How to Conduct a Comprehensive Facebook Ads Audit
With approximately 2.93 billion monthly active users as of Q1 2022, Facebook continues to don the crown of the most widely used social platform to date. As a marketer looking to expand your reach, you probably already know that it is one of the most promising digital advertising channels. However, leveraging the full potential of Facebook Ads isn’t as effortless as kickstarting a campaign on the platform.
Driving tangible return on ad spend (ROAS) that compounds with time requires rigorous monitoring and continuous optimization of ad campaigns and settings. And that’s where a Facebook Ads audit comes in.
An audit is a periodic activity that involves meticulously reviewing your Facebook Ads account and campaigns from the lens of ensuring maximum effectiveness in driving expected results.
A well-planned and executed Facebook Ads audit answers all questions or doubts regarding whether or not:
✓ Your ad spend is appropriate
✓ Your campaigns are moving your KPIs
✓ Your ad settings are aligned with your current goals
In this blog post, we will deep dive into exactly why a Facebook Ads audit is needed and how to go about conducting one that yields actionable insights that you can immediately put into practice.
What is a Facebook Ads Audit?
A Facebook Ads audit is a digital advertising optimization activity involving a comprehensive assessment of the ins and outs of a Facebook Ads account (and all campaigns) to determine its effectiveness in yielding the expected outcome.
From uncovering potential errors that could be hurting a campaign’s performance to helping realign tracking and targeting settings as per a new strategy, an audit is suitable for evaluating the nitty-gritty of how Facebook Ads have been set up and are being run.
The bottom line is that a Facebook Ads audit helps reduce wasted ad spend by enabling you to regularly tweak and refine your Facebook Ads strategy (or even rebuild it) for profitable results. Just like a Google Ads audit, a Facebook Ads audit helps you unlock limitless potential from your advertising strategy and optimize for results.
Read how Hypelocal was able to generate $500,000+ in annual eCommerce revenue for KCI Tools using an integrated Google and Facebook Ads strategy.
Why Do You Need to Perform a Facebook Ads Audit?
Unreasonable media spending by overbidding on campaigns, overspending on the wrong ones, and targeting the wrong audience has resulted in approximately US$53 million in Q1 2022,. Needless to say, a Facebook Ads audit can really help avoid some of those wasted dollars. However, there are some specific reasons and scenarios when conducting a Facebook Ads audit is absolutely crucial and exceptionally helpful. Here are some of those:
To determine why your ad campaigns are not driving the intended results
Even if your Facebook Ads strategy looked promising in the beginning, the results it drives might tell a completely different story. This could mean that one of your hypotheses or account settings isn’t working as expected. Revisiting your Facebook Ads account and auditing campaigns will tell you exactly what’s not working and why.
By conducting an end-to-end audit of your Facebook Ads, you will be able to make data-backed optimization decisions, as opposed to those based on assumptions. Let’s assume that a majority of your target audience uses Facebook on their mobile, and you’ve, therefore, targeted your campaign towards that segment of users (while also accounting for other demographic and behavioral attributes). However, upon observing your analytics, you come to realize that though the click-through rate of your ads is meeting expectations, the conversion rate isn’t - even though your targeting is on-point. When you get down to auditing each variable of your campaign, ad groups, and ads, you might conclude that since the landing page experience on mobile was rather poor, your conversions were being severely impacted.
To confirm your hypotheses or discover optimization opportunities
As part of your continuous experimentation efforts, you are probably always looking to come up with promising hypotheses to enhance the performance of your Facebook Ads. However, you cannot confidently put a hypothesis to the test unless it is backed by data.
A Facebook Ads audit will help you gather the required and relevant data you need to confirm or negate your hypothesis before you invest in testing it out. Or, it might even save you the trouble of unnecessarily experimenting in case there is an error in your settings. For example, if you noticed that your conversion rate for a particular campaign is surprisingly poor, you are likely to immediately start executing a plan B to get your results back on track. However, if you conduct a timely audit of your Facebook Ads settings, you might just discover that the conversion events in your account were not properly enabled, which was resulting in incorrect attribution.
To revisit and track your key metrics
No matter what the goal of your strategy is, you cannot set a Facebook Ads campaign in motion and only check upon the performance metrics towards the very end. To ensure your campaign is heading in the right direction, it is important to constantly stay on-top of your key metrics and monitor them for inconsistency or misalignment. A timely and pre-scheduled Facebook Ads audit is a great way to perform routine data assessments.
To review your account structure and settings
More often than not, Facebook Ads account structures are defined during initial set-up and forgotten about thereafter. However, your entire account structure, from the campaign level down to the ad level, depends on your marketing goals, which can be volatile (especially if the said campaign spans across months). An audit enables you to analyze your account structure and make the necessary adjustments early.
To pinpoint underperforming ads
A thorough Facebook Ads audit empowers you to track down exactly which ads might be hindering the overall poor performance of the campaign. For example, upon analyzing each of the ads in a terribly performing campaign, you discover that the ad having the least impressions is the one placed in Facebook Stories. Even though Facebook Stories is an excellent placement option for short-form video ads, it might not be the best one for your target audience.
To decide how to reallocate your budgets
Reallocating budgets is never an easy decision to make, no matter what the reason might be. From analyzing your Facebook Ads’ historical performance to gauging relevant trends and patterns that guide your decision-making, there are so many variables to account for. Regularly conducting audits will make sure you never run out of vital insights to conclude which campaigns might deserve more/less budgetary allocation, which keywords aren’t worth investing in, which ad group deserves the least priority, and more.
To kickstart Facebook advertising for a new client
Before you take on any client account as a digital marketing agency, freelancer, or contractor, you should analyze historical performance data to establish benchmarks. A Facebook Ads audit can help you understand what the current status of the account is so you can better gauge and plan which strategies and tactics will help you achieve the desired outcome. You might even come across some quick fixes that can be done to improve ad quality by tweaking ad copies, targeting settings, landing page forms, and so on.
If you’re not sure whether or not you need a Facebook Ads audit or are looking for hands-on expertise to get you started, our team at Hypelocal would be happy to offer a free strategy session to discuss your vision, your goals, and to chart out a potential plan of action to get there.
The 8-Step Facebook Ads Audit Checklist
There are many ways to go about conducting a Facebook Ads audit and they all can be useful, as long as they are meeting the goal of the exercise. However, one thing to keep in mind is that it wouldn’t be wise to jump into an audit immediately after kickstarting a Facebook Ads campaign when it hasn't collected enough data points. It would be too soon to conclude why an ad is underperforming, what seems to be the cause of a low conversion rate, which creative needs updating, and so on.
As a rule of thumb, we suggest waiting at least 2 weeks from the start of the campaign before you consider conducting an end-to-end audit. This will save you from making any hasty decisions without having enough data to back them up.
Once you’ve given your campaigns enough time to gather a reasonable amount of data, you are ready to start your Facebook Ads audit. To add structure to the process and to ensure you don’t miss out on any critical steps, we suggest that you use the following framework:
Step 1: Review your Facebook Ads account structure
The very first step of your audit is evaluating how your Facebook Ads account is structured and tweaking it based on inconsistencies or evolved goals, if need be. It’s common to see marketers skip this step and jump to reviewing their ads directly. But, we would argue that the account structure is the foundation that the entire strategy depends upon, and auditing it must be the first order of business.
Start by reviewing your campaign settings, then follow it up with your ad sets, and your ads.
- Make sure your campaigns are structured by objectives that are properly mapped, relevant, specific, and updated
- Merge campaigns that have similar objectives and try to have fewer campaigns that target broader audience groups
- Analyze and make note of campaign budgets against their objectives
- Ad Sets
- Ensure that your ad sets are organized by the target audience. Review each segment and make necessary adjustments in case a particular segment is underperforming
- Remove similar/duplicate ad sets in the same campaign to avoid overlap during auction
- Review and optimize ad sets’ names for minimal confusion
- Ensure each of your ad sets have 3-6 ads so Facebook’s algorithm can pick and choose the optimal one for every audience segment
- Make sure that you follow a consistent naming convention for your ad sets that is easy to follow and remember
- Review how your ads are organized within ad sets, and look for any scope for optimization
Step 2: Review your tracking settings
To ensure that conversions are correctly attributed for, and each impression, click, view, and purchase is recorded, you need to ensure that your tracking settings are on-point every time you perform a Facebook Ads audit. For that, you must primarily ensure that your Facebook Pixel code is active and set up properly on your site, so that events are being triggered and conversions are firing correctly. If you have created multiple custom events and conversions for your campaigns, make sure to check that each of them is firing as expected to leave nothing to chance.
Step 3: Review your audience and targeting settings
Follow the below checklist to review your Facebook Ads targeting settings:
- Revisit the targeted interests, behaviors, preferences, and likes to ensure they still align with your target persona
- If you are unsure about your precise target market, always create fewer ad sets that reach a broader audience, and allow Facebook’s algorithm to narrow it down for you
- Use your current audience set to create lookalikes so you can reach more people
- Leverage detailed targeting expansion to give Facebook permission to use AI to find and reach more users if the current audience set doesn’t seem to be performing
- Check if you are utilizing exclusions properly to avoid showing the same ad to a user twice. For example, if you are running awareness and remarketing campaigns simultaneously, you must exclude each audience set from the other ad to avoid overlap
At Hypelocal, we believe that targeting can make or break your campaign because you can only expect it to work if it reaches the right audience. A promising strategy might not yield the desired results if your ads are not targeted towards the most relevant potential audience. Book a free strategy session with our team to learn how we can help you build a Facebook Ads strategy catered to your unique target market.
Step 4: Review your placement settings of every Facebook ad
Whether you are relying on manual or automatic placements, take time to carefully review where exactly your ads are being displayed.
- Assess your placement settings by platform and device to understand which ones are converting well and double down on those
- Review your ad creatives’ sizes for each type of placement specification (story, feed, articles, etc.) and ensure they are correct
- If your audience pool doesn't seem to be wide enough, switch to automatic placement so Facebook can expand your reach and show your ads on any platform based on its performance
- Review your audience demographic and placements together to figure out which ones are likely to perform better. For example, if a major segment of your target audience uses mobile, it makes sense to display your ads on mobile and focus more on stories as opposed to articles
Step 5: Review your ads and creatives
Next, revisit all your ads and carefully review your assets (headlines, descriptions, images, and CTAs) to scout for opportunities for improvement. You might come across headlines that could be crisper, CTAs that don’t seem to be converting, or even body text that needs redoing. Take a quick look at everything and make sure your ads are clear, concise, relevant, engaging, personalized, and persuasive, but not too pushy.
If you are unsure, you can even take this time to create variations of your ads for A/B testing to potentially end up with improved results and enhanced insights. Apart from that, also run quick operational checks to ensure that your ads are functioning fine, for example:
- Are all CTAs working and leading to the right landing pages?
- Are all landing pages unique, relevant, and informative?
- Is all information used in your ad copy and headlines updated?
- Are all ads that should be running in active state?
- Are all ads in an ad set unique?
At Hypelocal, our digital advertising team focuses equally on running and optimizing Facebook Ads. We strongly believe that regular audits play a pivotal role in amplifying the success of our strategies and campaigns. If you’d like to accelerate growth for your Google Ads campaigns, get in touch with our team by booking a free strategy session. We’d love to discuss how we can help you achieve your goals!
Step 6: Review your landing pages
Next, it’s time to revisit your landing pages and ensure they are relevant, appealing, and optimized for conversions. Here’s how you can go about it:
- Check which landing pages are converting the best and how can you utilize those learnings to optimize the rest
- Ensure that your landing pages clearly mention the action you want visitors to take
- Confirm that the CTAs and forms on your landing pages work perfectly
- Make sure that each of your landing pages is unique and not linked to multiple ads
- If you haven’t been A/B testing, look for opportunities to experiment with your landing pages
Also, take some time to review your landing pages for all applicable best practices and make necessary updates to improve their overall campaign performance (such as pagespeed, relevancy, keywords, etc). You might not hit the jackpot with the first version of the landing pages you create, but you can iteratively improve them for enhanced performance.
Step 7: Review your key metrics and reporting settings
Finally, create reports in your Facebook Ads account and pull out all the data you need to analyze the performance of your current and previous campaigns. Depending upon your audience’s key attributes, you can create reports that tell you exactly how each of your target segments is performing.
To begin with, review the following crucial metrics to ensure your ad campaigns are right on track:
- Click-through rate
- Engagement rate
- Conversion rate
- Cost per conversion
- (ROAS) & cost of goods
Once you’re done evaluating your ads for the above metrics, download and analyze custom reports for different segments based on demographics, platforms, devices, and other important criteria. By the end of your key metrics audit, you should be able to identify which ad is working effectively in moving which particular metric for which exact segment/audience group. You can then utilize these insights to make further adjustments.
Step 8: Create a plan of action based on the insights uncovered
It’s time to pat yourself on the back. You’ve finally made it to the end of an extensive Facebook Ads audit. But, before you call it a day, be sure to take some time to compile your notes and create an optimization plan. This must include all insights you gathered along the way, and how you plan on implementing them to improve the performance of your ads strategy. Your optimization plan can be focused on immediate, tactical tweaks that you can make right away, and also strategic ideas that your team needs to dissect and discuss. In both scenarios, it’s best to organize your thoughts and data, and share it amongst your team for their review as well.
In a Nutshell
A Facebook Ads audit is an always-on learning process that needs to be conducted regularly. The end goal should be to leave your account and campaign settings more optimized than before and further aligned with your most current goals. And your secondary goal should be to uncover actionable insights for enhancing your overall strategy, account, and ad campaigns. Following this promising two-fold approach will make sure your ads stay relevant, engaging, and impactful.
At Hypelocal, conducting regular and in-depth Facebook Ads audits is a very crucial part of how we manage digital advertising for fast-growing SaaS, eCommerce, and hyperlocal businesses. Setting up, running, and managing Facebook Ad campaigns is just one aspect of driving the expected ROI from the platform. The other, we believe, lies completely in steadily optimizing them for the most profitable results and growth opportunities.
Our Facebook Ads strategies are highly outcome-oriented and laser-focused on enhancing a brand’s social footprint, while also gathering high-quality leads. Apart from running and optimizing your Facebook ad campaigns, we also own your end-to-end strategy and execution, driving results that directly impact your top line.
If you’d like to explore the same for your business and boost your Facebook advertising efforts, please reach out to us for a free strategy session and we can discuss how our team can make it possible for your brand.