To maximize ad results, Facebook recommends that we let them optimize our campaigns. However, a few intentional maneuvers from your marketing team can define the effectiveness of your ads and turn simple facebook ads into direct leads.
If Facebook is an important lead generation channel for your business, you should pay attention and act quickly because a poorly optimized ad can result in high costs or low return on investment (ROI).
In our case, many TOFU (top of the funnel) activities relied on Facebook ads.
Before taking matters into our own hands, we operated at the mercy of our campaigns’ natural performance fluctuations.
We had our highs and lows. Some campaigns did well, others did poorly.
And then, there were those campaigns that had a great start, but decreased in quality over time. If you analyse the performance of your Facebook ads, I’m sure you resonate with this variation.
One particular campaign started very successfully.
We booked plenty of calls, our costs were exceptionally low, and prospects were top-notch.
Yet, several weeks later, this effective performance reached a halt. Costs were going up, and we did not get a single lead in three days.
I donned my analytical hat, and prepared for a full, funnel analysis.
With a couple simple steps I turned an ineffective Facebook ad into 11 conversions at a $55 cost per lead.
This is how I did it.
The technology stack we used
To analyze our marketing funnel we’ve used a simple technology stack:
- Facebook ad manager to analyze facebook ad performance
- Google analytics to analyze our landing page performance
- Intersect Labs to automate our facebook reports
First, isolate if it’s a website/app or channel issue
In light of the fact that we had a previously successful campaign, I started by checking for any technical issues or changes.
After confirming the ad’s technical functionality, I was ready to analyze the funnel.
Organizing the columns
To analyze our marketing funnel, I started by organizing our data.
In the Ad manager view, Facebook provides plenty of metrics with the added customization of rearranging them to correspond to specific marketing funnel stages.
For our analysis, I customized our columns to reflect the following column order:
- Cost per result
- Amount spent
- Unique outbound clicks
- Unique outbound CTR
- Cost per unique outbound click
By clicking on the "Customize columns'' option in your Ad Account, you can easily change your columns to reflect the current order. Simply navigate to the end of your columns and click on the add button (blue circle with a cross).
This option enables you to select columns, order them, and save the combination into a preset to later apply across all your campaigns.
Analyze the funnel, top to bottom
With all my columns in order, I dove into our marketing funnel.
I was interested to learn if the issue was with our:
- Landing page
To isolate the issue I took a particular interest in comparing the recent three-day dry spell to our last successful three days.
Check Facebook Ad reach and impressions
Initially, I checked if the underperforming days were getting fewer reach and impressions. The iOS 14 update affected a lot of Facebook accounts, so I wanted to make sure that this wasn't causing the issue.
Much to my surprise, we actually saw a higher reach and number of impressions when our Facebook ad was not working. So I scratched this approach, and moved on to analyze the remaining facebook ad metrics.
Check the CPM and cost per outbound click
A high CPM can indicate a weak campaign and low relevance for the targeted audience. On the other hand, the cost per outbound click lets you know whether your advertising is maximizing your ROI.
Oddly enough, despite our large reach, our CPM and our cost per outbound click declined during the period when the campaign was underperforming.
When the campaign was generating leads, we were paying $27 for CPM, and $2.30 per outbound click. In contrast, when we did not get any leads, we were paying $21.26 for CPM, and $1.86 per outbound click.
While our creative and messaging seemed to target the right audience, something went wrong when they got to our landing page.
We instantly knew one thing - the issue lies within our landing page, not in the ad itself. And since it clearly wasn’t a technical issue, I assumed our messaging might be off.
To further confirm this speculation I needed to prove that we get a substantial number of outbound link clicks to our landing page.
Check your outbound link clicks and CTR
Link clicks will tell you how many times people have clicked on your ad. However, outbound link clicks are the total number of clicks that lead directly to your landing page -- this level of interaction represents the real value of your ad.
In our case, the underperforming period garnered more outbound link clicks than the previous period. In fact, we got 61 more clicks!
On top of that, the unique outbound CTR (click through rate) was lower (1.28%) or 0.05% lower than the previous period.
From this, we learned that even though people were clicking on our ad and engaging with our offer, they dropped off the funnel as soon as they arrived at our landing page.
Analyzing the landing page with Google Analytics
To analyze our landing page I turned towards the data in the Google analytics acquisition panel.
In the images below you can clearly see that although we brought more people to our landing page, the bounce rate increased and the average session duration dropped significantly.
As I suspected, something was definitely off with our messaging.
Here's the data in Google analytics when the campaign was working:
The data in Google analytics when the campaign was not working:
Compare the messaging on and off Facebook
After some digging, I identified an inconsistency in our messaging across the funnel.
On Facebook we were saying things like:
“Automate repetitive data tasks” and “Build data workflows in minutes.”
Whereas on our landing page, we boasted features such as::
- Collaborative data workspace for business people
- Import from any data source
- Schedule and automate data notebooks
While both of these messages accurately describe features that exist on our platform, the attributes that originally drew people in were not properly represented on our landing page.
From this, we assumed that the targeted audience was more interested in what we said in our ad creatives than in what we wrote on our landing page.
This lack of consistency made it complicated for people to understand the benefits of the platform.
So with this new found problem area, we quickly updated our landing page content to reflect the messaging from our facebook campaign.
And sure enough, with this small content change, we exceeded our best-performing results in a single day, generating 11 high-quality leads for $55 each.
What can we do next?
Typically to perform this kind of analysis, marketers perform a series of repetitive, manual, data analysis steps.
This can be done through comparing the results of our campaigns by switching between time periods in the Ad Manager. Or you can download the numbers and import them into a document of your choice (such as Google Sheets or Excel) to analyse the data on an external platform.
Our ad analysis process was fairly manual, but we wanted to take it to the next level.
We hoped to keep a close eye on our ad performance by automating our Facebook ad reporting.
Get the data we need without lifting a finger? Easier said than done, right? Wrong!
Automate Facebook ads reporting with Intersect Labs
You can effortlessly draw meaningful conclusions from your ad performance using the Facebook daily ad set report. This notebook compares two days' worth of data, with the metrics that you care about.
After setting up the notebook once, the dashboard will run automatically every day.
More automated Facebook ad reports
We built Intersect Labs, so that marketers like you can automate their analysis tasks. We went one step ahead, and we created ready to use templates to pave your way into automated data analytics.
To analyze your Facebook ad metrics, you can also use these templates: