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There is nothing more frustrating than watching your Facebook ads slowly dwindling. What used to be an amazing campaign, slowly deteriorating. Till eventually, you’re losing money. But what if there was a way to fix it? To stop it from getting to that point.

Want the easy, quick-fix answer? There is none. Unless you hire us to do all the hard work for you haha. But this is the exact process we use to help recover failing ad accounts/poor campaigns/or help clients who come to us with ad accounts that are dwindling.

In this article, I’m going to walk you through the step-by-step process of what we do when we are faced with diminishing returns. Whether it’s a bad week, or a new client coming to us to say that their ads used to be epic and now they are struggling to break even. The steps are the same.

But first, there are a few foundation things you need to make sure you have in place.

  1. Check your customer feedback score – this will tell you if Facebook is penalising your ads
  2. Check your online store conversion rate – there is no point sending additional web traffic to your site if no one converts. You want to aim for a minimum of 2-4% – better is excellent.
  3. Work out your breakeven point. When you take into consideration your ad management fees (if you’re hiring someone), cost of goods sold, staff costs, costs of business, postage etc. How much do you make on an average order – also how often do people come back? A lot of businesses actually lose money on the front end of Facebook ads, but make it back in repeat purchases encouraged by email and organic. You’ll need to work out what you’re happy with so you know what success and failure look like. We have clients that are happy to lose money on the front end, and we have others that want (and get) a 10-15x ROAS. It really depends on your business model.

Okay, so once you’ve got the basics in place you’ll have a better idea of where you are at.

Firstly, you need to look at what is working. Or if nothing is working, when was the last time something worked.

The easiest way to do this is to search through various campaigns and find winners. Now after doing part 3 above, you’ll know what a winner looks like – it’ll be different for everyone.

You’ll want to make notes on what’s working, and guess why – are they using a particular kind of image, line of copy, does it have lots of social proof, use a particularly compelling review etc. You’ll be guessing a little here, but it’ll be an educated guess. Even better if you can copy the ad ID’s so you can use these pre-existing successful ads when we get to testing shortly.

What Audiences are working?

You’re going to do the same process as above, but with your audiences. If you’ve not been particularly good at testing lots of audiences (it’s never too late) and don’t have much data here – that’s okay, we will cover that in the next section. But go through the data you do have. You’re looking for which audiences drove sales, or had high click-through rates and writing those down. Paying specific attention to the details. Was ‘expand audience’ ticked, did you have a gender or age range specified. Make notes on everything.

Now for testing

There are so many different ways to test, my favourites are in our last article: The ultimate guide to testing – which I HIGHLY recommend you read before continuing.

What you’re going to do is work on one part of your funnel at a time.

If everything is performing terribly, I’d recommend you start with your top of funnel – so your cold audience campaigns, and work your way down. If one aspect of your campaign is significantly worse, start with that.

You’ll then take the information from your creative and audience reviews and work out your testing strategy, and start testing.

Give each ad 3x your target cost per purchase in spend… so if your goal is $20 cost per purchase, give each ad set $60 in spend, before you make decisions. And then turn off the poor performers, and be brutal.

If you have four ads running, and 3 of them have no sales, turn them all off and make new ads. If you’re still not getting sales – you might need to give them a little more time.

NOTE: Keep a close eye on the ones you’ve turned off, sometimes a sale will come through after, that gives it more promise and you can turn it back on.

You’re going to continually repeat this process until things get better. It might be a quick process, it might take weeks, but there is always a reason why things aren’t working – and this process allows you to work out what that is.

What stats you’re looking for

If in going through this process you’re realising you don’t know what you’re looking at here are some guidelines.

CPM: Less than $20 – this means you’re not in an overly competitive audience and won’t be paying too much money to reach people. Above this and you’re either being penalised by Facebook or you’re in a highly competitive market and your ads aren’t good enough to compete.

CTR (link click): You need to ignore CTR the standard version. You want cold audience link click throughs to be higher than 1% and warm audiences should be closer to 2-4%. If not, you need to work on that copy to be more engaging.

Link Click – Landing Page views: You want to make sure most people who are clicking on your ad are hitting your website, if they aren’t, your website is too slow – but do expect there to be a slight drop off, it won’t match perfectly.

View Content – Add to Cart – Purchases: Looking at these stats in sequence will tell you if there is an issue with your website, if everyone is looking at products, but not adding to cart, you’re not convincing enough that they need this product. If add to carts are high but no purchases, it’s a little of the above, a little ‘they decided they don’t need it’ or shipping is too much.

ROAS: Are you actually making money. Do you need to be making money? Many brands lose money to their cold audiences because they know they’ll make it back on repeat purchases, or further down the funnel. But if you don’t know your stats you will be flying blind. You’ll also use this metric to determine which ads are worth keeping and which aren’t.

In Summary

It’s not an easy process, but it does work. At the end of the day, Facebook ads require a significant amount of work, especially when things are changing as rapidly as they have in the last 6-12 months. Realistically you want to be doing all of the above, even when things are good – it’s how you get constant improvement, or at least manage to keep the good results. There will always be an ebb and flow as the year goes on, but with a solid strategy in place you’ll know what to do when things start to drop.

All sound too hard?

Book in a free strategy session with me today and we can review your account, and point you in the right direction!

Dahna Borg

Author Dahna Borg

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