A search marketer’s view of Facebook’s advertising platform
Search marketers, have you considered expanding into paid social? Columnist Ted Ives details some of the hurdles and difficulties he's encountered in venturing into Facebook Ads territory.
I’ve been doing some work recently for a non-profit working on hurricane relief in Texas, TeamRubiconUSA. I consider myself mostly a paid search guy, but amidst a pretty chaotic week, I’ve found myself helping out running paid social campaigns on a variety of platforms, including Facebook Ads. As the old saying goes, “When the enemy comes over the hill, even the cook picks up a rifle.”
This has been a golden opportunity to take some notes from the perspective of a paid search guy who’s been thrown into the world of paid social. If the Facebook Ads team is listening, here are some thoughts about various annoyances — all of which, if solved, would translate directly to more rapid campaign creation, not to mention money spent by Facebook advertisers.
So, with no further ado, here are my initial reactions to being immersed in the various Facebook Ads interfaces.
Cloning posts, for separate tracking purposes, is quite tedious
You really can’t easily clone an existing organic post and use the clone in a paid campaign. You can boost a post, sure, but then any UTM tagging that you built into the URLs in the post will remain, tracking (and miscrediting) the organic and paid versions! Not helpful. Really, you need a separate version of the post with “utm_medum=paid-social” (or whatever your preference is) in the tracking code for the Website URL.
Another approach I dug into was creating a “dark” (unpublished) post; but when you do this, although the GUI explicitly promises that you’ll be able to edit the title and description later when you turn it into an ad, this does not appear to be the case.
So apparently, if you want full control over the post, you need to create a second version of the post via the “Creative Hub” feature. This is painful because first, you have to hand-duplicate every element of the post into a new “mock-up,” then you have to go through a clunky process to import the mock-up into your ad account before you’re able to select it in Power Editor when you create the actual ad based on it.
This is all extremely tedious. How about just letting me clone an existing post into an ad? Then I could just edit and change the tracking code — easy peasy lemon squeezy!
Inaction seems to be the default, not action
What’s with all this “Confirming” stuff? There are Campaigns, Ad Sets and Ads. Why, when I create something, does it often seem to just sit there with an inactive status? That is, until I realize I have to click on the little up arrow next to it, then review and confirm its “Status” change in a dialog box that tells me almost nothing other than that there was a status change — a change, in fact, that I initiated, so I darn well know about its existence already!
In AdWords, once you create an ad, unless you select “pause,” it just runs! Why all this confirming? It’s a barrier to spending. I put up several ads at one point and had no idea they weren’t running for a number of hours. Not acceptable.
My suggestion to the Facebook Ads team would be this: Just put in a “pause” toggle at every level, in the creation process, right before people finish creating an object, then let them un-toggle it later if they want to make it a draft before they save it. Then, have the default be for all objects to be “Active.”
Isn’t it time to discard the stone knives and bearskins?
Advertisers who use Facebook Ads are stuck in the early 2000s concept of tagging every little thing about every link — this, in contrast to AdWords, where it all happens automatically with “Auto-Tagging.”