You read every blog you can about Facebook ads. You researched your target audience. You wrote some great ad copy. You set up a smart campaign structure. You hit launch. You waited for the money to roll in. But it didn’t.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Lots of people struggle to get performance out of their Facebook ads, but that doesn’t mean Facebook can’t work for you. There’s a lot of reasons behind low performance. You just need to find the root cause and make a correction. The trouble is, one problem can have many causes.
In this blog, we cover three different scenarios where performance might not be optimal, 18 reasons why this may be the case and where to start rectifying them.
Ready to fix your Facebook fails?
Problem: No Impressions
You’ve launched a campaign but your ads aren’t getting any impressions or your campaign has been running for a while but it’s not getting impressions anymore. Here are eight things to look at:
1. Low Ad Quality
If Facebook deems your ad to be of low quality and not relevant to your audience, it will very quickly struggle to get impressions. This is an easy one to identify — Facebook lets you see the Relevance Score it assigns to each your ads. Just add it to your Ads Manager columns using the Column Customization options.
After your ad has received 500 impressions you’ll get a score from 1 to 10, ranking the relevance of your ad to the audience. The higher the score the better. If your relevance scores are low, try rewriting ad copy and adding new creatives or ad formats.
2. Too Much Text On Image
Facebook used to have a strict rule that no more than 20 percent of an image could be covered by text. They even had a tool to help you measure it. It’s not quite so hard and fast anymore though, which makes it a little trickier. But if your ad has a substantial amount of text in it, the number of impressions it receives will likely be throttled by Facebook or you’ll end up paying a higher price to get continued delivery.
The easiest way to determine this is be checking any messages you receive in the Delivery column of your Ads Manager dashboard. If your ads have too much text, you’ll see a message saying “Too Much Text In Image” at the campaign, ad set and ad level.
There’s an easy solution to this one — remove some text from your image!
3. Breach Ad Copy Rules
Facebook has a lot of rules around what you can and can’t say in your advert copy. If you’re in breach of their rules, your ads won’t run. Once again the Delivery column here is your friend. Check if you have a message, accompanied by a red dot, that says “Not Approved” at the ad level.
If you think your ad is not in violation of Facebook policies, you can appeal the ruling when you try to edit your ad. But have a look at the reason you’re in violation of Facebook’s advertising policies first and, if you are, then change your ad copy or creative as needed.
4. Bid Too Low
If you are using manual bidding (also known as setting a bid cap) then you need to make sure your bid is high enough. You’re competing against a lot of other companies to win that ad slot and you’ve got to beat them in the auction — a low bid will see you miss out too often to generate results and impressions.
Try significantly increasing your bid cap until you generate impressions. If this doesn’t work, switch to using Facebook’s automatic bidding option for a while. This will generate impressions and allow you to see the price you should be paying to win the auction.
5. Budget Too Low
If your ad set budgets are too low — particularly when paired with a manual bidding strategy — you may struggle to generate impressions. If using manual bidding you’ll likely need to set higher daily budgets than you expect to spend, as you’ll rarely spend your whole daily budget.
If you have a daily budget in mind that you absolutely cannot surpass, don’t create so many ad sets that each has a very small daily budget. Reduce your ad set splits and go for fewer ad sets with higher budgets.
6. Campaign Spend Limit Reached
An easy one to forget — double check you haven’t reached your campaign spending limit (if you have set one). This is set at the campaign level and when you reach your limit, you’ll see a message saying “Campaign Spending Limit Reached” in the Delivery column at the campaign level.
A nice easy solution to this one — increase your campaign spending limit!
7. Ad Account Spend Limit Reached
Another easy one to forget — double check you haven’t reached your ad account spending limit (if you have set one). This is set in Payment Settings area of your Billing Information. You’ll see a message saying “Account Spending Limit Reached” in the Delivery column at the campaign level.
A nice easy solution to this one too — increase your ad account spending limit!
8. Audience Overlap
If you have created multiple ad sets, depending on how you have selected your audience targeting, there could be significant overlap in your ad set audiences. In this case, you are essentially competing against yourself and some of your ad sets will suffer in terms of their ability to gain impressions.
Check if your audience selection has significant overlap by using the Audience Overlap Tool found in the Audience Manager section of your Business Manager.
If you are using custom or lookalike audiences, you’ll be able to directly compare these straight away by simply selecting them and then clicking “Show Audience Overlap”, as above. If you are using audiences targeting interests or behaviors then you’ll need to recreate these as Saved Audiences in the Audience Manager in order to compare them. Once you’ve done this, Facebook will show a visualization of how your audiences overlap.
If your audiences have significant overlap then this is something that needs to be addressed through better audience exclusions or the creation of ad sets targeting new audiences.
Problem: Low CTR or Engagement Rate
Your campaign is getting impressions but the click through rate or other engagement rates are low. Here are three things to look at:
9. Bad Audience to Message Match
If your campaign is getting impressions but your ads aren’t getting link clicks, then your ad message might not be well matched to your audience.
Try creating multiple ad sets, each targeting different audiences to see if you can find an audience that matches your message.
10. Not an Enticing Offer
If your campaign is getting impressions but your ads aren’t getting clicks (and you’re convinced your targeting the right audience) then your offer may not be that enticing to them.
Try creating different ad copy, using new images and trying new ad formats. Experiment and test how these different versions perform against one another to find out what messaging resonates with your audience.
11. Ad Fatigue
If your ad’s click through rates have been dwindling over time, then your audience may be suffering from ad fatigue. What does this mean? They’ve seen your ads too many times. Facebook lets you see the Frequency of each of your ads. Just add the option to your Ads Manager columns using the Column Customization options.
If you have a high ad frequency, then it’s time create some new ads.
Problem: No Conversions
Your campaign’s getting impressions and clicks, but people aren’t completing the final conversion. This could be completing a purchase on your website or downloading an app from the app store.
If you have a good CTR but are not getting conversions, here are six things to look at:
12. Wrong Campaign Objective
Different Facebook campaign objectives give you different actions to optimize your ads for and different ways to bid. Make sure you are optimizing your ads for your desired action. For example, if you want traffic to your website, optimize for landing page views instead of impressions. If you want conversions, optimize for that conversion instead of for link clicks.
13. Not Enough Data
Before your ad performance stabilises, Facebook needs to learn which users are most likely to perform your desired action that you are optimizing for. For this to work, Facebook needs a certain amount of data for each ad set. If you’re optimizing for link clicks, it needs 50 per ad set before knowing who to target. If you’re optimizing for a website conversion, it needs 15 to 25 per ad set before knowing who to target.
If you haven’t yet got those 15 conversions for your ad set, your campaign won’t be optimizing as well as it could be. So don’t make too many hasty decisions until you’ve got enough data. And if your campaign will naturally not get a lot of conversions, then don’t split your targeting across too many ad sets, as it will take longer to get those 15 conversions for each ad set.
14. Pixel Not Installed Correctly
If you’re optimizing for a website conversion, then one of the first things to check with a low conversion rate is whether your Facebook Pixel is installed correctly. To do this you can install the Facebook Pixel Helper extension for Chrome. Go through your checkout and conversion process and see whether the correct events are firing on each page of the process.
You can also see if there are any errors registering in the Pixels area of your Ads Manager. Although this won’t tell you if you’ve forgotten to install it altogether on certain stages of your checkout process.
15. Long Sales Funnel
If you have a long sales funnel — as often happens with high value products — then it’s possible that you’re not catching conversions. Within the Ads Manager try different attribution windows to see if this affects how many conversions you see.
Also try using Facebook Analytics to create your sales funnel and identify drop off points in the process, where your messaging may be in need of improvement.
16. Bad Ad to Landing Page Match
When someone clicks on your ad, they expect a similar experience on the destination they’re sent to, whether it’s a website, mobile app or Messenger. If it isn’t similar, or your make them work to make the connection, they’ll likely leave. Make sure the experience here is consistent. Start by checking your bounce rate on your web analytics and see if people are leaving without investigating your offer further.
If you’re sending them to a website, then test different landing pages layouts and copy. You can also look to create personalized landing pages for different audience segments to create messages that resonate further.
Remember, as an advertiser your job doesn’t finish when someone clicks the ad, landing page optimization is as important as ad optimization.
17. Slow Loading Page
The majority of Facebook ad traffic is mobile. If your website doesn’t load quickly on mobile, then you’ll lose a lot of your visitors — up to 53% if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Check your site speed using Google tools to discover how you match up alongside other websites in your industry.
You can also add the landing page view metric next to the link click metric on your Ads Manager dashboard. This will allow you to see how many people click your link and then actually wait for your website to load.
The lesson here is simple — be mobile first. Be fast. Keep visitors on your website as long as possible. The better you do this, the more likely you’ll be to get conversions.
18. All-Round Bad Campaign
If you’re getting impressions, but have a bad CTR and the people that are getting through to your website are not converting, there’s one final possibility — your campaign sucks. Yep, it’s not nice to admit, but it happens to everybody sometimes. Whether it’s unrealistic KPIs, bad ads that can’t be changed, or ill-advised targeting.
Sometimes, you just need to go back to the drawing board.
Facebook ads provide a large number of ways to generate results. More often than not, poor performance can be rectified. You just need to make sure you’ve identified the right problem before addressing it. Once you’ve done this, there are a lot of ways you can test, iterate, optimize and ultimately improve your campaign performance. So before you throw in the towel, make sure you’ve exhausted all your optimization options!