Why your Facebook ads are not working (How to fix this)

If you are already advertising on Facebook, how much are you spending on Facebook ads? Are you getting the results you were hoping for?

In other words, is advertising on Facebook working for you? Advertising on Facebook is not just about spending lots of money on ads, it is much more than that.

If you are not getting the desired results, then try the following:

1. Make sure you are not marketing to a cold audience

The big mistake that most advertisers do is to simply target customers based on their interest and other demographics, and hope that they will simply convert to customers.

Facebook ads not working

While this approach might work, it may take time to show results and will cost you more in the long run. The best thing to do is to remarket to your existing prospects, in other words, market to people who have previously shown interest in what you are offering. 

These could be:

  • People who have visited your website
  • Anyone who has engaged with your business on the Facebook page
  • Prospects from your email list/database
  • or clients database.

Create a lookalike audience on Facebook, this is an audience that is similar to your existing audience. Facebook can create that audience for you, then you can use the lookalike audience to create a much larger audience to target.

2. Test your campaigns and be prepared to spend a bit more

You have to spend a bit more to figure what works, test your messaging and determine which adverts get the most response. Unless you spend a bit more in the beginning to test your campaigns, you will never really know what works and what doesn’t.

You also need to be careful about how much you spend initially when testing. If you spend too much in the beginning, you will find that Facebook gives you the same amount of clicks even if you spend more.

It is best to gradually increase your spending after testing, based on which ad combination works best and give you the best return.

3. Use retargeting at various stages of your sales cycle

There are easier and complicated ways of doing this, depending on your type of business, we will focus on the easier version.

You don’t have to create the same ad for every customer, for example, you can have:

  • Ad 1 to hook customers and drive them to your website.
  • Ad 2 for customers that visited your website and didn’t convert. You create an ad especially for this audience encouraging them to convert.

Depending on your type of business, you can create multiple ads that target customers at various stages of the sales cycle.

4. Spy on the competition, check out what works for them

Another reason why your ads are not delivering might be because they are off tune, the copy or presentation just doesn’t entice your audience to take action.

Spy on the competition - Facebook

How do you solve this? By looking at what works for similar companies in your industry. Facebook has a free ads library that has a collection of ads running on Facebook, use it to research what works for your competitors and duplicate.

If an ad from your competitors receives great feedback, there is a great chance that you might do as well if your copy what works for your competitor. 

5. Review your sales funnel

How do you take customers through your sales process? What happens when someone clicks on your ad and lands on your website? The reason they don’t convert might be because of your website copy or landing page doesn’t convert.

Review your sales cycle-Facebook

Again, when planning your campaign look at what works in your industry. Look at the best performing on Facebook’s ad library. Click on them, check the landing page layout, the website copy and see if there are elements that you can incorporate in your advert.

Then test, if the formula will work then stick with it.

6. Use video ads

Video ads on Facebook generally have a high click-through rate, they generally perform better than text and image-based ads. If you have access to production resources to produce a compelling video ad, go ahead, it would be worth the investment. If you can’t produce your own video ad, no worries, Facebook has a built-in video maker that you can use to animate your ads. Facebook also offers multiple ad formats, such as a carousel which enables you to show multiple images that viewer scroll through, a slideshow or a collection ad that makes it easier for people to scroll and purchase products from a mobile device.

Text and image ads are still effective when done properly, Facebook recommends that you use ads with less text, check-out Facebook guidelines for text and images ads.

In the end, what really matters is sales and not just clicks. It is always important to remember that when creating your ads, make sure they are optimized for sales and not just clicks.

Search ads are the most popular amongst all Google advertising platforms, these are text ads that appear on top of search results. Display ads are banner ads that appear on websites across the internet, these are websites that have opted to display Google banner ads.

Search ads generally provide better ROI as compared to display ads, recent data from Wordstream’s Google Ads benchmark show that on average the click-through-rate for search ads across all industries is 3.17%, which is significantly higher than 0.46% for display ads.

Search ads are very effective because they target consumers when they are actively searching for things on Google, the consumer searching online already has a need, an intention to purchase and therefore much easier to convert.

When should you use Google Search Ads

  • If you are offering a service that is urgently needed or solve problems requiring urgent attention.
    We all turn to Google in search of help finding service provides or answers to pressing questions. Search ads are ideal if you offer solutions to what most people search for online.
  • Generate leads.
    Google text ads are ideal for generating leads, they appear on top of search results, matched to what people are looking for online.

When to use Google Display Ads?

Display ads appear on Google’s partner website, they are ads consumers see while going about their business online.

  • Display ads are great for building brand awareness.
    Display ads are visual ads, they provide advertisers with an opportunity to build top of mind awareness and keep their advertising message in the eyes of the consumer.
  • When you sell products with a long sales cycle or new to the market.
    Consumers looking for high-value products are not likely to make instant purchases, they shop around and consider their options. Display ads help you keep your brand message fresh in your potential customer’s minds, especially if you use remarketing.

One-on-one, search ads outdo display ads, to counter this you consider using remarketing to increase the effectiveness of your display ads. Google remarketing increases the effectiveness of your display ads by up to three times.

Remarketing allows you to track and readvertise to people who have previously shown interest in your ads by clicking on them and visiting your website. They increase the effectiveness of your campaign because your message gets to be seen by qualified prospects repeatedly over a period of time. The choice of an advertising platform to use depends entirely on your marketing needs and budget.

Google enjoys the largest market share of any search engine, it is the largest and most popular pay per click advertising platform in the world. Facebook, on the other hand, is the largest social media platform.

There has been a lot of hype about the rivalry between the two platforms, the reality is that both platforms can complement each other and should form part of your integrated digital marketing strategy.

Google Ads (paid search)

The upside:

  • Google enjoys the widest reach on any online advertising platform, it has a marketing share of over 92% worldwide, its closest rival Bing enjoys only 2.45% market share. Google records 3.5 billion searches every day, that about 40 000 a day. If you are looking for an audience, you will find it on Google
  • Targeted with high conversion rates, Google shows ads based on what people search for, the ads match the keywords that people type when searching for things. Google is effective because people are searching for things they are interested in and have the intention of buying.
  • Google offers a wide range of advertising formats, advertisers can choose between traditional text-based search ads, display ads (banner ads) or shopping ads retailers/e-commerce websites. No matter what you sell, the chance is that Google would have an ad format to suit your needs.

The downside:

  • Highly competitive and extensively used. There is fierce competition for keywords which has resulted in high prices. It may be expensive, particularly for small businesses with limited budgets.
  • The quality of your ads and the content on your website reigns supreme when it influencing Google ranking your ad over the completion, and not necessarily your advertising budget.
  • Not ideal for unknown products, if you are offering disruption products which are new to consumers and no one is searching for them because they are unknown, Google won’t be the best platform for advertising. Facebook would be an ideal platform to use.


Facebook Ads (paid social)

Facebook has a global audience, in fact over 2.3 billons user and counting. It is also an incredibly large databank because it collects all sorts of data from users. Facebook knows a lot about its users, it collects all sorts of demographics about its users, the pages you like, your friends, your location, your interests, your birthdate, your educational background and so on.

Since Facebook knows its user’s behavioural patterns, it has an incredible ability to zoom in and only show your ads to consumers with interest in what you are offering.

The upside:

  • Highly visual and great for brand awareness, Facebook discourages text heavy adverts. In fact, it recommends that you do not use more than 90 characters in your ad. As a result the ads are highly visible and are attention grabbing when they appear on the user’s timeline.
  • Unmatched targeting options, the beauty about Facebook is that you can target consumers based on the interest, characteristics and demographics. For example, if you are a company selling accounting services, you can target small business owners only and so on.

The downside:

  • The buying cycle may be long, depending on where your audience is on the buying cycle, closing them in the qualified leads may take long
  • Unlike Google Ads, Facebook users are not actively searching for products or services, as a result, they may not act immediacy upon seeing your ads. However, visual repeated exposure to your brand message builds familiarity and trust amongst targeted users with interest in your product offer.

So which one should I use? Google Ads or Facebook Ads?

Both platforms are highly effective when it comes to building brand visibility, generating leads and increasing sales. If driving traffic to your website and generating lead quickly is your object, then Google Search Ads will help you achieve that quicker. On the other hand, Facebook ads are great for creating top of mind awareness and building engagements with your audience.

Our view is that both platforms should be seen as complementing each other, instead of being viewed as adversaries.

So which one should you use? It depends on what you want to archive and the resources you can allocate towards reaching your marketing goals.