Facebook Ads and the Magic Bullet


What is the method to guarantee success for your Facebook ads? How can you make changes that will turn your Facebook ad spending from a failure to a profit?

There are reasons your ads aren’t succeeding. There are things that you can do. But understand…

There is no magic bullet.

Let’s first talk about the many reasons your ads may be failing before we get to what you can do about it.

20 Reasons Your Ads are Failing

“Why aren’t my ads working?” It’s a question we get a lot. There are so many potential reasons why. Let’s discuss some of them…

1. Copy

Your copy doesn’t speak to your target audience. Or it fails to inspire them to act. Your copy could be unprofessional, or maybe it’s not casual enough. It could be too long or too short. Is the copy consistent with whether the audience targeted is hot, warm, or cold?

2. Creative

Does your creative grab your audience’s attention? Does it inspire them to stop scrolling? Maybe it’s an issue of colors you use. Or the targeted audience is unable to associate themselves with the faces in the pictures. Maybe the image used is of low quality, or it feels like a stock photo.

3. Ad Format

A cousin to #3, but what format are you using? Are you using videos or links? Static images? Are you using the Instant Experience format? All of these have their place. The format isn’t a cure-all, and not all formats are best for your desired action.

4. Targeting

Are you targeting interests? Are they the right ones? What countries, ages, and genders? Or maybe you’re using Lookalike Audiences. What are their sources? You could also be using Custom Audiences or Connections. What’s the quality of these audiences? Are they warm or cold?

5. Website Traffic

What is the volume of traffic to your website? Are you leveraging this in your targeting? Those with minimal website traffic are at a disadvantage.

6. Website Performance

Often overlooked. You could have a great ad, but if your website is slow or poorly designed, it will significantly impact the performance of your ad.

7. Landing Page

Maybe the landing page “works” fine, but the copy and creative don’t do the job to close your sale.

8. Email List

Are you targeting those on your email list? You can run drip campaigns via email and coincide those email campaigns with Facebook ad campaigns. The Facebook ads can make the email more effective and vice versa. If you don’t have an email list, or if it’s small or low quality, you can’t leverage this advantage.

9. Competition

It could be due to the holiday season or the audience you’re targeting. When competition is high, it’s more difficult to have success with ads. The CPM may double or triple, meaning it costs significantly more to reach your audience.

10. Bidding

Do you roll with Facebook bidding defaults, or do you use manual bidding? Your choice will impact ad distribution.

11. Budget

If you’re spending $10 per day trying to sell a $200 product, it’s going to be difficult to get the volume needed for success. And Facebook will have a difficult time optimizing. Additionally, one source of ad failure is advertisers spending too much on small audiences.

12. Frequency

There isn’t an ideal frequency. It depends on what you’re trying to accomplish (drive traffic, brand awareness, sale). Some ads require reminders, some don’t. But there is a point where your frequency is too high and you’re simply wasting money.

13. Optimization

Do you optimize for a click, landing page view, conversion, engagement, or something else? Does Facebook have enough volume to get through the learning phase and properly optimize?

14. Facebook Pixel and Events

Do you have the Facebook pixel installed on your websites? Are you using events and parameters? Are they set up properly? The pixel gives advertisers more targeting and optimization power.

15. Product

Let’s be honest. If your product is trash, no Facebook ad is going to fix that. It could be the product itself or the pricing.

16. Industry

Some industries are inherently more difficult than others. If you’re in the entertainment industry, you may have much more success with Facebook ads than if you’re promoting a law firm or building contractor. Some content is simply more likely to get the engagement that you want due to industry.

17. Brand Recognition

If you’re a well-known brand, you have an advantage over others. Do you have a good reputation? Do others trust you?

18. Sample Size

You’re unable to generate a reasonable sample size to determine whether certain campaigns, ad sets, or ads even work. This could be due to budget, but it is also caused by creating too many variations (ad sets, ads, images, etc.).

19. Purchase Intent

If you’re selling something, how do you reach those who are actually interested in buying? What if it’s a service that is rarely needed? If you have low retargeting volume, targeting users with purchase intent can be a very big challenge for some brands and industries. It results in significant waste.

20. Placements

Facebook wants you to run your ads to all placements. They say it leads to better results. But does it?

I’ve seen campaigns where Facebook spends a high percentage of the budget on Audience Network, leading to very low-quality traffic. Keep an eye on your placements.

There Is No “One-Size-Fits-All”

Something that frustrates many advertisers, particularly new ones, is that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to Facebook advertising. You may hear some marketers talk about a “guaranteed template” but it simply doesn’t exist.

Your approach is different depending on industry, brand, product, targeting, and so much more. Sometimes you should optimize for conversions, sometimes you shouldn’t. Maybe you should use long copy, maybe short.

Don’t buy into the claims that there’s one way to do this. There isn’t. That’s actually a good thing, but it can make it overwhelming for those who are struggling.

The Key: Experimentation

As you can see, there is a long list of reasons your ads may be failing. The key is to experiment. Experiment a lot. Keep trying until you find something that works.

Try new copy and imagery. New targeting. Don’t always use the same interests or sources for your Lookalike Audiences. Switch it up and retarget small traffic windows instead of large. Experiment with manual bidding. Optimize for different actions, particularly if you can’t get the volume to optimize for conversions.

Don’t do all of this at once, of course. But think creatively. If nothing is working, do something else. You will begin to learn from the results and find things that work.

“Should I?”

One of my least favorite questions starts with “Should I…?”

Should I optimize for conversions or landing page views?

Should I use auto bidding or manual bidding?

Should I use multiple ad variations? How many?

Should I target a large audience or a small one?

There is no universally “correct” answer to any of these questions. The answer may be different for you and your current situation. Experiment and find out what works for you!

Combining Efforts with Google Ads and Email

I already mentioned the advantage of having a powerful email list above. You can segment people based on what they’ve previously purchased and when. You can use that information to target them with ads.

One issue mentioned above is purchase intent. It can be difficult to reach users on Facebook with purchase intent, particularly if you don’t have a high-volume website.

Google is made for this. Run Google ads in addition to your Facebook ad campaigns. Use Google to attract people to your website who are looking for your solution. Then remarket to them when they come back to Facebook.

The Long Game

If you suffer from many of the problems listed above, don’t expect a quick turnaround. Play the long game.

For example, there is no quick fix to a bad website, low website traffic, a small email list, a faulty product, poor brand recognition, or challenging targeting options.

When you experiment, resist the urge to be disappointed when the miracle cure doesn’t immediately emerge. You are playing the long game.

The long game is a process of finding what works and what doesn’t.

The long game is changing the culture and perception of your brand.

The long game is building website traffic and your email list for retargeting power.

In some cases, you are making incremental changes that could make a big long-term impact. Not everyone is ready to buy from you today. But the changes you make could lead to a positive impression of your brand. It could lead to more website traffic or a bigger, higher-quality email list that will lead to sales later.

Don’t lose sight of this. Many of the changes you make today will lead to results tomorrow or several months from now.

Your Turn

Hopefully this helps sort through the potential issues that could be impacting your ads as well as what you can do about it.

Anything that you’d add? Let me know in the comments below!

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