So you made the big, bold, brave decision to outsource your Facebook ads. You’ve hired either an agency or a freelancer and somethings happening… you just don’t know if it’s working – or worse still, you know it’s not working but can’t work out why. If that sounds familiar, this post is for you!
If you’re not a FB ads pro, and you outsource, all the numbers, reports and tech speak can become overwhelming and it can be easy to get lost and confused or feel like you’re being taken for a ride. So I’m going to go through some easy steps and tools you can use to give yourself a little more confidence in what’s going on OR give you the knowledge to know when to leave OR the confidence to stay if they are doing a good job.
Our top tips for reviewing whether your ads manager or agency are doing a good job or running your ads effectively are:
The ads are displaying in your account
Use the history tool to see how often they are making changes and adjustments
You’re getting good results
They’re split testing your creative and audiences.
Communication with your agency or ad manager is good
The ads are displaying in your account
This is the biggest red flag we see.
The number one indicator of an ad manager or agency doing a good job with your ads is they will run the ads in your ad account.
Not only is it against Facebook Terms of Service. It’s really bad form. You are paying someone to manage your ads, you should own those results and be able to check that they aren’t doing anything dodgy or see when they’re doing amazing. For eCommerce businesses this also means they likely own your pixel and all your sales data – which you REALLY want to own.
Now, if you’ve already signed with someone and they aren’t running your ads in you ad account, there is a way to check on the copy and visuals at least.
Head to your Facebook Page, check out the transparency section, and select ‘view ads this page is running’.
Scroll down and it’ll show “Ads from this Page” and select ‘Go to Ad Library’. You’ll then be able to see all the ads your page is currently running. It won’t allow you to see the targeting and demographics but it is a good way to check the visual and copy that is being put out.
You can then scroll through all the active ads to make sure they are on brand and showing the correct messaging.
If they are running the ads in your account, you’re off to a good start.
If they aren’t, it’s worth having a chat to them and discuss the transfer. They will probably not like this, and it might be time for a new agency – but they could have been taught wrongly and happy to make the switch.
Use the history tool to see how active your current agency/manager is being
This is the secret weapon in determining if you’ve got a good ad agency.
Now, before I go into this, there are a few caveats to this which are important.
If you are getting great results, there may not be a lot of history here – if somethings working you don’t touch it too much. So if you are getting amazing results and you check and there are blank spaces – that isn’t a bad thing!
Second. If you have a small budget, there will be less changes. If you are spending less than $30 a day, ads need to be left for 1-2 weeks for you to have enough data so again, don’t go jumping to conclusions if changes aren’t being made daily.
Okay, so what you want to do is select all the active campaigns in your ads manager, change the date range to last 30 days, then on the right hand side there is a little clock – this is the history tool.
This will open up an itemised log of every change made in the last 30 days. If it’s blank, it means they haven’t touched anything in 30 days… you’d be surprised how often I see this from people paying their manager $1500 a month or more (ie. the “good” agencies and freelancers)
What you are looking for are ads and ad sets being turned on and off, and especially new ads being created and turned off. These are optimisation changes. They happen as part of the ongoing testing process and mean they are constantly reviewing your account and making small adjustments – which are the keys to success.
This is why those initial caveats are important – we have a few clients at the moment with 9-15x return on ad spend, they’ve been like that for a while now, so we are making very small changes to their accounts but there isn’t too much to do while things are working so great.
We also have clients that are spending very little – because of that the optimisation time frames are much longer, so there are less changes there too.
You want to see less changes when things are going well, and more changes when things are going poorly.
Review the results to see if it’s driving sales
Okay, so you can see your ads, you know that they are being updated regularly. But are you getting results.
The first indicator – have you noticed an increase in sales? At the end of the day you’re running ads to get more sales, so ignoring Facebook, have you noticed a difference in web traffic and purchase numbers in the back end of your site?
And have you given them enough time to get those sales? It can take 1-3 months to get the testing right and this is fairly common across the board. We often get results in week one, but for newer or more complex brands it can take time.
Next, set up your ads dashboard so you can see what’s happening and you don’t have to rely on reports or confusing sales calls you can see the numbers for yourself. Don’t know how to do that? Watch the tutorial below and we’ll show you exactly how we set up our dashboard so you can get an accurate idea of what’s happening.
Now that you can see the numbers you can review your cost per purchase, sales numbers, budgets all with the click of a few buttons. As a business owner it’s so important that you know these number.
If you know that you have $10 profit per product and your Facebook ads are costing $15 per purchase, you know you’re losing money.
If you know that you make $75 profit per product and it’s costing $20 per purchase, you’re doing well. Without knowing your business numbers, it’s impossible to know whether Facebook ads are working, so make sure you know those numbers first and then you can review.
And make sure your agency or ad manager knows these things too.
They are actively testing
You don’t have to know how split testing works, or their testing strategy – but you can easily identify if testing is being done and it’s so important that it is being done.
Before I go into that though, I need to explain WHY testing is so important.
Testing is the only way to find the best possible mix of audiences, copy and images. Any good marketer knows how important testing is, and will have their own method of testing. Without it, you might get lucky and have one ad do really well, but there will be no logic behind why it’s doing well, or what to do when it eventually fails.
Testing means you can continually be ahead of the game, working out what copy resonates best with what audience, and you’re always competing against yourself to find the better combination. No testing means you’re continually guessing.
So, how can you tell if your manager is testing? Simple. Check within a campaign – there should be multiple audiences running (in most campaigns) on smaller budgets you might have one or two that just have the one audience like a retargeting campaign for example. Within any one of those audiences there should be multiple ads.
We usually name the audiences by their characteristics ie. Broad Audience | Lookalike Audience | 30 yr Fashion Brand Interests and our ads Image 1 Text 1, Image 1 Text 2 etc. Different agencies will have their own naming conventions and might even be code you don’t understand, but as long as there are options they’re doing their job.
The only other caveat to this, if you’re spending big dollars and using CBO (campaign budget optimisation), the testing might be done at the campaign level – so you may have 15+ campaigns running instead, just check the naming conventions or ask your agency, they should be able to tell you what they are currently testing pretty easily.
If they aren’t testing, that’s a huge red flag.
Check in with the communication being provided
Lastly, talk to your agency or ads manager. These tips and tools are incredibly helpful, but they can’t tell the full story of your situation. Talk to your person and ask any questions.
If you’ve become aware that they should be running ads in your account, or you’ve seen copy you don’t like, discuss it. If they aren’t editing ads enough, talk to them about their optimisation plans and how they operate, if you aren’t getting the numbers you need – discuss those.
It can be difficult on the agency side where the client hasn’t set clear targets, or didn’t let us know of changes – so make sure you communicate that. It could be a simple miscommunication, or they could be letting you down.
They should also be quick(ish) to communicate. We promise responses with 1-2 business days, and are always happy to schedule calls. If they take weeks to reply, that’s a problem.
It’s also important to let them work, if you want to talk to them every week – there is less time for them to do their job, so it’s important to find the right balance. But at the end of the day, you’re the customer and it’s your business, you need to be happy with the level of communication being provided.
It’s important to have a clear understanding of your own advertising account. You don’t have to understand their testing schedule, how ads manager works or how to do the targeting, but when you know how to check on your own ad account, assess results, check for ad testing, and review change logs, it puts you in a far better position to see whether you are getting your moneys worth.
At the end of the day it’s your business, and you’re wearing a million hats as it is. You don’t need to be a Facebook Ads Expert (that’s why you outsourced in the first place) – but knowing the basics of ad management and where to find things is going to be a huge help.
It can save you from staying with the wrong agency for too long, wasting money, running ads that can damage your brand, or leaving a great agency for someone with a better sales pitch.
If you’re stuck, or still aren’t sure if you’re getting the best for your money – please book in a free strategy review call here. I’ve personally reviewed hundreds of ad accounts and can do all these steps and more in our 20 min free strategy session. And I’m completely honest, I’ve told several people to stay with their current agency when they had doubts. I’m not about the hard sell, I just like to help!