The Washington Post Company has officially launched its full-service Facebook marketing and advertising agency SocialCode. The agency will offer Page management, app development, social commerce, fan monetization, message testing, and advertising through Facebook’s Ads API.
As former newspaper readers move to Facebook to consume content, The Washington Post is experimenting to see if social marketing can replace ailing brand advertising in print as a core revenue stream.
The Washington Post has been a pioneer in how publishers can use Facebook. It was one of the first major newspapers to integrate Facebook Connect, and was later a launch partner for social plugins, which have led to a 280% increase in referral traffic. The Washington Post’s CEO Donald Graham has also been an advisor to Mark Zuckerberg and a Facebook board member since 2008.
Graham’s daughter, Laura Graham O’Shaughnessy, is general manger of SocialCode, which soft-launched in July. Like many Ads API services, SocialCode was initially developed by The Washington Post’s to manage its own Facebook marketing efforts, but will now be used to help brands. The company will compete with other full-service agencies like Webtrends, Buddy Media, and Experian, which just acquired Ads API tool provider Techlightenment this week.
By leaving the familiar local marketing industry for the internet, The Washington Post as well as Tribune and Gannett that have both recently launched digital services, will have to contend with services from around the world, not just in the cities where they own media outlets. These established publishers will likely need to leverage their existing relationships with brands to make up for their late start.
Developing a stable of high quality technologies for efficient creation of apps and dynamic optimization of Facebook ads can take significant time and resources. We’ll be doing a full profile of SocialCode’s services in the near future to see how it compare with other Facebook marketing options.