Interview Questions for a Facebook Media Buyer
Last Updated on November 25, 2020 by Master Macky
There is a plethora of self-proclaimed ‘Facebook Ads experts’ across the world, according to Chairman & CEO at ReyDesign Ltd Mr. Andrew Reynolds (AR), but if you’re hiring Facebook Ads specialists for a Marketing Agency, what questions would you ask them and what answer would you be hoping to hear?
The question as of November 20, 2020 has received 21 best answers from Facebook Ad Buyers.
IMARK Ads Team has carefully selected the best answers from the most reputable experts in this industry to help other marketing agencies in the network identify the real experts in Facebook Ads.
Brian Lelli, Freelance Digital Marketing Specialist
Find somebody who looks beyond the actual Facebook Business Manager and dives into strategy and margins (assuming you do e-commerce). How to phrase that into a question and what answer would you be looking for? Ask them to calculate the break-even cost. If they ask for cost of goods sold (COGS) and retails, they are moving in the right direction.
Imran Md Ali, Business Coach & Mentor
I’ve hired many ad buyers before, including big and small names. It’s not the most celebrated names that gave me results. It’s the ones that were willing to assign a representative to speak with you anytime you have issues. The big names gave me a generic report once a week, with no one to talk to or pivot. The smaller one had a representative working closely with me and that’s important because you can be agile and pivot quickly.
See previous relevant projects and let him/her know your goal and what you want to achieve. Hiring someone is not about win in debate. You need someone to grow business not to win.
In my experience, assigning a task and getting them to present back to you is a good way to see if they’re half decent or not.
AR: What would I be looking for though, just simply conversions? What about for things like ad fatigue, or knowing when to make adjustments when CPC goes up? Bear in mind, I wouldn’t spot flaws as easy as you would.
In your position I would present a task that’s similar to what you want them to work on. Give them targets, explain things like internal challenges that you need solving and what you expect in reporting. If they can tick those boxes or at least show you how they would address them you’ll have a better indication of how suitable they are.
Sally Baker, Digital Marketing Manager
In our digital world that’s always changing, it’s vital for people like us to stay ahead of education. Algorithm updates, platform updates, etc. One question I would definitely ask is “How do you stay on top of education for being a Facebook ad buyer?” They should be able to give you a list of industry leaders they follow, reputable blogs, conferences, etc. Write them down and follow them up to make sure they’re credible.
Facebook Advertising is series of simple things done right. You only need advance knowledge when targeting tiny niches or high ticket items.
You need to see case studies for completed projects. Drill into the KPIs, main metrics are Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) and ROI. If you could only ask one question, what would it be? (And how should they respond)? What is your best ever campaign result, and what was the ROAS. As a guide for e-commerce, 4x ROAS is pretty good; for bricks and mortar, 10x ROAS is amazing. But it all depends on the price point and product or service.
Rory F. Stern
I’ve hired many so-called media buyers for our agency and most aren’t worth a damn thing. They have big egos and can’t get results. Media buying is grueling work once you get past $1,000 / day. I focus more on personality, character, attitude, outlook, and fit. Can I help guide this person? We used to give them guidance and let them loose. Now we onboard and train. I don’t want an ego. I want a team player is humble and willing to learn.
AR: Typically I try to apply that rule throughout my agency, there’s definitely no ‘I’ in team. It’s definitely a challenge finding the right characters, let alone the skills. But if you persist, that’s how you end up with a rocking agency.
Faisal Zia Anwer, Cofounder of an Internet Marketing Service provider
High quality case studies… not just numbers, but the way they are presented. A media buyer needs a very organized methodology, and a ‘funneled through structure’ is very much visible in a good one. Other than just numbers, also check if they have client facing capabilities (could come in handy). Lastly, increase your own knowledge as a well.
AR: I have increased to intermediate level but I’m a copywriter, so that’s my main focus as well as my agency. They do tell you to hire the best instead of struggling to do everything, which is what I want to do, but what questions should I ask an expert that an amateur couldn’t answer, this is what I’m really looking for.
There are certain higher level topics: 1) Funneled & windowed retargeting; 2) Attribution windows, 3) FB ads automation; 4) Any tools they use for running ads, such as AdRoll for remarketing; 5) If they present a case study ask about AOV, LTV, strategy used (long term), what ads ran at Top, Middle, Bottom of funnel (in terms of creatives, offers and copy)… also was there post purchase funnel; 6) Spend distribution in each of these 4 parts of the funnel.
I see a lot of people just fixate on basic questions. These real sales/business-centric questions are the ones that actually bring quality to our media buyers.
Ionut Gabriel Alexa
Watch your Facebook news feed. When you see good sponsored ads, contact the beneficiaries to send your contact to their agency. Find out a few things about the agency’s performance directly from the beneficiary. Create a list of agencies and contact them. Ask them what performance your collaboration with them could bring, in how much time and with what budget.
AR: But I can find many applicants. I just want to basically have a list of questions prepared that I can ask them which will help me separate the experts from the amateurs.
First ask: If we collaborate, what performance can you bring me?
The second question: What is your strategy for achieving this performance?
The third question: What budget do you think is needed to meet these goals and how long do you get these performances?
Steve Mannenbach, Mortgage Lead Generator
Ask them if they know how to use SAA or LLA and if they’ve ever uploaded a CSV file into Facebook for targeting. That’ll let you know real quick.
Mark Deaton: I don’t know what SAA is and never uploaded a csv and I’ve spent $1 million on ads this year.
There are Special Ad Audiences for “special ad categories” and Lookalike Audiences for the rest. If you don’t know how to use those functionalities, I would consider you beginner to intermediate at best in your Facebook ad skills.
I just signed a leads deal with one of the top mortgage lenders in the US. Getting $50 per qualified lead and it costs me $5-7. I think it might even bump up to $100 per lead next month. If I wasn’t using those audiences, my lead cost would be way higher and my lead quality way lower.
Mark Deaton: I know what a LAA audience is and I make $25,000 most days. I also know what a special ad category is, but have never called it SAA.
It’s all about the LEADS!!! Pure profit and no E-com headaches.
Mark Deaton: Yes, it can be a headache. I import and ship to solve many of them but shipping is a pain in the ass too. I started doing leads for realtors and Facebook banned 26 of my ad accounts. But then 2 weeks later, Facebook restored them. It was a bummer because I was kicking ass (took the lead kings course which is amazing). I’ve been shy ever since. I also run an info product on YouTube, I did a test last week and got almost a 5% conversion rate (CVR): $212 on ads, $1400 in the door, starting to scale it up!
I have quite a few issues with Facebook, but I’ve always been able to get them resolved within a couple days or through Messenger. I think I’m about to start hitting somewhere between $10-20k per day here pretty soon on mortgage leads. Then I’ll sign up 3-4 more of them and bank it on the leads, as well as closing my own leads for my mortgage branch.
Kareema Ryder, Chief Strategist at an online marketing agency
Get them to live audit with no prep an ad account. Quickly sorts out those who know where to look.
Danielle Milne: This is one of the best! Pull up an ad account and literally ask what do you want to look at? This gives you a good idea of how they analyze data and the whole funnel, and how familiar they are with ads manager, not just the theory of how Facebook works.
Gareth John: If I was an existing client and you were showing off my ad account to another agency I would kick off.
Daniel Luca, Digital Marketing Specialist
You can’t get good ones for less than $1,000/account.
Vaughn Celdran, Digital Marketing Strategist
Sharing my experience, hoping this can help! After 3 rounds of interviews, I was the youngest paid media buyer at this Inc. 500 marketing firm in LA at 21 years old.
First round was with actual media buyers who asked a stream of paid media questions (what metrics do you look at when running ads? How do you set up your columns?) Then secondarily moved to situational cases – I remember getting asked what I’d do differently from a B2C fashion client to a B2B company that sells over $20k per trash compactor on Facebook.
Third and last one involved my supervisor, CEO, and CFO who inquired of questions whether I’m a finder, minder, or grinder, and other questions to get to know me more on a personal level (which I thought was refreshing!)
As Ogilvy would have said it “If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.”
Best of luck and let me know if you have any questions!
AR: I love that quote. Great insight Vaughn, thanks a lot!!! But I’d like to know the answers to those awesome questions.
Vaughn Celdran: Yes. Every media buyer has their own way of setting up columns. That said, it tells you what kind of a marketer they are (focused on just ‘brand awareness’ or actual performance from someone who keeps on looking to make the ad costs cheaper while getting more revenue). The primary metrics that I set up in my columns are CPC (tells you how much it takes for a person to be interested in your ad), CPM (most likely that has something to do with your audience targeting, CTR (how well your ad looks and performs, aim for a higher number always), ROAS (Return on Ad Spend). If these metrics are not taken care of in a campaign, there is no progress. Very straightforward like that. For the situational cases, I might have to take a day to draft that response. But to summarize, I would have to target higher level professionals who can buy over $20k of a trash compactor and should be a decision maker. What I explained to them (and actually executed) was that:
1. This will cost a lot of money going in cold with a narrow audience like that, and this campaign might do better on LinkedIn.
2. If you were to continue, I have your back. Let’s target people who can afford this or decide to get this for their company. That said, I combined methods to segment my audience down to the decision makers who has the $ to purchase, i.e., narrowing down to top wealthy zip codes + job title + a video ad that is at least a minute long so I can create audiences that watched through the video, indicating that they are the most interested audience and are most likely in the position to buy (especially if they decided to watch through a video of trash, literally in this case). From there, I create a custom audience to retarget while making sure the frequency of the ads isn’t at annoying level (you know of those marketers). Once lookalikes roll in, then the campaign needs to be re tested heavily, where all the fun comes.
For the B2B company, it would make sense to start off a client list and build lookalikes if the list is large enough. If they don’t have one it means they’re not really a top of mind kind of brand in the industry, so I would look for demand fulfillment sources first (Google, LinkedIn). Then once you have a consistent list of customers, go to Facebook and push low-% lookalikes.
In any case, that seems like a great recruitment process, easily weeds out the self-proclaimed marketers.
I built an agency that only ran Facebook paid campaigns for clients. We found it was so difficult to hire good Facebook talent that we decided to hire inexperienced people and train them ourselves. So in the interview process we focused on quantitative skill set and communication ability. One issue that also led us down this path was that typical ad agencies treat media channels as a place to simply execute a predetermined strategy. The default workflow in the agency world assumes a broad mix of channels and a top-down messaging strategy. This means the actual “running” or “placement” or “management” of ads is treated as an entry level task of simply making sure the right dollars are spent on the right audiences and the right messaging went to the right audiences. This is at odds with Facebook (and google to some extent): hugely skewed distribution of media spend/results, bottom-up messaging strategies work better than top-down, and overall the channel behaves uniquely so you can’t just treat it as an output for your creative thinking. The channel is vertically integrated, so your people need to be vertically integrated as well.
Roberto Caligiuri: Sorry I didn’t entirely get that. What do you exactly mean by bottom-up messaging strategies and the channel being vertically integrated?
Bottom-up messaging means letting performance trends have influence over the messaging as opposed to starting with a top-down “big idea” that you think should work for a given audience. Top-down is the default workflow for agencies since the creative team builds an integrated messaging strategy. Often it’s brilliant… and doesn’t perform. You are better off testing as many widely different approaches and messages possible and letting the algorithm sort it all out.
By vertically integrated I mean that FB serves as every step between and including publisher and audience. Usually ads in most places have a supply chain with various players at each stage. For example with a billboard you have the design (visual), production (physical), research (statistical) skill sets needed, and usually it’s placed (chosen, negotiated) by a media buyer. Those are all different things done by different people. The same situation exists in digital ads as well: there is a publisher who has an audience, their ad inventory is made available through a supply side platform and ad network, then sold to advertisers on a demand side platform which might include intermediaries. Also there are first, second, and third party data companies that might layer audience data on top. And measurement or attribution providers too. In Facebook, contrary to almost everywhere else, all those things are combined into one platform. That’s what I mean by vertically integrated. So people working within the platform need to be able to work across all those areas as well. Since most of the industry isn’t set up that way, you tend to find better talent elsewhere.
Roberto Caligiuri: That’s very insightful. Thanks for the explanation! Regarding bottom-up: That makes a lot of sense to me and I believe that’s also why old-school marketing approaches are no longer the best ones as they tend to be too rigid. I don’t come from a marketing background originally, but I thought to myself ever since starting in this industry that with Facebook you have the capability of testing an idea that might be totally outside the box very quickly and get real-time data, which is much more valuable than any theoretical exercise or other classical market research method.
Kwai Chi: It depends on how much is being invested and the brand equity. If you want to work with very large companies built on brand then they are never going to go for a bottom-up strategy. Not everything is e-commerce. I’ve worked with huge global brands and relatively small local brands and the key is to be agile in methodology rather be set in one strategy fits all. That said, I’ve found that most big agency media buyers are recruited and trained from a zero knowledge level and trained up to only know one buying method. That is not to say that would apply to every marketer. I started and ran a new media offering when I worked for a large agency in London for 7 years which gave me access to buying for huge brands and some wanted to explore a bottom-up strategy or a hybrid. Media is not the entire strategy. Now I run my own shop and naturally work with much smaller brands but some still have incredibly strong brand equity which is worth playing to. As a brand grows they might be the type who want to compete with Nike and not foot locker. Sometimes it’s a time thing as well. If I need to spend £3m in 2 weeks, there are practically issues with running certain build models. The objective is not always about leads! AR, you should ask WhatsApp the buyer would do with different types of clients at different stages of their business. You want someone who understands the importance of brand equity and not just the short term bottom line.
Andrew Krebs-Smith: We only worked with large brands.
Mike Auton, Owner at an Internet Marketing Service provider
I’m getting on a call with those guys and seeing the work they’ve done.
AR: Is it not possible they could show you other peoples’ stats and screens? I’m trying to get some questions that only an advanced buyer would know so even if they had fake stats, it would show them up.
That’s why you have to be able to ask questions they could only answer if they understand the business.
AR: I’m hoping to be armed with a big list of questions after this – the advice from everyone has been amazing. But then I could also combine that with a call and see their stats as well for further backup as you suggest.
Jeromy Sonne: If you expect people to break NDAs and show you client stats don’t be surprised when they do it to you. Personally I would never hire someone that would show off client stats to anyone and break that trust.
AR: No, I wasn’t implying that. But I’ve already seen from the time I’ve been trying to hire that many ad buyers have their own presentation of stats, like an artist would have a portfolio. This isn’t enough for me personally, that’s why I started this thread mostly looking for advanced questions that would help me separate the good from the bad.
Kwai Chi: You should show your own data or fake data and allow them to analyze in the fly. Why do you think the CPC is so high? What would you do differently to drive efficiency? What would you do to scale this build with an additional budget of £1m a month?
Federico Paradiso, Digital Marketing Manager
You should ask them to explain what they would do in some examples. How would they set up the campaigns, what information they need, etc. If you are not an expert, it will also be difficult for you to understand if their experience is adequate for the role.
AR: Exactly, I’m definitely not an expert – I’m not bad, probably just about intermediate. This is why I’m trying to get some questions that only advanced buyers would know the answers to.
Federico Paradiso: I believe that the answer to the question is more important than the question itself, which in my opinion can also be basic. From the way he will explain what he would do, you should be able to understand the level of his experience. I would simply ask him to explain to me how he would set up campaigns for a new customer selling xxx, from the start, what he will check to optimize it, etc. If you have a good knowledge, also other questions about setting Ad account within the Business Manager, custom events, etc.
Dave Zanker, CEO
I ask: “Can you edit a Facebook Lead Form once it’s published?” The gurus who actually don’t know anything say “yes I can.” The people that actually know what they are doing say “no you can’t, you have to duplicate and create a new one and recreate all your automations as well, it’s a real pain in the…”
Vaughn Celdran: I love this!! Hoping that FB updates this feature, but at the same time, what a great prequalifying question.
Muhammad Taha, Ecommerce Consultant & Digital Marketer
As a media buyer I have been asked these questions a lot.
-Which niches have you worked in?
-Achievements and how you did that?
-If I were to give you a client in this niche, what would be your approach to start working? (This would cross-check the earlier question of “how you did it”)
-Then they ask a lot about my nature and what kind of personality I have
-Then they ask how much work load you can manage
-Can you please show me your business manager?
-How do you target audiences?
Keep in mind that these are questions asked to an experienced media buyer. They don’t ask me how to setup pixel or DCA. If you have any doubt in a candidate you may ask them such questions.
Two I always use are:
1. In account X, the placement audience network gets us a decent CPL, but ROAS is a little below target. We don’t want to turn it off as it’s not ‘bad’. What would you do? The wrong answer is to turn it off or worse is separate it out – not possible any longer. When they say separate it out, I ask how they’d do that since it’s tied to the feed placement now. Tough question as there isn’t a super clear answer.
2. FB showing $30k in sales, GA is showing only $3k in sales from FB. What’s wrong here? Which one is right? A variety of answers could be right. I trust FB is the wrong answer and that scares me.
I run a team of 20 media buyers and here are the key things you should look out for when you’re hiring:
– if someone calls themselves a “growth hacker”, “scaling ecom brands from 0 to 7 figures”, “funnel hacker” or anything similar, don’t give them a 1st interview. These people will be full of shit (from my experience)
– look for people who have big agency experience. When I say big agency, look for WPP, GroupM, Dentsu brands like MediaCom, Mindshare, Wavemaker, etc. They will have access to the best training, best media owner relationship, worked on huge brands and a really good understanding around tech and reporting. Likelihood is they would have been involved with strategy and planning as well and will have a good understanding of other digital channels, not just Facebook.
– Have 2 interview stages. 1st is just a chat with them about their experiences and find out more about their personalities and see if they’re a fit for you and your company.
– Stage 2 is give them a task to respond to. Something like “client x wants to launch x. They have a £100,000 budget and this is their audience”, similarly to the way your own clients will brief you. Get them to build you a presentation and see how they present it back to you in the interview. You can then ask questions around their competencies.
Never ever ask to see someone’s Ad Account. Period.
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