Involver Customizes the Facebook Marketing Experience

Involver was founded in Palo Alto, Calif. in 2007 by Rahim Fazal and Noah Horton and provides software and custom development services to its clients. The company aims to help brands and agencies solve four central issues through social media: engage customers, get attention through earned media, automate this process as much as possible and maintain branding.

The company raised initial funding from blue-chip angel investors and since has become profitable. Although Involver was founded in the Silicon Valley the company now employs 60 people and has offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Austin, in addition to San Francisco.

We spoke to Involver’s CEO and co-founder Rahim Fazal as part of our ongoing series of Page management company profiles. Most recently we profiled Big Prize Giveaways and Conversation.

Inside Facebook: What products and services does your company provide to clients using Facebook? What types of clients are you aiming to reach?

Rahim Fazal: We have built a platform that enables brands to enter the social web and develop direct relationships with their customers. In my mind, that’s the biggest promise of social. Our history as a technology innovator has allowed us to operate at a scale that is unmatched in our industry, it’s why brands like Facebook, Real Madrid, RCA Music, The White House Commission on Remembrance, and award winning agencies like EVB have chosen to work with us.

On top of our platform, we’ve built more than 30 fully customizable social applications for Facebook and the iPhone along with plug-ins for third-party partners, like Get Satisfaction. We support more than 90,000 brands and agencies across a wide range of verticals and sizes — including several companies in the Fortune 10.

IFB: Can you share some highlights of how your company has helped clients meet their goals using Facebook?

RF: As I mentioned, we work with over 90,000 brands and agencies and through them we have more than 325,000,000 individuals interact with Involver on Facebook. We feel fortunate to have many great customer successes, some of which have provided great recommendations of our platform.

Recently one of our customers, San Francisco based agency EVB, won accolades for their work with Skittles on Facebook, noting that Involver “helped power some of our more innovative social media ideas.”

IFB: Overall, can you share metrics on the scope of your business?

RF: The industry is growing at an incredible pace, and so is Involver. Here are a few interesting stats about us:

  • High level of profitability
  • Over 100% quarter-over-quarter revenue growth for the last five consecutive quarters
  • 60+ employees
  • 5 offices
  • 90,000-plus customers
  • 325,000,000-plus fan relationships
  • 500,000,000-plus pieces of content under management

IFB: What metrics do you use to determine the success of a given campaign?

RF: We don’t presuppose a set of success metrics on top of our customer to determine their success. We consult with them on their business, understand the challenge/opportunity and how it relates to their individual success and then define success metrics with them. Generally, we see important metrics related to two or three fundamental sets of actions: acquisition (fans, views, likes, etc.), engagement (interactions, comments, shares, etc.), and conversion (registrations, purchases, etc.).

IFB: What have been your biggest challenges building on Facebook platform? What mistakes have you made and learned from there?

RF: Facebook innovates on the platform at breakneck speed. At any given time, Facebook is optimizing existing features to maximize value to their customers. Features that are core to a particular use-case and common in many Facebook applications may change drastically or be deprecated entirely with little to no notice.

In the past, for example, we’ve built technology to support specific features, such as allowing users to subscribe for updates via app notifications, and then had to work double time to maintain consistency with their intended operation as Facebook changes or removes the functionality.

The lesson to be learned from this is something we agreed to on day one: all development must be forward-thinking, built on an extensible infrastructure, agile, and routinely updated — it’s one of the main reasons our customers choose us, so that we can do all that hard work for them.

IFB: Beyond your own efforts, what Facebook changes have noticeably helped your company?

RF: We’ve grown our company by supporting Facebook’s efforts to make Facebook Pages “commercial.” Facebook has done great work encouraging brands to claim their identity, and marketers today understand that you must own your brand on Facebook, along with the entire social web. Facebook’s innovation with Open Graph has been a huge boon, allowing us to provide our customers with tools to engage their audience in a unified manner both on, and off, Facebook.

IFB: On the other hand, has Facebook made any recent changes that have noticeably hurt your company?

RF: As a preferred development consultant (PDC) to Facebook we are made aware of forthcoming changes to Facebook’s platform, and consulted with on the impact of those changes when appropriate, all for the express purpose of making sure that nothing unplanned happens to our customer’s programs. We have a strong relationship with Facebook and that has enabled us to navigate Facebook’s changes with confidence and ease.

IFB: If you could ask Facebook to make a single change, what would it be?

RF: We’d like to continue to see Facebook invest in marketing. We were recently asked to power Facebook Stories. It was a tremendous campaign to work on, and an honor to be asked to power their experience. We believe marketing fuels growth and their growth will continue to support an important channel of our business.

IFB: How does your work on Facebook relate to your work on other platforms?

RF: Our business on, and off, Facebook is all about helping marketers save time and creating efficiency. One of our largest customers recently launched a marketing campaign across Facebook, Twitter, the brand’s website, and Justin.TV. They used our Audience Management platform to moderate customer interaction, measure response, publish update out to the brand’s audience, and display live video content and commenting functionality in multiple digital locations.

Another example of this is the work we’ve done with partners like Get Satisfaction. Together, our two companies are offering a Facebook Page application that gives brands and businesses the ability to integrate their entire customer support experience into Facebook. This application brings the best-of-breed support technology built by Get Satisfaction and deploys it atop the Involver platform, allowing customers to deploy the application to their social profile and unify their support efforts across Facebook, Get Satisfaction, Salesforce, Zendesk, and more. As more applications like this are released atop our platform, you’ll see even deeper integration with other marketing efforts.

IFB: Do you have any specific plans that you can share?

RF: We have several exciting product improvements and partnerships that will be announced in coming months, but don’t generally don’t discuss new products before their launch.