3 Reasons Your Facebook Ads Are Failing

Your Facebook ads suck and you need to understand what you are doing wrong. This article goes a long way to explaining why.

I know your pain.

You have tried Facebook ads and they haven’t lived up to the hype.

You know they work – you have seen others make them work – but it just seems so elusive to you right now.

Maybe you suck?

Well, no, you don’t suck.

Not even close.

The issue isn’t you, it’s how you are using Facebook ads.

So, don’t beat yourself up – just read this article for the next few minutes and you will discover three reasons why your facebook ads are failing. And how to avoid them.

But I know what you are thinking – it’s all too complicated and too difficult to make it work.

Well, while there is a bit of work to do (after all, nothing comes easy), it’s nowhere near as complicated as you think it is.

Avoiding these three mistakes will take you a long way to where you need to be with regards to getting results you want.

I was in a similar position when I first started using Facebook ads a few years ago, and I see the same thing play out with most of the clients I help – you are definitely not alone.

Even if you are an expert with social media, Facebook ads are a whole other kettle of fish.

But I, and all the clients I have helped, are now creating ads that work.

And they started simply by avoiding the following three mistakes that almost all business people new to Facebook ads make.

So, what are the three mistake I see most often?

They are:

  1. Using the wrong Objective
  2. Poor Targeting
  3. Not testing

By the way, I am assuming you are using Ads Manager (or Power Editor) to create your ads – if you are still just pressing the Boost Post button then that’s your first HUGE error.

Now that’s out of the way, let’s cover off those common mistakes.

Using the Wrong Objective

The first thing you need to do when creating an ad is to choose an Objective.

A really easy way to understand Objectives is to think about them as your goals. What do you want to achieve with your ad?

It’s super important to choose the correct Objective as it will dictate who your ad is shown to.

But, wait! I thought the targeting decides who sees your ad?

Well, targeting does decide who has the chance of seeing your ad, but by choosing a particular Objective you are telling Facebook who within that targeted group you want the ad shown to.

And Facebook knows enough about our behaviour to figure who will be more likely to take the action we want them to.

So, if you want people to buy something (Conversion objective), complete a form (Lead generation objective), or engage with a post (post engagement objective) you need to choose the correct Objective.

Let’s look at an example.

An Example On Using Different Objectives

Say you sell shoes. You decide to create an ad campaign for running shoes and target the ads at those who are on your email list. In addition to this you want to target a new audience you have created.

You need to create two campaigns.

With the first campaign – sent to those on your email list – you want to create an ad that you start after sending out an email to your subscribers to increase the likelihood of them buying a pair of your shoes.

With the new audience however, you (rightly) don’t want to go straight for the sale and send them to a blog post about fitness in running.

So, to your current email subscribers you choose the Website Conversion objective, as Facebook will show your ad to those on your email list who are more likely to buy something.

While for your new audience, you choose the Traffic objective, as Facebook will show that ad to those who you have targeted who are more likely to click through to websites.

By doing this Facebook will make sure your ad gets shown to the people who are more likely to take the action you want them to.

If you aren’t sure which Objective to choose, you can read my blog post all about Objectives (this also explains what I said above in more detail).

The Boost Post Button Mistake

One of the biggest errors I see with regard to this is people using the boost post button to boost a post and then wondering why they have heaps of likes but haven’t received any sales.

The reason for this is the boost post objective is all about getting engagement – that is likes, comments, and shares.

So, the post ends up with a lot of engagement, but few, if any, sales.

As you can see, choosing the right Objective is imperative! But then, so is choosing the right targeting.

Let’s have a look at that next.

Poor Targeting

Facebook is all about targeting.

The biggest issue I see with ads that fail is choosing the wrong people to target.

There are two main issues to this:

  • There are so many ways to target people on Facebook – and business owners and marketers don’t know about them; and
  • Business owners and marketers don’t understand how to use these targeting options to their advantage

Let’s have a look at each of these in a little more detail.

Facebook is adding new ways to target people all the time, and it’s worth taking the time to have a look at all of these options to see if any apply to your business.

For example, did you know you can target people who use iPhones? Or who are Facebook Page admins? Or people who have a mortgage on their home?

You can even target pregnant women, parents with toddlers, and those who travel frequently.

By simply taking the time to look through the list of targeting options Facebook has available you may be able to narrow your audience down to exactly those who are interested in what you have to sell.

Which brings us nicely to the next point: what size audience to target.

There are basically two basic audience sizes:

  • Broad audience
  • Narrow (or niche) audience

Both of these can be effective, but both should be used for different purposes.

For example, I would almost never use a broad targeted audience for conversion-based ads (unless you have a very large budget to play with).

Let’s have a look at each of these and when to use them.

Broad Target Audience

By broad I simply mean a large audience.

You are targeting a large number of people with your ad.

Use this when:

  • You have a mass produced or established product
  • To raise awareness of your business
  • You don’t know who your target market is

Using broad targeting for the last one on that list can be a great way (if you have the money to spend) to find out who is interested in your product or service as you can sift through the analytics post-ad to see who has been clicking.

Narrow Target Audience

By narrow I simply mean a small audience.

You will be targeting a small niche group with your ads.

Use this when:

  • You have a niche audience or product
  • You know your target audience well
  • You are targeting a particular group (fans, webiste visitors, etc)
  • You want people to take a specific action (sign up to your email list, download an app, etc)

The reason it is better to target smaller, narrow, audiences for these actions is because you will get a better result as you will be able to write your ads that will reach your specific audience.

Think of it as a Funnel

If you want to think of this in a visual way think of a funnel – wide at the top and then narrowing.

You can start broad (top of the funnel) with a brand awareness ad campaign, and then use targeting options like retargeting those who visit your website or sign up to your email address to deliver narrow (bottom of the funnel) ads to those who have shown interest.

The last thing you want to is try to convert people who have never heard of you – it’s just like picking up the phone and cold calling random people hoping they want to buy.

And this is why it is much easier (and cheaper) to know who your target market is before running ads – you can get to that narrow end of the funnel much quicker.

Poor targeting also leads to a poor Relevance score.

Low Ad Relevance Score

First up, what is Ad Relevance?

This is a metric Facebook uses to judge the quality of an ad. And is something you should keep a close eye on.

Ad Relevance is important because Facebook uses this to determine if your ad gets shown to your target audience and how much it costs.

Ad Relevance is defined by Facebook as:

A rating of 1 to 10 based on how your audience is responding to your ad. This score is shown after your ad receives more than 500 impressions.

A 1 is the lowest score your ad can get, while 10 is the highest (and best).

Generally, I stop showing an ad if the score dips below 7 (unless it is still performing well, which can happen).

The reason for this is because Relevance tells Facebook whether your audience is liking (that is, responding or engaging) with the ad in question.

The higher the score, the more positive response you are getting.

You can see this score in your Ad Insights (on the ad level) once your ad reaches 500 impressions – it still calculates this behind the scenes, but only shows once 500 impressions is reached.

So, how do you keep your Ad Relevance score high?

How to Keep Your Ad Relevance High

You match the right ad to the right audience.

This is another reason why targeting a narrow or niche audience is better – your ad will be more relevant to that audience. And if an ad is more relevant, they are more likely to engage with it, boosting the Relevance score.

This, in turn, makes your ad cheaper to run and get seen more often.

Not Testing

The last reason your ads are failing is you are not testing enough. Or not testing at all.

Every ad you run will tell you something – even when it fails.

By testing your ads, you are speeding up this process – you are gaining knowledge on what works and what doesn’t much faster.

How to Test

There are many different ways to test your ads. I have outlined three simple ways below.

Image Testing

One of the easiest is split-testing the image on your ad.

When you create an ad using Ads Manager you can generally ad up to six images to the same ad, and Facebook will rotate these ads – each one with a different image – to see which one works better. It will then start to show the ad(s) which work better.

After a couple of days you can switch off the ones that aren’t performing well, which will leave you with the higher performing images. You then know which images will work better.

Multiple Target Groups

Facebook also lets you create multiple versions of who you want to target when creating your ad.

You can create multiples of a few different targeting options, as shown below:

  1. Custom Audiences (who you are targeting)
  2. Locations
  3. Age Range
  4. Detailed Targeting (all your interests, behavourial & demographic targeting)

You will need to spend more to add these options, but how much more depends on how many variations you choose. For example, you could choose to just test two variations of locations with a $10 spend on each for a total ad spend of $20.

Homemade Split-Testing

Of course, you can also split-test your ads by simply creating multiple ad sets with a campaign and let them run, seeing which performs better.

With this process you can split-test just about any of the options within the ad set level – who you want to target, ad position, payment method (CPM vs. CPC, for example), optimization, and so on.

All of these methods are not difficult but do require a little more time to set up and you will need to spend a portion of your budget on testing, but testing is imperative if you are wanting your ads to start performing better.

It’s just the nature of the beast.

What to do Next

Now you know three the main reasons your ads aren’t performing as well as they should be. The next step is to do something about it.

So, what should you do?

Step 1 – Start using Ads Manager to create your ads

Step 2 – Understand which Ad Objective to use (know the goal for your ad)

Step 3 – Choose who you target wisely

Step 4 – Write your ads for your target audience to keep it relevant.

Step 5 – Test, test, test!

That’s all there is to it.

So, let’s recap.

You need to understand the reason your Facebook ads are failing is not because you are stupid. But rather, it’s about being able to avoid the major potholes when starting out.

And three major potholes are using the wrong Objective, poor targeting, and a low Ad Relevance Score.

However, all of these are easy to overcome.

Now, I understand this isn’t quick or easy, but if you are willing to work at it then you can totally use Facebook ads to your advantage.

And if you are still having trouble, I am always here to work with you to create ad that work.

If you do need my help, the best way to contact me is via Facebook or my contact form.

Over to You

Have you made these three mistakes before?

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