One of the most important decisions your business will make is which social advertising partner to work with when it comes to effectively running—and scaling—your social ad campaigns on Facebook and Twitter.
A successful partner helps you:
- Stay updated on best advertising practices for each platform
- Ensure each campaign is optimized to drive the best results from your spend
- Scale your advertising effectively to match your budget, audience and targeting preferences
- Manage complex data across first-and third-party sources
- Maintain focus on generating a strong ROI to achieve your goals in a timely manner
- Measure successes and failures across campaigns to guide future initiatives
To better prepare for the process of choosing a partner with the proper toolkit to help manage your social advertising campaigns, take the following considerations into mind before making a decision and allocating a portion of your marketing budget.
1 Self-Serve vs. Fully Managed Services
From the beginning, it’s important to decide if your organization needs to use self-serve or fully managed services to successfully run your Twitter and Facebook advertising campaigns.
Fully Managed services are what your advertising partner provides both in the set of tools needed to properly scale your campaigns, as well the daily expertise to maintain your advertising.
The option of fully managed services is outsourcing your social advertising to a trusted partner to help achieve your goals without having to deal with the day-to-day maintenance of your ads internally.
For many businesses, this is an effective starting point for getting your social advertising off the ground, even if your team is lacking the required expertise when it comes to serving ads on both Facebook and Twitter.
A self-serve advertising partner only helps supply the right technology in the form of a set of tools to help your organization properly manage your campaigns internally.
Bringing the management of your social advertising campaigns in-house can have its benefits as well, like greater control of your budget and retaining what you learn about your campaigns, which can be applied across your all of your marketing efforts.
A majority of businesses starting a relationship with a social advertising partner tend to begin with fully managed services.
“Most clients usually start with fully managed services so they can take the learning from (our) internal teams and then we can relay that information back to them as we start to bring their budgets in-house to self-serve,” said Blake Smith, senior product manager at AdParlor.
Organizations of all sizes find that starting with fully managed services, then moving to self-serve, is the best approach since they can learn about the unique tactics of advertising on each channel, see what it takes to run a successful campaign on these networks, and then begin to bring these processes and knowledge in-house to run themselves.
2 Costs of Both Approaches
When looking for the right social advertising partner, compare the cost of the various vendors on the market to understand which are best suited to your budget for Facebook and Twitter advertising.
Typically, vendors offering either self-serve or fully managed services for their clients operate on a percentage of media spend of their advertisers campaigns.
The percentage of spend is typically higher when a vendor fully manages the client’s social advertising, since the partner needs to cover its overhead costs, Smith added.
3 The Up Front Investment
“Your organization needs to have the resources and expertise in order to fully commit to managing your campaigns on a self-serve basis,” AdParlor’s Blake Smith suggested.
Therefore, it’s important to understand where your organization stands when it comes to the resources you have available to manage your campaigns; for example, you need to consider staff, budget, time and more.
In addition to requiring ample resources to effectively manage your campaigns, it’s essential that your team have the right expertise to support ongoing advertising on Facebook and Twitter.
If this expertise or your resources are lacking in some capacity, then a fully or partially managed social advertising vendor is the best solution for you.
4 Partner’s Relationship with Facebook and Twitter
In order for a vendor to appropriately support your campaigns, it must be integrated with Facebook and Twitter in some capacity, either through the expertise or the technology it supplies to your company.
A vendor’s relationship with Facebook and Twitter can be as simple as tapping into each network’s API or as extensive as being a recognized partner by each social network. Both Facebook and Twitter work closely with a small group of partner companies recognized as either a Twitter Marketing Platform Partner or a Facebook Marketing Partner.
“If you want to really scale up your social spend efficiently, that’s when a Facebook Marketing Partner and a Twitter MPP come into play. The main benefit of working with a preferred partner is scalability and efficiently; it’s next to impossible to do it on your own to that level without help,” added Paul Van Winssen of the ad operations team at AdParlor.
5 Customer Service Concerns
When reviewing vendors, survey the landscape of partners to find the best match for your level of expertise with Facebook and Twitter since this will help determine how much help you need in managing your campaigns.
If your company has limited expertise, then it’s obvious that you’ll need to begin with a partner that offers fully managed services and work your way up. As your team begins to learn more about the nuances of running a Facebook or Twitter ad campaign, they can take on the responsibility of handling campaigns in-house.
If you’ve got a strong understanding of the social advertising space, then a self-serve partner is likely a right fit for your business.
However, gaps in a company’s understanding of the social advertising landscape often lead to a hybrid solution in many cases, according to Van Winssen.
For example, your organization might require occasional customer service even if your team has platform expertise on Facebook or Twitter. Understand what customer service options a partner vendor has to offer regardless, if they are selling self-serve, fully managed services, or both.
6 Partner’s Existing Client Base
The vendor’s existing client base should always be a strong indication of the quality of work and its expertise across industries. Take a look at existing clients on the vendor’s site or asking for a list of clients and case studies, as well.
Take note of the types of companies the vendor works with now or in the past to help get a better understanding of size and vertical expertise.
The size of the clients will be a strong indication if they’ll be able to handle the scale of your social advertising campaigns.
While the industries vendors worked with in the past will be an indication of expertise in a particular vertical, if the vendor has experience with clients across industries, it’s likely that it has enough expertise to help service any industry.
This is also an opportunity to understand how long a vendor has been in business, which is often another strong indication of success and expertise.
7 Reporting Features
Measuring the success of your social advertising campaigns is another vital aspect of the relationship your organization will have with the chosen vendor. When reviewing the reporting functionality offered by a social advertising vendor, look for two distinct features.
Find out if the reporting functionality is easy to use and can measure your campaigns. The reporting aspect is too important to be a lengthy and difficult process every time your organization wants to run a report.
Analyze if the vendor’s reporting functionality integrates effectively with the social networks where your organization wants to run advertising. If you’re trying to place ads on both Facebook and Twitter, make sure to choose a vendor whose reporting integrates with both social networks’ APIs accordingly.
When integrated effectively with one or both of these networks, an advertiser has the opportunity to run campaigns using newly released features like Twitter’s Tailored Audiences.
8 Level of Automation
Depending on the vendor, certain features—like deciding upon the ad unit, choosing a bidding structure and scheduling ads for distribution—can be automated to allow an organization more time to focus on the success of campaigns.
The level of a vendor’s platform automation should directly match the needs of your company, depending on the resources, staff, expertise and your team’s capacity.
It’s important to choose a vendor with at least some part of the ad management process automated, since the Facebook and Twitter ad ecosystems are already very complex and any simplification is beneficial for your organization’s long-term success with social advertising.
9 Robust Targeting
The targeting capabilities of both Facebook and Twitter as advertising platforms are probably one of their best features for advertisers to help reach the right people across devices.
When looking for a vendor to support your targeting objectives on Facebook and Twitter, analyze the potential partner’s variety of targeting options to match your needs.
For example, some vendors can even target users based on a weather trigger in a particular geographic location. Once you’ve reviewed these various targeting capabilities, ask for examples of how these features can help you, or find case studies on the vendor’s website.
The best case scenario when reviewing the value of certain targeting features is customizable options that suit the needs of any type of advertiser.
10 Scale of Objectives and Data
As mentioned before, advertisers who want to achieve scale in a timely manner are best matched with a preferred partner of Facebook and/or Twitter. Regardless, it’s critical that any vendor you’re reviewing is equipped with the right technology and resources to handle the scale of your company’s objectives and data sets. To understand a vendor’s capabilities, ask for access to case studies to see the size of other campaigns that had similar goals, objectives or the volume of data you’re dealing with.
A properly equipped social advertising partner will help your organization achieve superior results in volume, pricing and user quality. Just remember to ask the right questions and compare what’s out there.
Does your organization need help running self-serve or fully managed advertising campaigns on Facebook and Twitter? Need help driving more leads from your social ads? We’re here to help.
AdParlor, Adknowledge’s social media product, is one of Facebook Marketing Partner and also a Twitter Marketing Platform Partner. The company is a leader in handling large Facebook campaigns and currently managing more than one billion impressions per day utilizing proprietary technologies. AdParlor creates customized Facebook campaigns for its partners, including dynamic ad creation and real time bid optimization.
On Twitter, AdParlor clients can choose from a variety of ad formats to boost their follower base and the reach of their message.
AdParlor provides both full- and self-service platforms, providing advertising on a large scale for hundreds of clients including Groupon, L’Oreal, American Express, Coca-Cola, LG, OMD, Mindshare and Starcom.
Originally published on: June 16, 2014