Facebook Chips Away At Marketing Providers By Adding Native Page Admin Roles and Scheduled Posts

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What once you had to use or pay for outside software to do, Facebook now offers for free. Facebook today rolled out Page administrator permissions and post scheduling. The two critical marketing features were previously only available in third-party Page management products like Buddy Media and Vitrue, which are fetching big acquisition prices in part because of these kinds of options.

Roles let a Page owner assign publishing, advertising, or analytics privileges to team members and service providers without giving them total control. Scheduled posts lets marketers push out a steady stream of messages to the news feed, day and night.

Now that these software features are native to Facebook, the pressure will increase for marketing service providers to deliver value through insightful execution of social media strategy, app creation, ad buying, and offsite services. Otherwise they’ll be commodified out of existence.

Facebook also just opened a new revenue stream by rolling out Promoted Posts, where Pages can pay to have their posts appear to a higher percentage of their fans. This “marketing steroids” feature is different than Twitter’s Promoted Tweets because Promoted Posts is publicly available as self-serve, and only lets marketers reach more of their existing fans rather than new people. That’s led to some criticism that Facebook is “selling fans back to Pages” that already “own” them, along with initial limited tests seeing lackluster performance. But back to Facebook steamrolling third-party Page management software…

Page admins can now assign roles of Manager, Content Creator, Moderator, Advertiser, Insights Analyst, each with progressively fewer privileges as shown on the chart below. That means you could give an intern the ability to delete spam comments without letting them post to all your fans, or let a marketing manager buy ads for you without being able remove other admins or delete your Page. The cascading privileges aren’t quite as granular as some business might want though, as you can’t just give someone the ability to moderate but not advertise.

When admins with publishing privileges go to post, they can click a clock icon in the bottom left of the publisher to set a future date for the post to be pushed out. Scheduled posts then appear in the Manage->Use Activity Log section until they go live. However, you can’t edit scheduled posts beyond changing their publishing date, there’s no tagging to assist with analytics.

These basic native versions of core third-party features will be most dangerous to smaller, cheaper marketing platformsthat don’t offer a robust set of other tools or services and are aimed at local businesses and fledgling brands. Bigger Page management solutions like Buddy Media, Virtrue (recently acquired by Oracle), Wildifre, Involver, and ThisMoment have less to worry about, as they’re designed for huge brands who need premium service, include sophisticated scheduling and permissions options, and handle marketing beyond Facebook on Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and other sites.

Still, it’s becoming easier and easier for a savvy mid-sized brand’s marketing department to run their Facebook presence without third-party help. I’ve been watching this commodification of Facebook Page management for over a year now. With time, I see the value proposition of Page management companies shrinking as social media expertise proliferates and Facebook’s native tools get stronger. While their businesses are healthy for now, and they come with strong software and big client lists, the $300 million Oracle paid for Vitrue and the near $1 billion, or 10x revenue, we’re hearing Salesforce might buy Buddy Media seem a little bubbly.