Meta’s social media platform Facebook has a lot of users—2.93 billion of them as of Q1 2022. Around 179 million of those users are in the USA, so whether you operate in North America only or in the global marketplace, that’s a huge amount of potential customers. Of course, it’s not quite as easy as shooting fish in a barrel; you need to approach your advertising with caution.
Not every Facebook ad you post is going to be successful—some will work better than others. That’s one of the realities of advertising on social media. So, you want to be able to not only see how an ad performs as a whole, but also learn which elements of your ads are weak and which have some strengths. That way, you can improve as you move forward.
That means you need to carry out regular audits of your Facebook Ads to monitor performance and identify those strengths and weaknesses. Doing so means that your next set of ads should perform better and need less tweaks than previous ads.
So, what is a Facebook ad audit and how do I perform one?
Put simply, you want to analyze the effectiveness of your ads. You need to look at what strengths your ads have as well as identifying the areas you can make improvements in so that you can have a better ad strategy moving forward.
There is no set process to perform a Facebook Ads audit and how you approach it is going to depend on your business priorities as well as your preferences. But there are a few main areas most audits will examine:
- Demographic targeting
- Creative elements such as images and videos
- The structure of your ad campaigns
- Account overview
- External links such as landing pages
Areas to audit
Let’s look closer at those main areas and see what’s so important about them, how you can audit them, and how to make informed decisions about what changes may be needed.
1. Demographic targeting
It doesn’t take much to make a Facebook ad, but have you thought about who you are targeting? Are you ensuring your ad is actually seen by those people? For example, if you are advertising your dog grooming business, then your target audience is likely to be pet owners not people looking to invest in Microsoft Teams phone. You want to be sure that your target demographic group is seeing your ads and, ideally, then clicking through to the relevant landing page.
If your ad isn’t reaching the right people then it is unlikely you will see a good return on investment. Audience targeting should be the thing you look at first as without potential buyers, your ad will be fairly ineffectual. Meta offers a free tool—Facebook Audience Insights—that allows you to see the makeup of the audience on any campaign or ad.
Meta also offers a meter that identifies the potential audience of any ad before you post it. You should aim to have that meter reach at least halfway for the audience you want to target. The great thing about this feature is that it allows you to make some tweaks prior to posting, so you know you are reaching the right people.
2. Creative elements
People spend a limited amount of time on their social media accounts, so capture their attention as they scroll down their newsfeed. Your creative elements include not only images, but also your headline text, the body copy, and any other media you include in the posts such as videos.
Your ads need to not just capture a potential customer’s attention, they need to engage with them too and make them want to learn more about you and your products. You need to keep some consistency across the ads you post as well, as the messages you give and the branding and landing pages of your business.
What will happen if a customer likes what they see in an ad and then clicks through to your landing page and finds contradictory messaging?They will get confused, and they will likely leave quickly thus leading to an increased bounce rate for your site. Analyze which ads are driving the most visitors to your site (and which drive the least) and use the better performing ad as a benchmark.
Run A/B testing on all your content, both Facebook Ads and your website, to see which individual elements work best. These can include even the most basic creative elements such as font type and color. Look at all your ads from the last year and identify those that have performed best. Then, dig into the data to see which common elements these ads share so you can build on that.
It may not seem as obvious but your campaign structure can play a major role in how successful your ads will be. To improve your structure, you need to have a very clear view of your objectives but also an understanding of how Meta’s algorithms work. Having insights into both those factors can help you achieve a more successful campaign.
When you create a new campaign on Meta, they will ask you what your Facebook ad objectives are. They then use the info you provide to optimize your campaign. Meta heavily relies on ML (machine learning) these days, and putting together a clear campaign objective that is reflected in your actual campaign means that you can work better with their algorithms.
Another aspect of structure you need to examine is the customer journey. That journey will not always start with a call to action that pushes a customer to a sale. Sometimes, you need to nurture the customer, to inform and educate them, so you may have a campaign that includes info on, say, auto dialers, to allow them to become familiar with the solution you are offering.
Sometimes, you want to move them slowly through your sales funnel until they feel they are ready to make an informed decision to purchase your product or service. One major advantage of initially focusing on that journey instead of instant sales is that you are more likely to build a positive relationship with customers and that in turn will lead to better customer retention rates and a higher CLV (customer lifetime value).
4. Overview of account
While perhaps less important than the preceding factors discussed, a well-organized account overview can be crucial if you are running multiple campaigns and ads. You should ensure that both campaigns and ads are clearly labeled and have names that reflect their purpose and objectives.
For example, if you plan a campaign that has the primary objective of generating leads, then give it a name/title that clearly reflects that, such as “Lead generation #1/2022.”
This is going to make things far easier for you when it comes to monitoring, tracking and analysis. Having clear goals for each campaign makes organization and auditing of those campaigns far easier.
5. Links and landing pages
Your Facebook Ads campaigns are not just about what people see on Facebook. Unless you are a very small business operating a direct sales model, at some point you want your potential customers to click through to a landing page or to other parts of your website. That means you need to ensure that you give as much attention to those external links as the ads themselves.
As already mentioned, you want consistency in branding and messaging across all touchpoints. If a customer sees a fantastic ad then clicks through to a messy and confusing landing page, then your conversion and bounce rates will suffer. You need to ensure that your website and landing pages are fully optimized, from loading speed through to all the relevant content.
Your conversion rates can be a good indicator that those landing pages are up to par, but carrying out regular A/B testing on those pages is still advisable. What worked in March may not be working as well in November. Every aspect of your campaign should be checked and analyzed on a regular basis.
Of course, the aspects discussed are not the be-all and end-all of a good Facebook Ads audit but they are the main ones to focus on. You should review several key metrics, and you can analyze these from your Facebook Ads manager dashboard. You can even create your own specific custom metrics in Databox. Some of the other metrics you can track includes:
- Costs vs. conversion
- Cost per result
- Cost per click
- Campaign goal
- Ad placement
- Facebook Ads report
The structure of depth of your audit is very much going to depend on your personal preferences and what you want to achieve. For example, you may want to understand why what you thought was a well-constructed ad campaign did not perform to your expectations. However, knowing what factors affect success can help you customize an audit so that you can utilize it to improve results.
As Facebook Ads become second-nature, you can even construct an audit template in the same way you would have a business proposal template. Combining a template with Meta’s analytic tools can make audits a relatively simple process to ensure they are as performing as well as they can.
So what are you waiting for? Get started today with your Facebook ads audit.