Whether you’re spending £5 a day or $50,000 a day, deciding to outsource your Facebook ads feels like a pretty big deal. With the right partner you’ll create more space in your schedule, supercharge your ad results, and take a huge leap forward in your business.
Only finding the right partner agency or consultant isn’t always easy; even the dodgiest agency can paint a pretty good picture, if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for.
So, to make life a bit easier for you, I’ve taken my years of experience as the owner of a Facebook advertising agency, and as an official Facebook marketing partner agency, and narrowed down the 5 essential questions you should ask any prospective agency or consultant, before you let them get their hands on your ad accounts.
- Can you showcase consistent results?
One of the questions people tend to ask before they outsource Facebook ads is, ‘can you show us proof that you’ve worked with our specific industry before?’ While it sounds like a reasonable thing to ask, it doesn’t make it onto my list. And I’ll tell you why.
Whatever industry you’re working in, whatever niche, the principles of the funnel are the same — essentially the only thing that’ll change from business to business will be the copy and the audience.
Now a good advertising agency will be able to work with the client to create great copy and will be able to work their own magic in order to find the audience. So, trying to find an agency that has experience in your specific niche isn’t a necessity.
What you really need to know is have they worked with your type of campaign before — with consistent results.
Take a lead generation campaign for a local business. Imagine you’re a real estate agent and you’re trying to get people in your local area to sign up for a free consultation…can the agency prove that they’ve been able to generate leads, customers, and appointments for local businesses? And more importantly, have they done it consistently?
Because anyone can have a one-off great campaign. Swing a club and hit a hole in one. And there are tonnes of bad agencies and consultants using one good result to claim expertise in Facebook ads. But to do it time and again takes real skill and effort.
So ask the consistency question and check that your chosen agency isn’t just a one-hit-wonder before you outsource Facebook ads!
Do you have a methodology or philosophy you can share with us?
When you’re building lots of campaigns, and working with lots of different businesses, you can’t help but see patterns — you learn what works and what doesn’t, and you start to develop your own unique methodology or system. So you can tell new clients exactly how you work, what kind of system you use, and that you do so precisely because you know from experience that it brings in great results.
More than that, you can start to build a philosophy around your system that underlines exactly why your methodology works.
Now, when you’re interviewing agencies or consultants, it’s important to ask about their system and philosophy because they aren’t all created equal. Some agencies employ a black hat methodology, using unethical tactics and doing all sorts of dodgy stuff, which isn’t something you want to be involved with. But if their philosophy is based around building and improving customer relationships then chances are they’re going to be a really good agency to work with.
For example, we have a methodology called the VF method, which is a four-step process that takes us from creating content all the way down to getting testimonials from customers. And the philosophy behind it is all about building trust and providing value to the customer wherever they are in the customer journey. So when clients ask about our methods, we can tell them exactly how we work, explain the reasoning behind it, and show a bunch of success stories to back it all up. You want to make sure that any agency or consultant you work with can do the same.
Are you running your own Facebook ads?
I think this is my favourite question, mostly because you wouldn’t believe how many agencies and consultants bill themselves as Facebook ad experts, who claim that Facebook ads are the best thing in the world, but don’t actually run their own ads!
Now, this sets off the old alarm bells; you wonder why they’re selling a service they don’t actually use themselves. Is it because they’re not that great at Facebook ads and couldn’t figure out how to make it all work for them? Do they just not believe in the product, or are they just out to make money, rather than focusing on getting results?
Either way, if the agency you’re looking at doesn’t practice what they preach, it might be better to keep on searching.
How much do you charge and what are the terms?
Okay, this is a biggie. Not only do you need to know how much the agency is going to charge, but you need to be aware of what you’re signing up to. Are they going to tie you in to a 3-month contract? Are they going to do monthly rolling? How easy will it be to break with them if it doesn’t work out?
I find that most agencies — the good ones, at least —start with a 90-day program, a 3-month contract, or they’ll go monthly rolling from the outset. And the ones that offer a 3-month contract will switch to monthly rolling after the initial contract period.
Now, the reason that they start with a 3-month period is that it can take a bit of time to get Facebook ads working for you, especially if you’re starting from scratch. But be wary of anyone that tries to tie you in to a 12-month contract straight off the bat; if they turn out to be rubbish you’re stuck paying out for very little ROI.
When it comes to how much to pay, it’s important you understand how it’s all worked out. You want to know what percentage of the fee is actually going directly to Facebook, and how much is to pay for the management side of things. And it’s worth figuring out how much a lifetime customer is worth to you to make sure the numbers add up and you can justify the spend. You need to know you can actually make a profit from the amount you’re spending on your ads before you commit yourself to a contract.
Are you going to share the data with me, or are you going to keep it in your own ad account?
This is such an important question because loads of people get caught out on this one when they outsource Facebook ads. You see, in the Facebook ad space, there are lots of agencies and consultants that create ads using their own ad account. This means that they own it and you, the customer, don’t have access, and can’t see what they’re doing or what’s going on with your ads.
This might not be a huge problem, until you decide it’s time to move on from that agency. There’s nothing to stop them deleting your ad account and all of your data along with it.
Now, when you spend money advertising on Facebook, you acquire loads of data on which images, which ads, and which audiences are working for you. It’s invaluable. But if your agency decides to delete everything when you leave, whenever you decide to start advertising on Facebook again, you’re going to be back to square one. You’ll have no data, Facebook will have no idea who you are, and you can’t even re-target people that have visited your website because the agency will own the Facebook pixel as well (More on Facebook pixels here).
So before you sign on the dotted line, I’d advise checking that the agency or consultant is happy to be given access to your own ad account, rather than creating an account themselves. Then, if you decide to leave, you can remove their access and keep all of the data that you can then use in-house or take with you to a new agency.
Data is power in this relationship, so make sure you’re not giving it all away!
So there we have it, after hundreds of conversations with the businesses we work with at Fat Pony Media, my Facebook ads agency, I reckon that these 5 questions are the key to helping you avoid the unethical, ineffective, and downright bad agencies that seem to be cropping up everywhere.
If you’re thinking of outsourcing your Facebook ads, memorise these questions, use them, and act on the answers you’re given. And if you know anyone else who’s thinking of outsourcing, pass this along to them too. Together we’ll weed out the black hatters so that everyone can enjoy better results from their Facebook ads.
If you’re not ready to outsource Facebook ads and want to up your game when running your own, check out these two blogs: Why Your Facebook Ads Aren’t Working (And What To Do About It!) and Facebook Ad Targeting | 3 Audiences You Need to Know About.