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Facebook Advertising - Who Owns It?

  |  November 16, 2011   |  Comments

On one side you have media buyers and search pros that live and breathe CPC advertising and on the other you have the social media team who knows the channel intimately.

If you are part of a full service online ad agency or are marketing to consumers online, then without a doubt Facebook advertising is a big and growing part of your offering. Facebook advertising is in demand for all the right reasons; it reaches a responsive audience where they spend their time, it has good targeting options, it has scale (and then some!), it can be bought and managed on a performance basis to accommodate your acceptable or target cost per acquisition, it is an evolving platform with richer ad units and targeting capabilities as it matures, and it just plain works.

As Facebook advertising has grown in importance in the last couple of years, there has been some confusion within online marketing teams both internal and agency side about who should be wielding this powerful tool. On one side you have media buyers and search pros that live and breathe CPC advertising and on the other you have the social media team who knows the channel intimately. There are compelling reasons to trust either group.

I recently asked our internal teams to give me their best arguments to own this part of the business.

Display and search team:

  • It depends on the goals of the client. If the ads are just based on driving traffic, increasing "likes," etc…then either team can handle it, but when it comes to driving qualified traffic for conversions (such as sales) or tagging URLs and using bid management to optimize conversions, then the integrated media team should handle it, as this is what they do daily.
  • Facebook Ads require the same working knowledge (metrics, targeting, and creative) as interactive marketing campaigns.
  • Facebook Ads are better handled by an ROI-focused team.
  • Optimization levers are the same as an interactive media campaign; creative is split tested, target audiences are tested, landing pages are tested, etc.
  • Interactive media usually has one of two main goals: branding and/or direct response. Facebook Ads are also used to reach these goals whether selling a product, linking to a Facebook page, linking externally, etc.
  • The display and search teams can better balance and optimize budget across channels, as they are handling multiple campaigns.

Bottom line: experience in optimizing PPC in tools, experience in tagging for best optimization.

Social media team:

  • The social media team knows the community very well. When managing the community, you get to know what type of person is interested in the brand.
  • The social media team is sometimes more familiar with the brand. They essentially are the brand in their social space, therefore it is easier for us to target fans and come up with new target groups.
  • The social media team is more familiar with how Facebook works. They are in it every day and learn things by analyzing the insights of a brand's page that the display and PPC team might miss.
  • When it comes to measurement and optimization, there are a couple new, unique metrics that are social-oriented, that the social media team would be more familiar with.
    • For planning:
      • Expected targeted vs. frequency vs. reach vs. social reach
    • For reporting:
      • Clicks vs. connections
      • Impressions vs. social impressions
  • The social media team knows how to target by applying brand/traditional media knowledge with Facebook's unique options. For example, for a particular client, the team goes way beyond age or other demos to use pin-point targeting that might include:
    • Competitors
    • Interests
    • Moms (married women with children)
    • Retailers (consumers who like and shop at retailers who carry the product)
    • Television (consumers who watch particular shows)
    • Websites and blogs (consumers who like particular, popular, relevant blogs)
    • Friends of fans (instant low-hanging fruit)
  • New thinking required for newest targeting options like "stories." The social media team can drive ads to our own brand's Facebook posts (text, photo, video). The social media team would know best how to drive to stories since they're the ones likely publishing them.
  • Social PPC ad management options and systems tend to shift and reinvent themselves faster than display and search these days, making it even more necessary for someone who is intimately familiar with the space to be managing programs.

Bottom line: the social media team understands the community and can anticipate their reactions, can integrate with other platform efforts and share learnings they relate to, and can optimize for new social tools, ad options, and metrics.

Both teams make strong points and the answer for us has been a collaborative approach that makes the best use of the different experience, skills, and talents within each team. But PPC in search or display and PPC in social should not be confused. They reach different audiences in different environments with different mindsets and goals. Maybe the question is not who should own Facebook advertising but something else entirely. As the digital and social spaces continue to reinvent themselves, so must the professionals working in those systems - whatever their title.

Who manages your Facebook advertising and why?


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Robin Neifield

Robin is the CEO and cofounder of NetPlus Marketing Inc., a top 50 interactive agency established in 1996 to focus exclusively on online marketing and advertising best practices. Robin brings innovative strategy and a depth and breadth of marketing experience to the agency's practice and management. As one of the industry's pioneers, she is a driving force behind NetPlus Marketing's ongoing success with a diverse and discerning client base that considers online results critical to their business success.

Robin is a frequent speaker at national industry events, including ClickZ, internet.com, OMMA, Ad:Tech, SES, Online Marketing Summit, and Thunder Lizard conferences and is a sought-after resource for industry and business publications for her insight and advice on such topics as digital strategy, social media marketing, and behavioral targeting.

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