Ad Audit

[DOWNLOAD] Score Your Paid Traffic with the 5-Point Paid Ad Audit

[DOWNLOAD] Score Your Paid Traffic with the 5-Point Paid Ad Audit

If you gave your paid traffic ads a grade…
Would they pass or fail?
No matter the traffic platform or the type of ad you are running, you must have the right elements in place for your traffic campaign to be successful!
That’s why I’ve created the Paid Traffic Audit to help you see how your paid traffic measures up (or to score your employees, competitors, or total strangers just for fun)!
(NOTE: You’ll get a downloadable version of the Paid Ad Audit at the end of this article.)
The Paid Ad Audit has 5 components (labeled above):

  1. Grading Elements: Evaluate elements like copy, creative, scent, offer, and targeting of the ad
  2. Grading Criteria: Grade these elements based on specific criteria
  3. Element Scores: Score each element separately on a scale from Exceptional to Unsatisfactory
  4. Final Score: Receive an overall score out of 20
  5. Action Items: Take action to improve elements that don’t receive a perfect score

The Components of the Paid Ad Audit

This article contains a process for conducting a Paid Traffic Audit. You’ll learn the 5 elements to score on every paid traffic ad and get access to our Paid Ad Audit tool.
(RELATED: Crafting a Digital Advertising Plan)
There are 5 elements to a paid ad audit:

  1. Offer
  2. Copy
  3. Creative
  4. Scent
  5. Targeting

Who Should Use the Paid Ad Audit?

In this post you’ll learn to evaluate and improve each of these elements. Then, you’ll get access to our Paid Ad Audit spreadsheet.
Here’s how to put this audit to work:

  • Paid Traffic Specialists: Audit and improve your own ads
  • Business Owners and Managers: Audit the ads of your employees to improve their performance
  • Agencies: Audit ads of potential clients as a way to show them how much you could help if they were to hire you 🙂

Let’s dive into the 5 elements of the audit.

Paid Ad Audit Element 1: Offer

Ah, the offer. This is where we see the majority of mistakes when it comes to traffic campaigns… or marketing in general.
You build a great marketing campaign, execute on it, and… nothing. No one buys.
When you examine the campaign, you realize it has nothing to do with the marketing.
You were promoting something that no one wanted (or at least that market didn’t want).
Are you sending traffic to something that people actually want?
Plain and simple. 
That’s the theme of this first element.
Whether you’re sending traffic to a blog post, Lead Magnet, webinar, physical product, online product, local discount… ANY offer under the sun, you must make sure that it’s something that people actually desire.
The best way to determine whether your offer is the problem is to analyze your data. Use this troubleshooting guide to figure out what exactly is ailing your campaign.

Paid Ad Audit Element 2: Copy

There’s one thing that successful ad copy CANNOT be…
…and that is BORING.
If your copy sounds robotic or overly salesy, then it’s simply going to miss the mark.
You are, after all, marketing to human beings, so ad copy with voice and personality are going to perform much better than pitchy pleas to separate a customer from their money.
When it comes down to it, the role of a marketer is to explain the value that a product or service will bring to a potential customer in a way that will make that customer take action.
To do so, it’s vital that your ad copy speaks to a pain point or a desired end benefit that strongly resonates with your target audience without overselling or over-promising.
That includes the call to action (CTA).
CTA’s don’t have to be “Click Here!” or “Buy Now!”. They simply tell the reader what to do next—it doesn’t have to be aggressive.
Exceptional ad copy will…

  • Speak to the a specific pain point or desired end result of the target audience
  • Make a clear call to action without being misleading or “hypey”
  • Be overall compelling without being misleading or “hypey”

Learn how to write great ad copy using these Facebook Ad Templates.

Paid Ad Audit Element 3: Creative

Your ad creative includes..

  • videos
  • pictures
  • graphics
  • any other visual elements of your ad

The creative you use will depend on the traffic platform your ad will run on: video for Youtube, images for Pinterest, etc.
What’s important is that your ad creative depicts your MARKETING MESSAGE.
(RELATED: Find My Market: How to Choose The Right Traffic Source For Your Market)
If your reader can get the gist of your message without having to read the copy, you’re going to have a very successful ad.
It’s important to note that ad creative shouldn’t draw attention away from your marketing message by being flashy or off-brand.
This is doubly important if you’re running a series of ads and the prospect is familiar with your brand—the creative on those retargeting ads should remain consistent and maintain brand recognition.
(RELATED: Facebook Ad Design Inspiration: Veteran Graphic Designer Critiques 10 Facebook Ads)
Elements of exceptional ad creative:

  • It catches attention of the reader without being flashy or off-brand
  • It portrays the marketing messages
  • It reflects the brand and customer journey

Paid Ad Audit Element 4: Scent

As I discussed before, “ad scent” can be described as the user experience from the moment they click on an ad to the moment they land on the landing page. If the landing page looks, feels, and says different things, your ad just won’t perform.
This means everything from the ad creative to the copy to the offer should remain uniform.
For a strong ad scent, keep 3 major elements consistent:

  • Design (think color scheme, layout, imagery, and font selection/size/color)
  • Benefits (the headline, sub headline, and image should highlight the same benefits as the ad)
  • Offer (use the same language from ad to landing page headline)

If the scent from what was promised is incongruent with what is delivered , virtually every visitor will bounce immediately.
Elements of exceptional ad scent:

  • Design elements are consistent between the ad and landing page
  • Copy and voice in the ad are reflected on the landing page

Paid Ad Audit Element 5: Targeting

You can build the best advertising campaign in the world, but if you put that campaign in front of the wrong audience—it will fail.
At DigitalMarketer, we teach that the key to successful targeting is SPECIFICITY.
You must ensure that your target audience isn’t too BROAD—instead, make sure that you’ve really narrowed in on the avid part of your market… the people that actually want to BUY.
When an audience is too large, platforms have a hard time optimizing your ads because there are just too many people it’s trying to reach.
(RELATED: [DOWNLOAD] The Complete Guide to Facebook Ad Targeting)
On the other side of the coin, be mindful that your target audience isn’t too SMALL—or your ad will end up getting no impressions.
While you’re narrowing down your audience, be sure sure you’re targeting the market living in the specific areas your product or service is available.
If you’re a local business, you don’t want to market across the country. If you’re a global business, you’ll want to make sure you’re only selecting countries with the same language that your service supports.
(RELATED: How to Use Facebook Advertising to Grow Your Local Business)
Elements of exceptional ad targeting:

  • It’s specific to the part of your market who is willing to buy
  • The targeting is not too broad or too small
  • Ads are only targeted to geographic locations where you can sell your product

Now let’s take a look at the Paid Ad Audit in action.

5-Point Paid Ad Audit Scoring Scale

I recently evaluated some Facebook ads and gave them a grade based on the five paid ad elements and this scoring scale:


  • Exceptional: 4
  • Competent: 3
  • Needs Improvement: 2
  • Unsatisfactory: 1


  • Exceptional: 4
  • Competent: 3
  • Needs Improvement: 2
  • Unsatisfactory: 1


  • Exceptional: 4
  • Competent: 3
  • Needs Improvement: 2
  • Unsatisfactory: 1


  • Exceptional: 4
  • Competent: 3
  • Needs Improvement: 2
  • Unsatisfactory: 1


  • Exceptional: 4
  • Competent: 3
  • Needs Improvement: 2
  • Unsatisfactory: 1

Let’s take a look and see how these ads measure up.


Offer: 4 is a service that helps people find jobs.
It definitely fills a need that people have and is an amazing product.

Copy: 4

The copy hits a pain point in the first sentence and provides a solution in the second. Most people that are dissatisfied with their job can relate to counting down the hours until they leave the office.
This copy sounds personalized, like you’re talking to a friend.
Hired then transitions by saying “it might be time for a change,” and uses social proof (3,500 companies) to entice someone to click to find a job that they are passionate about.
I love how they call out “Sales Pros” in Austin with the ad’s headline. It definitely catches your attention.

Creative: 4

This creative is AWESOME. It really portrays the marketing message “Get more out of your work/life balance”. I love how literal they are with the image. They use a gauge that is leaning towards “life.”
The image is eye catching without being too salesy or flashy.

Scent: 3

Hired maintains their messaging as you click over the landing page. The landing page speaks specifically to sales professionals, as the ad did.
I wish they would have maintained messaging around work/life balance or the pain point of watching the clock. The image design and colors also could have been more congruent from the ad to the landing page. 

Targeting: 4

I live in Austin and I am a Marketing/Sales professional so they really hit the nail on the head with this one. Running geographically specific campaigns is very smart.

FINAL SCORE: 19/20 = Exceptional

Talk Space


Offer: 3

Talk Space provides counseling to individuals through a phone app. This makes counseling much more accessible to people who are on the go. This is a great product.

Copy: 3

I love the hook “don’t bottle up your emotions”. It’s very creative.
I wish they would have gone with a different headline than “start e-counseling today”.
Although it’s a great call-to-action, people are not ready to hear the call-to-action yet, they need to know the WHY first. They could have been much more specific in calling out specific pain points in their copy.
For example, “Tired of struggling with anxiety, stress, and depression, but don’t want to go through the struggle of visiting a therapist? Use our app today.”

Creative: 4

This is one of my favorite creative of all time.
They did a wonderful job portraying the marketing message with this image. Like the Hired image above, they did a great job of making the image visually appealing without it looking spammy or off-brand.

Scent: 3

Talk Space maintains the offer of being matched with a counselor and signing up for e-counseling. I wish they would have maintained the “hook” from the ad of not bottling up your emotions.
The color pallet is consistent from the ad to the landing page, so great job there.

Targeting: 4

I wasn’t able to decipher how I was targeted with this ad. But, because it’s a broad offer and the accessibility of having a counselor at your fingertips is appealing to millenials, I’m giving them a 4.

FINAL SCORE: 17/20 = Exceptional



Offer: 4

Graphly is a reporting platform that integrates with Infusionsoft and helps you measure and track campaigns.

Copy: 3

Graphly leads by calling out Infusionsoft users—this is very smart.
Anyone who’s currently using Infusionsoft would respond to that call out. The use of “voted #1” is also smart to build credibility. They then lead into “track where your leads come from, measure campaigns and grow your sales,” which is great to give the user a specific end benefit.
I wish they would have had a stronger call-to-action at the end of the newsfeed copy. You don’t see anything about the $1 trial offer until the very end of the ad.

Creative: 1

The creative pretty much kills this ad. Using stock photos makes your brand look like an advertiser, not a company with a fun personality on a social platform.
Using the coins stacked up also can be mistaken for a scammy offer. I understand that they were trying to portray the idea of growing your sales, but this image is very repelling.
They should create images in-house that look more on brand.

Scent: 3

There is design scent between Graphly’s profile picture and the landing page, but the scent is not congruent in design between the ad and the landing page. Swapping out the ad image would solve this problem.
There is congruence between the ad copy as you can find “the reporting platform voted #1 by Infisionsoft’s founders” in the ad and on the landing page.

Targeting: 4

We use Infusionsoft and I like Infusionsoft’s page on Facebook, so this was a good use of targeting.

FINAL SCORE: 15/20 = Competent

It’s so much easier to figure out what you need to improve when you can evaluate specific areas of your ads and see how they measure up!
This audit will give you a great starting point for improving your campaigns.
Download your 5-Point Paid Traffic Audit here.



The lovely content team here at DigitalMarketer works hard to make sure you have the best blog posts to read. But some posts require a group effort, and we decided to stop the rock-paper-scissors tournaments that decided the byline so that we had more time to write. Besides, we all graduated from kindergarten: we can share.

Subscribe to the DM Insider Newsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter that delivers the most actionable, tactical, and timely marketing tips you actually need in 7 minutes or less. Get an edge over the competition, for free.