Are you advertising on Facebook but not getting the results you want?
Are you finding it hard to achieve consistency and predictability with your campaigns?
Thousands of different solutions are available to solve problems like these – from the latest Facebook Ads course or a new agency looking to manage your ad spend.
But there is a solution that I think is under-utilised but super effective at improving your Facebook Ads results… a Facebook Ads audit.
This article describes the top three reasons why. But first, what is a Facebook audit exactly?
A Facebook audit is when an online marketing expert is given read-only access to your ad account, so they can review it in detail and provide recommendations about how to improve ad performance.
A good audit is meant to be comprehensive and detailed, reviewing all the different aspects of your account. They aren’t just about suggesting organised campaign structures or performing high level ad analysis.
So what are these three reasons?
Reason 1: Audits improve your ad performance
This should be obvious. The main reason to get an audit is to improve your ad performance. If an audit doesn’t focus on improving your ROI or another performance KPI, don’t bother. After all, Facebook Ads is about making money.
After years of managing Facebook campaigns, and after talking to many clients, I’ve found one thing that holds true across almost every account I’ve audited:
“There is always an opportunity for improvement, and you can almost always find and correct inefficiency.”
But how does an audit do this? By focusing on three key objectives.
Identifying missed opportunities
Starting a new campaign and making it profitable is hard work. If it was easy, everyone would be making tons of money online. An audit focuses on identifying opportunities within your existing campaigns to optimize and scale. Optimization and scaling are two of the major keys to profitability.
Here is a sample of typical ‘missed opportunity’ type audit questions:
- Are there variables within the campaign setup that have not been tested or optimized? (eg. creatives, objectives, placements, bidding, targeting, etc.)
- Are there profitable segments within an unprofitable campaign that can be isolated and scaled?
- Are there profitable creative and audience combinations that haven’t been scaled?
- Are all customer journey points in your sales funnel collecting data, or have some been missed or resulted in error?
- Does your ideal customer audience actually align with the audience that converts the best?
Correcting errors and inefficiencies
There are a lot of different options to consider when setting up a campaign. After millions of dollars spent on traffic, there are some options which have become “standard practice” amongst media buyers – set these up incorrectly and the majority of the time it will result in lost profits.
- Is your pixel implemented correctly and efficiently?
- Are the campaign objectives used appropriate considering your actual marketing objective?
- Are audience sizes appropriate, whether for prospecting or retargeting?
- Are ads duplicated 2-3 times in an ad set?
- Are consistent Post IDs used for duplicated ads?
Plugging ad spend “black holes”
Even after efficiencies and errors have been corrected, there will be pockets of a campaign that continue to lose money. Each campaign is different, so these “black holes” won’t necessarily be consistent from campaign to campaign. This is where an expert’s experience is useful – they know where to look for them.
- Are there segments within your existing campaigns that continually lose money?
- Are campaign or ad set level budgets high enough to allow the Facebook algorithm to optimize your traffic delivery
- Is there significant audience overlap?
- Are you excluding purchasers or leads from your perspective or retargeting audiences?
- Are you placing your ads in the Audience Network?
Let the analysis begin
Three of the top areas to review:
With those key objectives in mind, what are the top three areas that should always be reviewed?
Facebook audits should always begin with a deep dive into the results of the previous ad spend, in order to learn three main things:
- Which campaigns were amazing?
- Which campaigns were terrible?
- What can we learn from the campaigns that went well, which previously did poorly?
As the online advertising landscape continues to get more competitive, your creative strategy and approach is what will set you apart from your competitors.
Lazy marketers love to copy the creatives of their competitors. Their rationale makes sense – if it works for someone else, it will work for them without the effort.
But as effective creative begins to saturate the market, it is unique and original creative that will give you an edge and earn you the big bucks (whether it be a fresh angle or a new engaging video).
A quality audit should always include a thorough analysis of your creative strategy and approach.
Pixel implementation and data sources
In advertising, if “Creative is King”, then “Data is Queen”. But depending on who you’re talking to, they may even say data trumps creative. Regardless, data is one of the most important elements of any sustainable, long-term campaign.
Ensuring your Facebook pixel is set up correctly and efficiently, and is optimised to collect as much data as possible, is key to any successful account.
Finally, what is something that separates a great audit from a good one?
A great audit, worth the money, should recommend buying strategies and tactics. Facebook Ads is a media buying platform with an ocean of different variables to test, and a platform that is constantly changing. A buying strategy that worked six months ago may not work anymore. So any great audit should recommend a few relevant buying strategies that relate specifically to your current advertising approach.
Learn how you can get your own Facebook Ads Audit today!
Reason 2: Audits are cost effective
One of the main reasons I rate Facebook audits so highly is because of how cost effective they are. And they offer great value-for-money because they provide specific, tailored recommendations that are given to you directly and in a short time period.
Let’s quickly compare an audit to other options available.
Regardless of the fee structure, all of these methods can be effective at improving your ad performance. However, the point of this argument is that audits are the most cost effective solution – they offer a lower entry point for outsourcing ad improvement.
Let’s analyse the other options a little further…
When you engage an agency to manage your ad spend, most agencies will require at least a three month commitment to start, charging both set up costs (ranging from $2k to $10k) and monthly fees (whether they be a fixed retainer, % of ad spend, etc.).
An agency’s new campaign can then sometimes take 4-5 weeks before it becomes profitable, especially if the account doesn’t have a history of profitability.
Compared to an audit, this option doesn’t offer nearly as much up-front value.
Ironically, an audit should be part of an agency’s set up procedures. So if anything, a stand-alone audit actually gives you a great opportunity to “try before you buy” when looking to engage a new agency.
Don’t throw money away like this baby
Consultations can deal with a wide range of topics – digital marketing strategies, media buying strategies, content approaches, etc. Audits focus solely on optimising your account set up and your approach to Facebook media planning and buying.
A high level of due diligence is required to ensure any consultation is addressing your specific needs at an adequate level of detail.
Audits are more predictable. They should always start with obtaining a high level understanding of your marketing approach and strategy, and then use that information to provide context for when they dig into the details of your account.
So how can an audit afford to charge just a one-time fixed fee instead of an hourly rate like a consulting job would?
A quality audit is a comprehensive set of standardised procedures, addressing a number of different questions. While it requires a high level of expertise and experience to be effective, the basis of review is an expansive list of review touch points.
This degree of standardisation simplifies the complexity of its execution to a point that makes the cost of performing one more predictable and therefore makes charging a one-time fee more appropriate.
Compared to these two options, an audit would be a more appropriate solution if:
- You want external advice at a lower price point and with no long-term commitment
- You already engage an agency but want a second opinion about your campaigns
- You want to “try before you buy” when looking to engage a new agency
An audit also offers further cost effective because it can be leveraged by your business. You can use the results of an audit as the starting point for implementing your own internal audit process, allowing you to avoid outsourcing this task in the future and improving the expertise of your team over time.
Also, because of the nature of its fee structure, any great audit, worth its money, should offer a money back guarantee if certain criteria aren’t met (i.e. specific results aren’t met after 30 days). This minimises the risk of getting one even further!
Learn how you can get your own Facebook Ads Audit today!
Reason 3: Audits leverage others’ expertise and experience
One of the quickest ways to see improvement in any field is to leverage the experience and expertise of others.
The reasons are obvious… advice from those who have managed thousands of dollars in ad spend is valuable.
They have worked on numerous campaigns, including those that have returned high ROI or even lost money. They are able to offer fresh perspective, and provide new and valuable insights.
And because they likely currently manage a variety of other clients, they stay on top of the latest changes and trends within Facebook – whether that be a new pixel setup update or the impact of running CBO across all campaigns.
But an audit is also beneficial because it helps avoid a major potential problem when you attempt to perform your own self-analysis. That problem is confirmation bias.
What is confirmation bias?
“It is the tendency to search for, interpret, and recall information in a way that confirms your pre-existing beliefs or hypotheses, while giving disproportionately less attention to information that contradicts it.
The effect is stronger for desired outcomes or emotionally charged issues.”
What’s more emotionally charged than spending (and potentially losing) thousands of dollars in ad spend?
If you already think you’re targeting the right audience and you’re doing all the right things on Facebook, you’ll be blind to any negative truths.
Have you ever had a new piece of creative or a new angle completely tank? You try and rack your brain with all the reasons why.
Your ability to interpret your results and correct course is limited by your own emotionally-charged bias and judgment.
An outside audit helps combat that.
Working with someone else allows you to rationally analyze your campaigns and start using your data and experience to your advantage.
Going through an audit, while aware that you interpret the world through your own subjective lens, can leave you more open-minded and curious… types of behavior you can then apply beneficially to other parts of your business.
So how does an audit do that?
Audits are always structured to include a “consultation session” after the audit review has completed. This allows you to walk through their results and recommendations and gives you an opportunity to engage in a dialogue with them about your advertising.
Learn how you can get your own Facebook Ads Audit today!
If you are marketing on Facebook Ads but not seeing the results you want, you should strongly consider getting a Facebook audit.
An audit will help identify missed opportunities, ad spend “black holes” and any technical inefficiencies or errors; with the ultimate goal of improving your ROI and advertising KPIs.
And the audit process is quite simple – in between the initial discovery call and the final consultation call, you just have to grant the provider read-only access to your account.
What has your experience been with Facebook audits? Let us know!