Why Aren’t My Facebook Ads Working?

Facebook is by far the largest social media advertising platform with the capacity to reach nearly 3 billion users across the globe. It’s no wonder that one study found that 93% of social media marketers used Facebook ads as part of their online advertising strategy. Though there are many reasons that business owners and marketing managers have a preference for Facebook advertising, at the top of the list has to be that they have the potential to generate a relatively high ROI; coming in at a whopping 152% across the e-commerce sector.

While Facebook ads can be very effective, it can sometimes be a struggle to create successful digital marketing campaigns with the platform. The good news is that less than desirable results are usually due to some fairly common mistakes, including failure to test creatives, unengaging copy, or not understanding how to use custom audiences.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the main reasons Facebook ads fall short and some easy-to-look-out-for pitfalls that can help you improve your Facebook Ads management and ultimately lead to a better return on investment (ROI) for you and your clients.

Common Mistakes Hurting Conversions with Facebook Ads

The most common reasons a Facebook ad campaign will fail are listed below. Don’t worry, even experienced digital marketing professionals make some of these mistakes, especially when marketing to a new audience.

Budget Is Too Low


Low Facebook Ads budget

Your budget is an important limiting factor. If your ad set budget is too low, your Facebook campaigns will get little reach. Your campaigns might also get limited exposure if your account spending limit is too low.

The appropriate budget is going to depend on your bidding strategy. The minimum daily budget should be twice your cost per click (CPC) when using automatic bidding and five times your cost per click when using manual bidding. This rule applies to both Instagram ads and Facebook ads since they run on the same platform.

Whether using automatic or manual bidding, you must also pay attention to both the daily budget and ad spend budget. The ad spend budget is set for each ad, so if you’re testing many ads, you might not get much reach if the ad spend limit is too low. You also have to monitor your account spending limit if you are running multiple campaigns.

The Target Audience Is Too Limited


is your Facebook Ads target audience too limited?

Unlike Google Ads, Facebook advertising is a form of disruption marketing. Your visitors aren’t searching for your products, so you have to reach them with audience targeting rather than keywords.

One essential aspect of a successful Facebook advertising campaign is your audience selection. You don’t want to be too broad, but you might not get any visibility if your audience targeting is too narrow. It’s a balance between getting as many eyes on your ads as possible and making sure the people you are talking to are the right ones.

Generally, you want an audience network of between 1 million and 2 million people. You can estimate your audience size when setting up your new ad in Facebook’s Ads manager. The information you are after is at the ad set level:

  • Click on “Create” and select the type of ad you wish to make (eg. leads, traffic etc)
  • Enter your campaign name and bidding strategy and click “next”
  • Here at the Ad Set level under “Budget & Schedule” you’ll find the “Audience” section where you can create your new custom audience.
  • On the right-hand side of your screen as you update and refine your audience to include location, demographics, and detailed targeting your “Audience definition” and its size will appear.

A limited target audience is one common reasons why Facebook Ads under-perform


You can also create “Lookalike Audiences” from “Saved Audiences” in the Audience manager in Meta Business Suite. This tool will also estimate the number of people in a particular audience you will reach.

Ad Relevance is Poor


Poor quality Facebook ad relevance

Facebook Ad Relevance (formerly Facebook Relevance Score) is similar to Google’s Quality Score in the sense that it ranks your ads based on a variety of factors.

The Ad Relevance Diagnostics tool can help you spot why your ads are underperforming around:

  1. Quality ranking
  2. Engagement rate ranking
  3. Conversion rate ranking

Read more about the diagnostics tool on Facebook’s site here.

If you are not getting good traction on Facebook, it’s a good idea to run the diagnostics tool.

Some more tips that might help include:

  • Use ad copy that is relevant to your USP, products, and the audience you want to attract.
  • Make sure you are targeting the relevant audience with your ads.
  • Make sure your creative is engaging, inspiring, high quality, and properly cropped for each ad type you want it to appear in. We use this list to make sure we are always providing Facebook with exactly the creative it needs to run the most effective campaigns.

You might be shocked by how much your relevance improves just by simply optimising your copy and creative. Similarly, you may experience the same positive results just by taking an audience-based approach to your ads campaign. Your ad’s performance should increase, and your CPC should decrease, meaning more leads, better conversions and a lower cost per result.

Failing to Test


Always test your Facebook ad creative

The number one rule of digital marketing is… Never. Stop. Testing! If your Facebook ads are underperforming the best place to start looking for answers is to run some tests. Many ad campaigns require extensive trial and error before they create a positive ROI. Not only should you test different creatives and copy but you might also want to experiment with different landing pages (don’t forget to set up your Facebook Pixel here), calls to action and audience definitions.

Creatives and landing pages that you think will be successful often fail and the ones that seemed like they would underperform are often the winners. Even seasoned marketers struggle to predict how customers will engage with their ads and website. The best and most reliable approach is to test multiple ads and let their data guide you through the optimization process.

Ad Creative Is Not Engaging


Facebook Ads not engaging?

The quality of your ad creative will have massive implications for your advertising campaign. If your copy is tried and tested and your audience targeting is on point, but your ad still has a low click-through rate, it might be necessary to improve the ad creative. Not sure if your click-throughs are in the right ballpark? The average CTR of a Facebook ad is usually assessed on a per-industry basis, so if you want to know how well your ads are stacking up against the competition you can find the data here.

You should take the following steps to improve your ad:

  • Make sure you’re using the highest quality image for your ad. Facebook is a very visual social media platform, so excellent imagery is essential. In fact, we recommend that you should test different images before testing your ad copy, since they will have a greater impact on the performance of your ads.
  • Let the algorithm decide. Facebook ads let you use up to 10 different images when you switch on its “Dynamic creative” function. This is a great way to test out your creative, because Facebook will automatically optimise to use the best performing combination of copy and images or videos. After a few days to a week, you can review the results and take out the lowest performing creative assets.
  • Test different ad formats. You might try the carousel format to get more engagement. Your ad campaign may also benefit from video over photography to get a more complex message across.
  • Keep a swipe file of different Facebook ads that you come across. This will give you some ideas for your own ads. You might get inspiration from a Facebook ad from a company in a different industry.
  • Don’t use too much text in your images. Facebook might approve your ad if the text covers more than 20% of the ad image, but the algorithm will rank your Facebook ad lower, and you will get less visibility.
  • Use “power words” in your call to action. Common power words are listed in this blog post on HubSpot. These words evoke an emotional response and are more likely to draw attention to your ad.

You’ll want to keep testing to get the best ad creative to improve your campaign ROI and avoid ad burnout. You might be shocked by how well a Facebook ad performs after testing many different variations of copy and images.

Audience Overlap is Keeping Some Facebook Ads from Getting Visibility


Fix Audience Overlap on your Facebook Ads campaign

Your issues might also stem from an overlap between the target audience between ad sets because Facebook wants to keep ads within the same ad set from competing against each other. Part of the reason is that they don’t want to hurt their user experience by bombarding them with similar ads. They also want to help you make optimal use of your ad budget.

This problem occurs when there is a significant overlap between audience targeting across many multiples of ad sets. You can detect this problem by using the Audience Overlap tool. You will need to:

  • Navigate to the “Audiences” tab in ads manager.
  • Next, select the audiences that might be overlapping.
  • After selecting the audiences, you must go to Actions and choose to show the size of your overlapping audiences. You will see both the percentage of users and the number of users that overlap with your target audience.

If you’re struggling to find two separate audiences to target, you have a few options when you are trying to show your Facebook ads to the same audience:

  1. Differentiating your custom audiences by changing the demographic or location information in some way and saving as two or more separate audiences. (as long as size permits)
  2. Setting up a new Lookalike or retargeting audience.
  3. You can also use the exclude option so that specific demographics or audience interests no longer overlap in your Facebook ads. This ensures there are distinct, separate audiences for your campaigns.

Taking these steps to ensure the target audience is unique across ad groups while ensuring they don’t see the same ad too often should definitely improve your Facebook ad campaigns performance. and as a bonus. it should also give you some deeper reporting insights as well.

Your Landing Page Doesn’t Match the Expectations Set by Your Facebook Ads


Make sure your ad creative and landing pages are consistent

Your marketing funnel needs to have a consistent message at every stage. You can’t expect people to convert with an ad that doesn’t convey the same message as your landing page.

A surprising number of companies make this mistake. One study by Unbounce found the messages of 98% of Facebook ads didn’t match the target landing page. You also have to make sure there is parity between the pain points of your target market and the message on your campaigns.

You need to always take a close look at your creatives. Some marketers make the mistake of using eye-catching images or copy that generates clicks but doesn’t resonate with their intended message. This hurts their conversion rate, loses the trust of their visitors, and lowers their relevance score.

Failing to Set the Right Conversion Objective


Set the right goals and objectives on your Facebook Ads

Setting the right conversion goal is crucial to the success of any Facebook ads campaign. Best practice is that ads should be built to match the relevant stage in a customer’s journey during the buying process. For example, you shouldn’t expect a conversion ad to work on a customer who is only at the awareness or interest level of the conversion funnel.

Alternatively, some companies use ads to generate likes for their Facebook pages hoping they will later become paying customers. Unfortunately, users who like your Facebook page rarely become loyal, paying customers. Some marketers also prioritise website visitors over conversions. Generating website traffic, however, without a follow-up plan or retargeting strategy is unlikely to generate revenue. Therefore, the goal should be increasing long-term sales and brand exposure rather than just trying to drive traffic.

It’s important to understand the nuances of customer buying decisions in your respective industry. If you sell high ticket items, you might need to use online marketing, across multiple platforms, to build a lead generation campaign with the aim of building long-term relationships with customers. You could also try using Facebook ads to sell lower-cost products in the initial stages of your funnel and then upsell them later. Some good Facebook offers, a strong call to action and a good funnel can make the difference.

Take the Right Steps To Get a Better ROI with Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads can have a great ROI for many marketers. However, you have to avoid the mistakes listed above. Follow these guidelines and you can create winning Facebook campaigns.

Why not book a free, no obligation 30 minute phone or Zoom consultation or email us to discuss your Facebook ads management needs, today.

Picture of Mike Bullen

Mike Bullen

Mike Bullen is a digital marketing strategist and serial inventor/entrepreneur who combines a solid digital background with the technical know-how to deliver real results. With a passion for the Perth Start-Up scene, Mike launched Eurisko as a digital marketing consultancy and usually has a project or two of his own on the side, where he hones his results-driven approach. Mike’s ability to generate more leads, more sales and ultimately more revenue for his clients is a testament to his proficiency with SEM, SEO, web analytics, marketing automation, UX / CX, email marketing, and social media marketing, including social advertising, and earned media amplification. Mike’s focus when delivering projects is to optimize & amplify digital experiences to generate more leads, more sales and more revenue.

Where do you want to take your business?

Go beyond simply existing online. Get ready to build a presence that generates consistent growth and drives revenue for your business. Contact us to discuss a roadmap for a brighter, bolder future.