This post was originally published on May 10th of 2017. However, it’s a very useful post if you’re using the Instant Audit Tool and promoting your free Facebook ads audit. So, we’ve updated Joey’s post with new information and we’re republishing it so you can use the 17 questions below as part of your audit process.
Calls with new potential clients can be difficult, and stressful… But they don’t have to be, if you do your due diligence when auditing their ads before the call. Don’t worry, I’m going to show you exactly what to look for.
Expect your prospect to ask about your particular strategy for running Facebook ads campaigns, and what you’d do differently than they, or their current digital marketing agency, would.
How you respond will be determined, in part, by what you find when you audit their ads.
This post will show you how to dig through Facebook ads manager, and find technical setup mistakes with your clients’ previous campaigns, opportunities for new tests, and possibilities for iteration for the future.
Let’s dive in. What follows are a series of simple questions I ask myself when I audit client’s ad account to find new opportunities.
Question 1: Are Previous Buyers and Leads Being Excluded from Prospecting Campaigns?
Simple mistake and simple fix here. No one wants to spend more money on cold traffic to reach people who have already opted in or bought. Recommend that your client exclude those lists from their cold traffic campaigns.
Question 2: Are Ad Sets Being Given Enough of an Initial Budget to See if They’re Working?
Many advertisers I meet are still stuck in “2009” mode, where they launch every new ad set at $5 dollars a day thinking they’re mitigating risk and saving money. The truth is that many advertisers are actually hurting their campaigns and their tests by doing this.
Facebook’s Auction determines which advertisers win what impressions in part by what those advertisers tell Facebook about how much a conversion is worth to them (i.e. your bid).
Even if you’re using automatic bids on your ad sets, you’re still bidding, you’re just letting Facebook do it for you. And if your bid is a function of your budget, and your budget is $5 a day, you’re telling Facebook your conversions are worth a fraction of that.
Users who are likely to click, opt-in and buy many times will cost more to reach in the auction, so you want to make sure you’re starting your ad sets budgets at 2-3x what you’re willing to pay for that lead, or that customer. This way, you won’t end up getting priced out of the auction for those valuable impressions.
Question 3: What is the Click Through Rate of the Client’s Prospecting Creative?
If you filter for all cold traffic campaigns in the client’s account, then go to the ad level and find the click through rate (CTR) is less than 1%, that is a huge red flag. It’s also something you should bring up as an opportunity for improvement to your client.
In general, you should be shooting for a CTR of 1-2% on desktop and 2-4% on mobile in most niches.
You can increase the CTR of existing images by:
- Adding a call to action button on the images.
- Test benefit based CTA copy.
- Using pictures of your “ideal customer avatar” i.e. pictures of people in the demographic you’re trying to reach.
- Increasing contrast or saturation on existing images.
- Testing Images that are congruent with the concept in your ad copy.
- Testing Images that show the user “what they get”:
- e.g. Screenshots of the software for SaaS advertisers.
- e.g. Images of book cover for people advertising a “free download”.
- Testing images with a clear foreground.
- Testing images with a blurred or opaque background and the CTA in focus.
- Inspirational Images.
- Adobe Illustrator style images.
And the list goes on, I recommend using a Facebook adspy tool like AdFox.io to do your own research and find some creative recommendations for your client.
Question 4: Has the Client Run an Ad Type Test?
Something many client’s and advertisers don’t do, is test all the ad types available to them. For performance marketers, this means testing a variation of video, newsfeed, carousel, and possibly lead ads, photo ads, or canvas.
What I’ve found as I’ve managed, audited and analyzed over 60 different Facebook Ad Accounts over the past 3 years, is; there is no “best” ad type. There’s a best ad type for a particular client and a particular campaign.
A robust creative testing strategy involves testing ad types first, variations of the winning ad type second, copy variations third (if necessary), and then finding your control.
If your client hasn’t tested a particular Facebook ad type, spec a couple concepts for them and get going!
Question 5: Does a Low Conversion Rate or a Low Relevance Score Indicate a Copy Messaging issue?
As a rule of thumb, the image or video drives the click, and the copy drives the conversion.
If your client’s ad conversion rate is low, or their relevance score is low, that’s most likely a copy issue.
Many courses and books have been written about copy, so I won’t go into too much detail, but for test ideas you can use:
- Who Else Wants ____
- Testimonial headlines or body copy
- “How To” headlines
- News Headline “Announcing, Introducing”
- Long form story based copy “Hi my name is ____, and years ago I was broke or fat or <insert problem here> until I found ____
- Social Proof Headlines “Thousands of Marketers Around the World are Using a Revolutionary Headline Formula Which Increases Conversions and Cuts Down on Copywriting Time”
- USP based headlines “The first ____ to _______ in ________”
- If-then headlines, “If you experience ____, then you need to check out ____”
Make sure to use “power” words and words that evoke emotion in the copy. Also apply the “4 U’s” to the headline:
- Does this headline show Urgency in acting on this offer?
- Is this headline delivering Useful information?
- Is this headline Unique, compared to the client’s competitors’ ads?
- Is this headline Ultra-Specific in what it’s trying to convey?
Ideally, you want 2-3 of the 4 U’s in your headline to make it more effective.
To get more ideas about positioning and copy, I recommend looking through the client’s testimonials, product reviews and ad comments, to see what thoughts, feelings, and specific words their ideal prospects and customers use over and over. You can ask their sales and customer support staff what questions come in regularly.
Question 6: Is the Remarketing Copy Tailored to Where the Specific Remarketing Audience is On the Buyer’s Journey?
A common mistake you’ll find when auditing prospective clients’ accounts is that their remarketing copy isn’t tailored to where their potential customers are on their consumer journey. This usually means the copy isn’t designed to overcome the user’s objections to buying.
Here is a great graphic from Search Engine Land showing the range of Eugene Schwartz’s “Five Levels of Market Awareness” and copy angles that go along with them:
Let’s say we have a hypothetical prospective client running ads to an evergreen webinar funnel. The awareness of their prospecting audiences will range somewhere between unaware they have a problem, to aware they have a problem but not sure how to fix it.
People who watch the webinar but haven’t bought, will be aware a solution has been provided, but will need to be convinced that this is the only product around that can solve their problem, or the only one that solves it in this particular way. (Otherwise known as a product’s unique selling proposition, or USP.)
They will need to be convinced of the specifics of why it does this.
People who visit the sales page and haven’t bought will need that nudge, offer them a limited time bonus, a free trial, or a discount.
Each of these stages is a different step on the “Buyer’s Journey.” That’s the mental journey a potential customer takes from first exposure to your client’s product or service, to actually purchasing that product or service.
The copy or messaging at every stage of that journey has to match the customer’s mindset to push them along to the next stage.
As mentioned above, this is a common mistake and is usually easy to correct. Make some notes of changes you would recommend as you’re doing the ads audit.
Question 7: Are Audience Sizes Too Small or Too Large for Prospecting?
In most cases, for Facebook’s oCPM algorithm to work, you’ll want your prospecting audiences to be 500k to 6 million in size at most. As time goes on, and Facebook becomes better and better at finding your “ideal” audience of converting users, the maximum audience size that will work becomes larger and larger.
If you find your prospective client is targeting audiences that are too small for their conversion campaigns, let them know that their results will likely improve if they combine their targeting and increase their audience sizes.
If you find your client has been targeting audience sizes that are too large, you can suggest using the demographic, placement or device segmentations you found with FunnelDash by following the instructions in part 1 of this post.
Question 8: Are Conversion Campaigns Optimizing on the Deep in the Funnel?
If you’re getting 15-20 of your deep funnel conversions per day (adds to cart, sales page visitors or purchases), then Facebook most likely has enough data for you to bid on those deep funnel conversions.
Front-end conversions are those that happen at the beginning of the funnel, like opting in or visiting a product page. Backend conversions are those that happen at the end of the funnel, like adding to cart, initiating checkout, or buying.
Tell your client that if they set their conversion campaigns to optimize on purchases instead of leads or adds to cart, their results will most likely get better.
Question 9: Are Retargeting Audiences Hitting a High Frequency but Low Reach?
Once you start auditing a prospective client’s Facebook ads account, you’ll find that many times they’re running remarketing campaigns that have a great return, but the frequency at which the audience is seeing the ads is sky high (10,20, or maybe even 30).
The danger here is that after a short-term climb in profits, those remarketing audiences will fatigue due to high frequency and campaign results will suffer.
If you find this in your client’s account, you’ll want to see what the campaign’s reach is and compare it to the total remarketing audience sizes.
If the reach is less than the total audience size, then there’s an opportunity to switch to manual bids, and increase results without increasing frequency.
If the client in question has reached most of their remarketing audience already, you’ll want to recommend a creative refresh to them and a regular ad rotation schedule to avoid fatiguing their most highly profitable audiences.
Question 10: Are There Opportunities to Better Pair Creative with Specific Demographics?
Sometimes the “best-performing ad” isn’t really the best performing ad in every instance.
Something I look for in every client account (and something you should look for too), is opportunities to better pair creative with specific demographics or audiences.
Often times, when an advertiser says, “this is the best ad” they are looking at their stats in aggregate. They’re looking at an average instead of what’s actually performing best with a specific demographic.
Look at the ad level stats in FunnelDash, choose the age and gender breakdowns, review the information and take screenshots to show your prospective client. You’ll find that, for specific ages, or genders, different ad variations actually performed better.
Show your client your age, gender, ad name dashboards and point out the actual best performing ads for their specific ages and genders. Then discuss how you can optimize and scale these ads to improve their campaign.
Question 11: Are There Opportunities for a Bid Type Test
One of the highest value tests we run for accounts these days is the bid type test for remarketing. For a more detailed explanation of this test and how to perform it, check out our blog post, Five Tactics to Profitably Scale Facebook Ads for Your Shopify Store.
As you audit your client’s Facebook ads, you’ll want to identify which campaigns your client is running for remarketing and what they’re bidding on. Many times, a prospective client will have only tested bidding for conversions for remarketing, or only clicks.
You’ll want to tell your client that they can increase their remarketing results by testing the following bid types and campaign objectives for each key remarketing audience, and identifying the most highly profitable bids:
- Conversion objective (optimizing for sales)
- Bidding for clicks
- Bidding for impressions
- Video view objective or page post engagement objective
Question 12: Are There Remarketing Audiences That Your Client Should Target?
For every client account that you audit, you’ll want to check which remarketing audiences are being targeted and which ones aren’t being targeted, but should be. Here’s a quick list to spot check if your client is reached everyone “in their world”:
- Site visitors
- Uploaded lead list
- Custom audience of leads
- Video engagement audiences for all videos
- Page engagement audiences (saved post, visited page)
- Canvas engagement audiences
- Page likes
- Uploaded customer list (cross selling other products)
Question 13: Is There Too Much Overlap Between Existing Audiences?
When you audit your prospective client’s account, you’ll want to check Facebook’s delivery insights dashboard for their active ad sets and see if there is a high rate of auction overlap in their ad account.
Another way to identify this issue is to go to the Audiences tab in their ad account, select all their active lookalike audiences and go to actions, and click “show audience overlap”.
Take a screenshot and let your client know the overlap in their account exists. Tell them having overlap between two ad sets can cause them to perform poorly and cause delivery to be unstable and unpredictable.
Question 14: Have Custom Audiences Been Updated Recently?
If your client is targeting lookalikes from uploaded lists for cold traffic, or remarketing to lists of uploaded leads or buyers, make sure that they’ve been updated recently. Inform them of the necessity of updating their lists to avoid audience fatigue.
Question 15: Are the Same Post IDs Being Used for Each Version of the Creative?
When you get access to your client’s Facebook ad account, filter for active ads, go to the ad level, and choose “edit” to find out if they’re “using an existing post” or their ads, or using a new post for everyone.
If they’re using more than one post ID for each creative variation, you’ll want to inform them that the retaining social proof on their ads (likes, shares, positive comments), will increase their return on ad spend and conversion rate.
The more likes, comments, shares and video views on a particular ad, the stronger the pull of social proof is, and the higher the CTR, conversion rate and return on ad spend will be.
Question 16: Are Spam Comments and Negative Comments Being Filtered Out?
If you find your client is getting a lot of spam comments, or negative comments, you’ll want to let them know they can automatically filter out comments based on certain keywords.
To do this, all they need to do is go to their page, click settings, then go to general, and then click “Page Moderation”.
Question 17: Are There Opportunities for New Lookalike Tests?
Here’s a quick list I put together of possible lookalike seed audiences that you can pitch to your client:
Listed in no particular order:
- High Value Buyers upload (Purchase a large dollar amount)
- All buyers lookalike upload
- High Volume Buyers upload (bought multiple times or high retention for subscription purchase)
- Buyers by product
- All Leads email upload
- All Leads custom audience
- Email openers
- Email clickers
- 95% video viewers
- 75% video viewers
- Saved Your Post (Page Engagement Audiences)
- Phone number list upload
- Site visitors 7,14,30 days
- Leads/buyers by industry
- Order form visitors
- Sales Page Visitors
- Mobile Leads
- Desktop Leads
- iOS Leads
- Android Leads
- High percentile time on page
- Add to cart event seed
- Purchase event seed
Take a look at what your client has tested previously and let them know how they can expand their audience targeting!
Are There Too Many Important Questions to Remember on This List?
Download our checklist, “17 Questions to Ask Yourself When Doing a Facebook Ads Audit for a Prospective Client.” That way you’ll never miss an opportunity to show a prospective client how you can help them improve their ROI.
Are There Questions You Ask When You Audit a Client's Facebook Ads Account?
Tell us about them in the comments.