How to Audit Your Facebook Advertising Account to Improve Campaign Performance

June 12, 2013

How to Audit Your Facebook Advertising Account to Improve Campaign Performance

Facebook account management best practices

Account Structure introduction

Facebook advertising is still more labour intensive than search advertising due to its limited platform functionality and interface. Therefore, it is imperative that ‘account structure best practice’ is adhered to in order to maintain control, improve efficiencies, increase ad effectiveness, and make sure anyone who takes over the account can get a grasp of the account hierarchy quickly and easily.

In the Facebook Ads hierarchy, ‘account’ is the highest-level object. Campaigns are the second tier that sits under the ‘account’ level. It’s at the campaign level that ads are held and daily budgets are assigned.

Each campaign can hold any number of ads. Every ad is self-contained, including targeting elements, ad creatives, bids, and time-scales. There is no requirement for ads in any campaign to be related in any way. However, it is best practice to tightly theme each campaign with relevant and similar ads, as it makes reporting, analysis and managing budgets much easier.

Naming conventions

There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to naming conventions, but make sure they make sense when sorted alphabetically and that they will also make sense to anyone who has to work on the account in the account manager’s absence. The following format can be used as a guide:

[promotion name]-[product name]-[duration]-[special targeting metric]

e.g. Last minute deal – Young Traveller – On going – Under 25

If you work for an agency and you manage Facebook advertising for a client on your own account, then it would be a good idea to include the client name to help you sort and filter campaigns.

E.g. Taylor Travels – Last minute deal – Young Traveller – On going – Under 25

Make sure the naming convention is documented and agreed upon. The purpose of having a logical naming convention (with some foresight) is to make campaign reporting and performance analysis easier, especially when exporting reports into Excel or third party account management software.

Campaign layout

Below is an example of how not to set up adverts within campaigns:

While it’s tempting to dump a lot of ads in one campaign bucket, the result can be a big mess. If you must have more than one ad in an account, make sure you don’t have more than 2 active ads at one time. The reason for this is that Facebook does not support “even-rotation” (i.e. each ad is not displayed equally to the target audience). Instead, Facebook assigns a ‘quality score’ to each ad almost immediately and allocates more of your budget towards the ad its algorithm thinks will perform better as opposed to allowing you to obtain a true picture of which ads are indeed more effective.

A/B testing

As mentioned above, ads within a campaign will never receive true coverage in order to perform effective A/B testing. Therefore, when performing A/B tests, make sure you test ads that are held in different campaigns and make sure each campaign has only one active ad at any given time. The structure for A/B testing should have the following layout:

Also, it is worth pointing out that Facebook’s quality score is assigned at the beginning of campaign deployment and the bid amount plays a very strong role in influencing quality score. Therefore, in order to avoid bias, I’d recommend making sure bids and targeting options are set at the same amount and to the same audience in order to make sure the results of the A/B tests are accurate. Also, when performing A/B tests, its best practice to only test one element at a time. When all else is equal, I would recommend (in no particular order) that the following elements to be tested individually:

  • different headlines
  • different body copy
  • different images
  • different landing pages
  • different audiences

More granular ad targeting

Facebook advertising’s strength is in its ability to target users at an extremely granular level. For example, I could target users who are between the ages of 16-19, who like sport relief and ‘Eddie Izzard’:

The more granular the ad targeting, the higher the ad’s engagement will yield. This will also help you to gain a greater understanding of context when writing your ad creative. Therefore, I’d recommend developing personas.

Here are some points to think about when developing personas:

  • Look at your existing demographic data (age and locations)
  • Types of products or services that are most popular
  • Look at your sales data, who really purchases your products?
  • Speak to your sales team about the types of customers
  • Do your competitors’ fans qualify to be your fans or customers?

Once you have a decent idea of who you want to target, then brainstorm and build appropriate personas. For example:

People who live in Oxford, who are between the ages of 16-18, who like “organising events”, and are from Oxford & Cherwell Valley College.

People who live in Oxford, who are between the ages of 19-24, who like “organising events”, and are from Oxford Brookes University.

As mentioned earlier, the more granular your targeting, the more effective your ad copy and campaigns will be.

Find out what motivates your audience

When you build your personas, it is important to understand what motivates each of them. For some, it may be an idol or a hero, such as Steve Jobs or Lady Gaga. For some, it may be their school, college, or university. For others, social standing among peers (geeks, jocks, inbetweeners etc.) is a strong motivator. Make sure to address these motivators within your ad text in order to:

a) Grab the user’s attention
b) Earn a higher CTR

For example:

  • Attn. Brookes Students!
  • Calling Brookes Students!
  • Love Steve Jobs? (Want to follow in his footsteps?)
  • Calling all hackers!

Perform regular audits

Make sure you perform weekly/biweekly audits on landing page URLs, in order to make sure users are directed to active landing pages.

In order to keep on top of account management, I’d recommend setting up task checklists. This is so that the account manager has a better grasp of what optimisation activities need to be done. It will also provide a useful guide for someone taking over the account, showing them which tasks need to be done in the account manager’s absence.

Tasks –

  • Check to see that all destination URLs work (bi-weekly)
  • Check to see that all destination URLs have implemented tracking correctly (bi-weekly)
  • Check to see that campaigns have spent allotted budgets (weekly)
  • Set up and perform A/B tests (weekly)
  • Analyse A/B tests based on clicks, CTR, and conversions, and decide upon a ‘winning ad’ (weekly)
  • Analyse A/B tests based on clicks, CTR, and conversions, and decide upon a ‘winning persona’ (weekly)
  • Deploy new ads (e.g. changed images, headlines, body etc.) (once a month)
  • Perform bid optimisation (weekly)
  • Check to see if all Facebook outstanding balances have been paid

These are obviously just ideas to get you started. Feel free to add more tasks as you go along. I would also suggest setting up tasks on project management tools, such as Basecamp or Trello, so you receive reminders of tasks that you have yet to do.

By maintaining a monthly task list, you can make sure issues are identified early and corrective measures are taken immediately. Also, it is good to go over these task lists weekly to check which tasks have been completed and which tasks need to be carried out during the following week.

Facebook retargeting

There has been a lot written about Facebook Exchange ads, and a fair few advertisers have privately disclosed to me that their CTRs and conversions are far higher than Facebook marketplace ads. As such, it would be a mistake not to try it out!

Unlike Facebook Marketplace ads, Facebook Exchange ads aren’t available to just anyone. Facebook has partnered with a limited number of Demand-Side Providers (DSPs) and, if you want to advertise via Facebook Exchange, you need to connect with one of those vendors.

Custom audiences

Custom audiences let you target users by their email addresses, phone numbers, Facebook user IDs, or app user IDs. This is a great way to target or retarget your ads to users who are more qualified to make purchases. For example, if upon booking a hotel room or a particular tour a customer provided you their email address, then you could potentially reach them through Facebook in order to provide them with a discount in exchange for providing you with a review.

If the product is seasonal and you know that the user will need to renew their purchase in a few months then, again, you could reach them via Facebook.

Facebook Offers

You can share discounts with your customers by posting an offer on your Facebook Page. When someone claims an offer, they’ll receive an email that they can show at your physical store location to get the discount. Alternatively, you can post offers that people can redeem online. The viral effect of offers should help you to earn more customers and drive up sales. If you aren’t testing offers out, you should start now.


  • Understand account structure
  • Implement a universal naming structure
  • Make sure there are no more than 2 active ads in any given campaign
  • When performing A/B tests, make sure that the test ads are held within different campaigns and make sure each campaign only holds one active ad
  • Only test one element at a time (different headlines, body copy, images, and landing pages)
  • Target users at a more granular level
  • Build personas for targeting
  • Identify what motivates each audience/persona
  • Perform weekly/biweekly audits on the account
  • Create monthly task lists and assign dates to be completed
  • Run Facebook Exchange ads if you aren’t already
  • Set up custom audiences and target ads to those who know your brand well
  • Run Facebook offers

I really hope this post helps you to improve your existing Facebook ad campaigns. If you have any more tips you’d like to share with us, please feel free to let us know with a comment below.

By Shaad Hamid PPC Share:

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