Facebook shut down its Conversion Tracking tool this week. Much has been said about this topic from Facebook ads just don’t convert to the ads are places for high frequency brand engagements. I think Cory Treffiletti gave a very balanced opinion on the topic in Media Post but I don’t think he went far enough.
I agree with the pundits that say that Facebook ads don’t convert very well. I have run campaigns and managed campaigns for others in the Facebook environment. The click rates are terrible and the ability to drive traffic through advertising is not efficient. I am sure Facebook saw the same date with their conversion tracking tool.
I agree with the pundits that say there is more to Facebook than selling standard IAB ad units with targeting into the environment. The ability to drive a deep conversation with consumers not to mention get them to engage and experience your brand in a brand controlled setting is huge for any brand marketer (and even direct marketers have to get people to experience the brand).
The real issue is that there is little adult experienced supervision in the company in building solutions for advertisers. They are following others in the industry in features and capabilities and not helping lead the industry in developing new solutions. They are not thinking of the solutions that their advertisers and brands want, they are thinking of what features other services provide and how I can copy that and put it in my platform.
I would argue that the data associated with the conversion tracking tool is extremely valuable but because they didn’t think about the advertiser / brand first, they designed a sub standard solution. They should absolutely have that base level capability for tracking conversions just like any other ad network, but they missed the ball completely in not tracking and sharing who is interacting with the paid and earned elements of facebook and going to the brands digital assets. Telling advertisers how their content, engagement and advertising on the site works together is extremely valuable.
I would also argue that they are sitting on a treasure trove of consumer insights that the brands want and need. The brands are going to be pulling these insights out of twitter before they can pull it out of facebook because of their inability to lead in this area. The social targeting companies like Media6Degrees are selling solutions and creating a market that Facebook should be leading and growing for the entire advertising ecosystem. Twitter is leading the conversations about the “interest graph” and “social graph” and the implications for brands. Facebook is on the sidelines because they don’t have the right DNA in the company to really pull this off. They need a refresh and bring the people that can build solutions that scale for the marketer. The current team is very competent but I would argue capable of running things at scale when they really need a team that can build solutions marketers want to buy first. The sad thing is I think Zuckerberg sees the opportunity and has the vision but he is not surrounded with the people to make his vision a reality, into a solution that marketers want. Granted – building advertising solutions isn’t as sexy as consumer features but there are still people out there that can make Facebook ad solutions sexy. Go find them Facebook! Please!