When it comes to social media paid marketing, Meta, formally Facebook, is still one of the most widely used by marketers. But it’s not always the easiest landscape to navigate. So if you’re struggling to get your Facebook ads to bring a return, this 4 step Facebook ad audit is going to come in handy.
My 4-step process will show you how to audit your Facebook ads so they are supercharged for performance. I’ll talk about the data, the structure of your ad, your targeting, and finally the creative.
So, if you’re trying to get a grip on your Facebook ads, read on.
1 Tracking and Data
“Without data, you are just another person with an opinion” – Edwards Deming. This a great quote, which highlights the importance of data perfectly. And the route to quality data is all in the tracking setup.
If your tracking is not set up correctly, then your data won’t be correct. The data will fuel everything you do in advertising. So, if the data is wrong, everything else you do will be wrong, so it’s really important to get the tracking and data set up correctly.
There are a couple of ways you can get data from your ads, you’ve got the Facebook pixel and a Conversion API. They are two quite different setups, but both give you data on your ad performance.
Here’s Facebook’s explanation of the difference between conversion api and Facebook pixel.
“The pixel lets you share web events from a web browser, while the conversions API lets you share web events directly from your server.”
The Facebook Pixel is a piece of code that sits in the header of your website and helps to measure and track the effectiveness of your advertising.
Facebook pixel is a browser-side tool and there are a few limitations to the tool and its effectiveness. This is largely due to cookie blockers, connection errors, and page loading errors. And with more people using cookie blockers the effectiveness of the pixel is only going to get worse.
But the good news is the CAPI can save the day. This is a server-side tool. It basically creates a connection between your data and Facebook. So if your pixel doesn’t record an event because of a cookie blocker or connection issue the conversion API will catch it.
My advice would be to set up both as the tools work really well together, to help you create more accurate custom audiences and optimise more efficiently.
When you’ve got your tracking set up, you need to check all your data is pulling in correctly and there’s no duplication. Go into the events manager and have a look at what’s going on. I would recommend checking in with your data once a month, especially if multiple people have access to the account.
Use the pixel helpful tool, which is a chrome extension troubleshooting tool and will help you find out if your Meta pixel is set up correctly. If you’ve got Tag Manager, go to preview mode and see what’s happening there. You can also use the test events tool in the events section in Facebook.
Your data is really important so you need to make sure everything is working exactly how it should be so you get the most accurate data.
2. Structure and bidding
What it means by 50 events is that if you’ve chosen purchases as your object, it wants 50 purchases in those 7 days. If you’ve chosen link clicks as your objective, it wants 50 link clicks in those 7 days. This is to enable the algorithm to learn effectively. And if it isn’t getting enough data to learn from in those 7 days, it will stay in the learning phase until it does, which is bad as your cost will stay high. So you need to set an appropriate budget to hit your 50 events.
What can you do if you don’t come out of that learning phase?
This is where you need to take a look at your setup and think about who you’re targeting with what. If you’ve set up a campaign with purchasing as your objective and you only get a few sales in the first week, then you need to think about your buying cycle. If it normally takes new customers a few months on average to make a purchase you need to rethink your objectives.
Instead of setting up an ad with a purchase objective, you could set up an ad with a retargeting objective. Facebook can track new website visitors through tag manager and you could, for example, track them based on scroll depth and use your Facebook ad to retarget people who have already visited your site.
So, think about whether you can tweak your campaigns based on your target audience. Are they likely to buy straight away and is there something you can do to help Facebook through that learning phase?
And remember to always test. What worked one month, might not work the next. So test and learn and optimised based on your data. Test different ad types, audiences, timings, and objectives and adjust your structure and bidding accordingly.
Who are you targeting?
So, the norm is to target a niche audience. A super focused group based on their demographics, location, interests, and likelihood of wanting what you have to offer. But sometimes broader can be better.
We worked with a sessional events company that had a really niche audience for one of their events. They targeted people who lived nearby and who they thought were likely to want to attend, which we largely parents and families. While this makes perfect sense and is most definitely one audience type required for a campaign, the people they overlooked were the people buying a ticket as a gift, people willing to travel or single people looking for a day out with friends.
So, in this case, casting a broader net did result in more ticket sales.
The point is to experiment and try out multiple audience types. Going niche isn’t always the answer, so be creative and think about how you can find some new people.
There is one more check you can do if your CPC starts to go up or there’s a decline in your performance. You can use Facebook insights to check your auction competition and audience saturation.
“The creative is responsible for the largest contribution (47% to sales from ads.” That’s a statement from Facebook. This is obvious really because Facebook is visual.
You can have all the best strategies in the world, but if your creative isn’t engaging enough, then your ad won’t perform.
We know that Facebook prefers videos and images with people or pets in them. But how do you make sure your creatives are effective? I’m afraid there’s no easy way out. You’re gonna have to test them.
Starting with a hypothesis, for example, going back to my event client, I think a short showreel of a previous event with music and happy smiley faces is going to perform well. So, I need to test it.
The trick is to set up multiple ad creatives for the same campaign. You can go for a showreel, a gif, a carousel, and maybe some UGC. Run the ads and analyze the data to see which one performs the best based on your KPI’s. Then it is just a case of learning and adapting as you go forward.
Hopefully, this 4 step Facebook ad audit will help make auditing your ads easier so they’re more productive and profitable.