A complete guide to troubleshooting your Ad Campaigns

Your Facebook Ad Campaigns are running, but how do you assess their performance?

What to kill, what to scale? 

What if you kill an ad too early?

ROAS is one data point to look at, but there is much more to assessing performance than a single number.

There is no single way to look at it.

Performance is assessed based on looking at multiple data points, then making an informed decision.

When an account is not performing we must begin by deconstructing the issue.

The aim of this guide is for you to be able to identify areas to investigate.

It acts as the starting point for investigating poor performance, noting down areas that need looking into more closely, and starting to plan how to overcome these.

So, what’s not working?

This giant formula gives us an entry point into breaking apart performance.

A break in any part of the equation will lead to a reduction in Revenue

So let’s attack each portion by going through the troubleshooting guide below…


  • What is my click cost (CPC)? This indicates how the ad is resonating with the audience.
  • Has it increased or decreased substantially? Have you made any significant changes to the account recently?
  • Can I win at this traffic price? Make sure to compare traffic from recent campaigns to see if it has decreased or increased significantly. If it’s the same as previously, then it could indicate a different issue.
  • What is my CPM? Compare it to different periods to see if there have been significant changes. Has it increased or decreased?
  • What is my CTR? This indicates how the ad is resonating with the audience. Has it increased or decreased?
  • What is my frequency? This will differ depending on the stage of the funnel and the timeframe that you’ve selected. Over 7 days – TOF (1-2), MOF (2-3), BOF (4-5)
  • Is overall site traffic down dramatically during this time period?
    Has there been a dramatic reduction in traffic from any other source? (Organic Search, Direct, Email, etc.)
  • Have you tried interest based audiences and different types of lookalike audiences? (Audience tab on Copy Doc)
  • Is the Pixel setup correctly? Is tracking working?
  • Are you using the correct URL? (Test URLs: e.g collection pages vs product)

Conversion Rate.

When looking at these metrics, if they have changed dramatically from one time period to the next, it could signify other changes outside of Facebook.

Facebook Ads, or Google Ads, only represents 50% of the full picture. 

The website converts the customer at the end of their journey. If lots of things have been changed on your website, this could affect performance.

Points to consider…

  • What is the total Facebook conversion rate? This can be related to audience quality or changes in audience/creative etc
  • Is my Dynamic Product Ads (DPA) and remarketing speaking to this audience (Ads matching, not generalized)?
  • What are the key barriers/objection busters to purchase?
  • Are they dropping out at any particular stage of the funnel?
  • How is my abandoned cart recovery rate?
  • What is my site speed? Could I improve it?
  • Make sure to check the Customer Journey (website) on mobile as well
  • Have I clicked through the entire customer journey? Is there anything off?
  • Is there a hole in my funnel (check search competition / amazon competition)?
  • Do they have all available payment options (PayPal, Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, etc.)
  • Is the free shipping threshold appropriately priced?
  • What is the price of shipping?
  • Do you have an abandoned cart flow that is at least 3 emails long?
  • If offering discounts, is everything working? Discount codes set up correctly etc?
  • Are there other automated flows (e.g. Browse Abandonment, On-Site Email Capture, SMS, FB Messenger) that could be added that would increase your conversion rate during the days after the initial click?
  • Are there reviews / testimonials etc on product pages?
  • Are product descriptions good?

Average Order Value / Unit Economics.

Let’s take a look at Average Order Value (AOV) versus Unit Economics.

  • Are there any available up-sells that you could add into the purchase process?
  • What is the shipping cost? Is it destroying margin? Would free shipping be an option?
  • What would happen if we increased the price/discounted the product?
  • Is there a price-anchoring strategy that might frame the price differently?
  • Can you lead with a different product than the one you’re leading with right now?
  • Can we bundle any of the SKU’s in a way that would be intriguing?
  • Is the ROAS expectation reasonable? If not, can it affect the supply chain/margin in any way to help lower the ROAS needs?
  • Are you including any fixed costs in your required ROAS calculation?
  • Do you know what your CPA (cost per acquisition) needs to be based on the COGs i.e margin etc?

Life-Time Value.

Let’s take a look at Life Time Value (LTV) troubleshooting points…

  • What is the repeat purchase rate of your product(s)?
  • What is the average time between purchases?
  • Would analyzing the 30/60/90 day customer value reveal that you might actually be winning?
  • What happens in the post purchase email flow?
  • Is there space for a full retention funnel to be built out?
  • Is this a product that will only break even on the first sale, but make money on subsequent sales?

Creative Analysis.

Analyse your creatives, such as: Ad Copy, Images, Videos, Watch Times, etc.

  • What are the 3 second view/impression rates?
  • If below 30% what can be done to improve the beginning of the ad creative?
  • What are the average video watch times?
  • Where are the customers dropping out on that video?
  • What is the outbound CTR (click through rate)?
  • Is there a CTA (call-to-action) in the ad copy?
  • Is there a CTA in the video asset?
  • What are the key obstacles to purchase? Do you eliminate them in your ads and/or re-marketing?
  • What is working better, video or still image?
  • Have you tested your DPA (dynamic product ads) copy?
  • Have you thought about different objectives and types of creative that you could use?

How close/far am I from the target?

If you’re CLOSE to your desired ROAS/CPA target, let’s take a look at some points for you to consider:

  • Where are you winning? Is it certain products, creatives, etc?
  • What is my closest to target funnel? Your audience, your ad?
  • Why is this funnel having success? Break down what you believe to make it a success so you can rinse and repeat.
  • Are there any small adjustments you could make to make this funnel succeed?
  • Is your prospecting / remarketing budget allocation appropriate, given your traffic?
  • Can you get more out of Remarketing?
  • Have you leveraged all available re-engagement audiences?
  • Do you have an appropriately shaped funnel? (Cost Per Acquisition decreases down the funnel in each step)
  • Do you have an appropriate number of variables in your CBO (Campaign Budget Optimization) based on the budget?
  • Could you create a tighter set of seed audiences for your lookalike audiences? (Top Customers, Facebook Ad Purchasers)

If you’re FAR from your desired ROAS/CPA target, let’s take a look at some points for you to consider:

  • Are you trying wild variations in creative? i.e. being ‘too out there’ that you’re creatives are no longer resonating with your audience.
  • Have you tried all available bidding strategies (bid cap, budget optimizations, manual target bids, value optimization, $1 ad sets)
  • Build the plan from all of the above

Market Sentiment – Competitors.

Having gone through the above, we would also recommend taking a look at the following points…

  • Is it the correct season for your product? Certain times of the year can be slow/fast
  • Are you regularly checking out your competitors to see what they’re doing?
  • Have you checked the variations between countries / regions?
  • Are you aware of any changes/updates to Facebook which could have affected the algorithm?
  • Is it the end of a quarter? Some big agencies/brands dump their budget which can affect performance across Facebook.

In Summary.

Is this how you feel? Ready to dive under the duvet!

Unfortunately, when it comes to advertising there is no straightforward answer, no absolute certainty – and being able to confidently assess and choose a strategy comes with experience, which there is no real shortcut to.

When assessing the performance of your Ad Campaigns, the bad news is that there are MANY points to look and assess. We know it’s not what you want to hear, but it’s the truth – and is why we created the extensive list of trigger points for you to consider.

HOWEVER, the good news is – there are MANY points to look at. Which means that you have MANY opportunities to improve performance!

Any sliver of a percentage point improvement on any of these points will make a difference to your bottom line.

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