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In this week’s discussion, host Julie F Bacchini attempted to find out experts’ feelings about advertising on Facebook, how Facebook advertising can impact their accounts in the year 2021, have they found any viable alternatives to Facebook, and more.

Q1: On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being “It is my favorite channel” and 5 being “If I could never have to use it again I’d be overjoyed” how are you feeling about advertising on Facebook right now?

5 this week, because I am really frustrated at the moment…. @lchasse

I’m going to say…..4 …. because I hate the UI, the glitches and minimum B2B targeting, but the audience is there so I have to use it sometimes. @andreacruz92

I’m going to say 3. I’ve been pretty frustrated with them lately – disabling my account for a whole month, doing the same to staff, so many glitches, limited B2B targeting etc. @adwordsgirl

I am at about a 4. In fairness, this does not represent a huge shift for me in how I feel about the platform. The support is non existent and it has issues on the regular that drive me nuts. @NeptuneMoon

I would be a 3.5 as it does drive business for our clients. @duanebrown

I’d give it a 3.5, a bit of a love/hate relationship. @ValenciaSEM

Just met the new team for a client last week. She told us not to think. I’m not exaggerating, those were her words. Stop targeting and just let the machine blah blah blah. Not the best way to work with me. @JuliaVyse

I think a 3/4…the audience is there, but it’s more often than not difficult to use and report on, and their support is next to non-existent in my experience. @jennifer_lash

Also, with less data available about the audience and increasing pressure to “just give us money and let us figure out what to serve to whom” + the article that said their interest targeting only actually works about 40% of the time…@NeptuneMoon

Probably somewhere in the ~3-4 range right now. It’s basically the SAAB of ad platforms: something’s almost always broken. And it’s infuriating. @DigitalSamIAm

I’m about a 3 at the moment. The leads we’ve been getting from FB recently are high quality but it’s just gotten so expensive! Even from an ABM standpoint (where we are choosing our audience selectively), it makes me a little nervous sometimes. @akaEmmaLouise

2/3 I haven’t run into nearly as many issues as others on here. @PPCGreg

3 I enjoy it more than I have in the past, but still clunky and I don’t fully trust what they have. I dislike that you have to have 5 different permissions to do anything (page, ads, business.. etc..) @360vardi

Q2: Have you seen any impacts from the iOS 14 related changes in your accounts?

No. our conversions aren’t affected by it for any of my clients. @JuliaVyse

Well, from a reporting standpoint stuff has absolutely tanked. Performance wise it depends on the client but my luxury goods clients are getting absolutely destroyed right now. @CJSlattery

I saw some weird reporting last week (conversion there on one day, then disappeared, then reappeared) but our volume is low enough we can compare internal tracking with FB to verify. @akaEmmaLouise

Haven’t really noticed any huge changes, yet. @jennifer_lash

No, performance, conversions specifically, have not been impacted. @ppcbuyers

Impacts are mostly proportional to exposure at the moment – so brands focused on US-based Gen-Z/Younger Millennials are getting crushed. Ditto for high-end products. Stuff in the middle? Meh. It’s fine. Techy-people (tend to be more android)? Meh, it’s fine. @DigitalSamIAm

I can’t tell yet if there are actual impacts or if it is Facebook backend issues at this point because they seem to be scrambling to change things in response to iOS 14? @NeptuneMoon

1: That being said, FB will address the gap – and they’re better positioned to do it than most companies not named Google, especially after some of their acquisitions (i.e. GIPHY). @DigitalSamIAm

Not 100% sure as Jan can be such a slow month for ecom and DTC clients. I think we are seeing a delay in conversions being reported. @duanebrown

For the brands I am working with, I have not seen a big impact. @lchasse

For actual reporting, we mostly like to use GA. FB reporting is always been troublesome to me as it was (28 day and view throughs). This was especially egregious with remarketing. I think the more FB creates their own marketplace like Amazon, they might do better? @360vardi

We haven’t really seen anything on the FB end but we’ve noticed a massive drop in app downloads on iOS in Google – I don’t know if it’s related though. @adwordsgirl

Q3: Has your thinking about Facebook and the role it can/should play with your accounts changed as we begin 2021?

Not really. my thinking for the last couple of years has been that diversifying investments is sound advice. throwing dollars into just one or two platforms isn’t a great plan. Develop tests and roll successes into the program. @JuliaVyse

For B2B at least, I am mainly considering them for ABM and remarketing. Maybe some LAL on top performers, but as @akaEmmaLouise mentioned, it is getting so expensive. @andreacruz92

I’ve been a proponent of diversification for a long time, but I’m more skeptical of FB now since (as a consumer) my faith in the platform has shifted over the last couple of years. I think it’s only a matter of time before usership declines and ads stop performing. @akaEmmaLouise

I am always in favor of spreading ad dollars in more, not fewer, places. It just makes sense to not be overly invested in/beholden to any 1 or 2 platforms. Also, I loooove finding opportunities where other are not even looking! @NeptuneMoon

I don’t think the “why” FB (assuming we’re talking suite of products) and the role it plays has changed significantly, but the “how” we approach it and use it definitely has. Just like w/ Google, exclusions are now king. Can’t just upload nice creative and LOLwin. @DigitalSamIAm

We adapt as we need to. It still does a decent job with remarketing and some audience targeting for new customer acquisition. We are not tied to the platform however, so if it slows or stops working, we will move on quickly, especially with their issues. @lchasse

Ultimately I feel like the trend towards diversification is going accelerate. All eggs in one basket is not viable these days. Which actually means the work for agencies for clients is multiplied for the same ad budgets. Doubt our rates will reflect the work. lol @CJSlattery

Nope. honestly, we are spending too much on @GoogleAds and we need to reduce that amount and diversify. I’d like eventually our agency to have max 50% in Google, and 50% in other channels. @360vardi

No, I did question it however. But until I see a performance decline I’ll continue to advertise in the channels that bring in the best performance for my clients. @ValenciaSEM

Not at all. Been trying to move as much money from Facebook to other platforms for 2 years now. That won’t change. This just backs up my don’t put all your eggs in one basket. @duanebrown

We’ve always been an omni channel agency Glad we got on the programmatic learning curve a few years back, that ecosystem is already a long way down the road on cookieless tracking solutions. @jimbanks

I think we definitely need to diversify the platforms were advertising on vs relying on FB. The issue for us is that our clients are small businesses so it gets a little hard with smaller budgets. I’ve been working on trying to figure that out. @adwordsgirl

Q4: What is your biggest frustration advertising on Facebook right now?

It just keeps getting worse. They keep trying to patch things instead of fix it up the ground up. @duanebrown

*Deep inhale* there. is. no. offline. editor. all of this clunky interface is browser based, and their ‘support’ is inevitably a phone call. no in-platform support, no managed buys. uuuuuugh. @JuliaVyse

Now and always has been time consuming bulk updates. A desktop editor the likes of Google Ads editor would be lovely. @ppcbuyers

The interface and it’s general lack of usability. (is that too broad an answer?) @robert_brady

Change is the one thing we can pretty much rely on. Communicating what is happening and how it might impact, in advance to clients is what we try to do, be as proactive S possible. This time round it’s an Apple instigation, last time was CCPA, then it will be Chrome. @jimbanks

I wish there were an offline editor SO MUCH. Their support is effectively non-existent. Ongoing frustration with clients not understanding the sheer amount of creative assets that will be needed to keep running campaigns on FB. @NeptuneMoon

Honestly, for me it’s the platform just feeling like a series of bandaid ‘fixes’ rather than any one thing, it feels like there’s been a lot of changes/updates but none that have been significantly helpful. + I’ll second the lack of an offline editor. @jennifer_lash

The inconsistency & gaps in delivery + reporting are incredibly frustrating. Also the “protected category” advertising disclosure has been buggy, to say the least. Oh, and FB’s newfound desire to hide/remove more data. Don’t love that. @DigitalSamIAm

1. you need 5 different access to full manage something. 2. interface is so clunky 3. bulksheet=recipe for disaster 4. Long review time of new entities 5. No recommendations on actual performance (“time to change your image”, “Time to change your text”) @360vardi

1: Can we be real for a minute too? We are almost a year into the pandemic – figure your support out. This applies to Facebook and Google. Relying on algorithms too much at this point and not having options to quickly get mistakes made by algos resolved. Ridiculous. @NeptuneMoon

Usability and the random changing of things in the interface constantly. I think a few folks said it, but they need to work on the platform rather than patch things here and there. As a practitioner working in the platform day to day, it is frustrating. @lchasse

Where to begin: * The UI kinda sucks * There’s no phone support for media buyer’s * The constant glitching * Accounts being disabled willy nilly. @adwordsgirl

The automated review process. we don’t have any highly regulated client categories. they’re all simple and straightforward ads. but every other ad still gets auto disapproved, typically just takes a manual review request, but it’s still a waste of time. @PPCGreg

Walking clients through compliance with the tracking guidelines is a major pain. @timothyjjensen

Q5: Have clients been asking and/or have you been strategizing about moving ad dollars off of Facebook?

Not at this stage, but #omnichannel. Our clients are very happy to give us a brief and a budget and let us propose platforms. If we leave it out entirely they do ask questions, but it’s not a big discussion about turning any platform on or off. @JuliaVyse

We’ve told them to hold the line It’s way too early to be tossing a platform that has yielded such great volume for so long. Definitely frustrated, but need to persevere. @jimbanks

Clients ask about it, but aren’t really looking at moving away from anything that will effect their bottom line. @ValenciaSEM

If anyone today asks me to do Facebook, I would try to find a substitute assuming there’s a good alternative. @andreacruz92

We are always looking at other channels anyway. As long as we see positive results to be honest, we will deal with the issues that come along with it. We are looking at everything from Roku, Hulu advertising and more though. @lchasse

No, our clients are relatively small so they want to keep everything on the platforms that are making them money right now. @adwordsgirl

As I said in another answer, I am always looking for lesser known opportunities for clients. Leaving FB all together is not the right play for clients right now, but exploring other avenues just makes sense. I’d rather be ahead on that curve every time! @NeptuneMoon

Off of FB is tough, b/c (quite candidly) there’s no other platform with 2.2B users. Around the FB ecosystem? Absolutely. We’ve seen some significant declines in audience network performance, as well as certain FB placement performance. So those get cut. @DigitalSamIAm

it’s important to continue to measure actual performance (sales, leads, store visits, downloads) never plan media based on feelings or ease-of-platform use. always base it on best results for the business. (and then drink heavily after the build) @JuliaVyse

I’ve had some ask about impacts, but haven’t had any move away from it. I think it’s still too early for that and I don’t see it ever fully going away, but I think discussing/exploring other options is going to become more of a thing moving forward. @jennifer_lash

Q6: Have you found any viable alternatives to Facebook for your accounts?

For one B2C client where FB has been (and is still) a top performer, Pinterest has been working out pretty well and we have been shifting more budget there. @timothyjjensen

Not yet but I’m hopeful. @adwordsgirl

SnapChat has been really great for us, Twitch, Pinterest, Spotify for sure, and a few others. no comment on TikTok. I went ahead and tried it. h-what an mess. @JuliaVyse

Tough question since it depends on budget and capabilities. There is a lot of video advertising opportunity out there currently if you can produce video. Podcasts if that is your audience. Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn. There is a lot, but you have to test. @lchasse

For B2B, using LinkedIn to build seed audiences on FB to make lookalikes. Installing pixels to see if “your audience is there” on other smaller platforms. Know before you go! Pitching initiatives to grow OWNED lists. This is the best hedge against the future. @NeptuneMoon

For some niche cases, yes. But in terms of a scalable, sustainable B2C commerce engine? Nope. @DigitalSamIAm

Has anyone tried Clubhouse? how’s that going? Also, consider the good folks over at MatchMedia. You heard me. Those ad placements, when done correctly, PERFORM. @JuliaVyse

Not at scale, I guess. maybe what was once/is now FB’s giant audience and platform will (should?) turn into smaller audiences across multiple other platforms in the future…diversification and all that. @jennifer_lash

Know where your audience is and test it. LinkedIn, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, Quora etc. Their are alternatives, but probably nothing to outright replace FB at the moment. @ValenciaSEM

Q7: Let’s crowdsource some ideas – share an industry and target audience you’re struggling with on Facebook/looking for alternative ideas for and see what others might suggest!

I do a lot of social issue ads, like safety around vaping, anti-racism, mental health support, getting vaccinated. FB flat out does not allow those types of interests/conditions in terms of targeting soooooo….@JuliaVyse

Q8: Have you found any really useful Facebook resources lately?

Figured this one might be quiet. I have not, but we keep pushing ahead. @lchasse

No? sorry. I wish I had something more helpful to offer. Not great resources out there, besides this little group. @JuliaVyse

@andrewfoxwell‘s guide helped preserve my sanity in figuring out what we actually needed to do for the iOS14 tracking issues. @timothyjjensen

No, except for the wonderful people I work with and this community. @jennifer_lash

Nothing, I do like @AkvileDeFazio‘s coverage of FB issues. @herrmanndigital also updates every time a new glitch happens (basically everyday) @andreacruz92

I would say that following people who are way better at FB ads than me (like @andrewfoxwell, @herrmanndigital & @cmikulin etc) has been great. @adwordsgirl

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