Currently I am the Digital Marketing Director at an advertising agency in Alrington, TX and I oversee Facebook Ad placement for clients of all types. To help with time saving and reporting for Facebook Ads I chose to work with Alchemy Social. There are a decent amount of 3rd Party Facebook Ad integration companies out there, but Alchemy Social came highly talked about from the likes of Mashable and TechCrunch due to being on the list of approved providers for Custom Audience and Facebook Exchange.
I have been working with the platform since October 2012 and for the most part I have had a buggy ride with HTTP Errors daily but this goes with the territory of using http sync software. I wanted to give an honest and valuable review of the Alchemy Social Software platform and I will update this blog with any corrections and tech updates since I am still using the platform. I will give my review and give a score based on 8 categories and each being graded 1-10 so the highest possible score would be an 80.
Please remember that I am reviewing Alchemy Social’s Self-Service Platform and not their Managed Solutions
Alchemy Social Customer Service – 6 out of 10
I gave the grade of 6 out of 10 because of some great effort on the part of the account directors and staff to satisfy some of the issues as they came up. However, I did not give a 10 because I believe that Alchemy Social could truly benefit from some updated customer service solutions.
The client portal does not have a chat or contact function at all. While I am the only one working on the software at my company, larger agencies or companies have teams and if they all have to locate the email of the Account Director and wait for email responses to tech issues, this could be tedious and de-value the experience. My suggestion would be to either utilize a chat function or at least a ticket system to simplify and organize the support clients receive.
Also, most companies are utilizing Twitter with softwares like ZenDesk or other ticket systems to respond to issues and notify clients of bugs. In general the only communications that transpire for clients is an email with new updates and severe issues or downtime announcements. They also lack a public suggestion system and forum. If Alchemy Social would create a customer forum, ticket system and blog I believe the grade would shoot up to 10 and customers would be more patient when issues do arise.
Kudos to both my Account Directors for emailing me constantly and doing everything they can to keep us functioning, but the company needs to progress in channels of communication.
Alchemy Social User Friendly – 8 of 10
Alchemy Social won our affections from the initial demo since we could see how much Alchemy could save us time and make our ads much more effective. The ad creation process is easy and they have eliminated some of the easy to make errors in their creation page in recent weeks. When you create an ad, the creative, target audience, geographic target, type of ad and type of ad payment (CPC, CPM, Optimized) are on one page.
So the layout is very good and hard to beat. However, I did not give a perfect score due to some of the bugs if you try to edit ads in the same area. You cannot change the ad budget from daily to lifetime budget so you are stuck either editing it in Facebook backend or not switching at all.
Alchemy Social Features – 8 out of 10
Alchemy Social is feature rich and gives the client a pretty full arsenal of Facebook Ad function with only two Facebook products unavailable in the platform itself… Custom Audience and Facebook Exchange. You can either upload your Custom Audience lists in Power Editor or Alchemy Social will provide you with a link to a way to upload it through Alchemy.
Once Facebook combs your Custom Audience list it will be available in the target section of the Facebook Ad creation function. You cannot find a Custom Audience link to click in the Alchemy Social dashboard. You have to manually head over to the link they email you to upload a list. I cannot ding Alchemy too severely for the Custom Audience integration being archaic because Facebook Power Editor is so buggy and undesirable that Facebook probably needs to have their end working great before any 3rd Party provider could come close to making the grade on Custom Audience.
Alchemy Social Reporting – 7 out of 10
This is one of the main reasons I chose Alchemy Social. Alchemy’s Facebook Ad reports are visually appealing and can save you so much time versus building your own Excel Spreadsheets and Graphs. You can white label your reports, add your own comments and compare ad copy, images, targets and much more as far as performance. You also have the ability to save templates so each campaign can simply be put into a report in a short amount of time.
I gave it a 7 because they have one feature that I cannot believe is missing… print or pdf. Seriously? You cannot click a link to print or save a report as pdf as an inboard function of Alchemy Social. Once this is improved upon, the grade would easily jump to a 9 or so. I am a macbook pro user so I can right click the report area, then click print, then choose to print or open in preview to save as pdf. That is just not cool, Alchemy needs a print/pdf function ASAP.
Alchemy Social Platform Performance – 4 out 0f 10
This is where the vision and claims of a software meets the daily grind of actual usage by clients. Right now, I am unable to see more than 30 campaigns in the dashboard or it freezes or empties the screen. The dashboard screen is the only way to click on a campaign in Alchemy to edit and analyze. They are currently working on the issue and they have been gracious enough to not charge us for the month so they can work it out. The downside is that I am forced to work in Facebook itself to edit ads and that just makes no sense.
I have had consistent http errors come up when placing ads and often the Page Update Ads have a bug in Alchemy that requires you wait 3 seconds between each drop down selection or it will fail and leave your campaign in limbo. This grade will update when this all is hopefully resolved. By the way, the dashboard issue was tested and confirmed on 2 separate Macbooks on Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera. It was also tested and confirmed on 3 PC Desktops running Windows 7 in IE 9, IE 8, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera.
Alchemy Social Platform Pricing – 8 0ut of 10
The Alchemy Social platform is priced evenly with the competition where you pay $500 per month or 5% of Ad budget, whichever is greater. Most 3rd Party competitors are priced within $50 or so of the Alchemy pricing. I gave it an 8 because $500 is still a lot of money for small agencies and providers.
Alchemy Social Mobility – 4 out of 10
The Alchemy Social platform is not really mobile friendly and they have no mobile app available as a companion for your account. If Alchemy had a mobile app or mobile dashboard, that would make it fly above their competitors.
Alchemy Social Tracking Syncronization – 9 out of 10
Alchemy Social works well with multiple tracking options and most agencies probably use google analytics, which Alchemy is compatible with. The following tracking options that are available:
- Google Analytics
- Alchemy Conversion Tracking
- Alchemy Pixel Tracking
Overall, I give Alchemy Social a grade of 54 out of 80.