Facebook Third Party Ad Platform Considerations
Why Use a Facebook Third Party Ad Platform
Facebook advertising continues to grow with marketers looking for ways to drive better ROI for the dollars spent. To date, Facebook has not invested in the infrastructure required to support bigger advertisers leaving the Ad Manager option less than perfect. As such, a bevy of ad platforms has arisen via access to Facebook’s Ads API to provide the tools required to drive smarter advertising and better return for advertisers. Some of these features include:
- Sophisticated targeting – larger ad buys can require more complicated demographic and psychographic targeting. These platforms let advertisers do so with more ease.
- Multivariate testing – beyond the world of AB testing, these tools allow for factorial combinations of ads to get at high performance versions faster.
- Conversion tracking – Facebook discontinued its conversion tracking program for advertisers in September 2010. While it appears they are providing exceptions for top advertisers, everyone else is looking for a solution. These platforms do just that.
While there is a mark up on the media itself (percent of spend), advertisers likely will see increased return on spend and reduction in management hours that justify the additional cost.
The Roots of Facebook Third Party Ad Platforms
For veteran digital marketers, the list of managed and self service ad platform companies might look familiar as many of these companies already offer display or search solutions; however, the list also contains some newcomers that have been in the space less than 24 months. Many are privately held companies running after the growing ad dollars with recent rounds of funding.
Key Selection Considerations
- Existing Client List - Because many of these companies are new, knowing the list of current clients tells you something about their strategic focus. For example, is the organization spending many of its product cycles on a sleek UI for agency use or new features that appeal most to heavy hitting performance marketers? How about an API to pull data easily into your own system? A client list could provide some insight.
- Managed vs. Self Service - Depending on your existing staff expertise, it might make sense to first outsource your campaign management and then, as your budget and experience grows, hire and / or train someone to bring the program in house. Be sure to check whether or not this can be supported by the ad platform.
- Cost - Cost will be influenced by many factors – managed vs. self serve, monthly spend, term, etc. Based on these, the ad platform will likely propose a volume tier, percent of spend approach.
- Product Roadmap - Like the client list, asking about new features and strategic approach should be part of your consideration conversations. With this space being so nascent, one thing is certain – there will be much change in the next 12 – 24 months. Ask where the organization thinks the space is going, how closely they align themselves with Facebook and the new products / services they have in the queue. For example, there has been some buzz about Facebook moving away from Marketplace ads in favor of Sponsored Stories due to its push for mobile (and less space on the phone for right rail ads). You want to make sure your ad platform partner is anticipating these things and innovating around them.
Finally, be sure to confirm the partner is an approved Facebook Ads API vendor.