Technically, Facebook’s Blueprint — the online training course designed to help marketers get the most out of their efforts on the platform — has been open to all users since it launched in March 2015. Anyone with a Facebook account and some spare time was welcome to sign up for any of the 50 courses.
But there were practical limitations: Classes were available only in English. And video content made it largely incompatible with slower connections, like those common in emerging markets. Plus, Blueprint Live — full-day, in-person training sessions for agencies and their clients — was only available in the US and Europe.
Now, as Facebook looks to expand its business further outside the US, it is augmenting the program to welcome more participants. Starting today, Blueprint is available in six new languages (German, Portuguese, Korean, Spanish, Japanese and simplified Chinese), and in a version compatible with 2G connections. The company, based in Menlo Park, Calif., will also start offering live training sessions in EMEA and APAC, with plans for extending them to Latin America soon.
"This week we hit our 3 million active advertisers milestone, which is amazing, and we know that 70% of those advertisers are outside the US," said Jason Fournier, Facebook’s marketing manager, creativity and brand. "Knowing this context, we know we need to build programs like Blueprint so we can talk and train those active advertisers around the world to help them grow their business."
Though the bulk of Facebook’s advertisers may be based outside the US, half of its $5.6 billion advertising revenue in the fourth quarter came from North America. Though the company’s overall revenue from advertising rose by $1.4 billion since the previous quarter, the percentage coming from North America remained essentially unchanged.
Since its launch, Blueprint has attracted more than 144,000 users, who have collectively taken more than 462,000 courses, the company said. And since Blueprint Live launched in June, more than 1,600 people have attended an event in North America or Europe.
Several agencies have made Blueprint a requirement for all staffers — and not just to learn about Facebook. "If you take Facebook out of it, the course material is about data and having meaningful connections with audiences informed by data, and that applies to all of digital, not just Facebook," said Joshua Lowcock, US head of digital for UM Worldwide, where all employees have been required to participate in Blueprint. "The knowledge can be applicable to digital in its entirety."
The expansion of Blueprint is only the latest move by Facebook to expand its business outside the US. In May, the company launched a lightweight ad unit, "Slideshow," that is viewable on mobile phones with slow connections. The company has also been working to bring free Internet access to people in developing countries with its Internet.org program, which has been rejected by some countries as a scheme to promote Facebook, not the Internet itself.