You better watch out, you better not cry – Business Manager has arrived and changed Facebook advertising forever.
We have examined the good, the bad and the ugly of Business Manager; and ask why the world’s largest social network has left advertisers no choice but to migrate to a new home.
It’s not exactly the Christmas present most businesses asked for.
Motivated by complaints from large advertisers and agencies frustrated by the limitations of managing multiple accounts on an interface designed for individuals – Facebook built Business Manager platform from scratch.
The launch early last year drew a venomous backlash, but Facebook soaked up the initial criticism and bided its time. After all, with more than a billion people around the globe conducting their commerce and social lives on its pages every day, when Facebook sneezes most of us reach for a box of Kleenex.
If you don’t want to catch a full blown cold, getting to know Facebook Business Manager and how it works should be a top priority.
What is Facebook Business Manager?
Facebook says Business Manager is “one place” to manage multiple pages and advertising accounts. But it’s also much more.
The big change it heralds is a shift away from a common practice of creating “Grey Accounts” for businesses.
A Grey Account is created specifically for advertising and page management purposes and does not have a personal profile.
Individuals can be assigned as administrators of Facebook pages attached to Grey Accounts. This enables them to manage pages and advertising from their personal account without changing logins.
But this practice gave rise to a number of unwanted complications such as:
- Giving individuals access to sensitive company information from their personal Facebook logins.
- The risk of data theft from stolen or lost mobile devices.
- Extra admin to track who has what access, and the exposure to risk if admin rights are not removed from disgruntled former employees with an axe to grind.
To overcome these problems, many businesses gave access for multiple users to administer Facebook pages and accounts via a single Grey Account login. This, too, presented headaches like:
- Not having control or vision over who was doing what with pages and ad accounts.
- Full access to all page and account functions for anyone with the login details leading to security risks.
- Not being included in search results.
- No access to apps.
- Being unable to send or receive friend requests.
- Not seeing updates from other people on Facebook or being able to interact with those people.
In 2015 Grey Accounts will eventually cease to exist, which means all advertisers must migrate their pages and ad accounts to Facebook Business Manager.
How does Facebook Business Manager Shape Up?
Despite the challenges of managing scores of client Facebook accounts, we were sceptical about the motivation for and the immediate benefits of the switch to Facebook Business Manager. And the assessment from many online was swift and brutal.
In business, it takes time with anything new to bed down and for customers to adjust to the shock of doing things differently. Despite its popularity, even Facebook is not immune to this rule. Delaying the switch to the new look Facebook Business Manager from October 31 to December 31 was a smart move.
We can summarise our appraisal of Facebook Business Manager as follows:
- No longer need multiple users sharing a single login.
- It’s easy to manage who has what access to which pages and advertising accounts. Removing or editing access is no more than a couple of clicks away.
- Major advance in professionally managing Facebook advertising without the worry of constantly changing passwords when staff or change roles.
- No more constantly switching between personal and business logins to manage different pages and ad accounts. They are all available in one place. Posting as you or the company you’re working for is easy.
- A step in the right direction for business and agencies that manage multiple Facebook Pages and advertising accounts.
- Works best with Chrome but problems with other browsers.
- No easy way to bulk migrate customers across from Grey Accounts. The Shared Logins option is poorly explained but helps in this respect.
- A backlash from businesses and individuals alike who objected to signing in at work with their personal Facebook Account, even though no personal information is seen or shared this way. Facebook says this is to overcome fraud and fake accounts. Many remain unsure this was the motivation for the change and it does not fully overcome the security risk of lost or stolen phones that are left logged into personal Facebook Accounts, which potentially gives thieves full access to sensitive ad account details.
- Confusion over Claiming and Requesting Access to customer pages and ad accounts. Business Manager doesn’t clearly explain which option you should choose when migrating accounts. This could cause delays in the migration process and lead to confusion from clients or other users who might no longer be able to access advertising accounts.
- Some early bugs seem to have been ironed out but the user experience has changed in some areas without detailed explanations from Facebook.
- As far as I can work out, I still can’t share posts from groups to business pages. This is an annoying limitation.
- Managing ads on mobiles is not as feature rich as it is on desktop.
While the jury is still out, we see Facebook Business Manager as a step in the right direction. Contact our Social Media Marketing team to learn how we’re utilising Business Manager in our daily operations.
But there is still some way to go for Facebook to win the respect and trust of advertisers and agencies that remain a major – if not the only – revenue source.
With advertising prices set to rise next year, and fewer avenues left open for businesses to grow and engage with their audiences organically, Facebook is walking a fine line.
Business Manager may be a quantum leap in the way advertisers work with Facebook. However, it’s quite easy to come unstuck if you don’t properly and quickly grasp the new concept.
Our advice? Spending as little as $25AUD per day for one month on one ad is the qualification for Facebook Go, which is geared specifically to help advertisers get the most from their investment.
By signing up you can get on the phone and tell Facebook what you think of Business Manager and how it can be improved. Give us your feedback too.
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