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Why Your Facebook Ads Are Not Working And How You Can Fix Them

Why Facebook Ads Aren't Working Graphic

Optimising Facebook ads is tricky business. Setting up the perfect ad takes time, time that can go to waste if you aren’t getting the clicks, impressions or conversions you’re looking for. Ultimately, Facebook is a social platform for interaction with friends and family. Users aren’t logging on with the intention of acting on advertisements.

How do you compete for your audience’s attention? How do you turn clicks and impressions into conversions?

There are many factors that influence why ad campaigns fail but don’t fear. Here are some common reasons why your Facebook ads aren’t working and how to fix them.

1. Targeting your ads

Facebook has a huge user base so it’s highly likely that your target audience is using the platform. The hard part is finding your exact target audience and tailoring an ad campaign directly to them. Thankfully Facebook offers a couple of tools to make this process a bit easier.

Custom Audiences

This is a handy tool for when you don’t know your audience as well as you’d like. This allows you to create an audience profile and pull data from it. 

1. You access the tool by going into Facebook Ads Manager, then click the menu in the top left and select Advertise > Audience

FB Ads - Create Audience

2. Then click the button labelled Create Audience and then select Custom Audience. From here you can create an audience profile from sources pulled from your own customer sources or from Facebook’s own sources

FB Ads - Creating a Facebook Page Custom Audience

3. From here you can set an Event that narrows down your custom audience into one selected category. For example, Anyone who visited the page, People who engaged with any post or ad etc.

4. Now you have your created audience, give it a name and description and click the button labelled Create Audience. The custom audience you created is now saved and can be applied to your ads.

The data from these audience profiles help to target your ads more effectively. Create a couple so you can test ads against two separate audiences and compare the results.

2. Improving bidding strategy

It’s very common that a lack of conversions and clicks on ads is down to the bidding strategy. How the bidding system works is an auction system where advertisers bid for their ads to be placed in front of their chosen audience. Optimising your bid within Facebook Ads Manager and getting to grips with the different settings can help you generate the results you want.

FB Ads - Campaign Budget

Once you’ve set up a campaign for your ad, you can find the bidding options in ‘Ad Set’ and then click the edit pencil next to your chosen campaign. From here find the section ‘Campaign budget optimisation’ where you’ll want to focus on some key settings.

Lowest cost

This option is the most self-explanatory, it will get your chosen ad in as many relevant placements as possible at the lowest cost. However, be aware that this automates the bidding amount meaning you won’t have control over the overall ad cost.

To mitigate the automation, this option also allows you to set a bid cap. By entering the highest amount you are willing to bid for. Obviously never bid more than what a conversion would earn you.

Also, be aware that you shouldn’t set the bid too low or Facebook will have trouble spending your ad budget. The setting for this is labelled ‘Budget’ and is located above the ‘Bid Strategy’ option. Facebook recommends your daily budget should be about five times your bid cap so bear that in mind when optimising both settings.

Cost cap

This option allows you to set an average cost per desired user interaction which helps gain the most conversions/clicks/impressions as possible. Facebook is then able to automatically bid above or below the target cost and keep the average overall cost around the target cost amount set.

Keep in mind that you may experience high fluctuations in cost during Facebook’s learning phase. Put simply, this is Facebook learning how to achieve your ad’s desired results based on the first 50 successful outcomes within a week of your ad being live. Once this phase is completed, your cost should stabilise

Campaign objective

FB Ads - Campaign Objective

This option is located under ‘Campaign Details’ and will inform when money is removed from your budget based on what you want the outcome of your ad to be. Want to be charged for every page like? Set it to ‘Engagement’. Want to be charged for every page visit? Set the option to ‘Traffic’. It’s as simple as that!

3. Creating engaging ad content

The technical settings of Facebook ads are only one half of the battle. Making sure your ads visually capture the attention of your audience is just as important. Your ad should generally be made up of an image/video, ad copy and a call to action. You’ll need these elements to complement each other whilst tapping into what your audience is looking for.

Take a look at what your competitors are doing, you may find a transferable visual style that suits your audience. Here are some general visual rules to keep in mind when you’re creating.

Too much image text

According to Buffer, a great ad image increases user engagement by 94%. Seems like an easy win for your ad but many slip up by putting far too much text on their ad image. The text should really be left to the copy for the heavy lifting, it’s here where you’ll be addressing a problem or meeting the needs of your audience with a final call to action to make those conversions. 

Adding text to your image can clutter your ad, turning away your audience resulting in low ad reach. Your image should be there to show off your product or service. If you need to add text to it then make sure it only takes up about 20% of the overall image. Some products will naturally involve text in their images like books, films and event posters so this additional text will be accepted by Facebook and, most importantly, the audience.

Message mismatch from ad to landing page

Be sure to create a coherent user experience when visitors follow your ad to a landing page. Visually the ad image and the landing page should be consistent, and what you’re offering should be the focus. 

For example, you’re advertising herbal tea at a reduced price and your ad image features the product and a white and green colour scheme as the backdrop. Naturally, your landing page should feature the same green and white colour scheme, the product in question and the reduced price promised in the ad.

It may seem like common sense but not ensuring the user experience is clear and simple is the downfall of many advertising campaigns on Facebook.

4. Testing

It can be hard to know exactly what will connect to your audiences when creating ad campaigns. Producing the most optimal results can take some experimentation through testing.

For example, you can run the same ad for one set audience but have 4 different variations on the image. Let this run for a couple of days and then check the results. This way you can collect data from these tests to find what kind of image your audience responds to.

By doing these kinds of tests you can get an increase in ROI for ad campaigns with poor performance.


Optimising your Facebook ads can feel like a daunting task thanks to the range of features and filters you need to master. Not only that but you’ll be wearing multiple hats when being creative with your copy and visuals and then making more data-driven decisions when it comes to targeting your audience and budget spending. Planning is essential, know your audience, have a clear outcome in mind (conversions? Brand awareness through clicks?) and take each element of the Ad Manager one step at a time and you’ll be on your way to achieving excellent results.

Had some trouble getting the hang of Facebook Ads Manager? Not sure how to make use of some of its additional features? Get in touch with us today, we’ve had proven results of increasing engagement on Facebook. We’d love to do the same for you!

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