How to Analyze a Digital Ad (for Performance & Results)

Jason Berkowitz • June 28, 2021

How to Analyze a Digital Ad (for Performance & Results)

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Including digital ads in your marketing strategy can seriously boost your business’s bottom line. In this digital world, ads act as a powerhouse to reach massive amounts of people, all within your target audience. Facebook has an advertising audience of just over 2 billion, and Google has almost 4 million advertisers.  

The hook is that you must know how to analyze your ads properly to understand just how much value they bring to your business. 

In this article, we’ll review how to properly analyze your Google and Facebook ad results to ensure you are maximizing ROI and creating brand awareness. 

Why Analyze Your Ads?

Regularly analyzing your ads can help you determine if you are getting a positive ROI from your ad campaigns. For instance, if your conversion rates are low or non-existent, there may be a cause for concern. 

It’s possible there’s a problem with the programming of your ad or it’s not targeted enough for your audience. Besides, it’s not always clear what will resonate with your audience unless you try different things.

You may experience disappointing results with your ads if:

  • You’re targeting the right people with the wrong types of ads
  • You’re targeting the right people with the wrong message
  • Your ad’s position is poor
  • Your quality or relevance score is too low 
  • Your keywords are too broad 
  • Your campaign’s budget is too low

Those are just some examples, but there could be a thousand reasons why your ad isn’t performing well. 

Going beyond viewing your website or social media content and analyzing your ads is essential for spotting issues like these that could cause you to spend more money without the ROI. 

The Difference Between Facebook and Google Ads

Facebook and Google Ads both have similar key metrics to track when it comes to doing an ad analysis. The difference is how the platforms display ads to consumers.

Facebook shows ads to users based on their interests, geographic area, and demographics. Furthermore, you can target people based on likes and dislikes. You have a robust menu of targeting options. 

Example of a Facebook Ad

In simpler words, Facebook ads focus most on brand outreach. 

On the other hand, Google ads are hyper-focused on helping business owners convert leads. 

Example of a Google Ad

When a user searches for specific keywords, a list of web pages pops up. In the ideal situation, ads are placed at the beginning of the search engine results (SERPS). These tend to work so well because up to 18% of people click the first search result. 

Now that you know the difference between Facebook and Google’s Ad models, let’s learn how to analyze your ads. 

Analyzing Your Facebook and Google Ads

When analyzing Facebook and Google Ads, you should review the following four core metrics: 

  1. Ad Placement 
  2. Ad Impressions
  3. Ad Clicks
  4. Ad ROI

These metrics are key to measuring the success of your ads and deciding if ads bring the desired value to your business. 

Below are the metrics you should be analyzing for your Google and Facebook Ads. 

Ad Placement 

The first step in analyzing your ads is making sure your ad placement works for you. Both Google and Facebook allow for placement options, so we’ll go over both in detail below. 

Google Ad Placement

The average ad position is specific to your search campaign and shows you where your ad appears on different search engine results pages. Securing a spot in the top three positions is extremely valuable. Sometimes Google Ads get sent to the bottom, second or third search page. The placement depends on how many other ads are created for that keyword.

Luckily, you can bid for the top position. The position is usually ranked based on Ad Rank, which is determined by multiplying your ad’s maximum cost power impression by your quality score.

This vital metric measures the value of your ad through an algorithm that considers the following factors: 

  • CTR
  • Keyword relevance
  • Ad copy relevance 
  • Landing page relevance
  • Overall Google Ads performance 

You can also place ads on the Google Display Network, which consists of about 2 million websites. They usually appear as commercials on a blog post but can also be included in videos and apps.

If your Google Ad campaign isn’t performing as well as you hoped, positioning may be the cause. When analyzing your ad, always make sure it’s where you want it to be. Otherwise, you could be paying while your ad is a sitting duck. 

Facebook Ad Placement 

If you quickly got your Facebook Ads account set up, you may have missed an important detail. 

Facebook’s default ad placement is set to “automatic placements,” which means Facebook gets to decide where to display your ads. 

Facebook Ads Placement

If you missed this when creating your account, it’s important to edit this setting now, as you could be giving more money to Facebook than intended. 

The reality is, you can manually choose where you think your ads will perform best. Placement options include: 

  • Facebook’s mobile and desktop newsfeeds (most popular)
  • Instagram
  • The audience network
  • Messenger

You can also choose on which device you want to display your ads. Let’s say you know 60% of your target audience uses mobile. In this case, it makes sense to display your ads on mobile to get the highest engagement. 

Ad Impressions 

Impressions may not be the most exciting digital marketing and advertising metric (for most). However, they are the key to measuring the success of your ad campaign — they show you how many times your content was displayed, whether it was clicked on or not. 

Analyzing impressions on Facebook and Google Ads is generally the same. 

Facebook Impressions 

For Facebook, it’s recommended you compare impressions and reach. 

Wait, what’s the difference? 

Facebook impressions are the number of times someone saw your content, even if they see the same ad multiple times. For example, if 100 people see the ad twice, you would have 100 impressions. 

Facebook Reach means everyone who saw your ad (no matter how many times). So, if your reach is 100, 100 people saw your ad. 

Facebook Reach & Performance

While you may be asking yourself why they both exist if they’re basically the same, impressions and reach work hand in hand to show you if your ad is being displayed to the same people repeatedly and how many people. 

Let’s say you have a reach of 100 people and your content received 1,000 impressions, suggesting your ad is being shown to 100 different people more than ten times each. 

This is bad news, especially if you don’t see positive conversion data from the ad. Users who aren’t necessarily interested in your ad but are seeing it repeatedly may lead to users hiding or blocking your content. Or, worst of all, develop negative associations with your brand. 

Google Impressions 

Google impressions are the number of times your ad is shown to a searcher based on the match of your campaign keywords with the user’s keywords

The amount of ad impressions you get greatly depends on your ad placement. If your ad is on the second page, only the people who visit the second page will count as impressions, which may be underwhelming. Ensure your placement bid is competitive enough to score within the top three positions on the first search page. 

Another factor that may influence poor Google Ad impressions is a low budget. While Google Ads don’t have to be expensive, you want to make sure your budget is as big as your desired impressions. 

If your budget runs out, Google automatically stops displaying your ad, causing you to miss out on potential impressions. 

Click-Through Rate

After you’ve confirmed your ads are being shown to people and collecting impressions, you can check your click-through rate. 

The click-through rate is how many people clicked your ad after viewing it. 

The average Facebook Ad click-through rate is 0.9% and 2% for Google Ads as a reference. 

It’s good to start checking the click-through rate of your ad when it’s been running for at least a few hours. Most marketers say to wait 24 hours for the most accurate results. 

If you don’t have any link clicks, there may be a problem with your ad’s message or an issue in the programming. Be sure to open your ads manager to see if everything is good. 

A high click-through rate is an indication that the ad is relevant to your audience, involving the right keywords and ad text. 

Facebook Click-Through Rates

Facebook advertising, on average, costs $0.97 per click and $7.19 per 1,000 impressions. Ad campaigns that focus on earning likes or app downloads may pay $1.07 per like and $5.47 per download. 

In a campaign where you also pay per impression, click-through can be a budget saver because the likeliness of getting a fewer number of clicks over impressions is very high. 

So, with the average costs, if you get ten clicks, you’ll pay $9.7. However, 1,000 impressions will cost you $7.19, and the users viewing your ads decided not to take action on it hence why clicks are worth more than impressions. 

Google Click-Through Rates

The average cost per click on Google Ads is between $1 and $2. However, there is such a thing as “more expensive” keywords, costing up to $50 per click!

It’s great to know that people are taking an interest in your ads and clicking. However, if each click is costing you an arm and a leg, your return on investment may suffer. 

Monitoring your CPC is a crucial step when analyzing your ads. You can determine if you are over or under-paying for clicks and whether or not the conversions are being driven at a profitable cost. 

As a plus, impressions on Google Ads are free. You can see your click-through rates by logging in to Google Analytics, which comes with your ad account. 

Analyze Your ROI

ROI is what your entire campaign should be all about. Whether your ads aim to increase sales, get more subscribers, or any other valuable activities, it’s crucial to measure your return on investment. 

Knowing your ROI can help you determine if running ads is a healthy marketing strategy for your business. 

Once you’ve started measuring your conversions, you can evaluate your ROI. The value of your conversions should be greater than the amount you spent on the conversion. 

According to research, Google gets the highest conversion rate of 8.2%, and Facebook’s average conversion rate is 4.7%. 

Social Media Conversion Rates.

There are different ways to evaluate your ROI for Google and Facebook Ads. 

Facebook Ads ROI

There are several ways you can analyze your paid social media platform campaigns on Facebook. 

First of all, by logging in to your Facebook Ads Manager, you have access to analytics, including live updates on how many conversions you have. 

Secondly, you can see conversions from your Facebook Ads by reviewing your website’s analytics. 

Launching the most balanced and well-performing Facebook Ad can be challenging. That’s where split testing comes in. If you aren’t split testing already, you could be missing out on some major ROI. 

Split testing allows you to test the following ad elements:

  • Copy
  • Imagery
  • Use of Color
  • Call to action

The best thing about split testing is that you don’t need to spend a bunch of money on each test ad set. Simply setting a $5 budget for each test is enough to see data that shows which version is most effective.

Google Ads ROI

With Google Advertisements, it’s all about finding the best keywords. If you feel like your conversion report is relatively low, check your quality score. 

Google uses a metric called the Quality Score to measure how relevant your ad is to users (including keywords and landing page). Once you’ve perfected your ads, you’ll likely get a higher score — meaning lower costs and better ad positioning. 

Some tips to improve your quality score include:

  • Use keywords in your advertisements that your audience is likely to search for. Using relevant keywords makes the ad rank higher, and users can find you easier. 
  • The next step is to create ads that are relevant to your keywords. For instance, if your keywords are “pool goggles,” your ad should focus on this product, not pool equipment overall. 

Spend some time while creating your ad to make sure it’s hyper-relevant. Relevant ads get more clicks, better positions, and generate a full-potential ROI. 

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to analyze your ad campaigns, you have a much better chance at getting the most brand awareness and ROI.  

Analyzing your ad campaigns comes down to four easy steps. It’s important first to understand what these metrics mean, then check them closely to make sure they’re performing well. 

It’s easy to miss simple steps when setting up your ads since they can be quite complex. However, analyzing is about finding the gaps and fixing them so that you’re back on track. 

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Jason Berkowitz

SEO Director

Since 2010, Jason has been strategizing & leading SEO campaigns for brands of all types.

As the SEO Director at Break The Web, Jason takes point on the strategic direction of client campaigns and internal frameworks & execution processes.

Originally from New York City, when he’s not nerding out to SEO, Jason can be found playing with strangers' dogs or falling from the sky as an avid skydiver.

More about Jason

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