facebook ads audit

Most companies that come to us for a comprehensive digital marketing strategy tend to think of Facebook advertising as an accessory, rather than an essential marketing platform.

This is usually because they’ve been scarred by under-performing campaigns. They’ve spent a lot of money with little or no measurable returns.

The truth is Facebook advertising can make a huge difference to your company’s bottom line. The key is to hire a professional team with experience in Facebook to manage your campaigns.

Table of Contents

Who’s This Article For?

Something we hear a lot at Living Online when chatting to prospective clients is “Facebook Ads don’t work for my business”.

However, if used well, Facebook Ads can and will generate substantial sales or leads for your business. Before you give up on the channel, use this guide to audit your account. This will help you make sure you are making the most of the platform. We are willing to bet that you’ll find more than one area with room for improvement. You’ll discover that Facebook Ads not only work for your business, but they can also be an essential driver of new business!

We are writing this article for you if you:

  • want to improve your Facebook advertising performance, including increasing growth rates, reducing waste, increasing sustainability of competitive advantages, and more, and need to develop a strategy to help you get there
  • have been asked to audit your Facebook advertising performance and strategy but don’t have the in-house tools and expertise to do so
  • are spending money on an agency to do your Facebook advertising, but you’re questioning the results and want to be sure that you are getting the best possible outcome, focusing on key metrics, not vanity metrics.

What’s The Problem?

Clients often come to us because they feel that the results they are currently getting are not as strong as they could be. And in 99.99% of the cases, they’re right.

When diving into these accounts, we often find a long list of common mistakes that hold back campaign performance. And, quite frankly, are why many businesses distrust Facebook Ads.

Let’s look at some of the most common issues we review as part of a comprehensive Facebook Ads Audit:

Campaigns not aligned to business objectives

Like any marketing campaign – or anything, really – there’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all when it comes to Facebook advertising. Each business is unique. So each Facebook strategy should be as well.

Think about the results you’d like your business to reach, then set achievable short- and long-term objectives and work backward to create your strategy.

Ask yourself: “What does success look like? How am I going to measure it?”

For example, if you want increase revenue:

  • Success will look like more money in the bank.
  • You can measure it through the number of sales the ads directly and indirectly generate.
  • Also measure what each sale costs. Or in marketing jargon, your cost per acquisition (CPA).

Spray and pray approach

Successful Facebook advertising campaigns are carefully thought-out and part of the bigger picture.

This means you need to be strategic with the audiences that you build and the ads that you create.

Are you trying to reach new prospects, or retarget people that have been on your website? The language and creative are very different for each of these audiences.

Align the strategy with your business objectives; and the audience and ads to your strategy.

Lack of consistency

You need to be consistent across channels. Without consistency you risk poor brand perception and customer confusion.

Think about your own experience. You’re on your lunch break and you open LinkedIn. You see an article that interests you. You open the article on an online publication then scroll the Facebook feed before getting back to your desk.

Now imagine that you see an ad from the same brand on your LinkedIn and Facebook feeds, and in the article you were reading. For the message to stick and be understood correctly, all these ads need to be consistent across all three placements.

In other words, anything published and promoted across Facebook advertising should match what is being said on your website landing page and any other digital platforms and ads.

Others do it better

Have you ever noticed that if you start shopping for a pair of sunglasses, suddenly your Facebook feed is full of sunglasses from dozens of different companies?

If a competitor’s ads are better than yours, they win.

Your ads need to really stand out, especially if you are competing in a saturated market.

Inefficient campaigns

Every time you launch a new campaign, there’s a learning phase.

That’s the case for most online platforms that rely on artificial intelligence (AI) to serve and optimise ads.

With that in mind, it’s common for a new campaign to have a slower start. The algorithm needs to find its feet, and test and optimise your ads.

However, if you’re a month in and the campaign’s still not performing, you need to adjust it before you waste too much money.

  • Check ad set targeting. Is it wrong? For example, targeting the wrong city? Or is it inefficient? Perhaps the audience is too broad?
  • Review campaign messaging. Is it confusing, too strong, or not strong enough? Find the right balance.
  • Have you selected the correct campaign strategy for your business objective?
  • Is your budget allocated over an adequate period so that Facebook AI has time to test and optimise the ads?

Scaling it up

You also need to recognise when things are going well, so you can maximise opportunities and increase your investment at the right time.

If your current CPA gives you a profitable return on ad spend (ROAS), increase your ad spend and get more of what you’re after.

Vanity metrics

When an account is not being managed professionally, you might not have visibility over important key performance metrics such as Return on Investment (ROI), Conversion Rate (CR) and Cost Per Acquisition (CPA).

This will limit your optimisation capabilities as well as conceal the real impact the ads might be having on your business.

Don’t focus all your attention on vanity metrics such as comments and likes, unless ad engagement is your campaign objective.  Vanity metrics ultimately don’t boost your bottom line.

Set and forget

We all know how creepily amazing the Facebook algorithm is. It knows its users well and is great at showing the relevant ads to the relevant people at the right time.

For this reason among others, such as lack of time or resources, many companies and marketing professionals create Facebook Ads campaigns and leave them to run in the background indefinitely. They don’t review or check their performance, because they believe Facebook will optimise the ads for them.

While that’s true, it’s vital that you also review the results and adjust the ads accordingly as Facebook’s AI might be good, but it’s not perfect.

  • Are you spending too much budget on a campaign that doesn’t perform, and not enough budget on one that’s kicking goals?
  • Does the audience prefer one ad type over another? Is it time to add more variations?
  • Is the creative that you thought was awesome getting negative comments? Consider changing it.

And don’t forget that ad fatigue is real and shouldn’t be ignored. Freshen up your ads routinely or users will get sick of your brand and will stop acknowledging the ads.

Why Does This Matter?

Companies that have had a poor experience with Facebook Ads are more inclined to write off this channel from their marketing strategy altogether.

And rightfully so. When not done well, Facebook Ads can lead to a lot of wasted spend and poor business performance. On the other hand, when done right Facebook advertising can power enormous business growth.

The million-dollar question is, do Facebook ads really work? And the answer is Oh yes, they do!

The average user clicks on an ad every 2.5 days. That’s 12 ads each month, or 15 for women and 10 for men. That’s pretty impressive considering not all ads require a click to be effective.
Source: Hootsuite.

If you’ve hired an agency to help with the strategy and implementation of your Facebook Ads, an audit will help you have a full overview of what you’re paying for so. It will give you the confidence to know you are getting the best possible results that boost your bottom line.

A Results-Focused Solution

If you suspect you’re not getting enough bang for your buck from Facebook Ads, it’s time to audit your account and campaigns and find the weak link.

Before your start, remember your Facebook strategy is part of your overall business and marketing strategy. Keep them in mind to make sure you’re always asking the right questions and looking for the right answers.

Let’s get into your Facebook advertising audit.

Budget

Budget can be set at campaign or ad set level, and as a daily or lifetime budget. Choose the setting that makes the most sense to you and your marketing and business objectives.

The budget allocation has a huge effect on the campaign performance. Check the following:

  • Are there any warnings that the ad sets or campaigns are limited by budget?
  • Is the spend accelerated, not giving enough time to the platform to optimise the ads? In many cases, you are actually more likely to get a high volume of leads if you spend $1,000 over 14 days than 48 hours.
  • If the budget is set at the campaign level, are all the ad sets receiving enough budget to perform? Budget cannibalisation can happen if there is a disparity between audience sizes and performance.

Campaign Type

If you help Facebook, Facebook will help you.

Facebook campaign objectives 2021

Select the correct campaign type, so that the AI can optimise the ads for your marketing and business objectives. Ask yourself:

  • What is the objective of the campaigns?
  • Where do they sit in the marketing funnel and overall marketing strategy?
  • Have I selected the correct campaign type?

Scheduling

You can choose for the ads to run all day or at certain times only. This lets you maximise the spend when users are more likely to engage with the ads and convert.

Start by reviewing conversion data. Can you find a pattern in terms of times and days that you can exploit to maximise your ROI?

Audience targeting

For the ads to be a success, audience targeting is key. At the risk of sounding repetitive, the audience must align with your business objectives! A few things you want to check as part of your Facebook Ads audit:

  • Are you targeting the correct demographic, such as age and gender?
  • Are your ads geo-targeted?
  • Have you selected relevant interest-based targeting to define your audience?
  • Have you selected relevant custom audiences to define your audience?
  • Have you excluded users that you don’t want to see the ads, such as those who might have already converted?
  • Is your targeting too broad? Review the Audience Definition section in your ad sets that tells you the potential reach. Don’t waste money on everyone, concentrate your ad spend on relevant users.
  • Is there an opportunity to segment the audience further? Design ads specific to these segments.

Platforms & placements

Not all platforms and placements are born equal.

The platform and audiences you select will heavily influence the success of the campaign.

Firstly, you want to choose the right platform for your audience. On the Facebook Ads interface, you can select:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Audience Network
  • All the above
  • A combination of the above.

If you’ve selected them all by default, go into the reports and check if any of them are doing really well or wasting a lot of money. Get rid of the dead weight and allocate the spend where it makes the most sense.

facebook placements

The different placements available on Facebook

The same goes for the actual placements:

  • Are any of the placements wasting money, and should be excluded from the campaign?
  • Or are any of the placements converting really well, and should have an increased investment?

When you create the ads, make sure to check that they are all readable and that the message comes across in all placements.

For example, headline and description don’t always show on all placements, so you wouldn’t want to add a promo code there or users might miss it!

KPIs

Going back to the start of the guide, a successful Facebook campaign follows these steps:

  1. Define business objectives.
  2. Define marketing objectives.
  3. Define marketing strategy.
  4. Define where Facebook sits in that strategy.
  5. Define how you are going to measure success, or key performance indicators (KPIs).

Your KPIs will be different for each campaign. If your objective is to create awareness, a KPI might be ad reach. If your objective is to sell shoes, your KPI will be the number of sales Facebook generates.

  • Are you looking at the right metrics to determine campaign performance?
  • Are you looking at the right metrics to optimise the campaigns?
  • Are you focusing on vanity metrics that don’t affect your bottom line?

From a technical perspective, have the relevant conversions been set up in Facebook Events Manager? Have they been set up in other platforms you use to analyse data and make decisions to improve performance, such as Google Analytics?

When you’re reviewing your KPIs, think about the following:

  • Compare platforms and placements, which is working best?
  • Compare devices, which is working best?
  • Compare ad types, which is performing best?
  • Look at targeting, which audience is performing best?
  • Look at the ads, are they persuasive? Do they use suitable calls to action (CTAs), mix of videos and stills, long and short text?

Ad Fatigue

If your ads are being shown too often, both or one of the following will happen:

  1. Users become desensitised and “blind” to your ads.
  2. Users are annoyed by your ads and develop negative connotations towards your brand.

Both of these then result in decreased performance – lower leads for a higher CPA.

For this reason, it’s important that you review ad frequency and monitor ad fatigue.

  • How often are users seeing your ads?
  • When was the last time you freshened up the ads? It might be time for a spring clean.

Account set up

With the iOS 14 update at the start of 2021, Apple has released changes that affect how Facebook receives and processes events from the Facebook SDK and Facebook Pixel. For this reason, Facebook introduced the Domain Verification feature and the Aggregated Event tool.

If your account is not compliant with these new features, you will not be able to track conversions. Some of your conversion campaigns might even stop running altogether. Make sure to check that:

  • website domain is verified.
  • events are added and managed via the aggregated events tool.

What Are The Benefits?

This whole guide has been about the benefits of running a Facebook audit. To recap:

  • Facebook Ads work. If your currently strategy is generating underwhelming results, dig deeper to find areas of improvement before abandoning ship.
  • If you are using an external agency to manage your Facebook Ads strategy, this audit will give you peace of mind that they are getting you the most out of this channel.
  • Stop wasting money on campaigns with low ROIs and learn to recognise when it’s time to scale things up.

Stop Wasting Money!

Living Online works with companies just like yours. We do social media and Facebook Audits for clients and can help you implement new strategies to generate ROIs that align with, or exceed, your marketing and business objectives.

  • Are you tired of wasting money?
  • Are you tired of always seeing the same ads on your Facebook feed?
  • Are you tired of hearing other people’s success stories with Facebook Ads, while yours don’t generate any ROI?

Contact Living Online today and find out how we can help you make the most of Facebook Advertising.

Get started with an obligation-free chat today.