Lets hop right into it. Facebook can be a powerful advertising tool but there are several things that annoy me about the platform or I think could be done better. So here are 15 of those things that I think Facebook should fix in order to make the platform better for advertisers.
Update: Since writing this article, Facebook has made some updates to their platform around the areas I had listed below. I will highlight those changes in bold in each section.
1) User Interface Speed.
This complaint is pretty simple. Ads manager as a platform can be incredibly slow. At its best, lets just say the speed is…serviceable. Not once have I been impressed by the platforms speed. Publishing ads can take quite a long time, and heck, even switching between tabs and column metrics can get laggy. An upgrade on Facebook’s part to UI speed would be a great quality of life improvement.
2) Audience performance breakdowns from ad sets detailed targeting.
Facebook has a ton of detailed targeting options to choose from to help you target the correct audience. Here’s my issue though, why can’t I get a breakdown of performance between those interests/behaviors/demographics if they are layered into the same ad set? Sure, you can tell me to just separate those audiences into their own ad sets and that way I can know how each of them performs. Tell me that and I’ll tell you you’ve probably never had to manage a large account. Sometimes you HAVE TO layer audiences together to get a decent audience size especially if you target specific geo locations independently.
Say you have 50 geo locations that you need to target independently and you have 5 interest categories you’ve layered together to get a decent audience size on each geo. Well by breaking them out into their own ad sets we have just created an extra 250 ad sets along with all the ads that go along with it. Oh and you have to implement lookalike ad sets, behavioral ad sets, and remarketing ad sets into your account too. Suddenly your account has gotten to be a bit large and hard to keep track of things. Remember my complaint about UI speed, well enjoy taking time uploading ads for 250 ad sets.
3) Bring back audience size estimator for custom audiences.
While we are on the topic of ad sets, a great feature included here is the potential reach estimator that changes as you layer targeting into the ad set. Super useful! Until you add any kind of custom audience to that ad set. Then the size estimator becomes “unavailable”. If your strategy has you excluding past purchasers from your ad set, you can’t see the audience size estimator anymore. Did Facebook do this due to privacy issues? Well heres the thing, I can see my audiences sizes like past purchasers outside of an ad set either in the audiences section of Ads Manager or in CRM data. So I can still find out how big the audience size is at the ad set level…just in a super roundabout and time consuming way. Please Facebook, bring back size estimator in full.
Update: Facebook has brought this back!
4) Search by asset/image name at ad creation stage.
Why oh why can’t I search for an image by name at the ad creation stage? I can in the asset library but not at ad creation stage? Why? Look at this screenshot…there is no place to search for an image by name. Its incredibly frustrating to endlessly scroll through this mess every time I am trying to find a specific image. We name files so we can find them easily, but that doesn’t really matter when creating an ad…because you can’t search for it. A search bar here should definitely be a thing.
Update: Facebook has added the ability to search with a search bar!
5) Facebook reaction faces on ads.
Please excuse my attempts to black out text on this ad, it was done so to protect who the advertiser is and ad copy strategy. Just pay attention to the reaction faces near the bottom. 196 people have either liked, loved, or “angry faced” this ad. Look closer though, only 3 people have clicked the angry face. So why is it so prominently displayed right next to the number 196? Out of 196 people, only three clicked the angry face. In my opinion, having that angry face hurts the ad’s appearance. I’m not saying the angry face should never be displayed…but there has got to be some threshold for this stuff. If 50 people had clicked the angry face, yes I could understand it being displayed like this. But only three did.
6) Ad set budget grouping for budget optimization.
Lets take a break from me talking about things that really annoy me to one that isn’t so much an annoyance but a feature I’d like to see done more in depth. Campaign budget optimization is a pretty cool tool for managing budgets and helping you get the most results possible. I would love to be able to do this on an ad set level of some sort. Say I have 9 ad sets in a campaign that target 3 different geo locations (3 ad sets per location each using different targeting). I would love to house all these geos under one campaign and group ad sets together based on location to have their own budget optimization. This would eliminate the need to break this campaign out into 3 separate campaigns to effectively budget for each geo and use budget optimization.
Update: While this idea has not been fully implemented, you can use ad set minimum and maximum spends with campaign budget optimization.
7) Campaign budget optimization from lifetime to daily.
I would love to be able to switch a campaigns budget optimization from lifetime budget to daily budget after a campaign has been published. I am not sure why you can’t but it seems like something that should be a thing.
8) Performance by country breakdown data.
I think its great we can breakdown our campaigns/ad sets/ads by how they have performed by country. Its also great we can export this data into excel. But I absolutely hate the fact that when you download this data, Facebook spits out the countries by 2 letter country code and not the entire country name. If you ever go into an account that is targeting the entire world in one campaign and want to know how each country is performing (download the data, format it, make some pretty graphs, etc) be ready to look up each country’s 2 letter code. I don’t know about you but I sure haven’t memorized all of them.
9) Filter by ad type.
Facebook allows you to create some pretty cool ad types like single image, carousel, video, slideshow, etc. But if you ever want to find a specific ad type in your account quickly you better name your ads appropriately with the ad type it is. Because you can’t filter by ad type for some reason. This could be a pretty useful filtering option.
10) Filtering with OR statements.
Here is an example of what I mean. Lets say I want to quickly filter for campaigns in my account that have a campaign name containing “apples” or “oranges”. If you set a campaign name filter to campaigns that contain “apples” you’ll get intended results. As soon as you try to layer on another campaign name filter with contains “oranges” you suddenly won’t find any results….unless you have a campaign name that contains both, but for the sake of the argument assume you’ve broken you apples and oranges campaigns into separate campaigns. What I’m getting at is I should be able to layer naming filters, or any other filters, with an OR statement.
11) Asset customization for all placements.
I am of the mind set that you should opt in to all of the placements on Facebook ads that make sense, and then let the algorithm decide which placement is best to show your ads on. I have found the best performance using this method. However I would also like to utilize asset customization for each placement so my ads look as good as possible where they show. Yet not all placements are available for asset customization. I hope Facebook gets around to fixing this, as it is a feature I would like to use more of.
Update: Facebook has added many other placements that can use asset customization since writing this article.
12) Ads Manager UI kicks you to weird locations after certain actions.
Have you ever clicked into one campaign, then clicked into one ad set, and wanted to create an ad for that specific place? Ever noticed how as soon as you create that ad and its added as a draft the UI kicks you out of the campaign and ad set you were trying to create that ad in? Happens every…single…time. Why is this a thing? Confuses the heck out of me sometimes when I am trying to keep track of where I am putting ads.
13) Edit product catalog sets after creation
The Facebook catalog is a great tool for uploading your inventory and using dynamic ads to sell products. Its also useful that you can create product sets based on certain inventory features. What I don’t understand is why I can’t edit a product set after its been created. I have to duplicate the set and then make changes. So now I have two product sets when all I really needed was to make a minor change to one. Keep this process up over time and you’ll have a lot of product sets unless you delete them. Which yeah, that is totally an option but it also seems pretty reasonable to let us edit an existing product set. Especially since after making the changes you need to, you then have to go back into ads manager and make necessary changes to ad sets/ads.
14) Ability to enable ads in review.
This one annoys me greatly at times. If I publish an ad, I understand it needs to go through the review process to ensure its an appropriate ad and abides by Facebook’s policies. I just wish Facebook would let me enable the ad while its in review. It doesn’t have to run, it just needs to be enabled. That way, as soon as it passes the review process it will begin running. Nope, I have to wait for the ad to be reviewed before I can enable it. This becomes a problem when an ad NEEDS to be run ASAP but the ad then just sits in review for hours for no reason. Now I have to watch this ad’s review status late into the night just so I can then enable it. It would be so easy if I could enable an ad during the review process and then the ad would just not serve to anybody if it doesn’t pass the review process.
Update: Since writing this article, this issue seems to have been updated/gone away.
15) Too many metrics with weird column presets.
This last one is just an opinion of mine I guess you could say. I think Facebook has way too much going on when it comes to metrics, with a specific nod to the preset columns in Ads Manager. Here are the defaults below. First off we have two different “performance” presets….one just has clicks added to it. That should probably just be one option. While we’re at it, “carousel engagement” could probably disappear since its this weird combination of “performance”, “delivery”, and “engagement”. Have you ever clicked on “cross-device”? When I think cross-device, I think about customer journey…how they started on mobile Facebook, then went to Adwords and clicked an ad on mobile, and then went to desktop and converted. Thats cross-device. Whatever this preset is, well, its nothing like I described above. Maybe I just have a different definition of “cross-device”. Maybe I am being way too over the top with this criticism, but its little things like this I think could help clean up the clutter in ads manager.