Growth Checklists
Facebook Ads Audit

40-point Facebook Ads Audit & Optimisations Checklist

A list of the key items to explore when doing an Audit and checklist for your Facebook Ads.
by Dan Siepen
Created On:

This is just not another checklist of how to setup a Facebook Ad. There's plenty of guides to help you with that 🙂 - If you're running Facebook Ads right now, hopefully this audit checklist of optimisations will be able to help 🙂.

Tracking & Analytics

1. Have you installed the pixel correctly?

Most of the time setting up tracking and firing events correctly with your chosen CMS should be fine, but I've certainly have come across issues with tracking before depending on the site + CMS.

To test to ensure the pixel is firing correctly on each page install the "Facebook Pixel Helper" chrome extension - if the chrome extension can find a pixel, then should be all good.

With using this Chrome extension, you can then check which events are firing through the pixel.

2. Make sure to turn on advanced auto-matching

Advanced Auto-matching helps out primarily in two ways:

- Attribute conversions more accurately
- Increase custom audience sizes

Ultimately having advanced matching turned on helps with optimising campaigns + ads which leads to better results and reduced CPL's/CPA's.

Related reading: Why you should turn on advanced auto matching

3. Standard events vs. Custom events

When it comes to tracking through Facebook, there are two types of event categories - Standard & Custom events. Here is a high-level difference between the two below;

- Standard events = Track specific events which Facebook recognises as "standard"
- Custom events = Setting up events that aren't part of the 'default/standard' events that Facebook has on offer through your own custom tracking.

So, which is the best setup in terms of tracking? Ideally in my opinion, it would be to setup as much as you can with "standard events". CMS' such as Shopify make it easier to do this if you're in eCommerce. Other CMS' can make standard event tracking setups more difficult, so go ahead with "custom events".

If you have questions around this or comments, let me know and very happy to chat about them with you :)

4. Events Tracking setup + On-page Testing Tool for Tracking Buttons

This is a great feature that Facebook events tool has to offer to help setup tracking for more specific events such as button tracking or URL tracking.

Never used it before? If you head to your Business Manager and go to "Events Manager", go to settings and you will see the section for Event setup with a button saying 'Open Event Setup Tool'. Then follow the instructions from there :)

5. Conversion Tracking Setup

If you're running Facebook Ads right now there's a very good chance you're running conversion focused campaigns to drive sales. However, are you using custom conversions for tracking or standard events?

Custom conversions are definitely a lot easier to setup compared to standard events but it comes with limitations, especially if you have a website with lots of conversions you're wanting to track. You can of course track with custom conversions if you use various "Thank you URL's" to track unique conversions, but if you're in eCommerce or just want to use one thank you page, then your Facebook Ads won't be optimised properly. It means that custom conversion will be assigned with the same value.

Happy to chat about to discuss this

Standard events on the other hand are more tedious to setup and you have to be confident with modifying the tracking code.

Happy to answer any questions about conversion tracking :)

Related resource: a good short video guide to conversion tracking for custom vs standard events.

6. Facebook Analytics Setup

Facebook has a cool feature to get in-depth insights into your campaigns + website traffic which is their Analytics section. With a lot of Facebook accounts I've been across, typically this isn't setup, or not setup properly and it's definitely a missed opportunity.

With the Facebook Analytics tool, you can;

- Set up funnels
- Revenue reporting
- Customer lifetime value reporting
- cohort analysis
- retention
- Active users
+ other functions

7. Holistic Analytics Setup (outside of Facebook)

Whilst having your Facebook Ads Setup is great, you need to make sure the rest of your analytics setup is working correctly to the best of your ability.

What you see within the Facebook Ads Manager for tracking + analytics, doesn't necessarily mean that's what's happening on your site. This is due to attribution windows.

Facebook + Google reports on conversions differently.

You need to make sure your Google Analytics is also tracking conversions correctly.

Read the article below to understand more about Facebook's attribution windows - check reason #4 in this awesome article by Jon Loomer.

Strategy & Objectives

8. What are your Strategy Objectives for your campaigns?

Before or when you run campaigns, it's a given we want to get more sales + conversions. Otherwise, why would we do advertising? ;)

However, what you optimise for within your campaigns depends on the stage of the funnel or the customer journey of audiences.

Ensure you have a solid ads strategy in place which breaks down TOF, MOF + BOF / Customer journey to understand which objectives make sense in each stage.

9. Who is your target consumer? What sort of ads do they engage with?

Targeting does matter when it comes to Facebook Ads but now more than ever, having amazing creative + messaging is what will help you stand out + capture the attention of audiences.

Understanding in detail about your customer personas and what sort of creative/messaging they engage with will go a long way to developing creative/content that will help with more leads, sales + other objectives.

Additionally, never underestimate the importance of a great offer/incentive. How can you make sure to drive a desired action on your ads or website?

10. What ads do your competitors run? What inspiration can you seek from them or others who have a similar service in your industry?

One of my favourite tools that Facebook offers is their Ads Library tool. This really does help with the research process into competitors + getting inspiration from other top brands and what ads they have running. It really helps develop good quality creatives.

11. Current analytics data outside of Facebook - how can this help you? E.g. Best landing pages for traffic + conversions, time on page, etc.

When it comes to your social ads strategy, typically you're not starting from scratch. You most likely already have good quality data to draw insights from at your disposal.

Check out your website analytics to see which pages get the most visits, time on site, shares, email opt-in's, etc. Typically, this will help you make decisions on what pieces of content or where you should send traffic to for your next campaign(s).

Creatives & Ad Formats

12. How is your creative performing in regards to CTR, Engagement or Video Views? (if doing video)

How is your current ad creative performing? Developing creative is one of the most important factors of successful ads. The challenge with video of course is the time + resources it takes to develop video.

Keep in mind when you create videos, is to have a few versions with slight differences, whether that be changes in frames or text within the video (or colours for that matter). It's about how much you can repurpose at a low-cost to then test across various campaigns + adsets.

Tip: There are other amazing tools that can help edit videos fast such as Biteable, Promo + more. You can check out more video editing tools via my huge list of marketing tools.

13. Are you running any user-generated creative within your ads? Or at least within the copy?

Use UGC content within your ads strategy as much as you can. What do I mean by UGC with social ads? For example, reviews & customer images/videos of real people who are engaged with your service & products. Social proof + credibility is everything in my opinion when it comes to social ads. As a matter of fact, I've seen UGC ads perform better compared to ads just solely focused on USP's or content.

14. Are you running any social proof ads? Such as customer reviews whether image or video?

In relation to the above & UGC, the more social proof ads you can run, the better. Whilst you should run social proof videos, images (or other media formats) in the MOF/BOF, finding clever ways to do creative + messaging in the TOF will certainly help stand out, especially in competitive categories or interest-based audiences. You need to stand out.

15. Are you using the 4:5 vertical video format?

I really don't think there are enough advertisers or brands who use 4:5 video dimensions. These video dimensions look amazing and take up good real-estate on the Facebook + Instagram feeds on mobile. I've personally seen improve CTR's, lower CPC's/landing page views and overall just better results. If you're going to the effort of creating video, don't miss out on this opportunity.

Extra reading: Awesome guide on Facebook Ads sizes

16. Are you using square videos?

Whilst 4:5 videos are amazing for the mobile feeds, ensuring you have beautiful 1080 x 1080 square videos will ensure your creative + ads look good across the many of the various placements on the ads network.

17. Are you using the dimensions correctly for each placement?

If you're going to the effort of developing awesome creative, make sure you have the various dimensions required for each of the placements. Too often, especially with Facebook + Instagram stories, you see ads that are not optimised for the placements and it's definitely noticeable. Sure maybe for me personally since I'm doing ads all the time, but I'd say many consumers see this difference.

Check this article below of all the main dimension requirements for the various placements across the ads network.

18. Are you utilising ads formats such as collection ads?

Are you utilising the various ad formats ads manager has to offer? One of those formats you should tru using especially if you're in eCommerce are collection ads. I've had lots of good results from collection ads. They do take some time to setup but are worth putting the investment of time into creating.

19. Have you tried Canvas ads? Worth considering.

I must admit I haven't done many Canva ads before. However, I've recently created a few with my designer for a startup I head up marketing for and we've had some awesome results so far. Not to mention, they look amazing! Seen good results from improved CTR's, CPC's + landing page views cost. Quite a few leads also. They do take time to create but have been worth the investment of time + resources.

20. Have you tested Lead Gen ads?

Lead Ads are also a good ad format worth testing + setting up if you work in B2B. Overall, have had mixed results. Not average Cost Per Lead (normally pretty good for most campaigns I work on) but the quality of leads generated. Typically, I would focus lead gen ads now more so for Top of the funnel campaigns with an awesome content lead magnet (e.g. an ebook) and then sync up that Lead ad with Hubspot or using a tool such as Leadsbridge to connect lead ads with the CRM/email automation platform used.

21. Consider the Audience Network when doing your creative

If you're going to run ads on the Audience network, consider what these ads look like too. Your ads if you choose to select the audience network as placements in your adsets, means your ad will be seen across various app, publications + more. It's not a great look if creative is not optimised for these placements.

Relate resource: Here is a guide by Meta in regards to audience network creative requirements.

Targeting - Segments & Data

22. How much audience volume do you have in your Top of Funnel campaigns? Excluded existing audiences?

Top of the funnel ads are super important to have structured + setup properly as your CPM costs + the cost to reach these new audiences in general are going to be more expensive within your funnel. All you need is that 1 data point (such as a click, website visit, etc) to then target these people in your MOF + BOF campaigns.

Something to take into account is your audience volume in TOF campaigns. From my experience, at least adset audience sizes of 200k+ help Facebook find pockets within those targeted audiences to optimise towards to drive the desired actions/objectives you're looking for. When it's too narrow, I've often found CPM's cost quite a bit which fluctuates performance.

Of course, make sure you exclude existing audiences to make sure your ads are focused on new audiences that you can funnel in.

23. How much audience volume do you have in your Middle of Funnel & Bottom of funnel campaigns? Excluded appropriate audiences based on user behaviour?

When you've got one key data touch point from your TOF/new audiences, then targeting these people are cheaper and there's an increased chance of getting further desired outcomes, such as conversions + sales.

Taking into account your MOF/BOF, if audience volume is on the larger size, then your frequency won't be as high, which means the volume of ads doesn't need to be high (although you should create multiple ads anyway). However, if your audience volume is small, then most likely you will need to create multiple ads so these audiences don't keep saying the same ad all the time. You can of course control the frequency cap of these ads if you wish. In addition, it comes down to your level of targeting + segmentation you do also.

Happy to chat about this if you have any questions :)

24. Whilst mainly these are SaaS FB optimisations, if you're in eComm you should use dynamic remarketing.

Dynamic remarketing ads are awesome with Facebook, especially if you're in eCommerce. I've had wonderful success with these for the BOF and even testing with MOF campaigns

Dyanmic remarketing ads are ads that automatically pull in content/products from your website through a feed and then promote that content across the ads network. It can be a little tricky sometimes to get these setup depending on your CMS, but worth it once running.

Related reading: Quality guide by LeadsBridge on Facebook Dynamic Ads

25. Are you testing a combination of Lookalikes + Interest-based targeting? How are you structuring + tracking these tests?

There are lots of opinions/advice + ways to target audiences. Two audiences you can use for targeting include Lookalikes + interest-based targeting. It's important to test both to see which audiences perform best within the same campaign.

I'm not a Facebook guru myself but from experience you need to setup a testing framework when it comes to audience testing.

26. For remarketing, review which objective will work best based on your available audience size.

I stated this above around understanding your audience volume and why this matters. A quick growth hack I personally use especially when running ads in B2B or lead gen campaigns (e.g. events) is that I drive TOF conversion ads with landing page views optimisation. Then, for remarketing, I have personalised videos with someone talking into them (someone from the team), using the reach objective to increase frequency cap within a 3-4 day period, and then exclude those out of that audience post 4 days. I've seen first-hand good success especially with high-value products.

The point is, if your audience volume is too small (for example, website visitors in the past 60 days), don't run conversion focused or website traffic objective if audience size is less than 1000. Frequency will rise quickly and I see this as inefficient spend. Instead, you can use this objective for remarketing within a 7-day period, but not longer. If they haven't made a desired action in that window, good chance conversions will be quite small after that window.

Of course, there's a lot of variables which needs to be taken into account which I haven't mentioned. I'm not a Facebook guru as I've stated, but from experience, choose your objectives wisely when creating these audiences.

27. How have you setup targeting windows for remarketing? How have you reflected this for each objective?

This is more relevant to more advanced Facebook marketers. I touched on this earlier but understanding attribution windows + reporting helps you optimise your campaigns + objectives better.

Extra reading: Understanding Facebook Attribution window

28. Are you using LTV lookalike audiences?

The more accurate data you can provide Facebook, the better chances you will have for improved targeting of ideal customers which leads to better results. You can create LTV lookalike audiences which then tells Facebook what your top customers look like. Then, the platform does it's best to find those people.

Definitely under-utilised based on experience. Once setup, have seen positive results. Awesome guide below on how to set them up :)

29. For Lookalikes, what data are you using? Have you segmented these correctly?

As mentioned above, using LTV lookalike audiences are great. However, you can use other lookalike audiences based on data you have available. Including lookalikes for emails, phone, website visitors, FB + IG profile visitors.

Where the real power comes in with Lookalikes is segmenting your initial data then creating lookalikes from them. For example, exporting your top customers who have purchased in the past 90 days, and then creating a Lookalike audience. Or email subscribers in the past 30 days. Lots of various segmentation possibilities to create Lookalikes.

Performance Optimisations - Other considerations outside
of just conversions

30. What bidding strategy are you currently using?

What bidding strategies have you tried? There are a few and you will also see them depending on your campaign setup. These are;

- Automated bidding
- Highest value
- Cost Cap
- Bid Cap
- Minimum ROAS

Typically for many campaigns, I just use automated bidding or lowest cost which is a default option with ads manager. I've had good success with some of the above, but depends on a number of factors, particularly how many conversions or audience volumes you have.

31. Are you keeping an eye on your CPM, particularly for Top of Funnel / Cold audiences (i.e. reaching new customers)

I have touched on this earlier in regards to TOF audience volume. In principle, it's always going to cost more to target new audiences than existing audiences. It's definitely a metric to keep an eye on for TOF testing. Keep an eye on this + incorporate tracking + reporting within your own reporting/testing framework.

32. Are you keeping an eye on other key metrics (+ the cost of them) that can influence your campaigns including landing page views, video views, engagement, CTR + others.

I'm a data nerd/numbers guy and if you ask any Facebook marketer I'm sure they will say the same thing. When it comes to ads + optimisations, whilst the goal is conversions/sales/ROAS, there are a lot of other metrics to take into account which leads to the ultimate goal of a campaign.

Custom columns within the ads manager is awesome. You can select which metrics + costs per metric and create your own advanced views to make better decisions for optimisations.

External Optimisations

33. Is your landing page optimised?

Whilst there are a lot of features within the ads manager + events tools, there's only so much that can be controlled within Facebook. You can have the most sophisticated targeting + ads setup + amazing creative as possible, but this doesn't mean it's going to result in a profitable campaign.

Your landing page experience matters greatly when it comes to successful campaigns on Facebook + Instagram.

34. What is your offer? Don't underestimate the importance of a good offer / incentive.

It says it above, your offer/incentive matters when it comes to social ads advertising. Everyone loves offers and a "hook" to capture the attention of audiences to take an action you want from them. That could be signing up to a newsletter, downloading an app or even better, a sale/conversion. Work out what incentives you can offer and this should result in good performing campaigns.

External / Macro Factors (+ understanding Auctions)

35. Seasonal factors - especially Oct - Dec Quarters (Black Friday, Cyber Weekend, Christmas).

Yes, external factors/contingencies does play a role when it comes to advertising on Facebook + Instagram. As I write this in December 2020, I'd say this is one of the most interesting quarters the world of online advertising has ever seen.

Whilst it doesn't impact every single business who advertises on Facebook, if you're in a competitive category, or at the very least an eCommerce business, then CPM's rise quite a bit during this quarter. You've got Black Friday, Thanksgiving, Cyber weekend (even Cyber Monday) and of course Christmas.

So when it comes to this time of the year, you need to plan in advance and ideally start advertising in advance. You need to have a solid campaign + strategy in place to warm up new + existing audiences and drive your campaigns hard during that period. If you plan well with your budgets, you will see good results.

36. Understand what Auction means - particularly how this ties into Seasonal campaigns + competitive categories

You don't need to be a hardcore Facebook ads nerd nor do you need to understand the intricacy of auctions. However, it's certainly good to have an appreciation, especially if you're in a competitive niche.

If you're wanting to learn more, this is a great guide below on how to manage rising CPM's and delivering conversions + sales.

Testing Framework/Methods + Scaling Accounts

37. How are you tracking your experiments?

There's no secret formula or perfect template when it comes to tracking your ads experiments. However, it's important to have a process around what experiments you have tested + results. What learnings can you take away? How can you improve your campaigns?

TIP: setup a Google Sheet (or Excel spreadsheet) and setup rows of your campaigns with forecasted results + actuals. Track overtime and then see which combinations work best.

38. Are you using UTMs for your campaigns? Even down to the ad-level?

In relation to tracking experiments, it's one thing to track the success of your performance marketing efforts at the campaign-level, but to take things to the next level is by using UTMs to measure the effectiveness of audiences and specific ads. It's a great way to extract more insights to help inform decisions around your creatives.

39. Test Facebook's A/B Testing features within the ads manager

It's easy to setup your A/B split-testing campaigns, ad sets or ads, but have you tried using the A/B split-testing option within the ads manager? It's pretty good and have had good experiences with it. Definitely worth trying out if you haven't already.

Related reading: How to use the Ads Manager A/B Split-testing option

40. Use a platform to increase cadence of testing using automation

Have you ever used automation tools to help scale your ad accounts? I've had some great success with a few ad automation platforms which have helped me manage, test, and scale accounts with good ROAS/ROI.

I wrote a guide on a few Facebook Ads automation software options that you can check out.

👋 G'day everyone, Dan Siepen here from down under 🇦🇺🦘🐨. I'm an experienced growth marketer w/ 8+ years exp. across SaaS, B2B, DTC & eComm. Get to know more about me (check my homepage too) & if you want to connect, just reach out. 👇
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