4 Steps to Find the Right Social Advertising Partner
- by Brian Bowman | May 16, 2019
- Facebook Advertising
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Finding a Facebook or Google App Campaign advertising partner is difficult. If hiring a partner works out, you’ll yield better results and be able to scale results efficiently. But, if it doesn’t work out, you have lost time testing them out, and you’ll likely lose ad spend and revenue in the process.
To mitigate those risks, many organizations do a 30-day test to see if they will be a viable social advertising partner. While ad partners understand the motivation behind this, it’s important to know that 30-day tests have limitations. 90 days is a better trial period, especially if you’re interested in driving profit and scale.
In this post, we’ll take a look at the steps to conduct a 30 or 90-day test and how this process helps you find the right social advertising partner:
1. Get the Partner Account Access
There are two primary routes to giving prospective partners access to your advertising accounts: give them access to an existing account, or give them access to a new account. Here’s how these two scenarios play out:
Give Access to an Existing Account
With access to an existing advertising account, the partner can perform an audit of your current ad creative and media buying strategy, so they can see what worked or didn’t work in the past.
Depending on which campaign aspects you want help with (for example, creative or media buying), a partner might develop a creative and/or media strategy based on previous ad spend and past account performance.
The next step is for your partner to present their findings so you can make sure they’re headed in the right direction. If you have a good partner, they might also present and discuss some of your competitors’ ads as well. This is an impactful way to learn more about the look and feel of the videos they’re about to produce. It also introduces you to some new ideas that are working for your competitors. It creates clarity about your expectations, and how your partner can meet your brand guidelines.
The next step is execution. As the partner begins to execute the agreed-upon creative strategy and/or the media buying strategy, they should be having regular calls with you to discuss what’s worked or not worked, and how to make adjustments going forward.
Ideally, your ad partner will also be constantly updating or modifying your account’s strategy documents based on their performance, network changes, and any other external factors.
Give Access to a New Account
Sometimes, clients don’t want partners working on existing Facebook or Google App Campaigns. This is often because the client has an internal team working on those campaigns, and they want to use a partner as an external team. Instead of having the partner work in the same campaigns as their internal team, they create a new ad account.
This being said, your new ad partner will still need access to your primary account if you go this route, so they can do creative and/or media buying audits.
If getting access to this information is not possible, then they won’t be able to see what worked or failed for you in the past. Without this analysis, any efforts on behalf of the partner going forward are more likely to fail or cause the same mistakes.
Working with a new account has another problem as well—it slows down the process of optimizing campaigns. When a partner works from a brand new account, they must give the algorithms enough data to do AEO bidding (App Event Optimization) or VO bidding (Value Optimization). The only way to do that is by running ads, and—depending on ad spend budgets—it can take anywhere from a few days to over a week to train the algorithm enough to enable AOE or VO bidding.
Because of this reason, most advertising partners prefer to gain access to existing accounts. Starting with a fresh account means they lose both time and money retraining Facebook’s algorithm, as opposed to gaining instant access to already optimized accounts.
2. Do a Competitive Analysis
Whether or not your partner receives access to existing Facebook and/or Google App Campaign accounts, they should also begin a competitive analysis. This is usually done while in the process of doing the creative and/or media audit.
The first step of this competitive analysis is identifying the best competitor ads. The easiest way to find your competitors’ ads is with Facebook’s new ads library. This tool allows you to find out how much your competitors have spent on advertising and which ads they have run. You can also search which ads have been linked to particular keywords. Note – you don’t even need to have a Facebook account to use this tool.
The one drawback of the new ads library is that it doesn’t give you ad performance information. For that, you need to use 3rd party tools like PowerAdSpy, Connect Explore, SocialPeta, or AdSpy. These tools assess ad performance, how long ads have run, how much ad budget they’ve been given, and what their engagement measurements are.
Conducting a competitive analysis allows you an almost endless supply of pre-tested ad concepts. You can leverage this information to create better ads and identify themes and characteristics of winning ads.
With this information, you can create better ads, quicker than if you started from a blank screen. Basically, you can peek into your competitors’ accounts, do a high-level audit, and then use their data to optimize your ads.
3. Start Testing & Optimizing Ad Creative
Facebook and Google App Campaign advertising is done differently due to the rise in popularity of machine learning. The optimization algorithms of these platforms have dramatically improved and simplified the process of managing campaigns, budgets, and ad sets. These algorithms have leveled the playing field for social advertisers both large and small.
The trouble is, this means it’s not easy to gain a competitive advantage. Your team needs great creative to meet your financial ROAS goals, and great creatives hard to find. From what we have seen, only about 5% of new ad creative (only one in twenty new ads) will outperform your “control” ( the current best-performing ads).
The graph below shows the ad performance of a gaming company that spent over $15 million dollars on Facebook advertising.
- The horizontal axis is the approximate number of ads.
- The vertical axis is the money spent per ad.
As you can see, the vast majority of ads do not do nearly as well—and 100x ads are unicorns.
Even if you only want a 10x ad, you can’t find it without testing many. Since only 5% of new creative is successful, you need twenty new ads to find the one that works. Unfortunately, most social advertisers don’t have the ability to test twenty new videos during a 30-day partner test — it’s difficult to remain financially stable due to the resulting non-converting spend.
In an effort to minimize these testing losses, most advertisers want to keep running winning ads along with the tested ads; slowly rotating through new ads until they find a 10x ad, and with hope, a 100x ad.
Well, that takes more than 30 days to do. Even if your new ad partner finds a way to jumpstart a new campaign in just a week, you still only have three weeks left to test new ad creative. That isn’t enough time to test all the ads necessary to find a winner. Because of this limitation, most 30-day tests fail.
It is possible, however, to beat the odds and deliver big wins in 30 days or less, although it’s unusual. If you want to see results, 90-day tests are better because they give your new advertising partner time to test, fail, develop new creative, and iterate again. Creative limitations are just the beginning.
4. Launch Campaigns & Analyze Performance
Assuming a partner works with an existing Facebook or Google account, they will start restructuring your account according to several proven best practices, including:
- Establishing a Baseline: Launching initial campaigns with your best-performing ads and audiences establishes a baseline ad performance.
- Testing Copy: Initiating ad copy tests on your best-performing ads helps to optimize that aspect of your ads first.
- Developing Internal Creative Briefs: While those tests run, they will develop several internal creative briefs (based on the competitive analysis and the creative audit), and then share their findings with you.
- Create Ads and Run A/B Tests: Once those creative briefs are approved, they’ll create ads and run a/b tests to establish their performance. This typically takes between five to seven days to get results from those first tests.
- Refine Ads and Test Concepts: Based on the results of the first tests, they’ll continue to refine the best-performing ads and audience combinations, while simultaneously testing new ad concepts. They should continue to modify strategy based on what they learn and should share every detail of your campaigns’ ad performance with you.
Choosing a new ad partner is a lot like testing ad creative—you have to give them enough time to prove they are a truly valuable asset to your overall marketing goals. If you end a trial with a new partner in just thirty days, it’s a lot like cutting off a creative test too soon—you’ll be making a decision based on incomplete data.