We hear about it every day at Abacus, that more and more companies are thinking about taking their Facebook ad buying and optimization internally. We see the recruitment ads for brands searching for top quality Facebook acquisition talent.
We can understand some of the reasons why this temptation exists.
A lot of you have had bad agency experiences. We understand. Many digital agencies have sold paid social without the requisite experience, talent and mindset to deliver results.
Many of you don’t know how to measure digital and social ads, so your analysis and conclusions lead you in the wrong direction. If you’re only using Google Analytics to measure your results, then you’re in this category.
We’ve heard many times that agencies horde learnings, and don’t pass them back to the client. The desire to take Facebook media in-house can be driven by a desire for more insights, more data, and more analysis. Most digital agencies aren’t prepared to memorialize and deliver these learnings.
You also want speed, and you think that bringing it in-house will increase your agility and speed to market. Compared with slow agencies, where you might not be the priority, this could be true.
Finally, it looks so darn easy. In fact, Facebook ads were created to be self-service and are easy to buy. That doesn’t mean that it’s easy to get results from them. That’s really hard.
But if we can’t convince you to leave this to the experts, let’s at least give you 7 things to think about as you make the switch:
It doesn’t exist. Not what you’re looking for and in the quantity, you’re looking for it.
Good Facebook ads talent is scarce to find and attract. And once you do, even harder to retain and avoid getting poached by a shinier company.
Compensation has risen dramatically in the past few years. Ongoing training is incredibly hard, given that Facebook changes every couple of weeks. If you lose someone, you’ll have to start the process over again.
Think about these ad operations people like programmers. Sure they’re easier to train, because they don’t need to learn a computing language, but they’re in similar demand.
For many companies, they will NOT be able to attract the talent they need. In fact, the bottom 80% of companies are going to have extreme challenges in attracting the top talent. This is a serious problem.
Do you have a plan for finding, attracting, hiring, training and retaining your talent?
It’s going to be very costly to build your internal team, both in terms of time and money.
Your team is going to be effective learning on your dime since they’ll only be working on your brand. The opportunities to increase the velocity of learning, without working on other accounts, will be tough.
There’s no margin for error either. If you take an extra 2 quarters to build your team, or you lose key people, you’ll give back all the savings remarkably quickly. Make sure you’re counting all your extra overhead in your new cost per acquisition. Only focusing on media costs may hide inefficiencies in your department.
3. Are You a Bad Client?
Now before you get upset and stop reading, we’re not saying that you’re a bad client.
We’re just saying that IF you were a bad client, your agency likely did a lot of free work that they didn’t charge you for.
This extra administrative load is now yours and you have to deal with it. You’re going to find out very quickly if your agency was the problem.
On that topic, the question is whether you want to become a media agency? Do you want to excel at media buying to the degree you excel at your core business?
More importantly, are you able to become a top 5% media agency?
A lot of companies take their Facebook media in-house so as not to lose valuable insights and learnings. If your past agencies haven’t shared actionable insights with you then this is a problem.
However, many companies can’t drive rapid learnings because it’s one account, one vertical and one product. Real learnings come from running tons of accounts (in tons of different verticals) and applying the learnings across all acquisition campaigns. You can only learn so much on one account.
Do you have a plan to ensure that you’re going to learn, analyze and react as quickly as your agency did?
Culture is the hardest to write about, but likely the key success factor in the success of your acquisition plan.
Do you have a culture of rapid experimentation? Does your company support and encourage the day-to-day failure inherent in acquisition testing? Will your culture support your internal agency? Will it be attractive enough to attract and retain the type of talent that you’re looking for?
Many companies think that their marketing department will have their own experimental culture. We’ve experienced that the overall culture dictates the departmental culture.
Only companies with extreme self-awareness are able to determine if they have the requisite culture, and that’s why they win. Without a culture of experimentation and failure, it will be hard to exceed average results.
Facebook acquisition campaigns require extreme agility, both in terms of strategy, creative, content and execution. You need to ensure that your company is prepared to be fast enough and agile enough to win.
You also must have a dedicated team that’s incredibly focused and tuned in, understand the data signals and how to interpret them. Your team also needs to have the curiosity in their DNA to fuel their experimentation and growth.
7. Opportunity Cost
We saved the biggest consideration for last. What is the opportunity cost of dedicating marketing talent to paid social?
Since there are few other mission capabilities that can be outsourced to experts for a relatively small fee, you must be sure that you’re properly allocating your best talent.
Is there something they can be working on that could have a 10x effect? If so, you’re wasting their time on paid social, when it can be outsourced to experts.
Improving the product, applying data science, growth strategy, funnel engineering, business model engineering, business development and partnerships are all high leverage channels that will require your team’s time.
Those are 7 major issues to consider before committing to bringing your Facebook media in-house. We hope they are helpful and bring some experience to your decision.
Abacus now offers consulting services: one helps companies manage their transition to in-house teams. Another offers in-house training for your teams, to keep them up to speed. The final service offers weekly coaching and growth discipline to your acquisition team.
If you think we could be helpful, please get in touch with us to discuss.