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Questions You Should Ask Your Facebook Marketing Agency (If You Are Focused On Revenue)

By Kevin Simonson, CEO of Metric Digital

Here are some things we see a lot of:

*Facebook marketing gurus
*Marketing agencies that “Do Facebook”
*Facebook anti-guru gurus who tell you not to trust gurus because they are the real experts
*Content about how an Agency/Guru/Anti-Guru does Facebook marketing

After marketing on Facebook for 7 years and running an agency for 4 years, I have (begrudgingly) accepted that I’m not going to stop any of this.

But as a brand, your company can ask agencies and “expert” Facebook marketers the right questions. You can suss out if they really are good at Facebook marketing, or just good at talking about it.

Richard Feynman famously talked about the difference between knowing the name of something and actually knowing something:

"Names don't constitute knowledge. Simply knowing the name of something, like a bird, for example, is not the same as knowing how that bird flies or finds its way. Even if you can translate the word for bird into five languages, it didn’t mean you know anything."

Experiential knowledge, then is sound judgment, relevant insight and meaningful perspective. Whereas nominal knowledge is more like an intern googling "Facebook Advertising Tips" during a conference call.

Here are some questions to help you tease out when working with your marketing agency:

TO BE CLEAR: We’re talking about using Facebook to make money. Not manage customer service or do branding. This applies to companies that are focused on growing customers and increasing revenue.

Okay! Onto the main event...

How do you define Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) as it applies to Facebook? 

This is the quintessential metric for determining the return on your investment. Most companies consider CPA to be their top metric. But since the answer to every marketing questions is, “well, it depends,” it all comes down to your average revenue per customer. Know this number going in to every agency meeting or call.

Here’s more about how we answer this question, using ecommerce as an example:

At its most basic level, blended Facebook CPA is Facebook ad spend divided by the number of sales driven by those Facebook ads. However, keeping things this high level will obscure some of what is really going on.

To get a better picture, you should also break down CPA the following ways:

1. CPA for existing customers

2. CPA for new customers (you should be willing to pay more for a new customer, based on the customer’s expected lifetime value)

Often times, blended CPA will hide unprofitable new customer acquisition costs.

What attribution window do you use and why?

This is by far the most missed question to dive into when talking to any performance marketer on any channel. The default attribution window is 28 days post click and 1 day post view. In all of our audits, we use it as a default on our dashboards. But remember, it's not the only thing companies should look at.

What Facebook campaign objectives do you use and how do they work together given my goals are growing customers and increasing revenue under a set CPA? Why?

Since your goals are bottom of the funnel, acquisition and revenue based, it’s important to make sure your agency isn’t trapped in the blue sky world of brand awareness. That objective has its merits, but not at the moment. Ask this third question to prevent your company from getting to the top of the ladder only to find you’re leaning against the wrong digital wall.

How do you structure your account to address prospective new customers who have never seen the brand on Facebook, seen and/or interacted with the brand on Facebook, already purchased from my brand? Why?

Every campaign is modified based on how much your target customers know, like and trust you. And every piece of online real estate counts. Even the call to action button. For example, new customers are more likely to click on copy reading, “Learn More,” and “Explore,” as opposed to prequalified buyers who click on language like “Buy Now” and “Subscribe Me.” Make sure your agency chooses wisely.

What is an optimal amount of audience overlap across ad sets for prospecting, retargeting, and retention? Why do you think that and what factors would cause you to change your answers?

Some agencies are open minded to humility in the abstract, but in reality, it’s a trait often perceived as a sign of weakness. That’s why the second part of this final question matters. If you’re paying them $15K a month, then you have the right to push back and invite them to change their mind based on updated information. Be persistent. Be overly organized. Set expectations as a client.

Do you include or exclude placements and devices in your targeting? If so, which ones and why?

It’s key to know who your customer is, but it’s equally as important to know who your customer is not. Don’t assume your agency knows this already, or you will waste valuable ad dollars promoting to the wrong audience. 

What types of creative assets do you recommend we start with and do you have any requests for certain types of creative assets? Why?

This list is an ideal start for what could lead to deeper questions regarding Facebook marketing expertise. These are virtually the same questions I ask when interviewing a Senior Facebook Marketer for our agency Metric Digital. 

(Soon, we’ll answer these questions in a forthcoming post.)

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The next step would be to provide actual case study and/or real data and have the agency answer these questions with respect to the actual ad account and/or business. This what we do in the form of a Facebook ad account audit and for interviewing. Consultants use this in the form of “the case interview” and we love it.

A final note on holding an agency or guru to the fire…

An actual Facebook marketing expert will give examples of experiences as to why they believe what they believe for each question. I found that experiential expertise is the most valid form of expertise for Facebook marketers, because the “right answer” changes depending on when it was done, for what purpose, and other variables that should also be teased out.

Most businesses have nuances that will impact what the proper Facebook marketing strategy will be, and an expert Facebook marketer will be able to address those nuances.

To wrap up, another quote from the aforementioned Richard Feynman:

“For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.”

Better questions equal better agency partnerships. If you tap into your agency’s experiential knowledge early, often and strategically, and the only thing that will seem nominal will be their monthly retainer.

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Kevin Simonson CEO & Co-Founder, Metric Digital The Metric Digital Blog A Blog on All Things Digital Marketing