What’s the key to making confident, backed-by-data decisions for your business?

Proper, consistent tracking.

Most marketers equate tracking with “the bane of my existence” rather than “the key to my biz growth”.

I promise, it doesn’t have to be that way.

I firmly believe that data should drive your every decision and if you’re NOT currently tracking your metrics, you need to fix that immediately.

In today’s episode, I’m sharing everything you need to know about tracking your Facebook ads to make the process as easy and efficient as possible, including:

  • What exactly you should be tracking and how often
  • How to attach goals into every metric you track
  • Why you should tie a third party component into your sales funnel with your ads

When you consistently track your metrics, you will have so much more clarity and confidence for your business, because you’ll be able to determine exactly what’s working well, what needs improvement, and what your next steps should be. 

Shoot me a DM over on Instagram (@emilyhirsh) to let me know what changes you’ll be making to your tracking process after listening to this episode!

Worried about how these new iOS updates are going to impact your Facebook ad tracking? Join me February 25th at 3pm for my live workshop over in the Not For Lazy Marketers Club! I’m going to dive into everything we know about these dreaded updates so far, plus share advanced level strategies to help you get the most out of your Facebook pixel. Click here to sign up!

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Emily Hirsh:

Hello everybody, and welcome back to the podcast. I hope your week is going amazing. We’re diving in today about Facebook ads and tracking, which if anybody listening has run Facebook ads, you probably understand that tracking can be the bane of our existence. Running Facebook ads for years now, Facebook has not been a hundred percent accurate with their tracking. Which is why for the last, probably like three years, we have done a process where we actually have a separate, for the most part, in some client accounts we can’t do this, but I’d say in about 85% we do this as separate funnel for just Facebook ads so that we can actually tag the leads coming into our Facebook ads with a specific tag, so that even in six months from now, we know for sure they came from a Facebook ad and where they originated from.

I have yet to find, and I’ve tested almost everyone, an actual software that does this. And I wish I could easily create it, but now is not the time for that, but that’s how we do it. It’s a little bit of manual work. You basically take the same sales funnel and you just duplicate it and hook up a different tag on the first step of that funnel. You don’t need to do it on every step, but the first step. So that’s what we do to try to understand, or try to get it accurate, the Facebook data, because for the last several years, Facebook has been, it can be off. It can say that you got a hundred leads in your ads manager, and in your actual email software you only have 85. 

So I’ve had actually a lot of clients come to us working with different ads managers and agencies who thought they actually were getting better results, and they weren’t. That obviously throws off your entire cost per lead. So in our tracking, and also in our tracking sheet that we sell in our ads toolkit, we have specific spots for Facebook leads and then actual leads shown in our third-party software because of that reason. Now with the iOS updates, the tracking issues in some accounts have gotten even worse with Facebook right now. I’m hoping they smooth it out, but especially I would say e-commerce brands, it’s a little bit harder to track those sales right now as the attribution window is changing. They used to let you do 28 day and now you can only do seven day, but then you’ve got to count to have campaigns running with both data, and so it’s a little bit messy. So we’ve been playing with that and trying to find solutions. In some accounts it’s totally fine as long as you verify the domains, which was something everybody needed to do, and if you haven’t done, you’ll have warnings from Facebook that you need to do it. So as long as you do that, your tracking will be okay for the most part. 

With all that said, tracking is always difficult, but completely essential in every business and not even just tracking the Facebook ads, but tracking all the components to the Facebook ads and your funnel so that you know how your ads are doing, and you know how your leads are converting, and how your sales is converting, and you ultimately know your return on ad spend. Very important. And I like to pride myself in being an agency with one of the best tracking out there because of the way we have it set up. I’ve seen a lot of people come from working with different agencies and ads managers with really terrible, if not non-existent, tracking. So I think it’s a massive problem. And I don’t understand how, if you don’t track, like how do you make decisions? Because to me, marketing is just all about the numbers, and the numbers should guide our decisions. So if you’re not tracking, how are you able to make decisions? 

So today I want to dive into Facebook ads and tracking, what to track, how you should tie your goals into your tracking, and then just touch a little bit more on that third party component and tying in your sales funnel with your ads. Because also, you can’t really separate out Facebook ads and say, “oh, I’m just going to stop after the lead leaves Facebook and not track everything else,” because you need to track the whole picture. You need to track the whole marketing journey, and that can be things like your sales conversion, your average cart value. What is happening with those Facebook leads has a direct impact on your ads. And so, I also don’t understand that when agencies are like, “oh, well, we only do the Facebook ads, we don’t track any of the sales funnel stats,” but it’s all related. It’s all connected and one impacts the other, and so they need to be tracked together. 

So, first of all, what should you track in your account and how often. If you can do this, my opinion is that you should track every day in your account. And because I have never found a software that does what we want, our ads team actually manually pulls numbers every day into a spreadsheet. It doesn’t really take that long once you get into a routine and you have a process for it. Sounds really crazy, but it is the best way that I’ve seen to pull data because there’s softwares out there that will pull exactly from Facebook, but it’s constant updating because you launch a new campaign, then you have to plug that software into your ads to be able to track it, and it’s just like more of a headache than just pulling the numbers. 

I also believe that by pulling the numbers, my ads managers will more consciously look at the numbers. You know, making everything automated can also cause issues. Those are just my beliefs. But every day, what we do is track our ad account results, as well as our sales funnel results. And that’s all the way through the funnel, every metric. Then what that does is it gives us a weekly summary and a monthly summary, because there are certain data points that you want to analyze more from a monthly view or even a quarterly view, especially with businesses that have a little bit longer sales cycle. For example, if someone comes to one of our webinars, they have to then book a call, and then attend that call, and then become a potential sale. So that sales cycle is longer than somebody who’s selling directly to a product. So you can’t really get a full picture in seven days sometimes on full funnel performance. 

So every day you should be looking at the major metrics, and I like to look at them in order. So what’s the first thing that people do? They’re going to click on your ad. So what does that cost per click that you’re paying? And then what does that click through rate that you are paying on your ads? That gives us the first touchpoint, how it is working and are our ads converting? Is that cost per click way too high and that click-through rate way too low? Do we need to change our ad copy our, targeting, our ad images, test video, whatever it is? But that gives us our first point of where we could potentially improve things, or if they’re working.

Then we look at the actual cost per result from the ad. So sometimes that will be a cost per lead. That will be a cost per webinar registration. That will be a cost per purchase. If you’re driving straight to a product, what is the actual cost? And there’s other metrics around that, but I’m trying to keep this simple. But you could have landing page conversion because you’ve got a percentage of the leads who clicked on your ad who then will or will not take action. And so what is the actual cost per result we’re paying? If we’re running webinar ads, what’s our cost per completed registration for that webinar, and are we hitting our goals there? 

Then those people go on to do something next. What is that next action they take? If it’s a webinar, they’re either going to watch the webinar or not. So we can look at our show up rate, and then from there they’re getting pitched an offer. So they’re either going to buy or not. What’s our sales conversion of those leads? Which then will lead to how much money we made and how much money we spent. And that’s the overview. We have probably like 20 lines of tracking we do in our tracking spreadsheet, but I don’t want to make it crazy complicated on here. Think of tracking as you are tracking each major milestone in your customer journey, starting from the Facebook ad all the way to the end where they get your offer, and what are all those major points where somebody would need to take action and do something? Then you have a metric attached to that and you should be tracking that metric. 

Now, the key with tracking is not only that you pull the numbers, but you have to put meaning behind those numbers. So you should have a goal defined for every one of these numbers. So for example, an average cost per click, let’s say is a dollar cause that does fall kind of right around the average cost per click. And you track your cost per click and you’re getting $5 cost per click. Well, right there is your first red flag of where you could go in and make some changes to improve the entire rest of your customer journey. So by tying these metrics back to where you want to be and doing, “here’s our goal, and here’s our actual,” then that tells you actions you can take every day, every week, every month. 

Same thing with cost per conversion. If your goal is to pay $7 a webinar registration and you’re paying $10, you have an opportunity there to improve the ads, to improve your landing page, should test out a different webinar title. The data is driving you to take action in a certain way, and it’s going to be different for everyone, but everyone should have all their major metrics tracked, and then all those major metrics defined with an actual goal. So we actually have this in our tracker sheet and allows you to see here’s our actual, here’s our goal, and then you can see where it highlights red if we’re not hitting our goal somewhere and we’re not actually achieving those results. So the key is that you track and then you tie meaning to that tracking, and you actually tie where you allow that to tell you where to put your effort in your optimizing. So that is very, very important. 

Then the other piece is with this third-party tracking and really with tying it all together. So like I was saying, you can’t just stop tracking at the end of the Facebook ads. So those leads will go on to hopefully take other action depending on the way your sales funnel is set up. So let’s say you have a physical product. Well, maybe they’re going to buy more than one product or more than one quantity of your product. You should be tracking your average cart value. You should be tracking the customer journey, how many products they’re buying, and how much money they’re spending so that you can make decisions off of that. Now, if you have a webinar, you should be tracking that webinar show up rate. You should be tracking the sales conversion, both on the live webinar and in the follow-up. You should be tracking how long it takes for them to become a sale. All those metrics that are going to help you improve your sales conversion. 

Now, by looking at this full funnel, you’re able to analyze it and see that customer journey and where people are falling off, versus where things are working, which should drive your actions. So this is where looking at we track every day, those major metrics, all the way down to the sales conversion, but we wouldn’t make any major changes after seven days, or maybe even 10 days around something that’s like the sales conversion is really bad, because there’s just not enough time to actually see what people are going to do. Like I explained, with a funnel like mine, it’s at least like a three week time to see the initial immediate sales, and then we might get sales from that promotion in two or three months from now. So really, you should be looking at things as you’ve got your daily tracking, which should drive optimization, especially around the ads, that cost per click, that cost for conversion. Those things can be adjusted every day if you needed to improve targeting and messaging. So those are daily and weekly things.

Then you’ve got your monthly data, which is a pretty good overview of like, we spent this much, we made this much, this is our total monthly data when you look at the sales cycle. And it will be more than your immediate sales, which you need to, most likely in your business, get immediate sales, but you’ll also have another percentage of people who buy later on. So you’ve got your monthly data, and then I’d say you’ve got quarterly and annual data. So you can kind of analyze, and it’s the same numbers, it’s just the average in that time. And you can analyze where you are monthly. 

So now you see the sales conversion, it’s a good spot to look at your, your sales conversion monthly, are you profitable? What’s your return on ad spend? Are your ads working? And can we spend more? What do we need to fix? It gives you that monthly overview. And then quarterly just gives you a little bit better in depth, look at your sales, especially because you’ll have the people who buy right away and then you’ll have another percentage of people who needed multiple touch points in order to be able to buy, and so they are counted into that quarterly tracking, right? 

Then I like to look at an annual. I actually did a podcast about how we actually pulled every customer on our list that bought either my program or our done for you services in 2020, and we tracked what was their first point of contact, how did they join our list, how long they were on our list. And I think those are the two major things with tracking. I did a podcast on it, but it allowed me to see that actually 50% of our clients that we sold last year came from referrals, 50%. And then I was also able to see that, I think it was like 65% or something of our Ignites students were on my list for over three months before buying, and just trends like that. Cause that allows you to make marketing decisions in the next year, but that can only really be determined by having enough data, having a year’s worth of data. 

So you can just keep zooming out like that and to see those bigger picture customer journey buyer habits that you have happening in your business, how long they sit on your list, how long that sales cycle is, what that average sales conversion is. Because hopefully if you’re doing things right, you’ll get some immediate sales and then you’ll get that snowball effect happening where you have people coming in, right, later on as you go. So that is the way we do the tracking is every day, and then that allows us to have data looked at in different ways, different viewpoints. And I like  weekly for sure. We send all our clients a weekly report, and then we also do a separate monthly report, and then quarterly. We’re kind of tying those things together, and then you can obviously do an annual report too, which we did do for a handful of our clients in the beginning of the year to look at their past year. So that’s how we track, and then making sure you always track it against your goals so it will tell you what actions you need to take. 

I just want to mention this again, I was talking about it at the beginning of this episode, but that third party tracking and the power of being able to, however you set it up, but being able to know what leads came from a Facebook ad initially, because that allows you to see those people, you know, three, four, five months down the road to know if they came from a Facebook and actually can be attributed to the return on your ad spend. Because again, you’re going to get a percentage of people who do take action and buy, or apply, or whatever initially, and then you’ll have another percentage of people who do that later on. It’s good to be able to tie them back to where they originated from. 

So that’s how we set up our Facebook ad tracking. At the least, make sure you are tracking something and then tying meaning to that tracking. You can’t make decisions without the data with Facebook ads. You will feel lost. You will feel overwhelmed. You won’t really know where to put your energy in fixing things. And by tracking it, it allows you to see exactly kind of where you’re at, where you’re going well, what you need to do better, what is working. And it just gives you that confidence that I think a lot of people lack with your ads. If you’re running ads right now and somebody is not tracking for you, you have an agency, or you have an ads manager, or you’re doing it yourself, fix that like immediately because you are flying blind without the numbers and it’s impossible to make decisions without that.