Facebook Ads? Easy? Worth it?
September 29, 2011 6:48 AM   Subscribe

Is setting up and managing a Facebook ad campaign something I need a professional for?

My company would like to start using Facebook ads to generate more traffic to our facebook page and to our website. We have previously used google Adwords as well and we used an external to set it up and manage it. This worked out pretty good because no one in house had to time to figure it all out and manage it.

From what I have been able to figure out, Facebook ads are a bit easier to set up and manage, but there is no way, at least anymore, to track conversions. While searching for alternatives, I've found lots of SEO sites selling various tools and services to do this and I'm having trouble getting through the noise. Considering the amount of money we have for our budget, I would like someone with experience to set it up, manage it and react quickly in case something goes wrong.

We sell music online. Through poking around on Facebook, it seems that is something people react strongly to and engage with when album reviews and other music-related articles are published on our wall and custom FB pages. We plan on having 3 kinds of ads, 2 based on target groups and 1 linking to a quiz when they win a prize.

My questions:
Is setting up and managing Facebook ads indeed much easier that Adwords?

Do I need an expert for this or is it like an intern/student job?

Do the Advertising analysis tools from Facebook provide enough information to let me know if the investment is worth it?

What real tools are out there to track conversions?
posted by Moron in a hurry to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
If you have the budget to hire someone experienced, do so. You'll get a far better ROI than an unexperienced person. You'll 'save' money by not paying them extra, but you're losing it (and more) on the poor ROI.
posted by chrisfromthelc at 7:58 AM on September 29, 2011

I do this. I find that to get the most out of facebook ads I have to tap into many different skillsets; technical, analytical, graphic design, copywriting, and seat-of-the-pants. Its not rocket surgery, but might be daunting to someone not adept at these various disciplines.

Perhaps you could hire someone to teach you?

And, you can of course track conversions from facebook ads.
posted by bricksNmortar at 10:31 AM on September 29, 2011

Try a few on your own.

The process is really intuitive and you get data within 24 hours. The general advice is to make two ads that run at once and are exactly the same except for one characteristic (different image? different text? different target? you choose!). One week of ads will cost you $10. Even if you go to a professional, having the experience will help you understand.

We learned a lot from the easy-to-navigate data after just a few weeks.
posted by jander03 at 11:56 AM on September 29, 2011

Use Google Analytics to track traffic and conversions from Facebook. Ads from Facebook ads have a different referal origination than regular FB traffic so the conversion part is a piece of piss.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:52 PM on September 29, 2011

Hi. I am an Associate Director of Paid Search at a top tier search advertising agency. I manage multiple Facebook advertising accounts for my Clients (and several million in general spend on AdWords, etc.). I also am intimately familiar with the tracking.

I say this not to sell, but to qualify myself.

With that out of the way, here's a couple key things to know...

1. Facebook is making it more and more difficult for small advertisers to sell through them as they only care about big brands. Their marketplace is crap and the tools to manage campaigns in there even worse. They intentionally killed off a third party campaign management tool and are trying to focus their efforts on partnering with campaign management platforms like Kenshoo, Marin, Omniture, etc. since those are typically only used by big companies or agencies with big companies for Clients.

2. Conversion tracking was removed in a push to weed out small advertisers, and we don't even bother with it as all of the aforementioned campaign management platforms have their own tracking pixels that we place that can properly attribute conversions to the specific elements of the Facebook campaign.

3. It is nowhere near as easy to successfully run as AdWords. Guidelines are vague at best with some things, approvals suck, and performance is not stellar by any means, particularly for direct response (ie. ecomm). Banner blindness is a HUGE issue and you will likely need to switch images out every two weeks meaning you need a lot of images to be halfway successful since many will have crap CTRs.

4. Having a small agency or consultant who specializes this could work for you if they have a platform they use. Alternatively, you can consider using something like Bevo or Tracking202 which are predominantly used by affiliate marketers, however the underlying technology is essentially the same as the campaign management platforms agencies use in terms of placing a pixel, using a tracking link to redirect and drop a tracking cookie, etc.

If you have any follow-up questions on the above, please feel free to post them here and I'll try to respond as I can or feel free to MeFi mail me.
posted by Elminster24 at 2:48 PM on September 29, 2011 [4 favorites]

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