8 Reasons Why Your Facebook Ads Aren’t Working

8 Reasons Why Your Facebook Ads Aren't Working

Most of the Facebook Ads Management clients that come my way do so because they have tried running Facebook Ads themselves and were frustrated with the poor results they were able to achieve.

Basically, they wasted their money!

If you have ever felt like your Facebook Ads aren’t working, here’s eight of the most common reasons why that might be the case and what you can do about that.

1. You picked the wrong audience

The most important part of your Facebook Ad campaigns is your audience. You can have the best ads in the world, but if you are delivering them to the wrong audience, they won’t work.

If you think your audience selection may be your issue, then check out Best Audiences To Target With Facebook Ads (and when).

2. Your audience is too small

It’s great to run highly targeted ads, but sometimes you can get too targeted, which can result in your audience being too small, which can push up the cost of your ad campaign.

Here’s a couple of reasons why your audience may be too small:

  • You picked an audience that was too small – This might be the case if you targeted people connected with your Page, an email list that you uploaded, a page on your website or people who watched a video of yours and those audiences don’t contain many people compared to the amount of money you were prepared to spend. What happens here is that the same people keep seeing the same ads over and over again. The frequency rises and at the same time, your cost per desired result starts to rise. Not good!
  • You recently installed the Facebook Pixel – When you install the Facebook Pixel it takes a while for your audience to build, especially if you don’t get a lot of website traffic. If you use that audience to promote to straight away, before it has built to a decent size, it won’t be effective. I recommend installing the Facebook Pixel at least 3 months prior to when you intend to run Facebook Ads using website retargeting audiences.
  • You went hyper-targeted on location – If you are a local business, it’s important that you use geotargeting in your ads. If you layer additional demographic, interests and behaviour based targeting on top of this, often that can result in a small audience. If you intend to add in additional targeting in addition to your location targeting (which you should), then just make sure you go as broad as you can, whilst still staying relevant to ensure you get your audience numbers up.
  • You used audience narrowing – Facebook allows you to narrow your audience as part of the detailed targeting section within each ad set. Narrowing an audience based on a limited number of factors (especially if you already had a highly targeted audience) can result in your audience being too small. If this is the case, try to narrow your audience using multiple options rather than just one. If that still doesn’t work, then remove the audience narrowing altogether.
  • You budgeted too much – An audience size of 10,000 may be OK if you only want to reach a few hundred people on a very low ad spend over a short period of time. But if you intend to spend some decent money and you want to run your ads for a while, then 100,000-500,000 targeted people will get you a better result.

3. You picked the wrong optimisation objective

Facebook allows you to optimise your ads based on whether or not you are trying to generate awareness, consideration or conversions.

What's your marketing objective

Based on the objective that you choose, combined with the what you optimise your ad delivery for, Facebook will prioritise your ads to be shown ads to those people within the audience targeting that are more likely to take that desired action.

Optimization for ad delviery

You need to make sure that you are optimising your ads for the objectives you want to achieve to ensure you get the best results possible for your ads.

4. Your visuals are blah

There is a lot of noise in the Facebook newsfeed. Therefore you need to be creating thumb stopping visuals to attract the attention of the audiences you are targeting, particularly if you are targeting new audiences that may not look favourably to you showing up in their newsfeed uninvited.

If you are stuck for ideas on how to achieve more compelling visuals, here’s 3 Simple Ways To Create Engaging Visual Content.

5. You didn’t have a compelling call-to-action

The copy you use in your ads is super important in convincing your audience to take your next desired action, whether that be clicking on a link, watching a video, opting in for something or buying your stuff.

Use your copy to convince those reading it to do what you want, without coming across as pushy.

Imagine they are asking “what’s in it for me?” when they are reading the copy that goes along with your ad. Make sure you answer this question by presenting the benefits of taking your desired action for that ad.

You can also include an optional call-to-action button on some ads if you create the ad within either Ads Manager or Power Editor. Pick your button wisely and split-test to see what resonates best with your audience. Even though you may want people to purchase what you are promoting, you may find that the “learn more” button performs better than the “buy now” button.

Facebook Ads call-to-action button

You won’t know until you test!

6. You picked the wrong placement

By default Facebook recommends that your ad appear on all of the available placement opportunities. This might not be best for your ad.

Facebook Ad Placements

You need to pick those placements that are most appropriate for the type of ad you are creating, the audiences you are trying to target and the objective you are trying to achieve.

You need to test to see which placements work best for the various types of ad campaigns you create. I also recommend choosing one placement per ad set so that you have control over the budget you spend for each, rather than leaving them all together in the one ad set and allowing Facebook to choose.

7. You didn’t monitor the performance of your ads

Facebook ads are not set and forget!

You have to monitor any ads you have running on a daily basis… AT LEAST!

One of the best things about Facebook Ads is that you can start, stop and pause your ads whenever you want. If you see an ad campaign, ad set or ad that isn’t performing as well as you had liked, either tweak it, or if you can’t do that immediately, then go in and pause it at the appropriate level within the campaign until you have time to investigate the issue further and modify your ad.

The last thing you want to be doing is spending your hard earned dollars on ad campaigns that are not providing you with an acceptable return on investment.

Some of the metrics you should be looking at to determine how your ads are performing if you are running a website conversion Facebook Ad campaign are:

  • Cost per conversion – How much it is costing you per opt-in or sale. This is the most important metric, if it starts to creep high then you need to tweak your ad before the cost becomes unacceptably high. Once ad costs start to go up, they rarely come back down again without some adjustment on your behalf, unless you are experiencing a variance in performance based on the days you are running your ads, which can sometimes be the case across weekends and holidays.
  • Click through rate – This will vary from business to business, but as a general guide, you should be aiming for over 1% for cold traffic and much higher (2-5%+) for warm audience (i.e. people who already know who you are). If your click through rate is low then the issue is most likely to do with your visuals or copy, or it could just be that your offer was not compelling enough.
  • Frequency – Not letting your frequency get over 2-3 (if targeting the newsfeed) is best. You can go a bit higher in the desktop right hand column, but again, you will need to test what your optimal frequency threshold is based on the cost per desired action in relation to the number of times your ads are seen in each placement. This is likely to become an issue if the audience you are targeting is small.
  • Conversion rate – How many of the people that click through from your ad actually sign up – this should be a minimum of 20% but ideally much higher. If it is low then there is a disconnect between what you say in your ad and your landing page. It could also be that your landing page may not be optimised for mobile (particularly if you are targeting mobile placement) or perhaps it’s just a poor quality landing page without good copy, visuals, call-to-action buttons or compelling offer.

Even if you didn’t monitor your ads, I recommend taking a look at your results from past campaigns and trying to work out what went well and what didn’t.

Each campaign you run, whether you achieve good results or not, provides you with a learning experience through the data collected. Use that data to inform your future ad campaigns so that you achieve better results the next time you run a similar Facebook Ad campaign.

8. You don’t know what you are doing

Quite often the reason your ads didn’t perform as well as you expected can be because you don’t really know what you are doing.

Facebook ads can be quite complex if you are trying to use some of the more advanced features the advertising platform provides.

Unfortunately I come across far too many people who learn just enough to be dangerous. You need to step beyond that point and make sure that you learn enough to ensure that you are spending your money wisely.

You can learn the basics with my FB Ads Success Kit, but if you really want to learn all that you need to know so that you can start creating highly converting Facebook Ads then I recommend investing in my FB Business Success online training program.

FB Business Success NOW modules

Better to invest in training, rather than spending your money on poorly created Facebook ads that provide limited return on investment for your business.

Parting Words Of Advice

I hope this information goes some way to help you with any frustrations you may have experienced in the past in regards to the performance of your Facebook Advertising campaigns. 

Don’t get Fangry and most importantly, DON’T GIVE UP!

Facebook Ads, when done correctly, can help make your business more profitable. Use this information, combined with the results of your past campaigns, to inform your strategy for any future campaigns you create so that you have more success with your Facebook Advertising in future.

About Loren Bartley

Loren Bartley is as a social media strategist, educator, coach, public speaker, blogger, early adopter, self-confessed lover of all things geek-eske, and mother of three.

As the founder of Impactiv8, Loren helps businesses grow using the power of social media and lifecycle marketing automation.

Loren has created three online training programs: Social Media Success, FB Business Success and Linked Business Success and she also offers bespoke social media presentations, workshops, one-on-one coaching and social media implementation services.

Loren is also the producer and co-host of the highly successful #BusinessAddicts The Podcast, which she hosts in conjunction with Fiona Redding from The Happiness Hunter.

Comments

  1. So true! IMHO the biggest issue to overcome can be not having a CTA … people will say they don’t want to be sales-y. And then are devastated when people don’t flock to buy. Gaaaah. As I was taught: if you don’t ask for the sale, they can’t say yes, and what’s the worst that can happen? They can say no. No one dies.

    Boring graphic, wrong audience, wrong objective etc etc are very important operational issues … but trying to get someone to overcome an aversion that’s part of something deeper .. personality, values, etc … can be so hard …. so thanks for including that. Will share. Useful.

  2. Hi Loren, thank you for a really easy to understand article.
    I want ask you about frequency: how do you know what the frequency is for your ad? Can you adjust it when you set up the ad?

    • Gabrielle, you need to look for this as part of the ad reporting. It doesn’t show up by default, but if you click on the customise option, then you can select “Frequency” as one of the metrics you can see the data for.

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