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184: Use These 20 Questions to Get Unstuck With Your Facebook Ads Part 1

Posted by Austin Brawner on February 5, 2019


A few weeks ago Andrew shared his five-step process for optimizing your Facebook ad account.

In part one of this two-part episode, Andrew takes a more tactical approach and shares 10 questions he asks when auditing clients’ Facebook accounts to see whether they’re running things in the best way possible.

After auditing more than 200 Facebook accounts last year, Andrew has seen accounts that are killing it and those that have a lot of room for improvement. Whether you’re on one end of the spectrum or the other, these questions will help you identify changes you can make to improve what you’re doing on Facebook.

Stay tuned later this week for part two of this episode, where Andrew will share the additional 10 questions to ask when auditing your Facebook account. Enjoy!

Episode Highlights

  • 8:06 Question #1: Is user-generated content integrated somewhere in the creative?
  • 9:16 Question #2: Are you utilizing reviews in your copy?
  • 10:53 Question #3: Are you utilizing square video link posts?
  • 12:39  Question #4: Is your product at least 40% to 50% of your ad image?
  • 14:20 Question #5: Are there unanswered comments or questions on your ad??
  • 18:26 Question #6: Is there a discount integrated at some point in the funnel?
  • 19:56 Question #7: If you have an ad set that you stopped running because it died, have you tried duplicating it and running it at a lower budget to give it new life?
  • 21:13  Question #8: Have you introduced new prospecting audiences based on dynamic pixel actions?
  • 23:07 Question #9: Are you trying broad match dynamic product ads layered with interests?
  • 24:03 Question #10: Have you split you dynamic product ad time windows, separating the adds to cart and the view content?
  • 25:07 How long it typically takes for Andrew to audit an account and the process he goes through.
  • 26:23 The most common mistakes Andrew sees when he’s reviewing Facebook ad accounts

Links And Resources

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Austin Brawner: What's up everybody? Welcome to another episode of the eCommerce Influence Podcast. My name is Austin Brawner.

Andrew Foxwell: And I'm Andrew Foxwell. Man, I got a great story for you about some Foxwell fan feedback that I have received off of the podcast. I think you're going to love this.

Austin Brawner: All right. I'd love to hear it.

Andrew Foxwell: All right. I got a note that the subject line was, "You on Austin Brawner's podcast," and the body of the email said, “Hey, man. This is,” not going to say the name, “I'm based in Germany, super awesome listening to your regular appearances on Austin Brawner's podcast the last few years. You have helped me grow my business, it's been great, keep the good content coming, and hopefully, he'll continue to have you as a guest. Cheers.” Name. I'm like, all right, so it's ours kind of together, I'm also co-host, so that's why I'm on a lot.

Austin Brawner: You've been on every episode for the last year and a half.

Andrew Foxwell: I just loved it. I was just like, that's awesome. Who knows, this dude clearly came in, saw it, found it, like downloaded some episodes, and he's like, “Oh, I like these, you know, I like this, as long as Andrew's on, like it's pretty cool.” I just love that they didn't know that I was a regular on there, like they only had just enough, so just to be clear, yeah, I'm a co-host of the podcast.

Austin Brawner: We actively work to make sure that you're on as many episodes as possible.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah.

Austin Brawner: Sometimes it doesn't happen. Sometimes you're on ones by yourself.

Andrew Foxwell: Right. Big, super tight schedule. A lot of speaking. I'm a huge celeb now, by the way, so I don't have as much time as I used to, but no, I just thought that was awesome.

Austin Brawner: That is.

Andrew Foxwell: Anyway.

Austin Brawner: That is really funny.

Andrew Foxwell: Honestly, keep the feedback coming, we've actually had some really nice iTunes reviews, recently. We've had a lot of good emails. I've been hearing from a lot of cool people. Your community is growing, and so we're really, really thankful to hear from you, guys, if anybody that writes in, because we know that it's reaching these people, we see the downloads climbing, but hearing your personal stories are really what keeps us going, so we love to hear those, and can always let us know, or email me anytime at, I'd love to hear from you.

Austin Brawner: 100%. We'd love to hear your feedback because that helps us tailor our next episode, and we always keep that in mind when we're coming up with ideas for another episode. Today, we're going to be talking about Facebook and going to be going over the top 20 questions that Andrew asks when he's doing an audit.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah.

Yeah. Basically, what I was thinking about, when I was kind of brainstorming different episode ideas, so I was thinking, look, there are these things that we went through in one episode of the five-step optimization process episode, you may have listened to that, the RCABP process, which is reporting, creative, audience, bidding, and placement process that I go through, and if you haven't, that's a good one to listen to, but this one is really, these are the questions I answer today. Right? These are the tactical questions that I think I look at an account, and when I'm auditing, and I audited over 200 accounts in 2018, and I've already done a couple in 2019, and so really these are the things I'm asking on a regular basis, basically, and there's 20 of them that I utilize as kind of a framework to see if their doing. Usually, one of two of these even on the best accounts I've seen run there's some option for you to try or utilize these in terms of optimizing and making your account better.

Austin Brawner: 100%. This is where some of the value from having somebody who has done 200 different audits in the last year comes, it's as you do more and more audit, and you see more and more accounts you realize that there are certain things some accounts do well, the other ones don't do well, and you can kind of take from them, and shift them around.

I did the same thing with email marketing when I run audits. You find the things that work, and start asking the right questions. Why don't we dive into it Andrew. Why don't you start with your list of questions, and explain it for the laymen out there, like myself who need some help with some of the Facebook nomenclature and vernacular.

Andrew Foxwell: Sure. Totally. These are not in any particular order. These are just how I have them listed out, and the way I think about them. First of all, user-generated content, number one, asking, is user-generated content integrated somewhere in the creative? This can be user-generated content, mostly I'm thinking about it in terms of photos of people using your product, or wearing your product, or maybe even how they look after, you know, if you have a product that's food or something, or some sort of powder, protein powder, or something like that. Right? Is that integrated into your creative somewhere? Right?

The more real that the creative looks, the better off you will be. It's somewhere in the funnel. Most the time, you're better of using UGC, or user-generated content in the lower part of the sales funnel. Right? Because you're proving to that person, hey, here's somebody that used it, and here's what they said about it. Right? That's number one, is there a UGC integrated anywhere, because if it's all pretty photos, but there's no real tactic, or excuse me, there's no realness to it, then you're kind of missing out on that tactic, and that's something that I utilize a lot.

This one is coupled really with the second thing that I go through then, which is, are there any reviews integrated into the copy? Okay. We have a huge test running right now for one of our clients, they're spending about $20,000 in about a five day period, and they're testing a lot of copy that is testing reviews versus testimonial versus some other stuff, so like review being straight from them, testimonial being more like canned, and then the third one, the kind of a different type of pitch.

Right now, the review is working the best. The review from people that have had this experience with this product is what's winning. UGC, user-generated content are the photos that you have that are from Instagram that if they've tagged you, and you've asked them to use it, that you are using somewhere in the funnel. Two, are you utilizing reviews? Are you utilizing reviews that are either from Yatpo, maybe you have that set up on your site, or from customer feedback, and surveys that you're utilizing, and those two things are really, really big and you normally one that a lot of people miss out on.

Austin Brawner: Or Amazon reviews, also if you're selling on Amazon-

Andrew Foxwell: Or Amazon reviews. Sure. Absolutely.

Absolutely. Yeah. There was a great company I worked with that was a security camera company, and they utilized reviews incredibly well, that I did an audit for in 2018, and so they were an Amazon first company, and that was a big part of it. That's one and two. One, being UGC, user-generated content into the creative. Number two, reviews being integrated into the copy. The third one, is are you utilizing square video link posts? Right now, previous to I would say 2018 in a lot of ways, the most popular ad unit that we had was this square photo post. Right? We've talked about that plenty of times in this podcast, which-

Austin Brawner: Yeah. Definitely.

Andrew Foxwell: Is a photo.

Austin Brawner: Yeah.

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah. It's a square photo, you launch it, and it has the copy, and then a short link in it. Right? Facebook has given us the beauty now of not only link posts, which is what we traditionally had used as a conversion ad for a long time, and those were 1200X628 kind of a rectangular image, they've now allowed us to put square photos in the link post, so that helps and allowed us to do videos in there, and you can upload a video into your square link post. The aspect ratio is one to one. You can also take product photos and put them into a slide show, so you can create that right within this tool from Facebook called the video creation kit, which is at the ad level of your Facebook, and Instagram ad creations tool.

Basically, you know if I'm looking and I'm seeing there's no slideshow, or no square of the video link post integrated, that's a problem. You should be integrating that. You should try them, because they work really, really well, and Facebook likes them, users like them, they allow you to show off video, and show the product benefits, and they also allow you to get comments, and do social proofing, and everything else like tactics we've talked about before, so that's number three on the list.

Austin Brawner: Number four, you talk about a product being more than 40 to 50% of the image, what does that mean?

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah. Number four is looking at the image that you have or the videos that you have. Right? A lot of times what I'll see is people utilizing lifestyle photos, so they'll utilize lifestyle, and let's say it's a watch, or let's say it's a handbag, or jewelry, and the photo is somebody wearing it on the street. Well, you can hardly see it. Right? A lot of people are looking at these things on their mobile device, so the more that it pops, the more that, image pops out, and kind of hits you in the face, the better off you're going to be.

My general rule is how can you make the product at least 40% to 50% of the image? Okay? How can you make sure that it's front and center, people know what it is, that captures their attention, because in my experience those lifestyle photos don't work as well.

Where lifestyle does work in the cases it does is a lower funnel, mostly with UGC, so it kind of ties back into number one, so looking at that, and saying, “All right. Look, if you're doing this particular product, we need to see it,” the person needs to see what it looks like, why it's interesting, and not just see a lifestyle photo of somebody wearing your backpack, or something, because if they're walking down the street, it looks like every other backpack. Right?

You have to remember consumers have so much choice, our potential customers have so much choice, and so in order to really, really reinforce what's special about our product, whatever that particular thing is, we need to make sure that they understand the value prop right off the bat, and they can see it, and they can see what makes it different, that looks interesting, that looks like something that I could potentially use. Right? That's a big question of is it more than 40% to 50% of the image? That's number four.

Austin Brawner: Next one you got unanswered comments, which is key, not just on Facebook, but anywhere. Talk a little bit about unanswered comments, and what you look for there?

Andrew Foxwell: Yeah. Let's just talk about this, I was actually, it's pretty interesting, actually, I'm going to call these companies out, because I think it's actually a really big deal. I saw a Facebook ad yesterday for Whole30 and ButcherBox. Two companies that I really actually respect. I think they've built great businesses. All of the comments, there were over 40 comments on the post that I saw, it was an unboxing post, video, so that person from Whole30 was unboxing a ButcherBox box.

If you don't know what the Butcher Box is, that's a subscription meat box, and they were unboxing it and every single one of the comments except one, because I looked at every single one of them was negative. People saying that the meat had arrived, and it was bloody, it had thawed, it had major problems, and some of them were being answered, but some of them were not. This is a huge part that I don't think many people understand as much is that comments, and the unanswered comments, and whether they have a validation of your product or a rejection is like the most important thing that people are going to look at because when you see an ad from something you don't know that seems kind of interesting, you're going to click on the comments. Right?

You probably are, you're going to click to see, is this something people think is interesting? We look for validation from other people. If that's not doing well, that not only will tank your ad results, because Facebook will look at that, and your relevant score will start to go down, because your negative feedback will be high, but you're also really hurting yourself. I look at that. Do you have unanswered comments that aren't being attended to? A lot of people when they scale up Facebook ads, this is the part that they completely forget about, and it's on the agencies and us to tell people, “Hey, look, when we scale, you're going to be on the hook for answering a lot more of these questions.” Right?

That's okay. Right? You want to be able to do customer service. You want to be able to help people, and answer questions, especially if you're using that social proofing strategy as we've talked about before. Are there unanswered comments? Check those. Are they validating or rejecting the product? If they're rejecting the product, and there's a lot of negativity you probably have some work to do in terms of customer service, and customer experience. Right? But, you also don't need to keep running that ad. You can turn that ad off, and start a new ad. You can try something different. My point is there's no reason that you need to be spending your media dollars to blast out to the world a huge billboard that people have commented on with a bunch of thumbs down. It just doesn't make sense.

Austin Brawner: It doesn't make sense. It's not going to make dollars.

Andrew Foxwell: Right. Be better. Right. Be better than that. Right? A lot of what happens in subscription box products, of course, and it maybe is what's happening here is they're looking and saying, “Well, our lifetime value is $230.00,” so anything below that in terms of a subscription signup is okay, and you may get some people that are going to click through, but again that doesn't solve the core problems, so there're different things you can do.

You either need to interact with them, or you need to stop that ad and start a new one. You don't need to be disingenuous about it, but it may be that you want to just hold back off of paid media for a while once you fix why the fact that these things are being sent around the country, and thawing, that's an issue. Right?

A lot of times I'll work with people, too, to develop content off of the FAQ's that are in the comments. If you have FAQ's about, “Hey, why's this get shipped the wrong way,” or, “Hey, this didn't really work,” or, “What makes it different?” Develop content on your site that you can link to people in the comments. That's a big one, unanswered comments, I see that a lot and people will say, “You know, this ad was doing well, and then stopped doing well,” that's the reason why. That's number five, are there unanswered comments, and validation and rejection? Those are some of the things that I'm looking for.

Number six is there a discount integrated at some point in the funnel? I'm not saying that everything has to be discounted. I'm not saying it has to be a massive discount. There's a client I work with their AOV is a $170.00, and their discount is $15.00 off for first time purchasers. Not an incredibly great deal, but there is a discount in there that gives people some incentive to try it.

This particular person I'm talking about is a clothing retailer, all made in the US, people love their products. However, again, tons of consumer choice, so you've got to give them some reason, and some incentive for first-time customers to give it a shot, otherwise, why? When the quality and the integrity of your product is great, and I'm glad that you're doing that, and I'm glad it's made in the US, but it's not enough to get people to try it. We have a lot of choices there. Is there some sort of discount integrated for first-time customers, is number six, the thing I'm looking at when I'm trying to do a lot of these audits. I'm going to take a breath because I'm speaking at an auctioneers pace apparently.

Austin Brawner: These are just good marketing. Right? All of these things, when it comes back to it, it's good marketing, it's providing an offer, it's making sure that your comments on your site, any forward facing comments, and reviews are answered in a positive, that you can see all these things are just really, really good marketing, and focusing on that. A 100% on board.

Andrew Foxwell: Number seven, a lot of people think about, “Hey, I had an ad set that was running, it was doing really well, and then it kind of died,” so I always ask the question of, “Have you actually stopped that ad set? Did you duplicate it, and then run it again at a lower budget, doing the same thing?” That's a common strategy that not a lot of people know, and not a lot of people do. Things don't have to die, and sometimes when you reenter it into the algorithm, it can really help to give something that was once dead a little bit of new life, frankly.

That's another thing I look at of, “Hey, have you just duplicated this and ran it again to doing the exact same thing that you were before at a lower budget, and tried to scale it up?” Justin Marshall, who we've had on several episodes, he talks about this as something he likes to do, and he has seen life come from ad sets three, four times that he's able to run it, especially for 1%, and 2% lookalikes, that kind of wear out over time. You'll run that until it starts to show you diminishing returns, and your first-time impression ratio is low, and then you stop it, duplicate it, lower the budget, and run it again. That's number seven.

Austin Brawner: That's a very easy one to do, and if you do nothing else that's one that can jumpstart a good ad set.

Andrew Foxwell: Absolutely. Number eight is thinking about, have I introduced new prospecting audiences based on dynamic pixel actions? A lot of us say, “I had this lookalike, or I had these 2% lookalikes, they were built off of my purchasers, and that's what I've been relying on.” That's great, but then question becomes, if you want to horizontally scale, which is introducing more audiences over time and different ad sets instead of vertically scaling, which is just raising the ad set budget of one ad set to one particular audience, utilizing more lookalikes off of those dynamic pixel actions, meaning, adds to cart, top 25% website custom audiences, two time page views, so when was the last time you integrated an introduced new prospecting audiences based off of things that are updating?

As long as those pixel events are firing add to cart, view content, initiate checkout, whatever it is, right, as long as you're driving prospecting traffic in, those are going to keep updating, and they're going to update the lookalikes every 72 hours, so it's a way to continue to generate that new traffic, and a lot of times when people say, "This was doing well, and then it started to die," I'll look and they will have been prospecting audiences to two audiences and they've never really changed it. And so you've got make sure that you're always experimenting with, okay, you know what, I'm going to try some new dynamic pixel action prospecting audiences, and I'm going to try them to different sizes, maybe a 2%, maybe a 4%. Right? Maybe even 10%, or something like that. Right?

Basically, the question of number eight is, have I introduced new prospecting audiences based on those dynamic pixel actions because you have to make sure that you're always testing, and trying to bring new people in. On the side of prospecting, as well, another one, number nine, am I trying broad match dynamic product ads layered with interests? Do you have a product catalog? You can utilize broad match dynamic product ads for prospecting, and a lot of times you can layer them with general interests.

We have a client that sells jewelry. We have the broad match dynamic product ad running, which is finding people likely to buy products that I'm advertising from my catalog. We have one that's running layered with our competitors. Then we have another ad set running that's layered with the broad match DPA with a jewelry interest. Then we have another one that's layered with charm bracelets as an interest. Okay. It's not that complicated, but a lot of times broad match dynamic product ads are forgotten about, and they can be a really, really powerful vehicle to drive in a different type of prospecting traffic, too. That's number nine, am I doing broad match dynamic product ads?

Then the final one of number 10, is have I split my dynamic product ad time windows, separating the adds to cart, and the view content? Right? That's something we've talked about a lot on this podcast before, but if you're doing a 90-day view, and add to cart, that's not necessarily treating your customers with the best treatment they can get. Right? If somebody that viewed something versus somebody that added to cart something, you know, is a totally different type of customer, and the time window is really important. And it feels counterintuitive.

I have a very small brand that we work with, they spend about $4,000.00 a month, and I actually created a four day add to cart for them, and that's now at a 10X, because it knows that that's much more relevant, and the relevant score is higher, therefore we're getting better results versus doing something like a 30 day which is what I had running before of add to cart. Splitting out the DPA time windows, separating adds to cart, and view content is really big. Those are kind of the 10 things that I like to think about as we start to audit accounts.

Austin Brawner: When you were going through, how long does it typically take you to audit an account?

Andrew Foxwell: Typically, it depends on of course how much the people are spending, but typically an audit will take me an hour to two hours, it depends on again how big it is. There's an account I audited that was a half a million dollar a month spend, and that audit took me about three to four hours, and so that's something that you just have to kind of know it's going to be that way, and I mean it's three to four hours of really hard work, of making notes on things.

If you're interested in the audit process that I go through, too, there's some content I can send you on that, we can have a conversation, but I like to list all of them out by a campaign name, and by ad set name and then say, “Here's what's going on,” and then start to highlight opportunities that I see, but these are some of the core questions I'm asking as we get into thinking about how to make your account better, or where opportunities might present themselves.

Austin Brawner: What's the most common thing you see when you are auditing someone's account? I don't know if there's something like nine times out of 10 or something like that, what's the most common thing you see wrong when you're doing audits?

Andrew Foxwell: The most common thing is that the pitch is off, and the creative doesn't look very good, so they haven't put enough time into thinking, they think their product is really special, but they haven't put enough time into thinking about how is this actually going to be presented to other people, and their utilizing the same content in all parts of the funnel, so it's like you'll have the same ad on remarketing that you do for prospecting, and so that's why talking about rules one and two of reviews, and user-generated content integrated somewhere in there is really, really big. But the most common one is you think it's great, but you haven't tried multiple pitches to get people to understand what's different about it, and what's great about it, and so your kind of relying on one pitch.

There was I guy that I was talking to earlier and he has a leather goods company, and they sell briefcases, and his pitch talks all about how they raise a bunch of money on Kickstarter, and it's the only thing that they've used in the copy. Well, that can work for a certain amount of people that 1) know what Kickstarter even is, but there's a lot of different ways you could talk about that to different amounts of people, or different groups of people, excuse me, so that's the most common, I would say.

The second most common is audiences. They're not trying enough audiences, they become overly dependent on one or two audiences because they've worked. That's why rule number eight of trying different prospecting audiences off with dynamic pixel actions, and looking at things like the broad match dynamic product ads.

Austin Brawner: Awesome. Andrew, this has been helpful. Hope you guys find this helpful as well. Anything else you want to share before hopping off?

Andrew Foxwell: No. I think we're in really, really good shape. Thank you so much. I really appreciate the listen, and we look forward to hopefully having this be helpful for you.

Austin Brawner: What's up everybody? Welcome to another episode of the eCommerce Influence Podcast. My name is Austin Brawner.

Andrew Foxwell: And I'm Andrew Foxwell. Man, I got a great story for you about some Foxwell fan feedback that I have received off of the podcast. I think you're going to love thi...

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