Questions to ask before hiring a Facebook Ads manager
With over 2.7 billion monthly active users globally, it’s no secret that Facebook Ads are a clear winner when it comes to gaining awareness (and driving sales) for your brand. Combine that with 1 billion monthly Instagram users, and you’ve got yourself a *massive* pool of potential customers within reach.
Sounds like a pretty neat opportunity, right? And since you’ve had Facebook for years and you’re a regular on Instagram Stories (those boozy brunch boomerangs get all the heart eyes emojis), you think “I reckon I can give Facebook Ads a crack myself”.
Then you have to implement conversion tracking. And the ad account you created is connected to your personal Facebook profile for some reason. And there are so many campaign settings. And targeting options. And how do you even make an effective Facebook ad anyway? Let’s not even get started on all the acronyms. Ergh.
Turns out, there’s a bit more to Facebook and Instagram advertising than those boomerangs you’ve been so artfully creating on Stories. Maybe you’ve had a dabble, blown your budget hitting the boost button, and now you’re thinking it might be a good idea to hire a Facebook Ads manager. But if you’re not an expert with the platform, how do you go about making the right hire?
A skilled Facebook Ads specialist can be the difference between achieving a profitable return on investment and seeing your paid ads campaigns budget evaporate without results (and no, Facebook won’t give refunds).
In order to see these benefits, you need to be sure you’re investing in the right kind of Facebook Ads marketer for your brand and your overall objective whether that’s sales, traffic, lead generation or something else — everyone has their niche, including Facebook Ads experts.
Types of Facebook Ads support
Before we get into the questions, let’s take a look at the different kinds of Facebook Ads experts you can engage.
- Freelance Facebook advertising specialists: These are individuals who usually work with a business in a one-to-one consulting capacity as required or as part of an on-going agreement. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a unicorn freelancer who’s packing a broad range of experience from cropping images for ads and writing compelling ad copy to managing the intricacies of the Facebook Advertising platform and analysing performance data.
- Facebook Ads agency: Agencies bring a team of experts to the table and will often have specialists for various aspects of digital advertising such as graphic designers to produce ad creative, campaign managers to, well, manage the campaign, and data analysts to dig into the numbers and unearth performance optimisation opportunities.
- In-house Facebook Ads manager: Hiring an in-house Facebook Ads expert typically makes sense for established brands that have complex on-going campaign management requirements. This person will usually sit within the marketing department and engage with other departments and stakeholders (such as the design team, and data or finance team) to bring the campaign to life and monitor performance in alignment with the organisation’s overarching strategy.
Within those three different types of hires, you’ll also find that each Facebook Ads expert has their own strengths and preferences — for example: some excel and producing ad creative, others at analysing the numbers and optimising performance. And sometimes you find a generalist specialist who’s good at blinkin’ everything.
What a Facebook Ads manager does
Facebook and Instagram Advertising is all about bringing the art and science of marketing together to make the magic happen. We’re talking about data-driven decision making meets compelling visuals and convincing copywriting. Which means, of course, that there are a fair few things that a Facebook Ads Manager is responsible for. So, what exactly does a day in the life of a digital advertising specialist look like?
- Using Facebook Audience Insights to research the interests and behaviours of your target market and build relevant audiences.
- Downloading customer data from a website CMS (content management system) or email marketing platform to upload to Facebook Business Manager as a custom audience.
- Creating custom audiences based on behaviours tracked by the Facebook Pixel — such as people who have visited product pages, or people who have engaged with Instagram content.
- Reviewing the implementation of tracking code on the website to ensure activity is being accurately recorded and reported.
- Selecting and cropping images, adding text overlays, turning collections of images into animated gifs, and adjusting ad creative to suit the various shapes and sizes of the different ad placements — think: Stories, Feeds, Right Hand Column (yep, this is the design aspect of the job)
- Building out campaign strategies that target different audiences across the customer journey from awareness (top of funnel) to consideration (middle of funnel) and finally conversion (bottom of funnel).
- Monitoring and optimising campaign performance by adjusting things like audience targeting, placement settings, budget controls.
- Producing reporting documents or dashboards that monitor and compare the performance of campaign activity against agreed objectives.
- Implementing A/B tests and experiments and using these insights to inform optimisation strategies and new ad creative.
- Reviewing landing pages (where the traffic from the ad clicks through to) and check-out behaviours to determine if there are opportunities for optimisation outside of the ad campaign and on the website.
Ask these questions before hiring a Facebook and Instagram Ads specialist
Okay, so with that in mind, let’s dive into the questions to ask a Facebook Ads Manager before you hand over the keys to your account.
1. Am I ready to get started with Facebook and Instagram Advertising?
Before you get into the hiring process, it’s a good idea to reflect on your own needs and expectations for digital advertising as a component of your overarching marketing strategy.
- Do you have a clear definition of your target audience?
- Can you articulate your product or service unique selling proposition? In other words, you’re clear on the problem it solves.
- Do you have an offer that is selling well already (without advertising?)
- Do you have clear objectives for your Facebook and Instagram advertising campaign? Such as growing your email database, launching a product or service, driving a certain amount of traffic or revenue?
- Do you have a website in place that’s best representing your brand, product or service?
- Can people take up your product or service offering easily on your website?
- Do you have a marketing budget set aside for digital advertising?
2. What industries do you have Facebook Ads experience in?
Now, it’s time to get to know your Facebook Ads manager candidates. Starting with what industries they have experience working within.
Whilst the principles and practices of managing a digital advertising campaign are largely the same, there are of course some intricacies for each industry. An experienced Facebook Ads expert will be able to adapt their approach to suit almost any industry, but it always helps if they have prior experience in the industry that your business operates in.
What does this mean? Well, if you run an ecommerce brand you might want to work with a Facebook Ads specialist who has strong experience in ecommerce advertising.
3. Can you provide some examples of previous campaigns?
Taking a peek at some case studies of past campaigns a Facebook Ads manager has run is a great way to see the work they’ve done and get an idea of what they might be able to do for your business.
They should be able to provide you with a few examples of clients who have worked with them (ideally with testimonials), and show you the actual work they have done (eg. they’ve achieved a X% increase in revenue for a particular client).
There may be some details that can’t be shared with you (client confidentiality is a thing, after all), but ideally they will have evidence of their past work that they’ve gotten permission from clients to show publicly.
Where client confidentiality prevents this from happening, you can ask them to share the names of some of the brands they’re working with and take a look at the ads in Facebook Ads Library (yep, this is a freely available collection of all active ads currently running via Facebook and Instagram).
4. Do you outsource any aspects of the Facebook Ads campaign?
Given that there are so many aspects to effective Facebook Ads campaigns, you might find that some Facebook Ads managers need to engage other specialists to bring the campaign to life — whether that be designers or videographers.
Sometimes freelance Facebook Ads managers are looking after multiple client campaigns and may engage subcontractors to support them. Or an agency might have you working directly with an account manager and have freelancers or subcontractors working on the implementation of the campaign separately (sometimes even offshore).
Whilst there’s no right or wrong solution here, it’s always a good idea to understand exactly who will be working on your campaigns — as they’ll have access to performance insights in relation to your business, after all.
It’s also worth noting that some agencies and freelancers engage specialists overseas who are paid significantly less than they might be in Australia or other ‘developed’ nations.
Asking for transparency over this ensures that you know the ethical framework that your Facebook Ads manager works within, and you can make an informed decision about whether you’d like to choose a partner that outsources in this way.
5. How much do you charge to manage the campaign?
Ah the money question. You gotta ask it. And it’s always best to be upfront about it. There are a multitude of ways that agencies and freelancers can charge for Facebook Ads management.
- Per campaign: Some agencies and freelancers charge per campaign. This is typically suitable where there is a specific objective and timeframe. The scope of work for a per campaign approach will usually include limitations on the number of audiences targeted, and the number of ad creatives produced and changed over (as all these things add to the time it takes to manage the campaign).
- Time and materials: Another approach you might see is ‘time and materials’. This is a similar approach to the building and construction industry where the time spent working on your campaign is recorded and charged at an hourly rate. On top of that, you’ll have additional costs for any other ‘materials’ required — such as photographer and videographer fees if the campaign requires new images or video.
- Retainer: If you’re working with a freelancer or an agency in a longer term capacity and have a combination of always on and campaign activity, you’ll like find that a retainer agreement is suitable. Under a retainer, your Facebook Ads specialist will either have a flat fee based on a scope of work that allows for a certain number of audiences and ad creatives each month. Or they might charge a flat rate plus additional fee based on percentage of ad spend — to accomodate for the fluctuating needs over time. If you do end up with a fee plus percentage of spend agreement just keep in mind the need for objectivity — if the agency or freelancer are encouraging you to increase the budget does that make sense for you, or just them as they’ll receive a higher remuneration as the rate goes up.
- Results based: Some Facebook Ads managers charge per lead generated or ask for a percentage of revenue. Whilst this can sound appealing – because in theory you’re only paying when you get results – there are plenty of ways to game the system. If you do opt for this approach make sure that you’re really clear on how the results will be tracked — you may even want to have your own marketing attribution system in place so you can deduplicate results generated by Facebook Ads where other marketing activity was responsible for the results.
6. What aspects of the Facebook and Instagram advertising campaign will you be responsible for?
We know that there are a heck of a lot of components to successful Facebook Ads campaigns. So right from the start, it’s a good idea to understand exactly what aspects your Facebook Ads manager will be responsible for.
Think: producing ad creative, copywriting imagery, videography, campaign management, reporting, implementing tracking, landing page optimisation.
And also keep in mind that the more they’re responsible for the larger the cost associated with doing the work will be.
7. What’s your process for Facebook Ads campaign management?
Everyone has their own unique approach to Facebook Ads campaign management. It’s important to keep in mind that there’s no one right way (but there are plenty of ‘wrong’ ways). So it’s good to lift the lid on the process for campaign management.
By way of context, at Young Folks, the first month is spent on auditing past activity, researching audience behaviours and interests to build target audiences, conducting competitor analysis, and putting together a comprehensive strategy that puts the right message at each stage of the funnel on the path to purchase.
Once we have taken the client through the strategy and locked in approval, then we build out the campaign. And depending on whether the client has their own creative or if they need it made from scratch, there’s an element of design and creative production in the mix, too.
8. What’s your approach for increasing sales?
We all need to make money somehow, right? So it’s important to understand what your Facebook Ads manager’s process for increasing sales is.
Do they look at past purchase data to determine best selling products and amplify sales there? Are they asking you about margins on products? Or what items you are holding a lot of stock on and need to sell through?
Some digital advertising specialists might strongly advocate (read: pressure you) into offering deals and discounts. And whilst these can be an effective way to quickly generate sales, it’s important not to set a precedent for always being on sale — as eventually your audience will catch on and stop buying at full price.
You need to be able to work with your Facebook Ads expert to increase your revenue in a sustainable way. And in a way that doesn’t undermine your brand or profit margins in the longer term.
9. Will you provide a strategy and campaign plan?
Whilst it can be tempting to jump right in there and get some ads up and running pronto, it’s crucial to have a well-considered strategy in place and a campaign plan to work with.
This means that your Facebook Ads activity is aligned with the objectives you set out for your Facebook Ads specialist, and that everyone involved has a clear overview of what activity is happening when.
10. What advertising spend do you recommend for the campaign?
An experienced Facebook Ads manager will be able to provide you with and estimate on the advertising budget required for your campaign. Typically, this is based on your objectives and how fast you’re looking to achieve them.
Whilst you don’t need to spend a lot on Facebook in order to generate results, the size of your budget will influence how quickly your Facebook Ads specialist is able to test, optimise, and scale performance.
For example, if you need to target a lot of audiences and drive a large amount of traffic and sales through your website quickly, you may need to have a pretty sizable budget in place to achieve that. This is because your Facebook Ads expert will need to spread the budget out across multiple audiences in a manner that allows room for testing to gather quantitative data.
When the budget is spread so thinly that only a few purchases are being recorded each day it can be difficult to rapidly determine what tactics and approaches within the campaign are actually working.
In short, a smaller budget (say $10 AUD a day) means fewer audiences and a slower testing process. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just something to keep in mind if you’re wanting to gain results and actionable insights quickly.
11. Do you require a minimum ad spend?
Again, whilst there is no barrier to entry in terms of minimum daily spend on Facebook (we’ve seen some campaigns spend as little as $3 a day), you do need to consider the limitations to testing and optimisation that a small budget will create.
If you’re going to be forking out an overhead for a Facebook Ads manager, you want to allow them enough budget to be able to test and optimise the performance of your campaign on the daily.
Ideally, you’ll be able to commit to at least $1,000 a month on ad spend to start getting the most out of your Facebook Ads manager.
12. How do you manage the advertising budget?
It can be nerve wracking to have someone managing spend on behalf of your brand. It’s kinda like handing over your credit card and hoping they don’t spend it badly. With that in mind, it’s super important to understand the process for managing your budget.
- Will there be an agreed budget in place?
- Will they secure your approval before increasing the budget?
- Where will the spend be recorded?
- Will you receive a breakdown of the budget across the campaign activity?
- Will they provide a recommendation on budget adjustments (up and down)?
13. What’s your process for creating target audiences?
Target audiences are everything in marketing. And it’s no different for Facebook and Instagram Ads. And because Facebook and Instagram collect an enormous amount of data about their users, there are almost infinite targeting options — from interests and behaviours, to geo-targeting, and even custom audiences.
Audience targeting should be configured based on the customer journey to purchase and the propensity to take action. For example, someone that’s been on your website and viewed the product page (maybe even added to cart but not purchased) has a high propensity to take action (convert) and would typically be classified as a bottom of funnel audience — perfect for retargeting.
Whereas someone who’s never heard of your brand or engaged with your social media profiles but has interests that align with your product or service offering, would be classified as a top of funnel audience — perfect for building awareness and driving traffic.
14. What’s your process for ad creative production and approval?
No one likes to see a totally off-beat in their newsfeed — especially when it’s their own brand. Eek. Which is why it’s crucial you understand your Facebook Ads manager’s process for ad creative production and approval.
- Who will be responsible for supplying imagery, video and copy?
- Will the creative be optimised for all the relevant ad formats and placements?
- Does the Facebook Ads manager have design experience?
- Will you be presented with ad previews to approve before the campaigns go live?
15. How do you measure the performance of Facebook Ads campaigns?
You’re not doing Facebook Ads for shits and gigg’s, right? You’re investing in a proven digital marketing channel in order to get some results. So, you need to understand exactly how your Facebook Ads manager will be measuring the performance of your campaigns.
- Will they implement tracking (the Facebook Pixel, Google Analytics, UTM tagging)?
- What metrics will they use to measure results (impressions, clicks, leads, purchases, return on ad spend)?
- Will they take steps to understand your margins and the return on investment required in order for the activity to drive sustainable growth?
- What attribution methods or windows are they using to record results?
- How are they working with the latest challenges in terms of tracking (such as Apple’s iOS14 update)?
16. What kind of reporting and updates do you provide?
It’s one thing to know how they measure performance, but you also need to get clear on what kind of Facebook Ads reporting updates will be provided and how often you’re going to receive them.
As an example, we at Young Folks provide our clients with access to a live and completely customisable reporting dashboard in Google Data Studio. Our clients can access this at any time and see the performance of their campaigns — including ad spend and results.
This provides radical transparency on reporting as there is no opportunity to fudge the numbers or cook the books — it’s all there in plain sight and in real time.
We also provide a weekly update via email, and have a one-hour call every month to dive into the detail and plan out future activity.
Get clear on what performance metrics are important to you and how often you’d like to know about how things are tracking along
17. What kind of results can I expect?
Whilst no one has a crystal ball that can predict the future or make any guarantees, an experienced Facebook Ads manager should be able to find enough data points to pull together an indication of how the campaign might perform.
They’ll be able to look at the size of the target audience available in Facebook Audience Insights and then use past performance data or industry benchmarks for click-through rates (CTR) and conversion rates to get an indication of performance. This is a good place to start, but always comes with a heft set of caveats such as how well your website is optimised for conversion, seasonality, competitors, price point, and the demand for your product or service in the market.
Whilst it’s tempting to ask for guarantees, always be wary of anyone who’s offering guaranteed results. After all, with Google threatening to exit the Australian search market and the Reddit GameStop saga taught us one thing it’s that anything can happen.
18. What will you do if my ads aren’t working?
Sometimes, despite a well-considered strategy and a slew of data-driven optimsations, the ads just aren’t getting the desired results. Whilst no one desires this outcome, it’s important to understand how your Facebook Ads expert will respond in the event that it does happen.
Experienced Facebook and Instagram Ads managers are skilled in aspects of marketing and business outside of the Facebook Ads platform and will be able to zoom out and take a bird’s eye view of the performance.
- Are there any tracking issues?
- Is the slow performance a result of external factors such as seasonality?
- How are users behaving after clicking on the ad?
- Is the website not optimised for conversion?
- Is the checkout process confusing, too complex, or full of distractions?
19. Will I have access to my account and campaigns?
Some Facebook Ads specialists have their own Facebook Business Manager accounts and can set-up your campaigns within their Ads Manager platform. Whilst this can make things more streamlined for them, it’s not necessary and can prevent you from accessing your account.
To ensure that you retain ownership of your accounts and data and can control who has access, always insist on having your own Facebook Business Manager and adding the freelancer or agency as a user or partner.
This also means you’ll be able to login at any time and view how the campaigns are performing — so no one will be pulling the wool over your eyes.
20. What happens when our contract ends?
Whether you hire in-house or engage an agency or freelancer, it’s important to understand what happens when the contract ends.
We recommend ensuring that there is a two-way notice period so no one is left hanging, and that there is a handover process in place to ensure the ads don’t bomb when the Facebook Ads specialist is no longer looking after them.
It’s also incredibly important to ensure that you have ownership of the data (including past performance). This is rarely an issue if you’ve insisted on ownership of the account as suggested above.
However, some agencies and freelancers delete campaign activity when the contract ends as it would potentially reveal their approach (which is their intellectual property) to the next Facebook Ads specialist you hire.
Spoiler alert: this is not something we do.
So, make sure you understand the ownership of data and intellectual property and the process for wrapping up when the contract ends.