When Your Facebook Ads aren't Working

At this point, many of us have dabbled in Facebook advertising. Many of the clients I’ve worked with come to me for help optimizing their ads. Most of them feel like they wasted a lot of money for little return. Not surprisingly the majority of them are ready to swear off Facebook ads altogether, believing they just don’t work.

Sound familiar? No one likes wasting valuable time or money on failed ads. Here are a few tips for understanding why your ads aren’t working and what to do about it.

Is it really your ads?

If you’re meeting outcome goals, it may not be your ads. For example, let’s say you’re running a conversion ad and you’re getting impressions and clicks to your website, but no one is converting to a lead by filling out an inquiry form. The problem is likely not your ads. There’s likely an issue on your website or landing page.

I recently worked with a client to set up ads that drove more than 500 clicks to their website in three days and got their cost per click down to 10 cents, the holy grail of Facebook advertising. But he didn’t get one inquiry or sale.

This told me that the problem wasn’t with the ads themselves, it was likely with the landing page.

Photo courtesy Melinda Gimpel

So, the first step if you feel like your ads aren’t working is to ask yourself if it’s the ads or your website. Look at the analytics on the ads; if you’re meeting your campaign objectives, the ads aren’t the problem.

What if it really is your ads?

I had an event client once who, against my advice, tried to run banner-style ads on Facebook. These were straight out of 2005 with lots of text, cheesy stock photos and a big button to “Book Now!”

We had a $250/week budget for two weeks. The ads were so terrible, Facebook wouldn’t deliver them. We spend less than $20 in the first three days.

I knew the problem was with the ads because they weren’t being delivered. So we reworked the copy and creative; we showed images of real people, shared stories and testimonials, and focused on value first and strong calls to action second. The results: We were able to spend the full budget each week, traffic to the website went up 5000% and they booked 87 new attendees, representing one-third of all event attendees.  

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If the ads are the problem

Spend time thinking about what would inspire a member of your target market to take action. Go back and do a deep dive into their hopes and dreams and develop emotionally-based ads that will hook your target audience. Also dig deep and work to uncover objections, fears and challenges. Then try to create a new, more effective message.

It boils down to this

In the end, successful Facebook advertising really comes down to two things: effectively crafting your message, and testing. By taking extra time to create and test multiple concepts you waste less money. You also attract more qualified leads, allowing you make more money and grow your business. And isn’t that really what advertising should do?  Grow your business?

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Christie Osborne

Owner | Mountainside Media

Christie Osborne is the owner of Mountainside Media, a company that helps event industry professionals brands develop scalable marketing strategies that brings in more inquiries and leads. Christie is a national educator with recent speaking engagements at NACE Experience, WIPA and the ABC Conference.