After several months of failed attempt to get help from Facebook support, I sensed that what I experienced was the growing pain they were going through, and I just needed to be more patient.
Needless to say, I was ecstatic to learn that I was going to their invitation-only Global Partner Summit in San Francisco on November 10-11th. I read everything I could put my hands on about the company, their business and their technology platform. I was fully prepared to take this rare opportunity to its fullest potential.
What a knowledge dump it was for this one and half day event! I didn't know if I should take a day off to recover first or go head on into action with what I learned. My impatience won this battle.
Here are the takeways from the Summit:
First and foremost, the more I can unlearn what I know about Google, the better I can understand Facebook's business. Both of their main source of revenue comes from digital advertising, and that's where the similarity stops.
Facebook dominates mobile. Majority of their 1.5 billion monthly active users are on mobile, and their average session time is way higher than Google. This is huge for Facebook, given that mobile internet usage surpassed that of desktop's earlier this year.
Second, the amount of user insights Facebook is gathering is still at the early stage and it's growing so fast that the advertisers can't even keep up on how to utilize the data. This point is well reflected on why Facebook relies on its ad tech partners to bring in more capabilities to allow marketers/advertisers to run effective campaigns.
When I asked Sheryl Sandberg(yes The Sheryl Sandber!) during her keynote, how FB is going to support SMB advertisers when their "self-service" platform is no-longer the case, she brought in her Partner VP Blake Chandlee, who told me that they are investing in this area, and half-jokingly said that their 50 plus Ad Tech partners would probably approach me right after the session. Two seconds later, the guy next to me handed me his business card.
My pain of not getting FB help has been relieved, but in an unexpected way.
The last takeaway from the Partner Summit is, given the pace of innovation FB is going through, having a sound Facebook marketing strategy is probably a blessing and a curse at the same time. The best way to try to hit a moving target, is probably to realize that you are trying to hit a moving target, and aim where the target is going to be, rather than where it is.
Easier said than done. Let's see what the next 6 months bring us. My gut feel is that the best technology to utilize FB user data hasn't been invented.