Facebook Lures Advertisers With Educational FastTrack and Start To Success

Interest targeting? Sponsored Stories? Advertisers need a whole new skill set to succeed in social, and Facebook must dispense this education to keep revenue growing. To smooth the learning curve, Facebook currently offers two introduction programs for first-time advertisers.

FastTrack sets up brands and medium-sized business with an ads rep consultation and best practice-filled resources, while Start To Success gives small businesses expert phone support and a $50 ad credit to experiment with. Understanding breeds confidences breeds big spending.

While many of the world’s largest brands are starting to shift spend from TV, print, and display to social, they may be inefficiently wasting that money if they do so without help. Trying to translate search and display advertising techniques doesn’t always work. If their first experiments flop, they could get a sour impression of the social advertising channel as a whole.

FastTrack attacks this problem by having an ads rep guide brands selecting ad creative, targeting, and bid budgets. We’ve received tips that Facebook is cold-emailing advertisers pitching them “1:1 support to get your business on Facebook and exclusive access to powerful tools and tips.”

Meanwhile, much of the long-tail of small businesses can’t afford to experiment with Facebook ads. If they’re paying, the ads have to work. To reduce risk and get merchants hooked, the Start To Success program offers a $50 ad credit and 4 weeks of phone support.

Facebook has taken its educational efforts offline, offering live Small Business Boost consulting sessions through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Federation of Independent Business.

Developers are also frustrated with the lack of education around building for the platform. They tell me Facebook’s current Open Graph app and mobile developer docs aren’t cutting it. Thankfully, Facebook yesterday announced it would bring a Mobile Platform Global Hacks Roadshow to London, Stockholm, and Tel Aviv.

These programs are all a good start, but they’re not particularly scalable. Facebook should revamp its documentation with high-level strategic primers, deeper walk-throughs, and graphical flow charts to give brands, advertisers, and developers instant access to information. They’re trying to make Facebook money, Facebook just needs to make that easier.