If Facebook is going to get its share price above water, it needs the support the ad agencies. So today it announced the Creative Council — 14 agency execs that will provide advice — and Studio Edge, a suite of new marketing education tutorials.
The Creative Council will be a “sounding board for both Facebook product ideas and key agency needs”. The advisors could persuade Facebook to launch flashier ad units or more invasive targeting mechanics. The marketing products the Creative Council guides will benefit from Facebook Studio Edge’s interactive guides designed to make Facebook’s social marketing products less befuddling for those closer to the Mad Men era than the digital age.
The Creative Council announced at the Cannes Lions festival of creativity (and ads) in France complements Facebook’s Client Council of execs from top advertisers. Two will help Facebook strike a more even balance between user and advertiser interests. That could prevent more high profile advertisers like GM from jumping ship and rocking the boat of easily-spooked investors.
Even if Facebook wins over the big agencies, it still needs them and the long-tail of businesses using its marketing products. For some, social isn’t a native language and I’ve been saying since last September that businesses need online education or they’ll be slow to increase spend.
Facebook Studio Edge could serve as the rosetta stone for both less Facebook-savvy execs and as well as local merchants looking to understand Facebook apps, Pages and ads. It’s still in testing with a few partners but availability of the 10 to 15-minute tutorials will expand over the next few weeks. Facebook Studio Edge could look a lot like LearnFacebookPages.com, a site Facebook launched in March but hasn’t promoted much since, possibly in anticipation of today’s launch.
To date, Mark Zuckerberg and his lieutenants have classically prioritized the user experience, minimizing the presence of ads and their influence on product development as much as possible. But now Facebook is a public company. It needs to make sure ad agencies and brand marketing departments (the one’s pushing companies to plan $10 million campaigns) think they have a say.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that they will. Facebook isn’t likely to start thinking of every design and product update in terms of dollars earned. In fact when I talk to Facebook product teams they often tell me zero thought was given to increasing page views or producing ad-targetable data. But if Madison Avenue at least feel like Facebook is listening and that they aren’t going to be blindsided by big changes to the services, confidence will breed looser wallets.
Here’s the full list of 2012 members of the Creative Council:
Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 1 billion monthly active users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 weeks, half of the schools in the Boston area began demanding a Facebook network. Zuckerberg immediately recruited his friends Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes, and Eduardo Saverin to help build Facebook, and within four months, Facebook added 30 more college networks. The original...