Facebook to Open Source Reference App For Marketing API

Facebook believes opening up a reference app for its Marketing API will kick-start developers' efforts.

Advertisers, Facebook knows your pain. It sees, now, that creating marketing programs using its Marketing API can be frustrating and tedious. That's why today Facebook is releasing a new reference app so developers have a bit more to work with when conjuring up campaigns via the Marketing API.

"We've heard from the developer community over the years about the challenges getting started with our Marketing API: it can be difficult to envision a final product when only looking at reference docs, authentication can be confusing, and too much time and energy is spent on building foundational technology rather than product innovation," said Facebook in a company blog post.

Facebook created a reference app to help developers move forward more quickly. Need to brush up on the difference between carousel ads, homepage ads, or video ads? All those details are available.The reference app contains a host of the underlying tools needed to get the most from marketing materials. For example, it helps generate charts that show the reach each ad gets, in addition to the raw number of impressions and clicks. According to Facebook, the app even includes sample interfaces and code for mundane tasks, such as creating ads, as well as managing them and parsing them for relevant consumer data. The essential building blocks are in place, or at least available for study and customization.  

"By using the reference app, developers can skip the often expensive and labor-intensive process of building the underlying code for their product and instead, get started quickly by building on and modifying our supplied examples," the commentary continued.

The Marketing API covers plenty, and lets developers access Facebook's advertising platform using their own advertising tools. For example, developers can manage their audience data for custom targeting; create campaigns, ad sets, and ads; build custom dashboards and run analytics; and manage facebook assets, pages, accounts, and apps. Facebook is supplying the fundamentals here so developers can concentrate on the big picture and get their apps and ads up and running.

Facebook built the reference app using JavaScript on a Node.js SDK. Facebook recommends developers have a working knowledge of Node.js and React to get the most out of the reference app.

The app is available from the new Facebook Marketing Developers site today, and it will eventually be open-sourced to include community contributions. Facebook hopes developers will provide feedback and suggestions on the early version of this new reference app for Marketing API. Facebook looks forward to opening the app up to input at a later, unspecified date. 

The revised Facebook Marketing Developers site itself offers a wealth of information to developers. There are marketing API documents, Facebook Marketing SDKs, as well as sample code covering common use cases and best practices. 

If you're looking to take advantage of Facebook for advertising, Facebook just made it a whole lot easier. 

Eric Zeman I am a journalist who covers the mobile telecommunications industry. I freelance for ProgrammableWeb and other online properties.