Facebook Ad Scaling and Troubleshooting Guideline

So you’ve launched a Facebook ad. What do you do to ensure that your launched ad is a success and generating ROI for your business? That’s where this article comes in. This training is all about scaling and troubleshooting your Facebook ad. It’s exactly what you’re going to execute after you’ve set an ad live.

Facebook Ad Scaling and Troubleshooting Guideline
Facebook Ad Scaling and Troubleshooting Guideline

What You’ll Learn:

  • The specific metrics you should focus on to tell if your campaign is a success (all while avoiding data overload)
  • What to do if your campaign isn’t working and the 3 ways to troubleshoot your ad
  • How to successfully scale your Facebook ad (hint: it’s not just about increasing the budget)

Table of contents

Understand the Role of Scaling & Troubleshooting
Understand the Objective
Analyze Your Data
Know Your Success Metrics
Troubleshoot Your Campaigns
What to Do When Your Campaign Isn’t Working
Troubleshooting: Not Getting Impressions
Troubleshooting: Not Getting Clicks
Troubleshooting: Still Not Getting Results?
Scale Your Campaigns
What to Do When Your Campaign Is Working
Scale Vertically
Scale Horizontally

Understand the Role of Scaling & Troubleshooting

Understand the Objective

So you’ve launched a Facebook ad. Congrats!

Now what?

What do you do to ensure that your launched ad is a success and generating ROI for your business?

That’s where this article comes in.

This training is all about scaling and troubleshooting your Facebook ad. It’s exactly what you’re going to execute after you’ve set an ad live.

We’ve broken this article down into 3 parts. In it you’ll learn:

  1. Your success metrics. What numbers should you be looking at? How can you tell if your campaign is actually working?
  2. Once you figure that out, we’re going into troubleshooting. So, what to do if your campaign isn’t working
  3. Then, we’ll move into scaling. What to do when your campaign is working, and how to get more of the results that you’re already getting (hint: it’s not just about increasing the budget)

Let’s get right to it!

Analyze Your Data

Know Your Success Metrics

In this module, we’ll talk about analyzing data.

Before we can figure out what to do to either fix underperforming campaigns or scale campaigns that are performing really well, we have to analyze how it’s doing.

Obviously, there’s a lot of data inside the Facebook platform. Not to mention inside of Google Analytics. And it all can get very, very overwhelming.

But it doesn’t have to be. We’re going to simplify and focus on the data that actually matters. The metrics we’ll examine are universal, no matter your industry, what your Facebook campaign is, or your business goals.

To help analyze your data and figure out the health of your campaigns, we’ve created this Health Checklist (get it in the Resources section below):

Facebook Ads Health Checklist
Facebook Ads Health Checklist

This checklist will allow you to pay attention to what’s important. It’ll keep you from getting distracted by any vanity metrics that don’t matter right now. When you’re looking at a campaign, you’re not going to judge the success of every metric that you see because not every metric that’s tracked actually matters.

We recommend using this checklist at least once a week to check in on the success of your campaigns.

For instance, every Wednesday at DigitalMarketer, we look at the current success of our traffic campaigns in the last 30 days. That allows us to not just look at a super small window of data that can give us a false positive or a false negative, it allows us to really keep the pulse on our campaigns if we’re looking at 30 days’ worth of data every week.

A few things to keep in mind before you start filling out this sheet.

First, give your ad enough time to collect data before you start measuring and analyzing. After a week (or so, depending on your audience), you should have enough data on your ad to start measuring it and seeing how it’s doing.

Next, each metric on the checklist may not apply to every one of your ads or campaigns.

And not every metric on this list is the metric to look at. Your success metric (the main metric you should be focused on) is going to depend on the goal of the campaign, i.e. the outcome you selected when you set your ad up.

So if you set the outcome of your ad as “Get More Leads,” that’s your objective and your success metric is going to cost per lead and it trumps all other metrics on the checklist. For instance, if your cost per click is high and that’s the only metric you’re looking at, it may appear that your ad isn’t doing well. But if your cost per lead is your success metric and it’s performing well, then, it’s okay that your cost per click is high with this campaign because your success metric is where you want it to be.

Finally, right off the bat, you might not know what success looks like for you.

For example, what your cost per lead needs to be for you to run a successful campaign. But after a week or so, you should be able to say, “Based off of the metrics in this campaign, based off of what’s happening in this particular selling system, for me to make my money back or for this to be worth it, the cost per lead needs to be under $7.”

Before you move onto the next module, fill out this checklist.

We left some blank metrics open on the checklist. If there are other metrics that you want to track that are more specific to your particular campaign, fill them in there.

Now, to find ROI, you’ll need to use your CRM or Google Analytics. The rest of the metrics can be pulled from Facebook Ads Manager or Ads Reporting.

If some of your metrics aren’t showing up in Ads Manager, you can click on “Columns” or the little blue and white cross…

Click on “Columns” or the little blue and white cross to show more metrics in Ads Manager.
Click on “Columns” or the little blue and white cross to show more metrics in Ads Manager.

…then pick what you want to add or take away and click “Apply.”

Pick what you want to add or take away and click “Apply.”
Pick what you want to add or take away and click “Apply.”

So as we go ahead and wrap up this module, we can’t emphasize this enough…

Check your metrics every week. So when it’s time to troubleshoot an ad or campaign, you’ll know which area needs optimization. Which areas, that if you improve them, are going to make the biggest difference in your campaign.

After you have run traffic to this particular campaign for a week, you should be able to benchmark most of these and ask yourself: what is good, what is bad?

It’s absolutely going to depend on the play that you selected and the market that you’re in, but don’t get distracted by vanity metrics. Make sure that you’re keeping your eye on the prize and that you’re really looking at what’s important. That ONE metric that’s most important for that particular campaign.

If you haven’t already, download the Health Checklist from the Resources section below and start filling it out.

Troubleshoot Your Campaigns

What to Do When Your Campaign Isn’t Working

Now we move on to troubleshooting your campaigns. So basically: what to do when it’s not working.

Don’t panic if you’re looking at your success metrics and you’re not hitting the goal you need. Most traffic campaigns fail right off the bat, and that’s okay.

You’re running these campaigns to get data to then optimize to get the results you want.

So don’t despair if your ads don’t perform well right out of the gate or are complete duds, to begin with. You’re in good company—it happens to every marketer.

So based on what’s not working, we’re going to show you what to do to hopefully get it to a place where it is working.

KEEP IN MIND: Give your ad 3 days before you start troubleshooting. That will give it enough time to perform, and for Facebook to collect enough data on your ad for you to make an informed decision. If you start troubleshooting before that, you may do more harm than good by changing an ad that hasn’t been given the proper amount of time to gain traction.

Troubleshooting: Not Getting Impressions

With troubleshooting, the first scenario we’re going to cover is: what if you’re not even getting Impressions? Sometimes this happens with traffic campaigns. The ad is just not showing to people for some reason. There are a couple of ways to fix this…

So in Ads Manager, let’s say we’re looking at an ad that’s been running for a few days and our Reach is nothing. Or our Reach is like a hundred people, and we know that that’s just not right, that something’s off.

So in Ads Manager, let’s say we’re looking at an ad that’s been running for a few days and our Reach is nothing. Or our Reach is like a hundred people, and we know that that's just not right, that something’s off.
So in Ads Manager, let’s say we’re looking at an ad that’s been running for a few days and our Reach is nothing. Or our Reach is like a hundred people, and we know that that’s just not right, that something’s off.

The first way to troubleshoot your ads is to change the bidding on your ad sets because, sometimes, based on your audience size, the way that you’re bidding isn’t giving you the results you need.

So, for example, let’s say this ad is an opt-in play. If we were having trouble getting impressions and it just wasn’t getting off the ground, we would go down and change our bidding.

Instead of auto-bidding, we would manually bid, and we would bid higher than we were originally willing to pay. In this example, let’s say we’re willing to pay $7. We’d up it to $10 to see if we could win that real estate.

Sometimes this will allow you to win that real estate that for some reason another advertiser is really holding. So after you change bidding, save it and give it another day.

If it’s still not working after a full 24 hours or more, then we move to Option 2: totally duplicating this campaign and restarting.

If it's still not working after a full 24 hours or more, then we move to Option 2: totally duplicating this campaign and restarting.
If it’s still not working after a full 24 hours or more, then we move to Option 2: totally duplicating this campaign and restarting.

Sometimes Facebook will get buggy, and for some reason, the campaign just never makes it off the ground. In this case, you need to duplicate and restart. If you duplicate and restart, it restarts that algorithm. And it might allow you to overcome not getting impressions.

Sometimes Facebook will get buggy, and for some reason, the campaign just never makes it off the ground.
Sometimes Facebook will get buggy, and for some reason, the campaign just never makes it off the ground.

Troubleshooting: Not Getting Clicks

So maybe you are getting impressions, which is great. But what if you’re not getting clicks?

Basically, you’re not getting any action on your ad; no one is clicking. If that’s the case, it means that the ad is being shown because you’re getting Reach, but for some reason, it’s not resonating with the audience.

So we need to test new targeting, ad copy, and/or creativity.

First, you’ll start with your ad copy and creativity. So your audience is seeing your ad, but you’re not articulating the value of whatever you want them to do in the ad copy and the creative. At least, not in a way that’s resonating with them and generating clicks.

So go ahead and write some new copy chunks. Tweak your ad creative.

Then, to test this, we recommend duplicating your ad sets that aren’t working. In Ads Manager, you’ll select “Duplicate,” but you’re going to edit at the ad level and you’re going to change out your old ads for new ads.

You can keep these old ones running alongside the ones you’ve duplicated for a few days so you can split test and see which variation is going to work best. See if you start getting more clicks onto those ads because you freshened up the copy, the creative.

If you’ve tested a new variation and it’s still not working after 3 days, then you need to start to look at your targeting. Maybe it’s just way off. Maybe your customer avatar (AKA your target audience) is not who you think it is, and you need to go back to the drawing board to do some more research around your targeting.

Now maybe people are seeing the ad, they’re clicking, but when they get to your landing page, they’re not taking whatever action you wanted them to. This is a different problem with your targeting. A metric that will really show you if this is a problem is the conversion rate on your landing page.

So if you’re not getting the desired action on the page, you need to check what we call “ad scent.” Ad scent is the consistency between an ad and the landing page it sends you to.

So here, you need to ask yourself, is there congruency between your ad and the landing page? Are you making the same offer on both? Are you using a similar copy? Is the design similar? Have you maintained a good ad scent?

Because if someone clicks your ad and they go to your landing page and it doesn’t look familiar to them, it’s going to throw your audience and they’re not going to convert. So make sure you have a good ad scent. If that’s a problem, you want to change up either your landing page or your ad to really create that congruency.

Now, if your ad sent is good but your landing page conversion rate isn’t, it probably means that your landing page needs optimization. And there’s a lot that you can do on a landing page to increase the conversion rate, which is a separate training.

Then lastly, some thoughts if you’re still not getting results.

Troubleshooting: Still Not Getting Results?

You’ve created new ad sets. You’ve tested new targeting, you’ve tested new ad copy and creatives, you’ve optimized your landing page, and you’re like, “This still isn’t working.” That will happen. It happens to us at DigitalMarketer all the time.

And what it means is that your offer is broken.

So whatever content you’re sending traffic to—whether it’s a blog post, a gated piece of content, a trial, or a sales page for a monetization campaign—if you’ve continued to troubleshoot, it means that the audience simply does not want what you have to offer. That is going to happen from time to time, and it means you’ll need to start from the beginning.

If this is happening, ask yourself: Is what I’m offering them something that they want?

Maybe it’s time to reposition how you’re selling your product or service because the benefits that you’re offering or the pain point that you’re hitting on for this audience isn’t painful enough or isn’t beneficial enough to get them to convert.

So if you’ve done the rest of the troubleshooting on your campaigns and they’re still not working, it’s probably not a mistake that you are making in the Facebook ads platform. It has something to do with your offer, and it’s time to go back and figure out how to reposition your offer so you can create something that your audience actually wants.

Then you can write new ad copy, launch a new campaign, and compare the results between the 2 different offers that you’ve created.

Scale Your Campaigns

What to Do When Your Campaign Is Working

Now let’s talk about scaling. In other words: what to do when your campaign is working and you want more of the same results.

When it comes to scaling there are 2 approaches: you can either scale vertically or horizontally.

The vertical scale is pretty simple, and it’s probably what most of you imagine when you think about scaling a media campaign. It’s increasing the budget. That’s vertical scale.

Now, the horizontal scale is taking that ad that’s working and showing it to more people. The horizontal scale is creating new ad sets that target different interests or different Lookalike Audiences so you can scale that way, too.

Both of them are good options and both of them can be done at the same time. So you can use the vertical and horizontal scaling tactics we’re about to discuss simultaneously to quickly and effectively scale your ads.

Now before we move on, when it comes to scaling your ads, don’t overthink it. If you have something that’s working, scale it. Use the success metric that tells you, yes, this is good, yes, this is working, and begin to scale.

Scale Vertically

Now, when you’re scaling vertically, you do not want to increase your budget by more than 50% every 7 days, especially if you are running an evergreen campaign that applies to your business for many months to come.

Sometimes people who are spending $20 and are getting good results will go in and jack up their spend to $200 and expect to get the same results. Unfortunately, increasing the budget too quickly is going to throw off Facebook’s ability to optimize your campaign.

So you want to increase your budget a little bit at a time so you maintain the same costs for whatever your success metric is.

So we recommend not scaling more than 50% every 7 days. That will keep your campaign healthy.

We also do not recommend scaling your ad set past the point of no return.

What do we mean by this?

Let’s look at Ads Manager. Below are ads from a campaign we’re running to generate leads with a Lead Magnet for our blog audit.

Let's look at Ads Manager. Below are ads from a campaign we’re running to generate leads with a Lead Magnet for our blog audit.
Let’s look at Ads Manager. Below are ads from a campaign we’re running to generate leads with a Lead Magnet for our blog audit.

We’ve scaled these ads a bit but there’s still room to keep vertically scaling them. Now, because we’re generating opt-ins with these ads, our success metric here is costs per lead. And with this campaign, we’re trying to keep our cost per result under $10. So right now, we can keep scaling and we’ll have enough room to continue to increase the budget.

But what about when we get to like $9.50 or $9.75 per lead? At that point, right before we’re about to cross over $10 is what we call the “point of no return.”

So if you are about to reach the threshold—your benchmark for your success metric—quit scaling the budget. Don’t scale past the point of no return.

Now, just because you’re about to hit the point of no return doesn’t mean you have to turn the campaign off, either. If you’re about to hit that point of no return, simply keep the budget where it is.

We have some ad sets that have been running on the same budget that hasn’t been touched in months, and that’s because it was about to cross over the point of no return. And we left it right there in its sweet spot.

So if you reach that sweet spot, that point of no return, just maintain your ad and let it run. And if/when you cross your point of no return, clip your budget down till you’re back in that sweet spot and getting the result you wanted for your success metric.

Vertical scaling can be summed up as scaling until you’re about to hit the point of no return, and then you stop increasing the budget.

But even though vertical scaling reaches a threshold, horizontal scaling has virtually no ceiling. We’ll talk about that in the next lesson.

Scale Horizontally

Scaling horizontally is the most effective way to scale because you can literally scale your campaign almost forever…

Remember that your market is a revolving door. There are constantly new people that are moving into your market that you can sell your product or service to. There are constantly new people becoming aware of a problem they have, the problem that you can solve. This allows you to continually scale horizontally

To scale horizontally, you’ll take ads that are performing well and duplicate the ad sets, and create new ad sets that show the same ad that we know is working to a new audience.

This can be done by creating Lookalike Audiences based on people who have taken the action that you wanted. For instance, you create a Lookalike Audience based on your Thank You page or whatever page you’re sending traffic to.

To create a Lookalike Audience, go to “Audiences” in Business Manager. Then select “Create Audience” and “Lookalike Audience.”

To create a Lookalike Audience, go to “Audiences” in Business Manager. Then select “Create Audience” and “Lookalike Audience.”
To create a Lookalike Audience, go to “Audiences” in Business Manager. Then select “Create Audience” and “Lookalike Audience.”

From there, you’ll select the source of your Lookalike Audience—the people Facebook’s algorithm has determined share similar traits to audience members who’ve converted or interacted with your ads.

From there, you’ll select the source of your Lookalike Audience—the people Facebook’s algorithm has determined share similar traits to audience members who’ve converted or interacted with your ads.
From there, you’ll select the source of your Lookalike Audience—the people Facebook’s algorithm has determined share similar traits to audience members who’ve converted or interacted with your ads.

Once you’ve created a Lookalike Audience, you can duplicate an ad that’s performing well and start targeting that Lookalike Audience with it. That’s one way to scale horizontally.

If you have an offer and a message that’s working, another way to horizontally scale is to scale to platforms like Google Ads or YouTube. They’re obviously different in terms of the creative and the way the actual platform works. But, when you’ve found a message and an offer and an audience that’s working on Facebook, it’s much easier to scale out successfully to these other platforms and reach new audiences your Facebook ads have yet to.

And that’s where we’ll leave you. Take an ad that you’re scaling vertically and simultaneously scale it horizontally. Or take an ad that’s reached its point of no return vertically, and continue to scale it by scaling horizontally.