According to a supercomputer in Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy & Google, The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything is 42.
Apparently, the same number applies to Facebook ads account audit according to, well… me.
This guide will take you through all of the important elements in your Ad Account that can improve not only your Ads performance but your performance as a marketer.
I will explain everything in detail and I will give some examples (not best practices).
At the end of the article, you will find a link to a spreadsheet template so you can evaluate all of the steps of any Facebook Ad Account. The template will give you a health score of an ad account on a scale of 0 to 💯.
Please keep in mind that every Ad Account is different and every business has a different goal they want to reach. Your job as a marketer is to assess whether all of the settings make sense for your business.
There is a possibility that two advertisers who are doing the exact opposite are both correct. It doesn’t matter what they are doing as long as it’s growing their business.
So here are 42 steps to evaluate Facebook Ad Account.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #1: Make Sure Facebook Pixel is Installed Correctly
Pretty basic step if you have run Facebook ads for some time but still very important. No Facebook Pixel means no data and no data means no data-driven marketing.
For those who don’t know anything about the Facebook Pixel.
Facebook pixel is a piece of code that allows Facebook to keep track of users who visit your web page.
It will match each page visitor with a Facebook user account and it will keep track of what pages (URLs) they visit, how much time they spend on each page and so on.
Later you can create a variety of audiences based on user activity on your website. This is how remarketing happens.
The most basic remarketing audience that you can create is users who visited your website. But you can go much more complex.
For example, you can create a custom audience of people who visited a specific blog article using a specific device and also visited your contact page.
Keep in mind that once you install the pixel it starts collecting data from that moment forward. You can’t get any data prior to installing your pixel.
Each pixel code is unique and is always connected to one Facebook Ads Account.
You and only you have access to the information that your pixel is collecting. Facebook will only process this data for you.
No other advertiser on Facebook has access to your data unless you share it with them.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #2: Make Sure You Are Tracking All Relevant Events With Your Pixel”?
Once you’ve made sure your pixel is set up correctly you’d want to check if an Ad Account has all the relevant events set up.
For those who don’t know what are events:
It doesn’t make sense to just track the URLs that people are visiting on your website.
You’d want to track certain activities as (conversion) events that have some value to you. Such as when people added a product to the cart, completed a purchase or filled out your lead form.
Usually, when someone completes a purchase on your website they will land on a unique URL with a purchase ID.
This means each time a certain product is bought a new URL is generated that will get exactly one visit. But you are not interested in the information that each confirmation page had one visit.
You’d want to set up an event that will sum up all purchases together into one metric such as Complete Purchase.
Now you’ll get some additional metrics as well, such as Cost Per Purchase which is often used as a KPI (Key Performance Indicator).
If you don’t have standard events set up then you can start here.
If you do have events set up then you can create conversion campaigns that optimize ad delivery to your desired conversion action. Facebook will find users that are most likely to complete the desired conversion event.
Having this aggregate data of all relevant events will give you additional options.
You could exclude all people who have completed the purchase event and exclude them from your marketing activities to save money by not showing ads to people who already subscribed to your service.
At some point, you’ll want to target people who look similar to those who completed the purchase. They are called lookalike audiences, we’ll talk about them later in step 27.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #3: Make Sure You Are Sending Data To Google Analytics
Even if you are Facebook Ads Specialist whose only job is to set up and manage Facebook ads you need to have a bigger picture in mind.
Most businesses advertise in more than one channel. Your clients can have multiple touchpoints and different journeys before they complete the desired action.
That’s why it makes sense to send every possible data point to one tool where you can analyze the marketing activities as a whole.
It is possible that one conversion is attributed both to Google Ads and Facebook Ads so you will report 2 conversions events even though only one has actually taken place.
Google Analytics will give you a much clearer picture of how many conversions happened due to the efforts in different channels (using last-click attribution).
Not only will you see how many last-click conversions each channel brings you but you can also see how many times each channel assisted the end conversions to happen.
For people who don’t understand attribution at all here’s an example.
Let’s say you have a website where you sell socks and you are running ads both on Facebook Newsfeed and Google Search.
Now a Facebook user is scrolling on Facebook while commuting to work. They see your ad, click on it and soon enough they find a cool pair of socks they’d like to buy.
Unfortunately, it’s already their bus stop and they need to go to work. In the evening on their way back home they remember the socks so they Google your brand name.
Search Ad is the first result because you’re doing great work on both of the channels. So they click on it and complete the purchase before they reach home.
This day you spent some money on Facebook Ads and some on Google Ads. Each of the platforms will report that they got you one conversion (complete purchase) because the user clicked on the ad on both platforms and completed the purchase on the same day.
Since Facebook and Google don’t communicate with each other. Neither of them knows that the user also interacted with ads on the other platform.
Now if have set everything up properly then Google Analytics will get the data from both of the platforms and will attribute conversion data accordingly (using last-click attribution).
Since the last click the user did was on Google Search analytics will attribute one conversion to Google Ads and zero to Facebook Ads.
But when you think about it the conversion from Google Ad would have never happened without the user first seeing Facebook Ad in the first place.
Luckily for you, Google Analytics measured the Facebook ad click as well and knows that the user journey to conversion was Facebook Ad -> Google Ad.
You can actually see how many assisted conversions each channel had by navigating to Conversions -> Multi-channel funnels -> Assisted Conversions.
You can also see which paths people take before converting. Some people can have 20 or 30 touchpoints before converting. There can be 3 from Facebook ads 5 from search ads and then 12 direct contacts before the conversion happens.
It’s not an ideal solution to add a conversion based on the last-click attribution so you should take a look at the paths in order to understand how each channel is contributing to the conversions.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #4: Make Sure You Are Using the Campaign Types that Match Your Goals
Facebook offers quite a lot of different campaign types. All of them are designed to get you the results that you desire.
Every single one of them is useful for something so as long as you are using the ones that make perfect sense for your business there isn’t much I can tell you.
There is no right or wrong combination of campaigns. But there can be a wrong (or inefficient) combination for you.
For those who don’t know what different campaign types are for.
Facebook has separated campaign types into three major categories:
- Awareness – Facebook will try to show your ads to as many people as possible without thinking if these people have any value for you.
- Consideration (I like to call it engagement) – Facebook will show ads to people who are likely to take some action, visit a website, download a mobile app, submit a lead, respond to your event, watch a video or send you a message via messenger.
- Conversion – Facebook will optimize your ad delivery to people who are likely to complete a conversion action (usually it’s a Complete Purchase).
Each of the campaign types has some sort of requirement.
Awareness campaigns require you to have a target audience and creatives to show to these people.
Consideration campaigns require a step you wish your target audience would take. This can be an engagement on social media, a visit to your landing page or a live chat.
Usually, this step is to nurture your potential customers.
Conversion campaigns are usually going after paying customers. To set these campaigns up you need to have all the previous plus conversion events set up. Facebook will try to find people who are most likely to convert.
According to Facebook, you need around 50-100 conversion events per week per ad set to optimize for the best performance.
Think of your campaigns as a funnel. The first step is to make sure that people will find out that you exist and get to know what you offer.
The next step is to nurture them. Maybe a video that explains your product, a blog article that compares your product with the competitors or a chat with your support team so they can confirm that your product really is a solution to their problem.
And the final step is to show them reviews of satisfied users or just strong CTA or offer that makes sure they will become paying customers.
There’s also an article from WordStream: 6 Steps to Create Full-Funnel Advertising Strategy with Facebook Objectives.
One thing to keep in mind is that you often don’t need to create a campaign for each step of the funnel.
If you have enough conversion events coming in (more than 50 a week per ad set) then you can just set up a Conversion Campaign, optimize it for the final step in your funnel and tell Facebook how much money are you willing to invest.
With the lowest-cost bidding strategy, Facebook will maximize the number of conversions you get from that money. I will talk more about selecting the right bidding strategy later in this article.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #5: Make Sure Your Ad Set Delivery Optimizations Are Aligned With Your Goals
In each Ad Set, you can set the Ad delivery optimisation. As long as they are optimised for the end results that are important for your business you’re all good.
A general rule of thumb is to optimize your Ad delivery for your most important KPI whenever possible.
If your business goal is to get purchases then please optimize for that event. If for example, you are optimizing for reach then you are probably wasting a lot of money by showing your ads to people who are never going to buy from you.
For those who don’t know what delivery optimization is or does.
There are millions of advertisers and billions of people on Facebook.
Not all advertisers want to sell products on their webpage and not all users on Facebook want what you have to offer.
Some advertisers want to promote their Kickstarter project, some want you to listen to their podcast, some want to spread the news, some want to hire new people and others want you to attend their event.
In order to match the right advertisers with the right people Facebook lets you choose the Ad Delivery optimization goal. You are in charge of telling Facebook what your actual end goal is.
Facebook will then match your end goal with users who are most likely to reach that end goal.
Why is it important to get it right?
Because you will save money.
Let’s say your actual goal is a purchase from your website but instead, you tell Facebook that you want as many people as possible to visit your website – you want traffic.
What will happen is that Facebook will show your ad to much more people resulting in a lot more traffic to your website. It will cost you all your budget and if you’re lucky, some people will buy from you.
Resulting in low-quality traffic, low conversion rate and high CPA.
If you’d optimize ad delivery for purchase events then Facebook will automatically filter out all low-quality traffic (people who would definitely visit your site but would definitely not buy from you).
Resulting in high-quality traffic, higher conversion rate and lower cost per acquisition (CPA).
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #6: Make Sure You Are Using All Relevant Target Audiences When Targeting Your Ads
I make an assumption that you have a general idea of who your target audience is based on the available targeting options that Facebook offers.
But this is not enough. There are at least 3 additional audiences you must create to achieve higher efficiency.
- Website (or app) visitors
- Abandoned Cart (or any other step that’s near the last step of the funnel)
- Paying Customers
What can you do with these audiences?
You can set up a remarketing campaign for website visitors while excluding abandoned carts and paying customer audiences. This allows bringing back people who just browsed.
You can set up a conversion campaign for people who abandoned their carts. Remind them that they forgot to buy (maybe even offer a 5-10% discount code). Exclude paying customers.
You can use your paying customers list to sell them additional items after some time. Maybe your product only lasts for a certain amount of time on average so you should create a campaign that starts showing ads after that time has passed.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #7: Make Sure Your Placement Selection Makes Sense
Facebook offers two options:
- Automated Placement and
- Edit Placement
Based on dozens of variables either of those can be a good option for you.
You need to know what you are advertising, what content are you using, what devices bring you the best results etc.
For those who like to know the specifics
Okay, the Automated Placement option is pretty easy. You allow Facebook to show your ads on any possible placement that Facebook has to offer.
Over time Facebook will determine which placements are bringing you the most results with the budget you have set. This is a great option for you if you have never run ads or you’re not sure what brings you the best results.
In my experience, the Automated Placements option works extremely well if you are advertising mobile apps. You set up the App Install campaign, select the mobile OS (iOS or Android) and its version where your app works and then optimize for a certain in-app event (like a purchase).
Automated placement will show your ads only to users who are using mobile devices with the OS version that you specify.
Since it is targeted very well the CPAs are usually quite low.
Read more: About Placements.
The Edit Placement option is perfect for you if you understand why you should include or exclude some placements from certain Ad Sets.
For example, if your website is not mobile friendly (for some reason) you might want to exclude Instagram and messenger platforms altogether since people use those platforms mostly on mobile.
The audience network option is said to perform the worst by many marketing professionals but there are always exceptions especially when you are optimizing the delivery and targeting the right people on the right devices.
You just need to figure out what works for you over time.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #8: Make Sure Your Budget Is Reasonable
By reasonable I mean does your budget align with the expected results and audience size?
When you are using a too-high budget for the target audience your frequency and CPA go up unless, of course, you have set the frequency cap in which case you are probably not spending your budget.
If this is the case try one of the following:
- Expand your target audience
- Come up with a new target audience, create a new ad set and allocate some of your budget there
- Reduce your budget
Frequency is a great indicator that your budget is too high for the selected target audience. However, there is no ideal frequency to look out for. It depends on so many factors.
Some advertisers say that a frequency above 3 is high while others say that 16 is their ideal frequency.
I say if it’s below 20 you shouldn’t worry about it. But that depends on multiple factors.
After all, frequency is just a vanity metric that will let you know how many times on average a person saw your ads.
Let’s say it’s 1.5 and people are buying your product. Well, that’s great you are targeting the right people who will become paying customers after seeing your ads 1-2 times.
But let’s say your product is super expensive and most users will research a lot and educate themselves before making a purchase.
For example, I see a lot of car ads. I believe I have seen Volkswagen ads over 30 times by now and I still need time before making the final decision.
As long as your CPA meets your expectations, who am I to tell you to reduce the budget and lower your frequency, right?
When you are using a too-low budget for your target audience. Well, nothing is actually broken. You can continue with a small budget and Facebook will continue to find you, new customers.
But you are missing out. If your ads are bringing you paying customers and you are profitable then increasing the budget would bring you more paying customers.
Of course, if you increase the budget and you are using the lowest-cost bid strategy then your average CPA may increase as you increase the budget.
There’s more information about bid strategies in the next section which leads us to…
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #9: Make Sure You Are Using Campaign Budget Optimization And Correct Bid Strategies
When creating a campaign you can opt-in for campaign budget optimization.
Let’s say you have a conversion campaign where you sell coffee beans on your website and you have an Ad Set per country because you are a super localized business and you run ads in the local languages.
If you’d use ad set budgets you might set 20 euros per day for Poland and 50 euros per day for Norway and so on. Facebook will maximize the results in each country with the budget you set.
In Sweden, the CPA is 6 euros while in Norway it’s 11 euros. This means on average you will get 3.33 conversions in Sweden and 4.54 conversions in Norway. This equals 7.87 conversions per day with a CPA of 8.89 euros.
With campaign budget optimization Facebook has the power to allocate budget between ad sets to maximize the results. I am going to simplify this a lot but you’ll get the idea.
Facebook understands that in Sweden the CPA is much lower so it will allocate Norway’s budget to Sweden’s ad set.
So if the CPA in Sweden is on average 6 euros you’d get 11.66 total conversions per day if you allow Facebook to allocate budget between ad sets.
In reality, the algorithm that allocates the budget is more complex.
Let’s say you run ads in every country in the EU.
No conversion will cost you exactly the same amount of money. Facebook can determine that it can get you 3 conversions with less than a 3 euro investment in Poland, then one conversion for 3.5 euros in Estonia and then 7 more conversions with 4 euros in Poland.
Facebook just determines based on the signals it has where can it get the next conversion with the cheapest acquisition cost for you (if you’re using the lowest-cost bid strategy).
There are cases where Campaign Budget Optimization should be disabled. Let’s say you run a food delivery business. And in every city where you operate, you need to have a certain balance between supply and demand in order to be profitable.
Campaign Budget Optimization would understand that in one city the cost per food order is cheaper and would allocate all of the budgets to just one city.
This will result in great business in one location and no business in other locations.
But there’s one more thing.
There is an option to enable campaign budget optimization and set certain limits for each Ad Set known as cost control. It is different based on what bidding strategy you are using.
This way you can set some rules that Facebook has to follow.
Enabling Campaign Budget Optimization will also let you choose a campaign-level bid strategy. If you don’t select campaign budget optimization you need to select an ad set bid strategy.
Note that bidding strategy is not the same as cost controls (I’ll talk more about cost controls in step 17)
By selecting a bid strategy you tell Facebook how you want your budget to be spent. Each selection comes with a different trade-off so in order to have the best possible results you really need to understand what each of them actually does.
- Lowest cost – Facebook manages your bids to reach the lowest cost opportunities while spending your budget.
You need to consider that:
- You will have no control over your CPA
- CPA can rise as you exhaust the least expensive opportunities or as you increase the budget.
You should use the lowest-cost bid strategy when you want to spend your full budget or need to understand what bid/cost to use for other bid options.
This bid strategy is equivalent to maximising conversions bid strategy in Google Ads.
- Cost Cap – Maximise conversion volume within your acceptable CPA. Minimise your cost when possible without manually adjusting your bids.
You need to consider that:
- Cost may rise as you run out of the cheapest opportunities
- The learning phase requires more aggressive exploration
- The campaign may not spend the full budget once you hit the cap
You should use this bid strategy when you want to maximise cost efficiency or when you need to keep the cost within a specific threshold.
This bid strategy is the equivalent of Maximize Conversions Bid Strategy with a CPA cap in Google Ads.
Note that you’ll have to set the cap on the Ad Set level.
- Bid Cap – Maximise volume at the specified maximum bid. It can increase competitiveness against other advertisers targeting similar audiences.
You need to consider that:
- You need to spend more time managing bids to control the cost
- Costs can rise as you exhaust cheaper opportunities or increase your budget
- You may not spend the full budget
- The bid is not the cost you’ll see in reporting
You should use the bid cap bid strategy when you want to set a maximum bid across auctions to control cost and reach as many users as possible at that bid.
This is basically the equivalent of manual CPC (cost per click) in Google Ads.
There are more advanced bid strategies available such as Target ROAS. But if you plan to use these then you already know what you are doing so there’s no need for me to explain these to you.
You can read more about bid strategies on Facebook’s guide to bid strategies.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #10: Make Sure Your Conversion Actions Align With Your Business Goals
With conversion campaigns, you need to select a conversion event. Choosing the right one is the difference between investing your money and spending your money.
For those who wonder what’s the difference between conversion action (also known as marketing objective) and Ad Delivery Optimization event that we talked about in point 6.
Marketing Objective doesn’t affect your ad delivery at all. Ad delivery is only affected by Ad Delivery Optimization Event as we talked about in step 6.
Marketing objective, however, sets the template for your ad set and ad creation.
Depending on what objective you choose, you will get a different set of options that are best suited for achieving that goal.
Marketing Objective dictates, among other things, what ad delivery optimization events are available for you.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #11: Make Sure Your Conversion Window Makes Sense
Based on the goals that you have defined in your ad set you need to choose one of the following conversion windows:
- 1-day click
- 7-days click
- 1-day click or view
- 7 days click or 1-day view
For those who don’t understand what a conversion window is
The conversion window lets Facebook know which historical data it should use to optimize the ad delivery to its target audience.
Let’s say you saw an ad about a concert in your town. The advertiser who set up this ad campaign on Facebook set the conversion window to 1-day click or view.
You were interested in that concert and you ended up buying tickets three days later.
Facebook will still attribute the conversion to your analytics but it will never use this data to fine-tune the ad delivery the next day since conversion did not happen within 24 hours after seeing or clicking the ad.
Based on what you are selling and how most people are buying the products you should tell Facebook how recent data it should use to optimize ad delivery.
It doesn’t have anything to do with attribution. Facebook will attribute conversions to Ads up to 7-days after people saw or interacted with an ad. You can even select different columns to see how many conversion did your ads bring based on 1-day, 7-day and 28-day attribution.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #12: Make Sure Your Ad Sets Are Focused Around Audiences Not Ads
This is the only step in this whole article that has the right or wrong answer (in my opinion).
The right way to set up your ad sets is by the audience. You will create one ad set for one specific target audience for whom you have created customized ads.
The wrong way to set up your ad sets is to create multiple ad sets for one target audience and have only a small or no variance of ads in each ad set.
If this is the case then you are basically running a very bad split test.
If your goal was to run a split test then use the proper split testing features that Facebook has to offer. Read more: Facebook Ad A/B Testing In 2019 – What To Test? by Karola Karlson.
For those who wonder why it’s bad to set up multiple ad sets with the same target audience.
When a user is spending time scrolling on their newsfeed then around every fourth content piece that they’ll see will be an ad.
Before an ad is displayed to a user Facebook will run an auction between all of the advertisers who are targeting this person.
Auction is held between advertisers (not ad sets) so when you have created many ad sets that all target the same audiences then you have placed yourself in direct competition with yourself.
Facebook, however, will not let you compete against yourself in an auction. Instead, it will choose the ad set with the best performance data to enter the auction while ignoring all other ad sets.
We’ll talk more about this in step 24.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #13: Make Sure You Are Excluding The Right People From Your Ad Sets
Excluding paying customers from campaigns that are designed to find new customers is probably the most common practice.
Based on your business and Ad Account set up you can probably come up with more audiences to exclude from specific Ad Sets.
For those who want an example.
It’s as important to know what to do as it is to know what not to do. Excluding some people from Ad Sets can save you money.
Let’s say you are selling multivitamins on your website. Each bottle will last exactly 2 months for one person. So it makes sense for you to set up at least two separate ad sets (if not campaigns) – one for finding new customers and the other to remind people to re-supply.
To pull this off you need to set up three different audiences:
- People who are your ideal customers in the future – cold audience
- People who completed a purchase in the past 180 days (this is the maximum number of days you can select)
- People who completed a purchase in the past 60 days
For the first campaign that is designed to attract new customers, you need to set a cold audience ad target audience and exclude people who completed the purchase in the past 180 days.
For the second campaign which I’ll call a re-supply campaign, you’ll need to set the target audience of people who completed the purchase in the past 180 days and exclude people who completed the purchase in the past 60 days.
Facebook will always subtract excluded audience from the target audience.
So you’ll be left with people who completed purchases 60-180 days ago. These are the people who should re-supply.
With this setup, you can show different messages to cold and warm audiences and people will be moved from one group to another automatically. You will also not bother people who don’t need re-supply yet.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #14: Make Sure You Are Targeting The Right Geographical Areas
It’s a pretty obvious thing, but quite often it happens that advertisers duplicate existing ad sets or campaigns and they forget to change the target location. Resulting in them ‘competing’ with themselves in the auction.
Go back to step 12 if you missed the ‘competing with yourself’ part.
More detailed explanation.
As with audiences you can include and exclude different locations in your ad set targeting. You can include countries, cities or continents in your targeting.
You can even go as specific as targeting area codes.
In some cases, you’d want to target a whole country but exclude some cities for whatever reason.
Maybe you have a better offer to people who live in the capital so you exclude them from the Country ad set and create a new ad set where you only show ads to people living in the capital.
The possibilities are endless.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #15: Make Sure You Are Targeting The Right Age Groups
Targeting the right age groups is usually not a problem for most marketers. Since most of the things that are advertised are consumed by a lot of people regardless of their age.
The most popular age group targeting that I have seen is people aged from 18 to 45.
If you are optimizing ad delivery for conversions then I recommend using broader age groups, since Facebook’s algorithm will figure out over time who are the people who are most likely to convert.
This way you don’t accidentally leave out some potential customers.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #16: Make Sure You Are Using The Audience Expansion Where It Makes Sense
If your campaign objective is conversions, app installs, lead generation, post engagement or traffic then your ad sets are eligible to opt-in for audience targeting expansion.
This setting is sometimes compared with the broad match feature in Google Ads but it’s more (or in some cases less) than that.
There are quite a lot of details that you should know before opting in or out of this feature.
- Opting in will give Facebook a signal that it can show your ads to people who are not in your defined target audience when there is a chance to get better results
- There is a chance your audience will not be expanded if Facebook sees that it’s not worth it even when you opt-in.
- Conversion and App Install campaigns are opted in by default, so if you don’t wish to expand the target audience then you much unselect this option.
- Audience targeting expansion does not affect your custom audiences and it is not a lookalike audience either (but the underlying concept is quite similar).
- People in your excluded audiences will never end up in your target audience when you are using audience targeting expansion.
- Even if you opt-in there is no way to check if your target audience was expanded or not.
The only way you’ll know for sure if it works for you is by running a proper split test where one ad set opts in for target audience expansion and the other one doesn’t.
When your ad set is using both detailed targeting and a custom audience in one ad set and you opt-in for the audience expansion then your detailed targeting audience will be expanded but the custom audience won’t.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #17: Make Sure You Are Using Cost Controls
As you read in step 9 that once you opt-in for campaign budget optimization you can use cost controls in your ad set level.
Based on the bid strategy that you have selected you have a different option available in the ad set level.
If you chose:
- Lowest Cost Bid Strategy then there is nothing you can set on the ad set level. Facebook will try to use all your campaign-level budget to get the most results as cheaply as possible.
- Cost Cap Bid Strategy then on every ad set you can set the desired average cost per conversion (target CPA).
Note that the cost cap aims to minimize costs by delivering the cheapest results first.
To maximize efficiency you should use your full budget to get the most conversions. As long as your CPA is below your cost cap you will continue to get more conversions.
If you set your cost cap too low then there is a chance that you will not spend your full budget as there aren’t enough conversions available at that price.
The same can happen if you increase your budget. You might run out of cheap conversions and hit your cap.
If you need to maintain the same cost cap try expanding your audience or updating your creatives.
- Bid Cap Bid Strategy then you can set the maximum bid that Facebook is allowed to bid on an auction.
It’s important to keep in mind that cost and bid are not the same things but they are related.
Setting a bid cap tells Facebook the maximum you are willing to bid on each auction but you might pay less on any given auction as Facebook will only charge you the minimum amount required to win the auction.
Setting too low bid caps can limit or prevent your ad set delivery. You can see the delivery status as Bid Limited when your bid is too low to compete in an auction.
- Target Cost Bid Strategy then Facebook aim for the average cost to be within a 10% range of the amount you enter.
For example when you enter a Target Cost of 10 euros but your cost per result is 7 euros then Facebook will try to find more expensive conversions to reach an average of 10 euros per conversion.
This happens because your goal is to maintain a stable CPA over time. So when you decide to increase your budget the CPA should stay at the same level since there are still cheaper conversions available to bring your average down when needed.
The ideal situation is when you spend your full budget and get a consistent amount of conversions while being satisfied with your cost per result.
This is the best strategy to use when you plan to scale your business.
- Minimum ROAS Bid Strategy then you tell Facebook what is the absolute minimum value that it should bring you.
It can be between 0.01 to 1000. However, if you set it too high and Facebook is not able to deliver the result then it will stop delivering your ads.
If you need an explanation of the numbers then setting it to 1 means that you will break even. Each euro that you spend on ads will get you a 1 euro value from sales.
Try to set realistic ROAS and then increase it as you refine your Ad Sets.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #18: Make Sure You Are Using The Right Delivery Type
If you have campaign budget optimization enabled then you can set this option on the campaign level.
There are two options available and your goal is to select the one that makes the most sense for your business goals.
Standard delivery is usually the smartest choice. Facebook will use pacing to show your ads over the course of your schedule.
Let’s say due to seasonality or whatever reason it would be much more expensive for you to get conversions right now so Facebook will not use the whole budget to get you expensive conversions.
Instead, it will pace things so it will spend more money when there are cheaper conversions available for you.
Accelerated delivery is the opposite. It will try to get conversions as soon as possible even if they are going to be more expensive for you.
You should use accelerated delivery if you have a time-limited offer. For example, you are organizing an event in a few days and there are still too many unsold tickets.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #19: Make Sure You Are Targeting The Right Devices
This section can be divided into two parts.
The first part is applicable to all of your campaigns as long as you are using the edit placements option in your ad sets.
If that’s the case then you are eligible to select between desktop and mobile devices (or both) while specifying which placements you want your ads to appear at. You can look back to step 7 to read about placements.
There is no right or wrong setting here but there can be a right or wrong combination of settings for you.
Say your website is not optimized for mobile and no one converts when using a mobile device then it makes sense to target only desktops.
Luckily Facebook is also quite smart. If you don’t know for yourself then just select automated placements and let the machine learning find out by itself what works for you and what doesn’t.
After a while, you can break down your results by device and placement and see for yourself how each combination of placements and devices performed for you.
The next time you create campaigns you can set them up confidently with settings that you know work best for your business.
The second part of device targeting happens when you create mobile app campaigns. Facebook will give you some additional options. Such as selection operation systems (OS) and OS versions.
You have to set up one ad set per OS (Android and iOS) if you support both of them, or just one Ad Set if you only support one of them.
After you have selected the OS then it’s time to select the OS version. Yes, you can target the mobile devices that have a certain OS version in which your app actually works.
This will result in a better user experience and better results for you.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #20: Make Sure You Are Targeting The Right Genders
Female, Male or All – that’s it.
Based on the goals you want to target one or the other. There are cases where you have the same product for both genders but completely different messages for both of them.
Check your ad sets because it can happen that you forgot to change the gender targeting when duplicating the Ad Sets.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #21: Make Sure You Are Targeting The Right Languages
Language targeting can be confusing sometimes. Especially if you are targeting people globally.
You might run into a question like ‘Is the language option going to target people based on their Facebook interface language or people who understand this language regardless of their interface option?’
Well, in reality, it is something completely different and in most cases, it makes sense to leave this option blank.
The language option is actually related to your target location.
Facebook makes an assumption that your ads are meant for people who speak the most popular language in your target region.
For example, if you target Estonia then Facebook will automatically think that you want to target people who speak Estonian.
If, however, you target Estonia but all your ads are in English or Russian then you’d need to tell it to Facebook so that it can deliver your ads to people who speak that language.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #22: Make Sure Your Scheduling Makes Sense
Note: Scheduling is only available when using lifetime budgets.
If you are using lifetime budgets then you can select to show ads by the user time zone or by your Ad Account time zone.
You can also set the specific days and times of days when you want your ads to be delivered. It can be a time when you’re customer support is available or when your local store is open.
Before you begin Facebook recommends
- Using Page Insights to understand when your audience is most active on Facebook.
- Designing your ads based on the time of day or day of the week that you choose. For example, if your ad set runs from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., you may want your ad to use media associated with mornings.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #23: Make Sure That You Are Being Charged By The Right Things
You are being charged either by Impressions or Link Clicks.
For many optimization goals, you’ll pay each time your ad is served (known as an impression).
Some optimization goals also let you choose between impressions and actions (such as link clicks or 10-second video views).
Even though your ads are usually optimized for conversions or links most of the time you’ll get charged by the impressions and you can’t even change that.
There are two reasons for that:
- The marketing objective you selected only allows you to be charged for impressions.
- If you create a new ad account, you have to spend at least $10 USD getting charged for impressions before you can switch to being charged for anything else.
Regardless of when you get charged, Facebook will optimize your ad delivery for the events of your choice. We talked about this in step 5.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #24: Make Sure That Your Audiences Are Not Overlapping
Audiences are the greatest thing that Facebook has to offer. You have access to more and better data than big corporations had 20 years ago (and they paid millions to collect and maintain this).
You probably know that you shouldn’t target everyone on Facebook so you create different audiences to target. If you create audiences without thinking the logic through you will end up with overlapping audiences.
Having overlapping audiences is not necessarily a bad thing but it can result in a poor delivery as you might be placing yourself in the same auction multiple times. I mentioned this in step 12 as well.
Since Facebook will not allow you to start bidding against yourself it will just determine the best-performing ad set which can enter the auction.
This can result in poor delivery for ad sets that are not performing as well.
For those who wonder how to fix this.
There are a few simple solutions to avoid this problem. One is making sure your audiences are not overlapping. You need to define 2 audiences that are different from one another.
Here’s a very simple example. Let’s say you create an audience of people who are interested in Gardening and then you create another audience of people who are interested in cars AND not interested in gardening.
This way the overlapping segment of people (interested both in gardening and cars) will be only included in the gardening interest audience but not in the car interest audience.
Another option is to actually combine your ads and overlapping audiences into one ad set. If you are targeting the same people (especially if they are overlapping a lot) then just create one ad set with more ads and let the machine learning determine the best possible ad for each person without you having to worry about poor delivery of some of the Ad Sets.
The first option is called refinement and the second one is consolidation. They are opposite solutions to the same problem. One is making your audiences smaller and the other one is making them bigger.
There is a free tool by Facebook to see how much your audiences are overlapping with each other. Here’s a guide from Facebook on how to use it.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #25: Make Sure You Are Using Custom Audiences
Custom audiences let you target a group of Facebook users that only you have information about.
Let’s say you have an email list of all your existing customers (nobody has the exact same email list as you) so you will upload the email creating a custom audience on Facebook.
Facebook will then match the emails with its users so you can start delivering remarketing messages. Please make sure you are GDPR compliant when operating in the EU.
You can also create custom audiences based on the website or mobile app traffic and from other data sources.
If you are not using custom audiences then you are doing one of two things wrong:
- You are missing out on repeat purchases.
- You are not excluding existing customers from your marketing activities directed to new customers.
Based on your business you should use one (or both) of the options above.
If you are selling only one product or a subscription service then you don’t need to target existing customers – you’d be wasting money. It makes sense to exclude them from all of your marketing activities.
However, if you have multiple products or accessories then you can sell to your existing customers multiple times. Just create Ad Sets that are designed to upsell or offer nice accessories to their existing product.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #26: Make Sure You Are Targeting Reasonably Sized Audiences
There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer so it can be a confusing thing to figure out.
The first problem you might have is that your audience is too big, but this can be a problem only at the beginning. Let me explain, if you target a very broad audience then Facebook can spend a bit more money in order to find the right people on Facebook.
Once you have around 50-100 conversions the algorithm will be able to target the right people even if the audience is way too big for your budget.
A much bigger problem is when your audience size is too small.
Unless you are using a frequency cap Facebook will run out of new people to deliver your ads to. Your audience’s newsfeed will be saturated with your ads, the frequency will go up, CPA goes up and you are going to spend all your money with diminishing returns.
If you are using a frequency cap when targeting a small audience then you are not going to spend your entire budget. You could get more results by broadening your audience.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #27: Make Sure You Are Using Lookalike Audiences
Lookalike audiences are a great way to target people who are similar to the people who are already valuable to you.
Let’s say you have created a custom audience from your paying customers as mentioned in step 25.
You can now use this audience to create a lookalike audience. Facebook will analyze people in your Custom Audience and will find 1-10% of people in that region who are most similar to your paying customers.
For example, there are close to 900k Facebook users in Estonia. If I want to create a 1% lookalike audience from my paying customer list in Estonia then Facebook will find 9,000 users in Estonia who look most similar to my paying customers.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #28: Make Sure You Are Using Saved Audiences
Using saved audiences can save you time when managing your Ads Account.
Advertisers usually either duplicate their ad sets and change some settings or create new ad sets and just wing the targeting settings. Quite often they end up going back and forth between ad sets to get all the targeting options right.
If you want to be smart it makes sense to create saved audiences out of your most used targeting settings.
Instead of selecting the same age groups, gender, interests, behaviours etc you can just create it once and save it. Name it something that you and anyone else would understand immediately when using them.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #29: Make Sure There Are Enough Variations Of Ads
You can have an ad set with only one ad but that doesn’t give Facebook algorithm any options to improve the performance.
The minimum number of ads that you should have in each ad set is 3. I feel comfortable using 5-15 ads per ad set but you can add up to 50.
Try creating a few variations of your ad. Use different dominant colours, test with stock images and your personal photo bank, and maybe make some illustrations.
The more you have the more Facebook can play around with them. Over time its algorithm will learn which ad performs best on which people.
Over time your performance will improve.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #30: Make Sure You Are Using a Variety Of Ad Formats
The user journey from seeing an ad to becoming a paying customer is not the same for everyone.
Some people need to see an ad multiple times, some need to see it at the right time and others need to see a different format or a combination of formats in order to convert.
So not only should you have a variety of images as I mentioned in step 29 but you also need to create slideshows, carousels and videos in order to appeal to different people.
Just because some ads perform worse than others doesn’t mean that pausing them will improve the performance of an Ad Set.
There could be a case where a video has a lot of views but almost no conversions attributed it while a carousel or image gets all conversions attributed to them. Pausing the video can reduce the number of conversions your images are getting.
That’s because your video is contributing to the end conversion a lot. Just by seeing the video some users get the confirmation that your product helps them and the next time they see an image ad with the right CTA, they will complete the purchase.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #31: Make Sure Your Creatives Are Following The Best Practices
You can spend hours or even days researching the best practices and still create mediocre ad design. As some of the mentioned articles mention the key is not to create the best creative on your first try but to improve over time.
Eventually, you’ll learn what performs best for you.
Here’s a part that some designers might hate. Great design doesn’t always equate to great performance. The image can be beautiful to look at but if data shows a poor performance then we must try again.
You must set performance goals for your designers in order to do performance marketing.
If a new design is witty and artsy but performs worse than a stock photo then you must try again. After all stock photo is cheaper than a designer who’s doing custom work.
There are a few things to look out for.
- Are your images grabbing attention? People on Facebook are scrolling fast. If your image isn’t bright and colourful it will not grab the attention.
- Are you using CTAs? The ad can be great but if you don’t tell people what to do next then you will lose some paying customers.
- Are you selling features or benefits? It’s easy to list all your features but more often than not people just need to know how they will benefit from it. What’s the value?
You can also check out our Facebook Ads Album for inspiration. There are about 100 images from top advertisers on Facebook.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #32: Make Sure The Copy Is Following The Best Practices
Don’t treat your Facebook ads like a billboard where you try to come up with generic messages in order to appeal to as many people as possible.
As you know by now Facebook offers the best targeting options there are. You can target your ads to a very specific group of people. Try to write something that appeals to them.
I bet your customers have a variety of problems that your product can solve so create multiple ads that each focus on one problem only.
Make it look organic!
Don’t try to sell your product with a great offer. Instead, write a copy that feels like a human has written it not a corporation.
If your ad looks similar to those written by your friends then you’re halfway there. Don’t forget to spice it up with appropriate emojis.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #33: Make Sure You Are Using UTM Parameters
This can be irrelevant to marketers who are not trying to get a clear picture of all their marketing activities across all online platforms.
For those who want to know how many conversions and assisted conversions, their Facebook ads contributed to then using UTM parameters and proper Google Analytics setup is crucial.
Creating UTM tags is easy. With this small extra effort, you’ll get a better understanding of all of your marketing activities.
For those who don’t understand what I’m talking about.
Most businesses have a variety of marketing activities online. Facebook Ads is only one of many. And while it makes perfect sense to use Facebook ads data to optimise the ad delivery it doesn’t often make sense to use it for reporting because you don’t get the full overview of your efforts.
The problem is caused by attribution and there is no perfect solution available for that at the moment. And the best solutions that are available are quite expensive.
I also talked about attribution back in step 3 if you already forgot.
UTM Parameters will not only tell you how many conversions or assisted conversions Facebook ads brought to you but when used correctly can tell you which ads were responsible for each touchpoint.
You might find out that some ads are more often assisting the conversions while others are the last step before the conversion.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #34: Make Sure All Of Your Ads Are Approved
Having disapproved Ads does not affect your Ad Account directly. But it can have some negative effects.
Having disapproved ads means you have fewer variations of ads active. Since one Ad does not perform the same for all people, you might miss out on some conversions.
Different images and words appeal differently to each of us so you’d want a Facebook algorithm to have access to all of them in order to maximize the results.
Having less variation of ads running means Facebook has to show the existing approved Ads more often which can result in poorer performance.
If all of your ads are disapproved then you’ll get no delivery and no results.
Try to follow Facebook Advertising Standards to get your ads approved.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #35: Make Sure You Are Using The Correct Landing Pages
Most of your ads will take users to the landing page of your selection.
Make sure that all your ads are directing users to the right place. By right place, I mean that your ad message should match the landing page. If your ad talks about skates then your landing page should be about skates, not about winter sports equipment.
If your ad says learn more about our amazing product then the landing page should have all the benefits and features on it not otherwise there is not much to learn about the product.
The more your landing page matches with your ad and the less friction and confusion there are and the better results you get.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #36: Make Sure The Spelling Is Correct
Correct spelling makes you look professional.
However, when your target goal is engagement then making a spelling mistake in the right place can make your ad funny resulting in higher engagement than usual.
But watch out not to hurt your brand.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #37: Make Sure You Are Using Correct Identity
When you are managing more than one business or your business has a Facebook page for each country then quite often can happen that your ad is displayed using the wrong identity.
Note: By wrong I mean you are not using the one you wanted to use.
This mostly happens when you duplicate campaigns or Ad Sets.
A real-life example from me. I duplicated a campaign that I was running in South Africa and wanted to create a similar campaign for Kenya. Since the main language is English in both of them there wasn’t much that I needed to change.
I changed the location targeting and some localised creatives but forgot that I should use a different Facebook page as the identity. So there it was an ad talking about Kenya but using a Facebook page named Brand South Africa.
The performance was not a problem in my case. But it was a problem for customer support. You see there are different people supporting different countries so what happened was that the South African support team suddenly had to respond to comments that came from another country.
If your ads use the wrong identity, all the comments and engagement are directed to the wrong Facebook page, which can cause confusion in your support teams. Not to mention people in Kenya thought that don’t know what we are doing.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #38: Make Sure You Are Using Proper CTAs
Facebook lets you use quite a lot of different calls to action. It doesn’t really matter which one you pick but It makes sense to use the one that best describes the following actions users should take if they wish to proceed in your funnel.
Different CTAs can have different conversion rates. A study by AdEspresso find that the best performing CTA was Download, but they were only testing 4 CTA’s.
If you decide not to choose a CTA then in some cases no CTA is used and in some cases Learn More will be used.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #39: Make Sure You Get Enough Conversions Events
Facebook says it needs a minimum of 10 conversions per conversion window per Ad Set in order to start optimizing but they recommend having around 50-100 conversions for best performance.
I talked about the conversion window in step 11.
Having more conversions per ad set means that the algorithm has more data to use to find the most valuable users for you.
If, for example, you are optimizing for purchases but you don’t get enough conversions then try optimizing for some other event that has at least 50 events per conversions window.
Once you grow bigger and start getting enough results at the end of your funnel you switch your Ad Set optimization event.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #40: Make Sure That The Results Are Improving Over Time
When you are looking at your historical data. Make sure you check the results over time.
I recommend looking at monthly data over the past 12 months. When possible also compare this data to the year before that so you can also see how seasonality affects your business.
Is the performance improving or getting worse over time?
If it’s improving then you’re doing something right. If it’s not then it’s worth going deeper and finding out why.
Some common problems include using the same creatives and messages that people are tired to see. If your CTR is declining but the conversion rate is stable then creating new images can boost your results.
It happens sometimes that your target audience has become stale. Both CTR and conversion rate decline. Users who wanted your product has already converted and it’s time to target new people.
If your CTR is stable but the conversion rate is declining then maybe there is something wrong with your website that you can improve or maybe your product or offer is not as good as it used to be.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #41: Make Sure That The Frequency Is Acceptable
There is no right or wrong answer about having the right frequency. As long as you get profitable business out of the Ads there’s nothing you need to improve.
Frequency is a vanity metric but it can also indicate when there is something wrong.
I have seen cases where marketers have CPA way too high and their frequency was about 60. They were using a very small audience (only lookalikes) and no frequency cap so they saw diminishing returns.
It’s worth checking it out. In my experience as long as the frequency is below 20 there’s probably nothing to worry about.
Facebook Ad Account Audit Step #42: Make Sure You Are Using Proper Naming Conventions
Proper naming conventions can improve your workflow. Based on your business needs there are different approaches to naming your Campaigns, Ad Sets and Ads.
Keep in mind that you can use naming conventions not only for navigating in your Ads Account but you can use naming conventions to simplify or automate your reporting.
For example, when I worked for a unicorn startup we had over 100 campaigns, 800 Ad Sets and over 4000 ads. We standardised all names of Ads, Ad Sets and Campaign.
When we did monthly reporting then all I had to do was download a report from Facebook throw the data into Google Spreadsheet and formulas gave me the desired output automatically.
Of course, the next step would be to automate the exporting and importing as well but not everybody has the knowledge on how to do it yet so it’s up to you.
As your account grows it becomes more important to have naming conventions. Once there is more than one person working on the account there is no way you can work efficiently without proper naming conventions.
As I mentioned at the beginning of the article here’s a free spreadsheet that you can use to evaluate any Facebook Ad Account.
I have set the maximum score you can give to each step and it will give you the account health from a scale of 0 to 100.
Once you know what to look for it should take you about 1 hour to complete the audit. As a result, you will have a document where you can see what to improve and what to prioritize according to the potential increase in the account’s health.