Facebook doesn’t want your company to get burned by shady “social media gurus”, so today it expanded its Preferred Developer Consultant program into the new Preferred Marketing Developer program which offers certifications for high quality developers of apps and Page management, ads, and Insights tools and services.
In March we got the scoop that Facebook planned to overhaul the PDC program, and today it finally executed by combining it with the Marketing API program and admitting 141 more companies to bring the total approved developer count to 232. It also launched a new directory and lookup tool to let clients search for consultants by location, expertise, feature, business model, and whether they serve small, mid, or enterprise-sized customers.
Making sure companies that spend marketing dollars on its platform have a positive experience is crucial to getting them to buy more ads, make Facebook the center of their online marketing strategy, and boost the social network’s revenues.
See, Facebook is busy. It doesn’t have time to build tools, do sales, and handle customer support for every company that wants to market on its platform. So instead it offers a selection of APIs that third-party companies can use to build tools and services, and sell them to brands, game developers, and other companies. This lets Facebook concentrate on the core product for users, and some simple self-serve marketing tools for the long-tail of small businesses. Meanwhile, powerful marketing apps, huge ad campaigns, and the analytics to make sense of it all are beyond the scope of most marketers’ internal development.
Facebook introduced the PDC in 2009 to organize these developers. It stated with just a handful of approved companies, but over time its marketing products got more varied and complex, and the ecosystem of developers offering tools and services proliferated. There’s now huge players in Page management and app creation like Buddy Media, Wildfire, Vitrue, and Involver, Ads API tool and service providers like TBG Digital, AdParlor, and Nanigans, and Insights experts like PageLever and EdgeRank Checker. Many of these companies offer services in several areas of expertise, so the simple, separate lists of PDCs and approved Ads API partners became inadequate.
Note that there are still legitimate, high-quality freelance consultants, service providers, and tool developers that aren’t on the list. Just because someone isn’t “approved” doesn’t make them a scam artist.
With the new PMD expertise badges and lookup tool, it’s easy to find companies to help you build a contest app, run $1 million in ads, or publish your news feed updates in 100 languages at once. An improved PMD website introduces companies who want to go social to their options. And for developers looking to get approved, they can now apply anytime rather than waiting for periodic application rounds that happened every few months.
In the end, this means more revenue for Facebook, because marketers will spend more if they can find tool and service providers they trust.