We see common mistakes while performing account audits for potential incoming clients at Thesis. While some of these mistakes are complex, a few can easily be corrected.
This is a very common mistake we see newbie media buyers making. If you’re new, you may think you need to use a Facebook ads funnel in order to get people to purchase from your website. So you use engagement campaigns to get social proof on your ads, and then retarget those people with traffic campaigns, conversion campaigns or lead generation campaigns. And then only retarget people who added to cart to actually make that purchase.
Here's why that is the wrong approach. These upper funnel campaigns are filled with really low quality people. When you tell Facebook to use an engagement or traffic campaign, they are literally looking at people who like to click on ads (like to window shop essentially) but never actually buy anything. You’ll get engagement and as much traffic as possible without really considering the quality of that person. So if you're in the game of sales and you want a high row as or low CPA, then you need to tell Facebook to go directly after those purchases.
We’ve tested this rigorously. We’ve even tried optimizing for add to carts and using traffic campaigns to optimize for landing page views. But this is still incredibly inefficient. However, if you want to see what is currently working in terms of account structure, be sure to check out my video: how to set up your Facebook ad campaigns post iOS 14.
Hint: consolidation is your friend and for most of our accounts, we are only using three conversion to purchase campaigns. Even for clients that are spending about a million dollars per month.
This is something we see a lot during account audits. Clients are often testing several different single interest ad sets and/or testing various percentages of lookalikes.
This tells us that you’re trying to find deficiency in the wrong way, especially if you’re not testing the creative strategy as much. This is the wrong approach because a lot of the targeting on Facebook is already automated. Detailed targeting expansion in some cases is already automatically turned on. And Facebook is starting to phase out several interests, so if you're not aggressively testing your creative strategy, there’s something wrong with your overall approach.
I have a video that does a deep dive into why I love testing into broad audiences. So be sure to check that out. But essentially, a broad audience has completely opened targeting and is targeting everyone on Facebook except for a few parameters on age, gender or location.
The reason why we love testing into broad audiences at Thesis is because this is the most scalable audience. If you can get a specific creative to work on a broad audience then the only optimization you need is to increase or decrease the budget (depending on your goals).
Additionally, we love using testing creatives on broad audiences because if something works on a broad audience, then it's very likely to work across your other interests and your look-alikes that you're using in your core campaign.
The reality is that post iOS 14, your in-platform metrics are not nearly as reliable as they used to be, especially for things that happen after someone clicks on your ad. You have a lot less data about people who are viewing certain products, about people who are adding to their cart and even people who are purchasing. At Thesis we have a number of ways that we like to do this.
For smaller brands that may not need as robust of a reporting structure, we recommend you check out Triple Whale, where you can create your own recording dashboards and where you can triangulate a lot of that data, as well. This is not sponsored, we just genuinely enjoy the product.
The metrics that aren't being tracked are metrics that require customization. Think of things like your overall conversion rates, your video hook and your video hold rates. These metrics tell a great creative story about how people are interacting with your ads, your target audience, and what they're doing post click.
You lost a lot of data from iOS 14, so everything post-clip is muted and muddy when looking inside of Facebook's Ads Manager This is why you need a third party data service.
We’ve seen many accounts that are only testing images or only testing video. We highly recommend testing all.
What does this look like?
You have a few ads that are going to be images, a few that are going to be GIFs or boomerangs, longer form video, carousels or collection apps.
Yes, everyone's doing video. But what’s interesting is we see a lot of great performance recently coming out of images because they have lower CPMs and they are as competitive as the video space right now.
You used to see videos had lower CPMs because Facebook was trying to push those and not as many people were doing it, but the word is out! So it's time to retry some good image ads.
This sounds super broad, but something that we’ve seen a lot is that brands believe that Facebook is going to be their ‘cure all’. You may think you just need to find the right audience or the right ad to make your business loads disappear. This is why we often look at the full funnel experience, not just the ad.
Questions you should be asking yourself are:
If you’re new to Facebook ads, you’re probably not getting these right, or at least not immediately. So as much as you're considering which audiences to touch and which creatives to test, you should also consider post-click experience.
Think about which landing pages you're using. And if you're just starting off, don't try and complicate this. Try sending traffic to the homepage, a best seller, a collection page, or a PDP page of your best seller.
Then take a look at your offer. Is your offer making people want to buy? How are you getting them to convert so that you can increase your LTV? Consider the real benefits of your product and if you're showcasing those correctly.
Making incremental improvements every single day or every single week across your ads, your landing page, your offer(s), and, of course, how you're positioning your product are all critical steps to success.
You could be spending way too much of your budget on retargeting. Oftentimes, even more than you’re spending on prospecting campaigns. At Thesis, we recommend 90% of your spend in prospecting campaigns and only 10% in your retargeting campaigns.
Many of the sales you’re getting from retargeting campaigns are not incremental. We discovered this when doing several conversion lip tests inside of Facebook ads. So if you’re ever contacted by a Facebook marketing expert or by your partner manager, be sure to ask them about this. Essentially, what this means is that the sale is not incremental - these people would have likely converted anyways, even if they didn't see your retargeting ad plus.
We've also seen the issue where brands put a bulk of their budget and retargeting only to dry up their retargeting audiences because they weren't putting enough budget into their prospecting audiences. These brands actually ran out of people to retarget.
One way you can ensure you're not spending too much in your retargeting is by looking at the metric frequency and some benchmarks that we like to keep for our own campaigns. If we see over the last seven days there's a frequency of four or more, this signals that we have way too much money in a retargeting campaign. When we see this, we’ll adjust and focus more on prospecting.
Your frequency number tells you on average, how many times someone has seen an ad over a specific time period. So if you've ever been hit with the same ad over and over and over and over again, that's because the brand’s frequency on you is too high. They probably put way too much money into their retargeting campaigns.
You can help formulate your creative strategy by looking at what types of ads your competitors are running and which ones they're using more frequently. You need to cast a wide net and test different things. You also need to be strategic when considering what you're going to test. Create a roadmap.
When you look at the ad types you’re testing, are you using UGC?
What other types of video strategies are you using?
How are you using images and carousels?
This is your year to test other platforms, particularly testing TikTok ads. You need to be using this platform. Facebook ads are not what they used to be. Prices are increasing and reach isn’t great. TikTok ads are certainly not the only solution, but we think there are many benefits from using this platform.
TikTok 's one of the fastest growing platforms. It’s similar to what Facebook ads were five years ago. Not as many advertisers are on TikTok so now is the time to try it. You should note though, that the creative strategy is very different from working on Facebook and Instagram.
When you’re testing TikTok style creative, it often works on Facebook and Instagram, though. So if you wanted to go deeper into that strategy, you'd also have the upside of creating content that's likely to work across all of your platforms.
In 2022 you’re taking a huge risk in putting all of your customer acquisition money into just Facebook ads alone. You need to diversify your spend and TikTok ads are one of the best ways to do that.
In my experience, a handful of ad creatives will usually swallow the vast majority of spend in FB ad accounts simply due to their outstanding performance. And those winners often survive months (and sometimes even years) of testing/new challenger creatives.
In March 2021 we wrote a blog post that looked at view-through conversions versus click-through conversions for a basket of US-based brands. Much has changed since then.