At first, everything goes well with the ads, but then they start to falter. So what do you do next?
In this post, we’ll show you how to use the Inspect Dashboard and Facebook Delivery Insights to properly troubleshoot your underperforming campaign and get them back to normal.
Let’s get started!
First, let’s set the scene.
You pour a cup of coffee, open up ads manager, and get greeted by columns of numbers.
After 5 minutes of staring at the screen, nothing looks helpful.
So you pour another cup of coffee and click on the Columns option in the hope of finding something useful.
More columns. More numbers. But nothing to tell you what’s wrong with your campaign.
Thankfully this is where Facebook Delivery Insights, and in particular, the Inspect tool can save us!
Launched in June 2019, Facebook Inspect is a new dashboard available at the Adset level. It has the best bits of the previous Delivery Insights tool and has upgraded and refined them into the new Inspect feature.
We Test Everything for You
One of the “Ten Commandments” of the AdEspresso blog is to give our readers real-life examples.
That’s why when we planned to write this Facebook Inspect tool guide, we also decided to run some Facebook ads.
All the screenshots you see in this article are from our ad campaign to promote our monthly webinar:
In total, we spent $452 on this campaign with a single adset.
So there is plenty of data to work with, including impressions, clicks, and conversions.
What Is Facebook Inspect Tool?
Available at the Adset level, the Inspect tool gives you crucial information and insights about the adset delivery, along with advice to help you troubleshoot the performance of the ads and audience.
The Inspect Dashboard contains the following sections:
Unlike most other parts of Ads Manager, the Inspect Tool is mainly graphical. This is important as it allows you to spot trends quickly.
For instance, you might be less concerned about the exact cost per conversion (CPA) than how fast it is rising and what the underlying cause of this is, such as audience saturation.
How To Access Facebook Inspect Dashboard
There are three levels in the Facebook ad campaign structure:
- the campaign itself,
- the adsets within it and then
- the ads themselves within each adset.
At campaign and ad levels, you can hover over the campaign or ad name in Ads Manager and access the View Charts option. The chart option has been available for years and only gives basic information about the campaign or ad metrics over time.
Much more useful is the Inspect option at adset level, the adset being the container for ads, and where the audience, placements, and optimization is selected.
To access the Inspect dashboard, click on the magnifying glass icon.
Either select an adset then access it from the righthand menu:
Alternatively, hover over the adset name with your mouse pointer, and the Inspect option will appear:
The box gives you all the key information in one section, in both numerical and graphical formats.
An excellent place to start is by clicking on the All Details option to ensure no errors were made when choosing the settings when publishing the campaign.
In particular, ensure the correct Optimization Event is selected as it’s easy to track the wrong pixel event when composing the campaign:
If the adset is still in the learning phase, you’ll also get a notification in the summary section:
Moving onto the graph, by default, it will show you the line for the main conversion.
In this case, we’re tracking cost per registration:
By clicking on each metrics box, you can add the relevant line to the graph.
Too many lines can be confusing, so perhaps add 2 or 3 at a time.
As you’ll see below, six metrics at once can make it hard to spot trends:
The hatched yellow lines in these charts are to demonstrate that the adset was still in the learning phase.
There are also icons just above the chart which provide relevant information when they are hovered over:
As mentioned above, the graphs help you to spot trends much easier than columns of numbers do. That’s why mapping out the metrics onto the chart should be your key focus when debugging adset performance.
This section explores the relationship between your bid strategy and your cost per result over time.
As the tooltip explains, the graph isn’t available when using the “lowest cost bid” strategy but will appear when using other bid types.
Every ad that you place on Facebook enters into an auction, so the price you pay is variable, and it depends on how much competition there is.
For example, ad pricing is very high over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend due to lots of retailers placing ads for their sales campaigns.
By analyzing the graph of your CPA against auction competition, you can see if any rise in CPA is due to increased competition:
As Facebook explains, auction competition usually varies by +/- 20%, but in the graph above, we saw much larger swings than that.
If you see intense competition for your campaigns, consider ways of reducing it. For example, you can try broadening out the audience, using more placements, and mixing up ad types such as using videos, images, and carousels together.
This section can be useful (when your campaign has been running for a while) to help you decide when to pause it.
As frequency rises, we generally see an increase in CPA, and this can be checked on the graph.
However, this doesn’t give the full picture.
The first time impression ratio (green line) is especially useful to check whether you are still reaching new people in the audience:
For ideas on how to combat frequency, check out our Facebook Ads Frequency: 3 Techniques to Fight It blog post.
When structuring your campaigns, always try and avoid internal overlap where multiple adsets are competing for the same audience.
The explanation that Facebook gives for overlap is straightforward:
The competition within the same account could increase your Ad costs because, to combat it, Facebook may pick a winning adset and then reduce the delivery of the others.
Naturally, we always want to avoid this, so it’s good to map out audiences and exclude the relevant custom audiences from lower down the funnel.
If you notice under-delivery and want to investigate why, or if you’re going to check for overlap, the Inspect dashboard gives you the overlap figures day by day:
If you’ve detected some overlap, click on “show additional insights” underneath the graph to see what adsets are competing against your chosen one:
It’s worth noting, though, that Facebook emphasizes that overlap could result in under-delivery. This is something that many advertisers fail to consider when they are wondering why they see a poor distribution for their ads.
This section is straightforward, as the name suggests, it lists every update made to the adset and who made it.
Perhaps the CPA of your adset rose because someone made a significant edit and reset the learning phase, now you know who was responsible.
Facebook Inspect: Now That You Know It, Use It!
It’s easy to overlook the Inspect dashboard; indeed, it’s hard even to find it unless you hover over the adset name.
You might also have been jaded from trying to obtain meaningful information from the View Charts option, which hasn’t been given a significant update in several years.
So, we urge you to get familiar with finding the Inspect tab and getting up to speed with all the sections.
It’s good to know how it works and to analyze a few adsets before you’re in a situation where a campaign is underperforming, and you need to find a solution in a hurry.
Regular checking of audience overlap and saturation can also improve your day to day account performance. Doing it will help you keep costs down even when Facebook advertising gets more competitive.
Have you checked out the Inspect dashboard? Do you use it regularly? Are there other tools and metrics that you prefer to monitor? Let us know in the comments below.