Facebook has announced the arrival of Global Pages. This is good news because managing multiple local pages, by country, region, or language, was such a pain! You are now going to be able to manage all these local pages in one interface, offering a unified face to your fans. You are also freed from the time-consuming task of manually consolidating duplicate statistics from each page.

The bad news: this new ‘premium’ feature is going to cost you.

The problem with managing multiple Facebook Pages

If you manage a large number of Facebook Pages linked to one brand yet distributed in multiple versions, say by country or language, then you understand the challenges a community manager is facing every day. You are forced to moderate, manage content posting, and administer each page individually. The time dedicated to these tasks is multiplied proportionally by the number of local versions of your page.

This is before even mentioning the hours spent analyzing and reporting on the various statistics and metrics. Obtaining a consolidated view of your brand’s performance across pages by exporting data to Excel, merging it with macros, and generating the graphs to interpret it all is a time-sucking headache. Because of this, most people don’t bother and are desperately lacking the information about how their international pages add to their overall performance.

What’s more, displaying numerous pages to fans that are sometimes making their first contact with your brand is a little confusing. I am a fan of Starbucks, but should I like their page where they are based, such as the US? Or should I like their page where I live — in France, the UK or Canada? Maybe both?

Ultimately, it really is a headache for a good number of social media and community managers that work for international brands, as well as their international fans.

Fortunately, Facebook has provided a solution to this issue with the Global Pages that allow brands to have a unified presence while retaining the possibility to localize their content. This is good news, but it comes with a cost.

Facebook Global page implementation and cost

Visitors can easily change the version of the page presented to them by navigating to the settings tab.


Facebook Global page, how much does it cost?

A menu can be opened allowing users to quickly move from one country’s version to another.


Advantages of Facebook Global Pages

  • A single domain name accesses all the brand’s pages, such as ‘facebook.com/my brand’. No more knocking your head against the wall attributing URLs by country or language and complicating localized communication.
  •  When accessing that unified access to the brand on Facebook, visitors are automatically transferred to their country page if it exists.
  •  If a specific country page does not exist for a given visitor, they are directed to the default global page that will welcome all visitors from countries for which no local page has been created yet.
  • The ability to have regional pages that group countries or languages, for example.
  • A unique and consolidated view of the statistics for bot the global and each local page, showing the total number of fans and “people talking about” metric on each page. This allows you to see a more significant (and global) figures as it represents the global presence of the brand, not only the one it gets through the concerned local page. It does look better!
  • A dashboard dedicated to displaying specific consolidated page statistics to administrators.

This is an excellent development for brands with a global presence. Before global pages, global brands had to choose between a unique page (easier to manage but the necessary content localization was not efficient), or multiple local pages (much better for localization but daily management was a headache).

Facebook Global pages: their real coast

The French and English version of the page “Facebook Marketing” displaying a personalized and localized header as well as language adapted tabs.

Combining the best of both worlds (localization and simplified management) is a real plus for brands formerly stuck between a rock and a hard place.

In addition to that great new feature, Facebook has also announced it will soon make public the number of fans by country for a specific Facebook Page via its API (whether the concerned page is consolidated under a Global Page or not). That will permit brands to measure their performance country by country and compare it to their competitors.

As it is all public data, it will also allow tools like Agorapulse to offer enhanced and even more useful competitive analysis information.


Do you need a Facebook Global Page or should you keep your current pages as they are?

In a recent article published by InsideFacebook (Facebook Global Pages for Brands: To Use or Not To Use?) Peter Heffring made a great analysis of the pros and cons of the Global Page for brands. I am not going to reproduce his very smart analysis here, but in a nutshell:

  • If you have a strong presence in your home country but limited presence abroad, it is probably not worth it,
  • If you are still growing your global presence on Facebook but are not there yet, learn the basics first and wait until you’ve grown enough,
  • Only make the jump to global pages if you have existing Facebook community management in place for many local markets and want more localization.

If your are interested in that subject, I do recommend that you read this article on InsideFacebook.


How to get your Facebook Global Page and at what price?

If you manage the presence of an international brand on Facebook, I can already see your eyebrows raise at the possibility of making your daily life easier by simplifying the requirements of localized service. I can also hear your cries of joy at the idea of being able to finally see consolidated statistics, making the whole process quick, simple, and efficient!

Well, don’t rejoice too soon…These new options, as wonderful as they are, come at a price. One that will be quite steep for many of you.

Indeed, after having read the tantalizing description of these new tools that Facebook seems to be generously making available, the first question that comes to mind is “Ok, so how do we sign up?” Facebook’s response is to “Simply contact your Facebook account manager!”

Facebook contact form

This is the Facebook account manager contact form. The only thing it does not tell is that you won’t have an account manager if you don’t spend more than $10,000 in Facebook ads every month.

For those of you who don’t know what a Facebook Account Manager is, the only thing you need to know is that you won’t get access to one unless your brand is spending at least $10,000 per month (that’s $120,000 per year) on Facebook ads. If you belong to those happy few who have consistently been good clients for Facebook, the Global Page feature will be free. But if your latest ad campaign did not get close to the $10,000-a-month threshold, don’t even think about getting your own Global page.

In a recent statement, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Director of Operations, announced that the company was seriously thinking about offering premium services to brands that use their tools. The launch of the global pages feature is a confirmation that they are not only thinking about offering premium services but are already into it. It is also a confirmation that these premium services aren’t going to be within everyone’s budget.

If I review the dozens of international brands that use Agorapulse (and have local Facebook pages), very few of them have comped access to these tools because they do not regularly spend $10,000 per month on Facebook advertising. So, they will either have to spend (a lot) more on Facebook advertising, or just use third-party Facebook Page management software like ours, to manage their multiple local pages.

Do you think Facebook’s choice is logical (after all, business is not built on providing services for free) or are they offering services that favor fortune 500 companies wth large advertising budgets? Let us know what you think!

Emeric Ernoult