Should I Use A Software to Manage My Facebook, Google or Online Ads?

One the most frequently asked marketing questions I get is, “Should or shouldn’t I use an advertising software to manage my digitals ads, remarketing efforts and/or social ads?” My short answer is NO –– because you don’t own your data, don’t how much of your advertising budget is actually being spent on your behalf and you can’t effectively optimize your campaigns because you don’t know these two factors. With multiple ad exchanges and softwares to discuss, I’m going to specifically focus on the answer to this question as it relates to management of Facebook and Google Ads (formerly Adwords).

When it comes to third-party ad technology (AdRoll, Quantcast) or software (Wordstream, Feathr, Bizaboo), please remember that the Facebook or Google API allows the third party software to use certain pieces of information found within their ad platforms. Those integrations don’t allow the software to modify, overwrite or manipulate the information it’s pulling via the API, nor does it allow it to manipulate its algorithm.

Most companies use advertising software or ad tech to help make management of multiple accounts easier to due to volume and sometimes optimization over time (those optimizations are usually based on clicks and impressions versus a more concrete goal like conversions).

Since a third party software lays on top of Google or Facebook’s API, the optimizations and campaigns made within these softwares don’t actually happen in the ad manager itself, they happen in the technology (the software you bought) that’s been built over it. So if a software says that their technology can provide improved conversions, more sales and better return on your ad dollars, it will most likely help you, but be wary because those statements are being made on only a partial use of information. While the software’s AI/algorithm can learn and optimize to the information within it, it’s not “learning” from the full set of information.

So for example, let’s say you have marketing campaigns running directly in Facebook and Google, as well as third-party software, your results and data, if you compare the same time periods are not going to match something done in the original ad interface itself and what built in the software. The reason behind this is because they’re not being based on the same set of data, the logic in which the manager who built them isn’t the same, and results being “computed” are tallied differently because of different systems in play.

In my opinion, data should be owned by a brand or company first hand, not by a software you’re using. If you ever decided to change your software provided or decide to directly manage your accounts, all your data from that software is lost and you’ll have to start over. This completely defeats the point of longer-term optimization goals, creating effective nurturing programs and kills effective remarketing programs.  

So if you’re using ad tech like AdRoll, Quantcast or Wordstream, and then decided to directly manage your ads in Facebook Business Manager or Google Ads you will have to start over –– both from a data perspective and rebuilding your campaigns. While these tools are built to make management easier, they never as effective as first-hand management. You can’t optimize to what you can’t see!

So even if they try and sell you a bill of goods about how they can do this with Google or do that with Facebook, no one can do what they promise (and we’ve tested them all in the past 10 years). That then brings up another question of:

“If it’s better to manage this myself, and implement proper conversion tracking, why do these
softwares exist?”

There are two answers: The first that it’s HARD and requires and investment (which is worth it) and the second is that most marketers have decided to think clicks and impressions are perfectly acceptable metrics because proving sales and actual marketing ROI is hard. But that’s where our industry is now headed.

Agree or disagree? Feel free to tweet  me @macala.

Photo by Artem Bali from Pexels