Facebook has opened up a world of good with the official launch of its Marketing API Program. Previously limited to just a few companies, the new welcome mat invites all developers to create tools for campaign management and performance tracking.
The Facebook Marketing API program consists of the Ads, Pages and Insights API. Interested developers may apply for access to the Ads API via Facebook's official site. Requirements include proving that you will build value for both users and marketers by meeting the acceptance criteria:
- Your understanding of the digital marketing space and Facebook’s Marketing Solutions in particular
- The creativity of your proposed implementation or tool, and how it provides differentiated value from Facebook’s native apps and existing tools
- Your ability to allocate dedicated development resources to your Marketing API implementation
- Your focus on serving a specific segment of the market with a customized Facebook Marketing Solutions experience
The Facebook team claims decisions will be made within two weeks of the application date.
Once a number of developers have gotten their hands on the action, you can expect to see a couple different results: an explosion of tools and services aimed at serving smaller advertisers, and an explosion of ads products and services built in-house. Of course, which will ultimately end up becoming the more popular choice for efficient advertising remains to be seen.
In any case, one thing is for sure: Analytics for Facebook is a-changing.
“Over a million developers have already built socially focused applications on Facebook platform,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “Our marketing API program supports developers who are building applications for marketers – tools that make it easier, for instance, for marketers to build and engage their communities on Facebook Pages, to amplify word of mouth via marketplace advertising and sponsored stories, and to effectively measure social engagement via custom dashboards.
Why Will You Build?
Though there are many directions developers can take with the Marketing APIs, Facebook encourages three specific use cases:
- Apps offering advanced functionality: Auto-optimize campaigns, generate permutations of ad creatives, etc.
- Comprehensive, cross-media apps that span paid, owned and earned media: Help connect the dots. Facebook's example: "Page posts can be synced with Ad Campaigns, and Page Insights can be aligned with Ad Performance reports to monitor the cross-talk between owned, earned, and paid media."
- Apps addressing custom, vertical or niche needs: Cater to specific, smaller markets in a way Facebook does not have a history of doing.
In the end, however, it's Facebook who stands to gain the most. After all, more competition means lower fees and, as a result, more advertisers.