Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Facebook needs to improve how it works with agencies

However are social networks like Facebook going to successfully monetize? You've heard that question to death by now. It's an old subject still without a clear answer.

A significant step in the right direction would be to make it much easier for digital marketing agencies to work with social networks.

At times I can find Facebook very frustrating. Take their payment system for example. Facebook will not issue monthly invoices. They won't bill you. Not even the most simple of all finical paperwork. I had my shower replaced a few months ago and the plumber, a sole trader, was able to invoice me! Why can't Facebook do it?

Instead Facebook will only accept credit card payments. Great! You try sorting that out if you're dealing with a hundred Facebook campaigns and nearly as many individual advertisers. Imagine some of those advertisers are franchises without a central budget. It quickly becomes a maze. As someone in our finance department pointed out; "This basically minimises their work and dumps all the admin onto us."

If I'm allowed a bit of paranoia and selfishness then I'll point out the buffer effect too. The money is spent at Facebook. We pay Facebook and the money goes from out account. There could then be a gap before the client pays us... we're paying out before we get paid ourselves (not something affiliate networks do, for example). At the very least that costs us the interest the money could have been earning in the bank.

This is not how big agencies like to work. If Facebook wants to keep the interest of big advertising agencies then it needs to get with the program. Google versus Facebook? In terms of dealing with agencies Google is miles and miles ahead.