. It’s not about a flashy name and a reputation for social media knowledge. The best social media marketing specialists will have a great tech stack at their foundation.
- PMDs should see a greater share of revenue come from software and technology licensing, or software-as-a-service.
- Already, one prominent PMD has folded after failing to reach sustainability. Syncapse was overly dependent on a single client, BlackBerry. And it had not achieved any significant revenue figures for its software package.
- The lessons for social media marketing specialists? Diversify your client base, and build your company on a foundation of great technology, not fee-skimming.
- Other social media networks like Twitter and Pinterest will build out schemes similar to Facebook’s PMD ecosystem, and push agencies and brands to connect with their ad solutions via these partners.
To access BI Intelligence’s full reports on the future of Social Media Marketing as seen by SPMDs, sign up for a free trial subscription here.