How to Avoid Campaign overspends or underspends

What Causes Campaign Overspends

In order to avoid campaign overspends or underspends, you must do your due diligence when creating campaigns. Make sure you create some sort of checklist that covers all of the main criteria for creating a campaign. It is obviously better if you have someone to go over the campaign build after creating. However, if it is just you make sure you go over it with a fine-tooth comb. It’s better to ensure you have all areas covered than to regret it later, particularly if you are running ads for someone else. Here are the things that you can go over when you are checking over the campaign set up to help avoid potential overspends/underspends.

  • Lifetime budget
  • Ad Set Budget
  • Campaign Start and End Date
  • Correct Placements are selected

Always look to Optimise Campaign Performance and avoid Overspends or Underspends

Once you have set up the campaign and checked it to ensure it is set-up correctly, you can relax a bit. However, once the campaign is up and running you need to really be checking the spends, along with performance daily, or at least every couple days. If, after the initial learning phase is complete you find campaign overspends or underspends, just go back and check that all of the above in the checklist is correct. If all of these are correct then there may be something else hindering spend delivery. These include audience size, poor ad creatives, even the landing page. As long as you have your budgets correct then you won’t overspend. However, there are several more factors that you need to take into account in order to avoid campaign overspends or underspends.

Facebook Ads not spending campaign budget

If you have looked over the campaign set-up and find that the campaign is not spending sufficiently, you can look at one of the following.

  • Audience Size
  • Poor Ad Creatives
  • Poor Website Landing Page

Audience Size

Apart from budgets, audience size is one of the main factors that influence campaign spend delivery. Essentially if the audience is too small, then the ads will not deliver to enough people. If you have included ‘Narrow audience’ just remove it and expand the audience as much you can. You can always optimise later based on results. There is no real correct audience size that you need to get to, it will depend on the Country and what type of customers you are targeting. But if you can get a couple hundred thousand at least then this should suffice

Poor Ad Creatives

Next, if you create poor ads then this will affect your campaign spending. During the ‘Initial Learning phase’ of the campaign if Facebook runs your ad to thousands of people with poor results then Facebook will not want to push these ads to consumers much more. Also, if there is too much text within the overlay of the ad, this will also negatively impact the delivery of ad spend. Facebook also has a limit to the amount of text you can have within the creative to allow it to go live. So just be aware of this. Normally, Facebook will tell you at the ad level if the amount of text is too much hindering campaign performance.

Poor Landing Page

If you have good creatives and a decent size audience and all other procedures are in place then you may have to look at campaign performance. Having a poor landing page will affect campaigns more that are driving towards the site. You need to look at some of the upper-funnel KPI’s like Link CLicks, CPLC, Landing Page Views, CPLPV, Purchases, CPA, etc. If you are seeing lots of Link Clicks and very few Landing Page Views then this is more than likely down to having a bad Landing Page. If this is the case then Facebook may start to decrease the ad spend. Note; if you are seeing a high number of Link Clicks and low Landing Page Views, be sure to check Google Analytics to see if this matches up as there may be an issue with the Pixel implemented on your Landing Page linked with Facebook.

How to Check campaign pacing to avoid overspends or underspends

If you work for a media agency then you may have a built-in campaign performance tracker that will track spend delivery along with monitoring performance. However, if you are working on your own or for clients, then you can pull quick spend reports from the platforms. Here is how you do it.

How to pull daily spend Facebook Reports

First, on the campaign level, select the campaigns that you want to pull the report on. Then select the dates. It is best to pull the data up until yesterday or you can just pull it on Lifetime. You can then just pull the data using any of the columns as you just need the spend. After you pull the report and if you see that the campaign is not spending sufficient daily spend (underspending). Then you can have a look at an ad level to see which campaigns are causing the issues. You can also break the results down by platform (Facebook & Instagram) or placement (Feed, Story, In-Stream, etc.) I would recommend pulling the data every couple of days or at least once a week at an ad level. This way you can then compare which ads are performing well against each other more clearly.

How to Export and Compare Facebook Campaign Data

To export the data, click ‘report’, ‘export table data’ and then ‘export.’ This will then export the data into excel.

Facebook Campaign Export

This then exports the data into Excel. Then you can then sort out the data and create a pivot table to display results nicely that are easy to see.

Creating a Pivot Table

To create a Pivot Table highlight all of the data and then click on ‘Insert’ & then ‘Pivot Table’. You can then just click ‘OK’.

Creating a Pivot Table

Then you can just add whatever values you want to look at. In the ‘Rows’ category, just put things like ‘Campaign Name’, ‘Ad Set Name’, ‘Ad Name’ etc. (You can also create your own names in the Raw Data section.

If you are running a Traffic or Conversions campaign, add metrics such as Spend, Link Clicks, Landing Page Views, Purchases etc. Once these metrics are added, update the Cost Pers manually. For example; CPM, CPLC, CPLPV, CTR etc. To do this go to ‘Analyze –> Fields. Items & Sets –> Calculate Field..

Then you can add in the Formulas for the different metrics (see example below).

Modify Excel Formulas

After updating every different metric formula click on Modify. Once you are done then click ‘OK’. After this, you just need to format the metrics correctly (for example; changing them to £ or %). You can then just play about with the table to make it look nice and pretty or whatever way you want it to look. (see example below).

Campaign performance metrics

This can be done in a more advanced way. However, this covers the basics. With this method, you should be able to pull your own data and compare best-performing campaigns. ad set, ads, etc. This will help you avoid overspends or underspends by monitoring pacing also. This campaign example was a campaign that I helped run using a ‘Conversions’ objective with ‘Landing Page Views’ as optimisation.

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