In the ever-changing digital advertising landscape, a recurring Meta audit is not just advisable—it is strategically imperative. It's the key to boosting ad campaign efficiency and unlocking the full potential of your investment. We've put together an audit roadmap to elevate the performance of your Meta ad accounts, incorporating the latest industry best practices and strategies that have proven effective for any campaign objective.
1. Review ad account structure
It’s best practice to have 3-5 ad sets per campaign and 3-5 ads per ad set. This structure will enable Meta’s algorithms to test different targets, creatives, and placements. The platform will then dynamically select the best ad for each target group and placement, which maximizes engagement. Having multiple ads in rotation also helps prevent audiences from seeing the same ads over and over, which causes ad fatigue. Managing a moderate number of ad sets, and ads per set, streamlines performance monitoring, allowing advertisers to quickly identify effective strategies and areas that require adjustment.
2. Audit your targeting funnel
We recommend utilizing a full-funnel approach that consists of Prospecting, Retargeting, and Retention campaigns. The first step is ensuring you have separate Prospecting, Retargeting, and Retention audiences.
The three audience segments
Your Prospecting audience should consist of potential new customers who have not engaged with your brand online before. You can build this audience by targeting interest groups, or demographics like age or location. You can also use a lookalike audience (LAL). This is where you provide Meta with an example audience and it creates an audience of similar users. An easy way to do this is to create a lookalike audience based on your retargeting and retention audiences. This way, Meta will find people who's digital personas are similar to those already in your sales pipeline and target them. The ads for your prospecting audience should be tailored to the ‘potential new customer’ demographic, providing informative and intriguing content about your products.
Your Retargeting audience should consist of people who have engaged with your brand in the past but have not completed a purchase. You can use first-party data from your website, or Meta’s data on people who have interacted with your Facebook and Instagram pages to create this audience. The ads for your retargeting audience should be focused on pushing people down the sales pipeline. Remind them of how great your products are, and maybe even offer a discount code to get them to make that first purchase.
Your Retention audience should consist of existing customers whom you want to maintain loyalty with. You can use a list of past purchasers to create this audience. Ads for this group can be used to cross-sell, promote loyalty programs, or just keep the customer engaged with your brand.
The importance of exclusions
Make sure that the members of one audience are excluded from the other two audiences. This will keep your account organized and lay the groundwork for successful A/B testing initiatives by setting clear parameters for testing. For example, all retargeting and retention audiences should be excluded from prospecting campaigns (AKA any user with past engagements, website visitors, add to cart, purchases should be excluded).
Segmenting your retargeting audience
You can take your segmentation even further by dividing the retargeting audience into three smaller segments - low, mid, and high-intent retargeting audiences. The low-intent audience would contain minimally engaged users, like those who have viewed your Instagram profile. The mid-intent audience would contain moderately engaged users, like those who follow your Instagram account or have engaged with your website. The high-intent audience would contain very engaged users like cart abandoners, or those who have spent a lot of time on your website.
When deciding whether or not to segment your retargeting audience, it’s best to test both approaches to know what works best. However, as a general best practice, we recommend one consolidated retargeting audience if your budget is on the lower side. But if your ads generate a high volume of visitors, try dividing your retargeting audiences into different segments and see if it drives a lift in conversion volume.
3. Diversify your targeting
The two primary types of target audiences are specific and broad. Neither method holds an inherent advantage over the other. The choice between the two depends on your objectives and the resources at your disposal. Meta continually refines its broad targeting algorithm, aiming to help businesses reach potential customers they might not have discovered otherwise. Therefore, it is advisable to experiment with both broad and specific audience targeting.
Opting for broad targeting means relying predominantly on Meta’s ad delivery system to identify the most relevant audience for your ad.
- Discover New Audiences: Meta’s algorithms can identify potential customers outside your typical audience parameters, expanding your reach.
- Leverages Meta’s Advanced Algorithms: Utilize Meta’s machine learning to optimize ad delivery.
- Saves Time on Audience Research: Less initial effort is required to define audience specifics.
- Lower Relevance: Ads might reach users who are less likely to engage or convert.
- Difficult to Personalize Content: a one-size-fits-all creative approach may not resonate as well with a diverse audience.
- Less Control Over Audience Selection: relies heavily on Meta's algorithm, which can be unpredictable.
Specific targeting allows you to choose the audience to whom your ads are shown. Particularly at the acquisition level, directing your content to the eyes of your target audience is essential.
- Higher Relevance and Engagement: Targeting a specific audience increases the likelihood of reaching users interested in your product or service.
- Better for Niche Markets: Precise targeting is best for businesses with a very specific customer base.
- Easier to Tailor Content: Allows for more personalized and effective ad messaging.
- Limited Reach: Can exclude potential customers who don’t fit narrow criteria.
- Requires In-Depth Audience Knowledge: Demands thorough research and understanding of your target demographic.
- Risk of Audience Fatigue: Over-serving ads to the same audience can lead to decreased engagement.
4. Always be testing
A/B testing is vital in Meta advertising as it optimizes performance, informs data-driven decisions, and ensures campaigns stay relevant. Regular testing is key, especially when changing your messaging, adapting to trends, or after platform updates. Test different ad elements like copy, visuals, ad formats, and targeting. While the frequency of testing depends on campaign dynamics, testing every few weeks is a common approach. Allocate a percentage of your budget to A/B testing, typically around 10-20%, to maximize insights without disproportionately impacting overall campaign spend. This balance ensures ongoing optimization and cost-efficient, data-driven decision-making in Meta advertising.
5. Update Your Creatives
Creating compelling Meta ad creatives involves a combination of creativity, strategic thinking, and adherence to best practices. Make sure your creatives have these features:
- Clear Message: Keep it concise and focused on your value proposition.
- Eye-Catching Visuals: Use high-quality, relevant images or videos.
- Strong CTA: Include a compelling call-to-action that stands out.
- Mobile Optimization: Ensure your creatives are mobile-friendly.
- Carousel Ads: Showcase multiple aspects of your offering.
- Highlight Benefits: Emphasize the benefits of your product or service.
- Social Proof: Use testimonials or user-generated content to build credibility.
- Interactive Elements: Consider polls, quizzes, or playable ads to increase engagement.
- Adapt to Platform: Use Meta’s news site to stay up to date on new features.
- Personalization: Tailor creatives based on user behavior or demographics.
- Compliance: Ensure adherence to Meta's advertising guidelines.
6. QA your attribution window
It's crucial to select an attribution window that aligns with your campaign goals, customer journey, and conversion types. For example, a 7-day click and 1-day view window suits products needing prior consideration. Longer attribution windows are ideal for high-consideration purchases, while shorter windows suit impulse buys. Regular testing with the A/B Test tool in Ads Manager helps identify the most effective settings. Adjust your approach based on product/service needs, and use shorter windows for immediate conversions, like flash sales. Continuously monitor campaign performance trends for insights and stay informed about privacy changes that might impact attribution measurement, adjusting your strategies as needed.
Following the steps above to complete a quarterly audit of your Meta account will ensure optimal performance for your campaigns. You can also use a tool like Marin to streamline the process. Marin for Meta allows you to unify front and backend data and get a clear view of performance. It also enables you to create and edit ads in bulk, provides automated insights for account improvement, and much more. To learn more about how Marin can help you reach your Paid Social advertising goals, click here to schedule a demo.