Some marketing and advertising agencies handle all your strategy and implementation needs from soup to nuts, whereas others handle aspects as discrete as Instagram advertising or backlinks. One area that can stymie generalists is Facebook marketing. Between the precipitous drop in organic reach on the social network and the dizzying array of options available for Facebook advertising, setting up a campaign can seem overwhelming.

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That's where Peter Reitano and Jeff Goldenberg come in. Co-founders of the Facebook-first marketing agency Abacus, they know the power of Facebook advertising for all kinds of organizations, and they were willing to talk tactics with me for Marketing Smarts.

Here are just a few highlights from our conversation:

Specialization works for agencies as well as individual marketers (07:06) [Pete]: "For the last ten years, I did a lot of search marketing. At my last agency, we were full-service—kind of the opposite of what we're trying to do here [at Abacus]—search, social, that kind of stuff. Towards the end of it, we started to really go into Facebook. I really loved it. The platform started to come on quite a lot. When we were looking at specializing, there wasn't really anyone out there doing Facebook-first. There was adtech, but there was no deep agency fully focused on Facebook, so we saw an opening...and it just made sense."

Like any other type of marketing, Facebook advertising comes down to setting clear, measurable goals (08:28) [Jeff]: "With every client, it starts with figuring out that the objective is and what they could spend on that objective profitably. So if an e-commerce store sells a shirt, then we have to figure out (a) what is the right cost for selling a shirt that could leave you enough profit, and (b) how are we going to track that...and experiment with only that one metric so, over time, it becomes cheaper and more efficient to sell a shirt.

"That really varies across all industries and totally depends on objectives. A movie studio may want to get as many views of a movie trailer as possible but really have no conversion at the end of the trailer to buy anything because the movie's not out for two or three months. Someone may want to generate leads. Facebook's a great place for getting people interested in your product or service so you can nurture them over time. We're really looking to define a single objective that's really important to your bottom line, then figuring out a way to optimize that objective over time.

"Once we have that in place, there's a lot of technical stuff that needs to be done. We need to structure the ad accounts. We need to figure out who the customer personas are and how we're going to reach those personas through Facebook targeting. We need to get the Facebook pixel integrated—a little piece of code that lets us track which campaigns are driving the most conversions and at what price.

"We need to get audiences established, because Facebook's unique value proposition is you can bring your own data to the table and you can have the platform either market to that audience or find other people that share the same attributes in a lookalike audience. And then you get into the whole creative side, which is totally different."

Set your objectives early on, and don't lose focus (15:04) [Jeff]: "Not having some basic strategic decisions made properly leads to a lot of problems down the line.... It sounds really simple to pick one or two objectives and stick to it, but then you start wondering about all these other metrics and why you're underperforming and you could lose the focus. Setting your objective early on and building your strategies towards that objective is really important."

Facebook advertising can work for B2B organizations, but not the same way it works for B2C (21:13) [Jeff]: "We have B2B clients now, so we're constantly thinking about how B2B and B2C differ on Facebook, because they do differ.... When we're looking at a B2B client, the first thing we think about is what's their objective. Do they want to have someone book a demo, a visit? Sign up for a free trial? Become a lead? Watch a webinar, watch a Facebook Live? And once they do that, at what clip can we convert them to customers? Without knowing those funnel stats, it's hard to know how much you can spend on a lead.

"The second thing we do is think about it from a full funnel standpoint and not just a direct response standpoint.... Think of these people in your personas and target markets as actual people and think about what they would need to learn about you and the problem you're solving to become a customer.

To learn more, visit or follow the agency on Twitter: @agencyabacus. You can also follow Jeff and Pete individually at @jeff_goldenberg and @digidharma, respectively. 

Jeff, Pete and I talked about much more, including why the future of agency marketing lies in specialization, so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!

This episode brought to you by CrowdCompass by Cvent:

CrowdCompass by Cvent creates awesome mobile event apps that increase attendee engagement and produce a strong ROI. As the premier app developer for all of your event needs, CrowdCompass supports events of all sizes and is an integrated component of Cvent's event management platform—the most comprehensive in the industry.

Music credit: Noam Weinstein.

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