Facebook Holds Policy Summit for Frustrated Creatives

40 agencies attended the hush-hush event last week in New York

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Facebook and nearly 40 ad agencies powwowed last week to clear the air about its policies for ads, apps and pages, Adweek has learned.

Billed as the Facebook Policy Summit, the meeting aimed to resolve numerous pain points associated with the social marketing platform. But one seems to have been particularly important: While pitching brand clients, agencies have sometimes unknowingly sold campaign ideas that couldn’t meet the platform’s guidelines.

“The Facebook policy is actually longer than the U.S. Constitution—no joke,” said Ivan Perez-Armendariz, an interactive director at Crispin Porter + Bogusky. “Facebook has a move-fast-and-break-things culture. So you might have a green light on a concept only to find out later on that the policy has changed. … We’ve had instances where a major investment has been made, and then it gets shelved.”

On July 10-11, CP+B and various ad firms—ranging from major holding companies to smaller digital agencies—convened with Facebook brass at the social giant’s midtown New York offices. CP+B, which has worked closely with the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company for a few years, helped bring the education-minded summit to life.

Blake Chandlee, vp, global agencies and clients at Facebook, said shops asked a number of questions. Though the most popular one, he suggested, may have been about how they could find out about policy changes before they get implemented. As a byproduct of the summit, Chandlee said, several agencies will participate in a teleconference next week to brainstorm about how Facebook can better communicate new policy information.

“That’s something historically that we haven’t done that well,” he said. “[We want to] more effectively do that because it’s a big community. There are hundreds of thousands of employees who get affected by this stuff around the world.”

Overall, Chandlee said the policy summit was a good start to remedying a fairly persistent headache for creatives.

“Sometimes you read policies and think, ‘Why would they do that? Why are they trying to reduce the creative canvas that I have?’ ” he said. “[Last week] when we explained we were trying to protect the user experience and the value it delivers to both users and brands, it seemed the lightbulb went off for a lot of people. And it will be an ongoing dialogue.”

Whether the policy summit becomes a recurring event is yet to be determined, Facebook said. At any rate, the effort represents the latest attempt by the digital powerhouse to get cozy with agencies and brands.

In the last 18 months, the company has introduced Facebook Studio, Facebook Studio Live, Facebook Studio Edge, Facebook Studio Awards and Shipyard. The latter, reported by Digiday last week, entails bringing brands and agencies to Facebook’s Silicon Valley campus where they can observe marketing products in development.

Given its dependency on ad revenues, the moves are no-brainers for CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s eight-year-old company as it hopes to gain the confidence of Wall Street investors.



@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.