In House Team vs External Agency: Which Makes Most Sense For Your Facebook Ads?

One question I get quite a lot is whether a brand should outsource their Facebook ads or manage them in house.  Considering I used to run an in house marketing team for a publicly traded global publisher, and I now run a Facebook ads agency, I think I have a pretty good perspective on this question.


I am generally a fan of keeping marketing in house. After all, no one will understand and advocate for your brand as well as employees.  You can grow and develop employees, and in the long run it’s more cost efficient to use internal vs external resources.

But, there are exceptions to this general rule, and Facebook ads management is one of them. 


Facebook ads are complex, unique, and ever changing.  Here are just some of the things you need to consider when managing Facebook ads, beyond the standard ad stuff like creative and copy:

  • Campaign objective: should you do Conversions, Engagement, Video Views, Traffic or something else?  And, within those objectives, what should you optimize for?
  • Placements: Where on Facebook - and off Facebook via their Audience Network - should your ads be shown?  This varies by ad type and objective
  • Audiences: Facebook offers nearly unlimited targeting options.  Should you choose a narrow, highly targeted audience, or a broader, more general audience?  Should you do a mix of both, and in what percentages? Should you use Lookalike Audiences?  If so what should you base those Lookalikes off of?
  • How long should you give ads before deciding whether they are working or not? 
  • What metrics should you use to determine success?
  • When and how much can you scale to get the most from your ads but not upset the algorithm and ruin your results?  

And that just scratches the surface.  You also need to consider Facebook pixel events, Add to Cart rate, Abandoned Cart rate, Site Conversion Rate …

Managing Facebook ads is about much more than just the ads, it’s a unique ecosystem that needs to be nurtured and managed on a routine basis.  When not tended to, it can easily go wrong.


Even a rock star in-house marketing team may not have the specialized skills, knowledge and experience to effectively manage these details.  And this is why it makes sense to outsource your Facebook ads.

As a Facebook ads specialist, here’s how I spend a typical day:

1.     I start my day reviewing all of my client accounts, making sure everything is running well, optimizing where I can, troubleshooting hotspots if needed.  Typically, I am reviewing hundreds of thousands dollars in ad spend every morning.

2.     Next I spend a few hours in various professional Facebook groups, chatting to other Facebook advertisers about what trends everyone is seeing, things that are working well right now, things that used to work well but aren’t anymore, and just generally keeping my finger on the pulse of the FB ads world.

3.     As an instructor and mentor in the FATC program, I put in some time with less experienced Facebook advertisers troubleshooting their campaign problems. 


4.     After that it’s client communication, reports, and build outs.  

5.     And then finally it’s a couple more hours browsing my favorite Facebook ads blogs and Facebook ads groups, continuing to both learn and share current best practices.

In a typical day I spend 4 or more hours just reading, learning, teaching and absorbing Facebook ads.  That means when I am handling client accounts I have much more information, data and experience to base campaign strategy and execution on.  There’s no way an internal resource is immersing themselves in Facebook ads the way I am.  And if they are, what is it they are neglecting?

Before launching my Facebook ads agency, I was the Head of Audience for Future PLC, marketing 15+ brands for an international publishing house. I well remember all the competing priorities I had to balance - there were the various organic social channels, there was SEO, there was email, I had business intelligence under me and then oh, yeah, there were Facebook ads.  Oh, and don’t forget meetings, internal reports, strategy sessions and upcoming forecasts.  

Even with my (very high performing) team there was just no way we’d be able to spend the time and focus needed to be a true expert in Facebook ads, unless we made the decision to focus on that to the exclusion of everything else.  

 Here’s an analogy - let’s say you are on a plane, and your appendix bursts.  It’s urgent.  There’s a family doctor on the plane and there’s a surgeon.    Would you want the family doctor removing your appendix?  Well, as opposed to just some random passenger sure, she’s had medical training, she knows where everything is in there.  But I sure would feel more comfortable, and likely have a better outcome, with the surgeon - who spends all of her professional time doing stuff like this - handling it.  

What about cost, you ask? Certainly there’s an additional cost in working with an external agency.  

But, there’s also a cost to not doing so.  

You should be making, at the low end, 3.5-5x your ad spend in revenue from Facebook ads.  We like to shoot higher, but that’s a good conservative number.

Here’s a scenario I see quite a bit - 

Brand ABC is spending $20,000 per month on Facebook ads.  Their in-house marketing team is getting them a 2.25x return on their ad spend, making them $45,000 per month in revenue.  They are happy with that monthly net of $25,000 from their Facebook ads.

But, what if Brand ABC were using a specialized Facebook ads agency, that would get them the 3.5x return we think of as the low end of acceptable?  They would be making $70,000 per month instead of $45,000.

That’s $25,000 per month, left on the table. The cost of not working with an external Facebook ads specialist for Brand ABC is $25,000 per month. This money isn’t debited on the company ledger, but it’s real missed revenue. 


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A common concern of internal marketing teams is the perception of hiring an external resource, but here’s the best part - the Facebook ads specialist makes the whole team look good!   

When those monthly and quarterly numbers come in and the CEO and executive team sees all that additional revenue coming in it’s the internal team that gets the credit.   I know, I’ve been there.  I had many instances where bringing in an external specialist helped deliver or exceed company goals that were my team’s responsibility.  It’s a win for everyone.

A rising tide lifts all boats, and the best agencies deliver results that the entire internal team can benefit from.  

Are you an established e-commerce or lead generation business that needs help with your Facebook ads?  Learn more about our services and results today!