Facebook Ads Tracking: How to Improve the Validity of Your Data - Rick Mulready

rick mulready

Facebook Ads Tracking: How to Improve the Validity of Your Data

January 21, 2022

Today I want to talk about Facebook ads tracking, because if we learned anything in 2021—after iOS 14.5, and the whole privacy/tracking situation, and all that—if we learned anything, it’s that we can’t trust the validity of the data that we see in Facebook’s Ads Manager.

It’s going to give us data, but the data’s not super accurate, which is really scary when we’re running our ads. We need accurate data in order to make effective decisions, and we’re hopeful that the Facebook algorithm is getting the appropriate data to optimize our ads.

So, we’re going to talk about tracking our ad results. It’s become almost like a triangulation of data. I’m going to share three different things that you really should be doing when you’re running your ad campaigns to give you the best idea of how truly well—or not so well—your ads are running.

Remember, the data that you’re seeing inside of Ads Manager, I want you to take it with a grain of salt. It’s a data source, and we’re going to use that data, but I’m going to offer you three other things that you should be doing.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How to set up unique funnels to identify where your traffic is coming from
  • How to set up your URLs to give you accurate data about your visitors
  • Ways to integrate your URLs with Google analytics
  • What to do with the data that you’re still getting from Facebook’s Ads Manager
  • How to get your website and Facebook to communicate and improve your data

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Other Episodes You’ll Enjoy:

How to Minimize Your Facebook Ads Stats Discrepancies

Apple’s iOS Privacy Updates and Your Ads: What You Need to Know

Quick Tip: Big Changes Coming to Your Ads?


Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Rick:
Alright, welcome back to the show, my friend. Today I want to talk about Facebook ads tracking, because if we learned anything in 2021—post iOS 14.5 and the whole privacy tracking and all that stuff—if we learned anything, it’s that we really can’t trust, unfortunately, the validity of the data that we see in Facebook’s Ads Manager.

It’s going to give us data, but it’s not super accurate. Which is really scary when we’re running our ads, because we need accurate data in order to make decisions, and we’re hopeful that the Facebook algorithm is getting the appropriate data to optimize our ads and so forth.

What I’m going to talk about here today is the tracking of our ad results. It’s become almost like this triangulation of data. So, today I’m going to share with you three different things that you really should be doing when you’re running your ad campaigns to give you the best,

hopefully give you the best idea of how truly well, or not so well, your ads are running.

So, remember, the data that you’re seeing inside of Ads Manager, I want you to honestly take it with a grain of salt. It’s a data source, and we’re going to use that in our data as one data point, but I’m going to offer you three other things that you should be doing.

Two of them are going to help you try to paint the picture of the most accurate and most valid data as possible.

Number one, the first thing to understand is the data that you’re seeing in Ads Manager is not super accurate. The amount of ad spend? Sure, that’s going to be accurate, but the amount of conversions that you see, the amount of landing page views that you see, all that sort of thing is not going to be super accurate.

With that knowledge, what do we do? How do we better paint the picture of what’s actually happening with our ads?

The first thing, and I’ve talked about it here on the podcast before, the first thing I want to recommend that you do is, whatever landing page software that you’re using—so, if you are sending people from Facebook to a landing page, to your opt-in page, or your registration page, or whatever page it might be, maybe it’s a purchase page.

Whatever software tool that you’re using—I use 10XPRO.io in my, in my business. I love it. I’ve talked about it recently here on the podcast. If you want to go check it out, I am a proud affiliate for them, by the way. It’s RickMulready.com/10XPRO. So, check them out. Love them. I’ve moved everything in my business over to 10XPRO.

And so for example, I would have a unique. In 10XPRO for my ads. So my, for my Facebook and Instagram ad traffic, I’m sending that traffic to a unique funnel. So what does that mean? That means that I’ve created a funnel inside of my landing page software tool. Right. So my opt-in page, my thank you page.

And then that connects to my email CRM, which we use convert kit. Okay. So we have unique pages. Or let’s just say, you’re running an evergreen webinar and you have an evergreen webinar funnel. So in 10XPRO you’d click the button. It’s the campaign is the evergreen webinar campaign. You click the button and automatically populates the whole funnel.

So I would have that funnel. I would have a unique funnel for say like social media, traffic, maybe coming from Instagram or, you know, whatever other forms of social media I might have. I mean, I might even take it a step further if I wanted to. And I might have a funnel specifically for the podcast here.

Right? We’re only traffic from the. I’m sending people from the show to a specific fuddle. Well, in that light, you want to have a funnel that is specific to your Facebook and Instagram ads, traffic, and that is as simple as taking your existing. Duplicating it, and then adding like a Facebook, like, or like hyphen FB or something like that at the end of the URL for the landing page for the thank you page and that’s it.

So you want a unique funnel. In whatever landing page software that you were using, the reason for that is you’re going to have unique data that from that funnel. So the data that you’re getting from that funnel is only from, as a result of it should say Facebook and Instagram ads. Right? And so you can look at that data, compare it to what’s being seen in your email CRM.

Now you have another data point to compare to what you’re seeing and ads. Okay. So that’s number one, have a unique funnel in whatever landing page software tool they’re using. Again, we use 10XPRO will love it. So, number two is I would highly recommend if you’re not already using UTM parameters in your ads, what UTM parameters are, is just allows you to add, specific identifiers.

Right at the end of your URL. So for example, if I have Rick mulready.com forward slash Accelerator, which is our Accelerator coaching program, page, then I could put, so it would be like, I can put, you’ve seen it before in your URLs. It’s like, it’s just like medium equals and you can put Facebook. or I’m sorry, source is Facebook.

Medium would be ads for example, and then you can get really granular and put the target audience where you’re targeting. You can put the ad name, et cetera. Okay. And so you’ve likely seen it at the ads level in when you’re setting up your campaign. Maybe you’ve never used it before. Well, I want to recommend that if you’re not using it to start using it and use Facebook’s dynamic URL, it’s called the dynamic URL parameters builder.

It’s a mouthful. But when you go, when you click on the UTS, Field there you can set up your own parameters and it’s super easy to do because everything is, pre laid out for you. Like if you click on the source, it’s going to give you the option of what you want to choose. And it’s dynamically going to update from where the source is coming from.

Like, so for Facebook, from Instagram, Okay, so it gives, and then it’s used in conjunction with Google analytics. So you’re going to see this data inside of Google analytics, and you can take it a step further and go into, you know, Google data studio. I think that’s, what’s called data studio inside of Google with analytics and so forth.

But in the very least you want to, this is Google analytics, by the way, is something that, I mean for myself, especially, and I know a lot of other people really haven’t taken the time to kind of dig into. In this day and age that we’re in, when we have less and less visibility into how things are actually working, I really would recommend that you at least learn the basics of Google analytics.

You know, you can put, just to kind of a side note here, you can do like UTM parameters for your emails and so forth. Right. And so you’re like, oh, You know, and set up goals inside of analytics, you could do like, oh, I made a sale off of, or I got an application off of this email that I sent out. You can identify that and be very specific with that using Google UTM parameters.

And there’s different, you can use Google URL, builder and so on. Right. But from an ads perspective, I highly recommend that you use UTM parameters for better tracking. Again, you’re going to be seeing the results. And stats inside of Google analytics. And you want to use Facebook’s dynamic URL parameters, builder.

Again, it sounds confusing, but it really truly isn’t once you use it a couple of times and then boom, you got the hang of it. Okay. And the cool thing is the cool keyword. There is dynamic it dynamically updates for you where you don’t have to create, you know, 17 different URLs yourself. Like you have one URL.

So for me it would be. You know, Rick mulready.com forward slash Accelerator. I would use that as my base, as my destination URL for my ad, but then use the dynamic URL builder, and it dynamically puts the parameters in there. You specify what you want. But at dynamic, he does it for you. So it makes it super, super easy.

And then again, you see the data and the results inside of Google analytics. So that is the third piece of data. So again, you’re looking at the data inside of Ads Manager. You’re going to compare that to the data that you’re seeing inside of your landing page software. Right because you have a unique funnel set up there that you’re only sending Facebook and Instagram ads traffic to, and then you’re going to be leveraging Google analytics because you’ve got UTM parameters set up for your ads.

So now, and they’re, they’re not all going to match up, right. This is never going to match up. Exactly. But what you’re trying to do is leverage the data to look at, okay. What do I think is most accurate? And I would say you’re kind of using the Ads Manager data as just sort of, you know, a ballpark. And then you’re really, you’re looking at the unique funnel in your landing page software, and then also Google analytics.

Okay. That is really, what’s going to paint a better picture for you of the data, the results that you’re getting from. Your Facebook ads. Okay. And so those are sort of the three data points that using to kind of, I keep saying the word let’s use as you’re kind of triangulating the data, it’s kind of like using, radar.

I don’t know why we’re thinking about this. Like it’s a radar and we’re trying to, I’m trying to find someplace on a radar, but we can’t quite find the exact spot. So we’re using different data points to triangulate where we think something is, it’s the same kind of thing with when it comes to your Facebook ad results.

Okay. The final thing. That you definitely want to make sure that you have set up is the conversions API. I’ve talked about it here in the podcast before. and so what is the, the conversions API? So as I’ve talked about too, I am so not a techie person, right? I am, I do not understand the super techie stuff.

Right. And so basically what the conversions API is, it essentially allows. Your website or like your landing page software to talk directly to Facebook, it allows it’s a, it’s almost a direct connection between your site and Facebook. Right? We’ve always relied on the Facebook pixel and it’s been an amazing source of data, but we know now that the opportunities that the pixel has given us in the past is not the same.

Post iOS 14.5. Okay. And so, some of this information I’m sharing with you here is because I am not a techie person. So I wanted to explain it to you in a very, easy to understand way. I got a lot of great information from an article on WordStream dot coms blog, and it was written by Kristin McCormick.

And it’s just a great article. I’ll link it up for you in the show notes for this episode here, but Kristen just gives you a great breakdown of the conversions API. And so one thing that Kristen said that is just really, really well put, said that with the conversions API, your website collects the data, the data gets stored on your servers.

And the data that then gets sent to Facebook via the API. Whereas with the pixel, Facebook collects the data using cookies. The data gets stored on the user’s browser and the data gets sent to Facebook via the. So it’s, actually acts quite differently. Okay. And so why is using the conversion API really important when we have the pixel?

Or why wouldn’t you, we use just one over the other. Well, when you use both together, which is what I recommend. It gives you a more complete picture of what’s actually going on with, with the data and with the actions that people are taking. Now, does the conversions API solve the whole privacy issues and the tracking issues that come with iOS 14.5?

No, it does not. It will not solve those problems, but it will. improve, right? The overall reporting that is not fully effected by 14.5. Okay. And so it’s, it’s kind of giving you a more accurate, depiction because. Of what? I just mentioned the difference between the API and the pixel. Okay. And so it’s actually quite easy to set up.

Right. you go under, I believe it’s like the data sources and you go under settings, and then you just follow the steps there. It actually, I’ve done it using, Zapier or Zapier. And it was actually quite easy to do. If, again, if I can do it, if I can figure that out, you can figure it out, my friend.

And so convergence API definitely set that up. It’s only going to help you going forward. As we get more into the world of, you know, less and less. cookie tracking that sort of thing. Okay. Again, it does not solve the whole privacy, tracking thing that that is with us now after 14.5, but it is something that we have that we can have now in our tool belt, if you will, when it comes to, Facebook ads.

So I highly recommend that you do, set that up. Okay. All right. Quick recap here to improve the validity of the data, right? And to paint a better picture of the results of what’s actually going on with your ads. You’re going to take the stats that you’re seeing from Facebook ads, Facebook’s Ads Manager.

You’re going to, well, first you’re going to set up a unique funnel in whatever landing page software tool that you are using. Okay. Again, we love 10XPRO.io started using it in the middle of 2021, early 2021. And, we are now officially all moved over, you know, all of our courses, our landing pages, our funnels, our, affiliate center, our, order forms and, you know, check out process and everything’s in there I’ve been able to consolidate and simplify, which is, I love that.

Right. And so anyway, you want a unique funnel and your landing page software. You want a, so that you can get the data from your landing page software. There. You’re going to compare that data to what you’re seeing in Ads Manager. And you’re also going to start using, UTM parameters for better tracking.

Right. And you can do that right inside of Ads Manager, at the ads level right below where you enter your. you know, the, the details of your ad, like the destination URL is going to allow you to add UTM parameters right there and just use, Facebook’s a dynamic URL parameters builder, right there.

It’s very easy once you do it a few times. Okay. So you’re going to take all the results of all three of those data sources and try to, you know, paint the best picture of. What is most accurate as possible again, it’s never going to match. They’re all three sources that are never going to match up. All right.

And then finally you want to make sure before you do any of this, is that your, the conversions API, is set up and connected for your account. And you can do that again, right inside of business manager, under your data sources and go in and settings. And it walks you through step by step. And again, there’s different tools that you can use that Facebook has already connected for you, but we just used Zapier and it walks you through and it was actually quite easy, to do.

Okay. So, there you have it, my friends, there are three different ways to hopefully improve the validity of your ads reporting. I know that when we’ve used these sorts of things it has greatly improved.

Nothing’s perfect, but you want to give yourself as much data as possible to be able to tell the best story about how well or how not well your ads are doing.

Especially in this post iOS 14.5 world that we now live in.

So, before we go, if you are a course creator or you’re an online coach, maybe you have a membership and you’re looking to scale, you’re looking to take your business to the next level. You’re already doing at least 100K per year in your online business, or you’re tracking to that level right now,

and you want to take things to the next level, but you’re not really sure what to do. You’re not really sure what next steps to be taking. You’re kind of feeling stuck. Oftentimes you’re feeling overwhelmed, and frankly, burnt out or heading towards burnout, this is what we help you do inside of our Accelerator coaching program.

This is one-on-one coaching, group coaching, and a mastermind experience all wrapped up into one program. We help you increase your profit, increase your impact with less hustle. Because, my friend, you do not need to be working more hours to have the business that you want, because a successful business means something different to everybody.

So, if this is you, if this sounds like something that would be able to help you, it’s application only, so, I invite you to apply: go to RickMulready.com/Accelerator.

Alright, my friends, as always, thank you so much for listening and tuning in today. Super appreciate you. Until next time,

Be well, and I’ll talk to you soon.

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