Facebook made a significant investment in educating the industry, including key stakeholders such as marketers, agency professionals, SMBs (small and medium businesses) and Facebook partners, when it launched initiatives such as Blueprint. In less than six months since its launch in March 2015, Blueprint has crossed 200,000 course enrolments and 73,000 total unique users. The sheer number indicates the need for a systematic step such as this that moves beyond masterclass formats or assigning client leads or similar positions that handhold marketers and agencies in understanding and leveraging marketing solutions that social media platforms provide.
Blueprint offers two key ways in educating industry professionals – Blueprint eLearning and Blueprint Live. The former features more than 35 online courses in various tracks. Blueprint Live is a full day interactive in-person program that teaches application of the principles of Facebook marketing, and builds upon the basic learning framework provided within Blueprint eLearning.
“Blueprint eLearning is solution oriented. Participants are focused on learning how to better leverage Facebook’s advertising platform as a whole with a focus on building successful campaigns. The initial statistics show us that advertisers are keen to learn how to appropriately leverage Facebook’s platforms targeting capabilities along with creative insights to drive better business results. Two of the more popular courses within Blueprint were Targeting and Creative Best Practices,” explained Patrick Harris, Facebook’s Head of Global Agency Team in a conversation with DMA.
Expanding the Blueprint offer
Enhancing its current roster of 35 online courses, Blueprint eLearning has a roadmap of new courses that will provide tailored curriculum for various verticals, direct response advertisers, SMBs and Instagram. Mr Harris informed that in the 73,000 total unique users for the courses, the composition was led by three groups – the first is the agency partners, marketing partners and SMBs. “Agencies make up the largest group in Blueprint eLearning,” he said.
In October 2015, a new gaming specific eLearning course will be released, focusing on teaching participants how game publishers/developers leverage the Facebook marketing platform to engage their most avid players and reach new players. Also, Blueprint eLearning courses are currently available in English. By the end of September 2015, the courses will be available in Korean and Simplified Chinese. In October, courses will be translated in Japanese, German, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Given the global opening up of Instagram advertising, Blueprint eLearning will also include Instagram courses to help advertisers learn about new offerings such as Landscape photo and video ads, 30-second video ads, Call-to-Action buttons available for video ads, New Ad types in Self Serve: Link Ads and Mobile App Install Ads for DR objectives and Introducing Marquee: Photo, Video, Carousel, and Link Ads.
India, Vietnam amongst top 10 markets
It is interesting to note that from Asia, apart from markets such as India, Vietnam is amongst one of the top 10 markets. “We are delighted with the level of adoption across the globe and especially in APAC. We were pleasantly surprised by the participation rate from Vietnam. It demonstrates that there is a deep need in the marketplace for foundational trainings on the platform. As we launch in additional languages we expect the numbers from markets like Japan to jump substantially, and in other parts of Europe and Latin America,” Mr Harris observed, adding, “The large enrolment numbers for the Blueprint eLearning shows us that there is both a need and want in the marketplace for training related to the Facebook platform. For countries such as India and Vietnam, it really showcases that Facebook is an increasingly important platform for businesses.”
The other markets in the top 10 include United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Brazil, Germany, Egypt, Mexico and Romania.
Of investing in the foundation
“The Blueprint eLearning beta test made it clear that Facebook designed education to help PHD not only manage our current global talent, but to also scale on-boarding for future PHD employees. This will equip our employees with the best skills to know how to leverage Facebook for our clients effectively,” said Mike Cooper, CEO, PHD Worldwide in a prepared statement.
Blueprint top five courses by enrolments are ‘Facebook Terminology’, ‘Welcome to Marketing on Facebook’, ‘Successful Campaigns’, ‘Brand Best Practices’ and ‘Creative Best Practices’, indicating the kind of subjects that are interesting industry professionals.
“Blueprint as a program is always evolving. As we always say, ‘the journey is 1 per cent complete’, and we will constantly plan and adjust our roadmap based on the needs of business plus the developments in our ads products. Our roadmap is developed not only in response to new ads product launches and updates to those ads products, but also takes market demands and growth trends into consideration. Current courses on the roadmap include courses for specific Verticals, courses that address the specific needs of SMEs, more courses for Instagram, and more courses for DR Advertisers,” informed Mr Harris.
He also admitted that Facebook is experiencing a direct correlation between the enrolments and the activity seen from the companies that have enrolled. “However, it is important to understand that what we are doing with Blueprint is not a tactical, short term money generating approach. This is a strategic, long term investment for Facebook that is essentially been done to strengthen the foundation on which people leverage Facebook marketing,” he summed up.