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Facebook Ads Not Working? This Is For You.

This is a guide to troubleshooting your Facebook ad campaign.

Whether your ad campaign isn’t generating the low cost leads you’re hoping for, or if your ads aren’t even delivering at all, this guide will help you. Using metrics, we’re able to break down the situation and figure out where the problem is.

NOTE: In order to understand what’s going wrong with your campaign, you need to be tracking conversions. If you’re not, go back and read my previous Freelance to Freedom post called 2 Ways to Cope with the Death of Facebook Conversion Pixels and get setup.

Different metrics tell you little pieces of the complete story, and the ones that are most useful are human actions like clicks, opt-ins, and purchases. For basic troubleshooting, you can learn most of what you need from just these.

Alex B. Post 3.1

Here are the specific metrics we’ll be looking at.

Impressions – “Is this thing on?”

Delivery is the first step to a healthy campaign. We don’t necessarily care how many impressions we’re getting or how much they cost. It only matters that they’re happening.

Clicks – “So people ARE seeing my ad.”

User actions are vital because they let us know there are humans seeing our ads. Don’t get me wrong– bots can click. If you’ve seen the famous “Virtual Bagel” video then you know there are plenty of bots out there and they sure are clicking. Do things right and it shouldn’t be a problem.

Conversions (Opt-ins or Purchases) – “WOO!”

An opt-in tells you that people saw you ad, liked your offer enough to click, and then you delivered on your promise with the landing page. Good job. Bots? What bots? Yea they can opt-in, so be wary of that. Double opt-ins typically take care of that though. As for purchases, bots don’t do that, and even if they did, who cares! Let ‘em.

Let’s get started.

Here’s how you use this– look at the situation described and see if it applies to you.

When one of them does, then start reading the problems to determine what’s wrong and how to fix it.

Each section feeds directly into the next, so if you follow it through to the end you should be able to figure everything out fairly easily.

Situation #1

  • Impressions: NO

If you’re not getting impressions, or hardly any at all, then there’s an issue with ad delivery.

Problem: Your audience is too small

Refine your audience to include at least 1,000 people for warm audiences, and I’m for at least 10,000 with cold audiences.

This is pretty common when you’re trying to retarget website custom audiences, because unless you’re getting some decent traffic then the audience will be tiny. One trick is to combine your mailing list custom audience and website custom audience into one ad set.

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Problem: You’ve changed your bidding to manual and set your bid too low

Change back to automatic bidding or increase your bid to up to 50% more than the suggested high. Facebook is smart, and for most people, especially beginners, I’d suggest letting them take care of bidding.

Remember, you’re up against a lots of other marketers bidding for the same users. If you’re car shopping and the salesperson tells you the Hyundai costs $16k, you can’t go yelling “$2 and that’s final!”

image 2

Problem: Your ads don’t pass the 20% text rule

The bane of everyone’s existence. Facebook will provide a notification of this. Replace your image with one that passes the 20% text checker.

image 3

Problem: If it’s been longer than two days there could be an issue with your account

Click here and use the chat feature to work through it with a support person. No joke– I talk to them all the time. Before all of these blog posts I even fact-checked everything with them.

NOTE: The chat feature is only available during normal business hours.

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Situation #2

  • Impressions: YES
  • Clicks: NO (or few/expensive)

Clicks show you that people are responding. If they’re really expensive ($3+) then something is wrong. Odds are you’re targeting the wrong people, your creative isn’t capturing attention, or nobody wants your offer.

Problem: You’re targeting the wrong people.

Maybe ONE of the audiences you’re targeting is perfect, but the other eight you’ve lumped in suck. Instead of making one ad set with a bunch of audiences, try making a bunch of ad sets targeting one audience each.

Also, try a couple different ways to isolate your target audience. If you want small business owners, there’s a “Behavior > Small Business Owner” and “Office Type > Small Business” to name a few. Another one I love to play with is “Behavior > Facebook Page Admin.”

image 5

Problem: Your image isn’t capturing attention.

Just scan through your own news feed and see what captures your eye, or scan through the page posts of an audience you’re targeting and do the same. Bad images can be disastrous, and remember– if nobody clicks your ad, then nobody has a chance to buy or subscribe.

Here are some really good ones:

image 6

Problem: Your copy isn’t compelling enough or doesn’t present your offer accurately.

Strong headlines go a long way. It’s also important that you get across the main benefit of your offer. People need a reason to click. Remember this is interruption marketing, so you need to steal a user’s attention. That doesn’t mean you want to use clickbait– just be clear and valuable.

These guys do a great job with their headline “Better ROI Than Retargeting.” Everyone agrees that retargeting rocks because the audience is so pinpointed. To claim that they’ve got something better means it MUST be good.

image 7


Situation #3

  • Impressions: YES
  • Clicks: YES
  • Conversions: NO (or few/expensive)

As long as you’re not baiting clicks with outrageous claims in your ads, then the issue is most likely your landing page. The best thing you can do is go watch some episodes of Page Fights! Man I love those. Otherwise some of these below could be the issue.

Problem: Your landing page isn’t mobile friendly and you’re serving mobile news feed ads.

Open your phone and look at your landing page. If it doesn’t provide a clean and simple mobile experience, turn off Mobile News Feed placement or fix your site. Otherwise you’re just throwing away money.

If you haven’t separated out your mobile and desktop ads, then there’s a decent likelihood that nearly all your money is being spend on mobile. Check out what happened with my ad below– Facebook spent $170.16 of my $170.63 on mobile.

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Problem: Your ad doesn’t match your landing page (aka ad scent).

This is a common problem. Campaigns perform better when there’s a seamless transition from ad to landing page. This includes copy, image, and offer. When you design your ads, simply borrow creative from your landing page.

See how this one looks? Same image, same branding, same copy. If I was sold on the ad, then I won’t even blink when I get to the landing page. Just take my email address already!

image 9

Problem: Your offer isn’t strong enough.

Does the price scare people off? Are you convincing enough about why your offer is worth the money? Is your offer unclear, boring, or generic? Something is amiss, and if people are clicking through to your landing page from an ad that clearly represents your offer, then you need to adjust.

Something like a “FREE online marketing starter kit” is booooooring. Instead they should offer something more pertinent like a “Local Lead Gathering Kit.” Keep smiling, men on the job. You will never get my email address… ever.

What to do if you’re still having issues…

If the issue is technical, get ahold of Facebook on their Chat Support and ask away. They’re incredibly helpful.

For issues around ads and landing pages, you’ll want to check out some more blog posts and resources. Ask your questions below and I’ll see if I know of a blog post or video that might help you.

I also run a Facebook Ads Support Group that’s free to use. There’s some smart people on there who would be happy to help with strategy questions.

Alex Broderick-Forster Give him one good reason to find a stable, well-paying job and he’ll give you four potentially short-sighted reasons why it’s simply not an option for him. One– he founded his own Facebook Advertising consultancy and named it Earn Enough to reflect his anti-abundance lifestyle. Two– he works entirely remotely and has been featured by Inc. Magazine as one of 6 Masters of the Remote Working Universe. Three– he recently taught workshops alongside industry legends at Chris Guillebeau’s Pioneer Nation 2015. Four– he’s been earning passive income for over a year after designing a course on Udemy and being identified as a top instructor. Keep track of his digital working lifestyle on Instagram.

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