Webtrends this week released a end-to-end Facebook Page management and tab application suite called Webtrends Social, which can manage Pages, build apps, and track ad conversions. Originally a web analytics company, Webtrends acquired custom social app developer and do-it-yourself app building platform Transpond in August 2010, and has since added more Facebook services.
The launch of free, middle-market, and enterprise tiers of Webtrends Social will put the company in competition with a variety of players in the Page management industry.
Webtrends Social combines a great deal of functionality, allowing clients to post to, moderate, and track performance of their Facebook Page; install pre-made apps or build their own, and track the conversion on custom events of ads leading to their Pages and apps. Webtrends will continue to offer its previously available Facebook ads managed spend, DIY app platform, and custom app development services.
The only thing really missing from the product is the ability to buy and target Facebook ad campaigns, which clients still have to do through Facebook.com or another Facebook Ads API tool or service. If Webtrends were to build or acquire an ad buying product, it could become perhaps the most comprehensive licensable Facebook marketing tool available.
Clients can get most of the functionality for free, though they can only use it on one Page, and they can only build one app. For $250 a month per Page with less than 100,000 fans they can build 5 apps buys the ability per Page. The enterprise tier offers unlimited app building for Pages of any size, plus collaboration capabilities and enhanced campaign analytics at the price of $3000 a month per Page.
This pricing model’s free tier lets potential enterprise clients get an accurate sense of the power of the product. For many smaller companies the free tier could be all they need — allowing Webtrends to edge out less robust free and even low cost tool. A mid-level pricing tier for Pages of any size could make the product better suited for the middle market. Also, the enterprise tier’s per Page model would become to expensive for companies with a corporate / local structure that have dozens or even hundreds of Pages to manage.
Wide Feature Set
The Pages dashboard lets clients view Page growth analytics, see where Page views are sourced from, and track the fan counts of competitors. The Page walls moderation feature lets admins assign posts to teammates, filter the stream to find objectionable posts, and set up keyword blacklists or use a pre-defined list of “bad words”. The Post tab lets clients compose and schedule news feed posts.
Webtrends Social’s app suite includes a wide variety of app templates that can be customized and installed on Pages. Some of the content apps clients can choose from include Twitter, YouTube, landing tabs, coupons flash and HTML, while engagement apps include a quiz, sweepstakes, polls, surveys, and photo manipulation. The product provides analytics on performance and user demographics of the apps so admins can determine what app types and designs best engage fans.
Advertisers can give Webtrends Social permission to access their Facebook ads account. They then import an existing Facebook ad campaign, assign it to the Page app it leads to, and select a conversion metric such as Facebook, Twitter, or email shares. Clients can then view a funnel to determine the post-click success of their ad campaign
Webtrends Social provides much more functionality than most free tools offer. Peter Yared, VP of social technology platforms for Webtrends, says the product will be a “signficant threat to those offering a free or low end tier” Page management solution. We agree, as most other free Page management solutions aren’t nearly as full-featured or polished, and clients could use another low cost app developer to round out their app selection.
The lower tiers should encourage potential enterprise clients to try out the product. Large businesses interested in executing their Facebook strategy themselves will now have another option in addition to Buddy Media, Vitrue, Context Optional, Involver, Syncapse, Wildfire, and other social media management platforms. A trend of consolidation in the Facebook marketing industry has been gaining steam, with a few of these companies having been partnered or been acquired by Ads API partners such that their clients can buy ads through their platforms.
While Webtrends Social can track ad conversion, it can’t be used to buy ads. Yared says the industry is “definitely going to see consolidation and roll up especially amongst players that are campaign based. Within a year, we expect to see about three to five players in the space.” Having already acquired Transpond, Webtrends might try to solidify its position by buying an ad buying tool and offering a truly integrated solution.