Facebook Plans Major Overhaul To Preferred Developer Consultant Program

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At a private meeting last night in New York City, Facebook revealed to trusted partners a plan to restructure the 3-year-old Preferred Developer Consultant program around 4 areas: Page management, Ads API, Insights, and custom app development. My sources tell me Facebook will be granting approval badges in the 4 verticals, the latter two of which have never had their own distinctions.

This new unified API partner program will launch soon to replace the PDC and Ads API partner programs, and make it easier for brands to discover Facebook marketing services vendors. The overhaul is designed to encourage more companies to formally offer Facebook marketing services, and get brands spending more on Facebook faster.

Connecting brand wallets to vendors in each of the four areas helps Facebook make money and improve the site, which is why it originally started the Preferred Developer Consultant program in 2009. Page management services strengthen the quality of content published, Insights gives brands confidence in the ROI of their spend, and custom app development creates engaging experiences for users and generates ad-targetable behavioral data for Facebook. Most directly, Ads API companies that efficiently run huge ad campaigns get brands to increase their advertising spend, which goes straight into Facebook’s pockets.

Previously, brands trying to discover relevant Facebook marketing services had to use the somewhat clumsy Preferred Developer Consultant lookup tool for Page management and marketing services shown below, or comb through the list of Ads API tools and services vendors. There was no official place for Insights vendors like PageLever or EdgeRank Checker, or custom campaign app development services.

The new badging system will let Insights vendors and app developers show off a Facebook seal of approval, and be discoverable through an enhanced, unified lookup tool that searches across each of the core marketing partner verticals. Some companies will only be badged in one area, while others that do it all like Buddy Media may be badged in all four. The information comes from sources that requested anonymity since Facebook wanted these plans kept private, but I’ve seen the emails. This is happening.

Brands will be able to easily find vendors that sport badges for all the services they need. This is crucial as the company announced new marketing products including Timeline for brand Pages, real-time Insights, and a bevy of new advertising options at this week’s Facebook Marketing Conference.

A better self-serve discovery tool will reduce work for Facebook’s developer relations team, which is bombarded with requests from brands looking to be matched with relevant vendors. Rather than asking for assistance and then blasting out requests for proposals of service to all the vendors that seem right, brands will more easily be able to home in on the best vendors for them and start spending money faster. Expect a big marketing push from Facebook to generate brand interest once it settles on a name for the program, designs the badges, and is ready to launch.