Today, we’re pleased to feature a guest post from Katie Holdsworth, Account Director at Booyah Online Advertising. Booyah is a full service digital agency that manages every aspect of selling a product or service online including: Paid Search, Display Media, Paid Social Media, SEO and Creative Services. Katie will share her thoughts on Facebook PMDs and the process she and her team went through to choose a new self-service sPMD platform.
First, let’s cover the basics. What is a PMD and why should you use one?
The Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer (PMD) program is a community of hundreds of best-in-class developers spread across 45+ countries with one mission: make marketing easier and more effective through technology partnerships. A choice of hundreds of partners is downright intimidating.
If you plan to conduct your own PMD search, limit your search to partners with “strategic” status – there are only 13 of these partners. Per Facebook, the Strategic PMD is a designation reserved for a small group of PMDs that are driving outstanding positive impact in the Facebook marketing developer ecosystem. Each Strategic PMD earned the distinction through a rigorous selection process that among other considerations, is based on shared values, strategic alignment, and growth potential with Facebook. Essentially this means the sPMD and Facebook are closely aligned to offer the company’s clients early access to Facebook betas and product updates and partner closely with Facebook to drive innovation.
Why would you license a PMD?
- Third-party tracking: It’s the same reason we don’t use display vendor reporting – we want to verify Facebook’s numbers.
- Scale: The number of creative permutations that can be created with a few clicks of a button allows greater scale and more relevant creative messaging.
- Customizable site pixels: The Facebook conversion tracking pixel is limited in the custom variables it can pull through beyond order count and revenue. Also, the Facebook conversion pixel has limited options in look-back windows: 1, 7, 28 days only.
- Budget management: Daily spend fluctuations are a part of the Facebook ecosystem. A PMD doesn’t completely circumvent this, but there are many more levers to pull and budget safeguards you can put in place, so you don’t go over your clients monthly budget.
- Enhanced reporting: For large-scale campaigns, third-party platforms can better manage campaign data so you can get a granular read on performance by creative, target, age, etc.
- Access to more technology features: Each PMDs is working to differentiate themselves with unique functionality. Some enable email list integration; others specialize in 3rd party triggers like weather and TV schedules; while few offer the ability to leverage your search data for targeting and optimization. The list goes on.
- Manage multiple social channels under one roof: The best PMDs have API access to Facebook, FBX, and Twitter.
Booyah had been working with another sPMD since 2012 but, in 2014, that company announced it would no longer contract directly with agencies. That announcement spurred our search for a new self-service sPMD platform. The process took a total of three months to complete.
Find a sPMD partner that meets the following requirements:
- Contracts with agencies and clients direct
- Has strategic status
- Has proprietary view and click tracking that is Facebook approved. Must be different than Facebook supplied view and click tracking.
- Has ability to pass custom variables such as order ID through conversion pixel
- Has ability to customize look-back time frame
- Must have strong self-service roots
- Accepts 3rd party tracking
- Supports Facebook and Twitter API
- Competitive pricing
- Account management team and ongoing support to enhance self-service relationship
- Strong reputation for service and technology
- Best-in-class reporting functions
Not required, but nice to have:
- Dynamic creative functionality
- Facebook Audience Network access
- Facebook Innovation Awards
- Custom technology to enhance social platform targeting
We conducted our own research and also received input from trusted third parties. From there, we first narrowed our list down to 7 sPMDs – Nanigans; Skai; SHIFT; Social.com; AdParlor; BrandNetworks; and SocialCode. We created a scorecard in order to ensure equal and unbiased measurement across platforms.
With each prospective partner we conducted a thorough round of product demonstration in order to identify the areas of excellence and where they fell short of meeting our requirements. After the first round of demonstration we further narrowed the list to 4. Each partner responded to a formal RFI and RFP.
Skai’s roots are in algorithmic bid optimization technology. Their self-service platform access has been around since the Ads API was released in 2011. They have a massive amount of engineers focused on the social platform and re-invest a large percentage of their revenue back into this technology. They have been awarded with multiple Facebook Innovation awards, were recognized as the “sole leader” in the Forrester Wave for Social Advertising Platforms, Q4 2013, and receive RAVE client reviews. Most importantly, they met and exceeded all of our required expectations noted above.
Skai exceeded expectations across all points of measurement. When it came down to the final decision, they stood out and were clear winners as a best-in-class sPMD. They surpass their competition on bidding technology, custom reporting requirements, advanced product features, engineering support, service, history of excellence with self-service license partnerships, product roadmaps, and awards.
We are already impressed with our account management team, technical support, and the overall commitment to making this a lasting partnership.