The Facebook Hamster Wheel

I just feel stuck these days as a person that does a lot of Facebook marketing. Like I’m in a pit of quicksand and I have the strength to keep myself afloat, but not enough strength to actually get out.

This starts at a “tactical” level with Facebook ads but has permeated up through my entire business structure. Some is certainly my fault on some level, but some of it is just the nature of the game. Things with platforms change of course, consumer preferences change of course, people get ad blindness, etc. This isn’t really that though.

Week to week things change with the platform and it’s infuriating. I do “optimizations” that make no sense yet somehow work. Stacking interests, do single interest ad sets, doing interest ad sets and then narrowing them, doing all the same with lookalike audiences, the list goes on and on and the performance on any given tactic changes week to week. There is no “reason” that say an ad set that has 5 different interests that I know work separately doesn’t perform yet it will work, then not work, then work again. This is what I mean by the hamster wheel. With Facebook these days you feel like you’re running faster and faster just to stay in place. There’s at best a 2 week cycle where you figure it out and then the mad hatter yells “change places” and you start from 0 again. There is no more disheartening feeling than launch an ad set, watching is crush it for 36 hours, and then fall off a cliff. There’s no reason that should happen with an audience of 10 million people.

The long and short though is that the instability is driving myself and other marketers crazy. There is no playbook you can write, no set strategy you can deploy, and because of that its unending work on accounts that should be stable. When nothing is stable and everything is constantly in need of rebuilds you can’t make meaningful progress from an account tactical level. All the time that goes into media buying that could have gone into CRO, or offer tests, or new creative is just eaten up. It’s frustrating and it sucks.

More than that, that sort of permeant firefighter mentality permeates everything. Being bogged down in tactics is exhausting and depressing as a marketer and an entrepreneur. I feel like I can’t So far the answer has been to diversify media spend to other platforms, and while that works, it also dramatically increases the workload for an individual client. As per usual, the only thing we can do is hope and keep working harder, but if I’m honest I’m just really tired. It’s making me consider if I even want to take on Facebook specific projects anymore and maybe have the conversation up front about how we’re going to simply follow the money rather than being ties to any 1 platform. Maybe consulting is the answer? Maybe only working with high dollar clients that can afford to pay us for the work it takes to build and rebuild campaigns every day? I don’t know what that answer is but I know that I need to figure it out fast and get it implemented here post BFCM but before Q1 otherwise 2021 will be a repeat of 2020 and that’s not tenable.

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