#040 – Why Your Facebook Ads Aren’t Working

Today’s post is sponsored by a mini panic attack I’m currently having.

I launched my first ad campaign for my email marketing and copywriting brand yesterday.

I thought I had everything lined up as I needed – the ad visuals, the campaign, the landing page – everything.

So in my head I went for that idiotic thing of assuming it will fly right away.

It doesn’t work like that.

But anyway,  instead of using my panic-induced energy rush to tinker with the ads as they are right now I thought I will write out what I intend to do if things don’t go as I want them to.

How To Tell If Your Facebook Ads Aren’t Working

Without wanting to be patronising, it basically means the results you’re after aren’t happening.

If you haven’t gotten anywhere near what you were hoping for out of your campaign then either:

  • You had completely unrealistic or unreasonable expectations, or…
  • Something was fundamentally wrong with the campaign.

I don’t know you, your background or what you thought Facebook ads were going to do for you so I can’t comment on the first one.

But hopefully some of the points in this post will help you with the second one.

If your ads are getting some results, just a bit below expectation or with room for improvement then there will be some things here to help you figure out where you might be able to find those improvements.

How Soon Should You Change Your Facebook Ads?

If it’s brand new then you need to leave things at least 48-72 hours as Facebook goes through its “learning phase” where its algorithm figures out who to put the content in front of in the first place.

Strictly speaking the learning phase lasts until you have had 50 “conversion events” – basically 50 people have done the action you wanted them to do from your ads.

In my experience (which is a much smaller scale than pretty much any agency), learning seems to stop within 2-3 days anyway though, which is why I say 48-72 hours at least instead of definitely.

How To Change Your Facebook Ads To Improve Results

I need to keep this a little bit vague because there are so many variables between industries, business types, campaign objectives and all of that.

But these are the things I would look at and the questions I would ask.

I’ll cover my own workflow  when I get to the point of tweaking my ads, but here’s the questions I’ll be asking.

Facebook Campaign Objective

That bit where you tell Facebook what the purpose of your ad campaign is.

  • Traffic – driving people to your website?
  • Conversion – Where Facebook’s algorithm tries to optimise for people most likely to complete the objective?
  • Engagement – getting likes/comments/shares on your post?
  • Video views – not elaborating on this one
  • Page likes – getting likes on your page. Please don’t do this one and I’ll explain why in another post.

And more. There’s 20-something options and I haven’t explored most of them.

For my campaign…

I started with conversions based on some advice I had, but I think I should have started with traffic.

Facebook Ad Targeting

Once you’ve set up your ad campaign, the next step is to set up the audience targeting.

You do this at what’s called the ad set level for those of you that are newbies to all this.

There are a HUGE number of targeting options:

  • Location – country, region, city, post code, radius aroud a certain location
    • Also whether someone lives there or just happens to be in the area (think commuters)
  • Gender
  • Age range
  • Language settings – what language is their Facebook account set to?
  • Interests – literally anything and everything
  • Job titles
  • Relationship status
  • Education level

And I probably missed a few out of there.

For my campaign…

So for me, with my email & copywriting campaign:

  • I stuck with the age range of 30-45
  • I went with separate ad sets for men and women – no reason, just to see if my stuff resonates more with gender or the other
  • Stuck with the UK for location as that’s where I am
  • Interest targeting is muti-layered
    • Small business owners who
    • Are interested in social media and digital marketing and
    • Follow Gary Vaynerchuk or Russell Brunson

The thinking is that I’d be selling to business owners – they’re my target customer of course – who are tech savvy and understand the importance of online marketing, and are interested in what other entrepreneurs I have to say.

I think I might be a bit too broad with the audience and audience size, especially for my budget.

Remember I am doing this on a micro budget (£5/day) so I need to be a bit more refined and laser targeted.

I think when I update my ads, targeting will be something I look at addressing.

But have a think about your ad campaign – everything else could be spot on, but is it getting front of the right people?

Facebook Ad Setup

I dropped some preview shots of my ads in another post.

The ads need to do a few things:

  • Stop someone from scrolling (pattern interrupt)
  • Entice them or get enough curiosity for them to want to know more
  • Ultimately click on the ad and go to your landing page

So as a few basic things:

  • The image is the first thing most people will see – so it needs to grab attention
  • The first 2-3 lines of the text need to give someone a reason to read more of the ad – the rest of the text always gets hidden by a ‘read more‘ hyperlink.
  • It needs to be pretty damn clear what your ad is about and what you’re offering or else you might get a lot of clicks from people just wondering what you’re even offering, instead of actually interested.

For my campaign…

I’m happy with my ad copy and headline.

Really happy in fact. I think for the right audience, that is some of the best ad copy I’ve written.

I’m not sure about the images.

2 of them nail the pattern interrupt element perfectly and seem to be good at getting clicks based on 1 day of data.

But they have NOTHING to do with what I’m offering, or me. They’re memes and I don’t have a big enough reputation to get away with that I guess.

So I think after the learning phase I’ll be making my creative more relevant to my product as one of my immediate changes.

The Offer

Maybe I should have led with this one.

The right offer in front of the right audience works.

So first of all think about what you’re offering, if your audience is warm or familiar enough with you and if it’s the right audience.

Gucci could probably sell a £1,000 handbag directly off of Facebook ads.

Everyone’s heard of them and knows they’re a premium brand.

A small business with a relatively small audience will struggle with that.

Not saying it’s impossible, but it’s a much less likely outcome.

So is your audience right for your offer or vice versa?

For my campaign…

Well I mean I’m offering a free thing for an email optin.

If I can’t get someone to sign up for that, I don’t think I’ll be getting very far with this campaign!

So I like to think my offer is fine.

The Landing Page

There’s so many ways to approach landing pages and layouts, its hard to cover concisely in this post.

But try these:

  • Is it simple enough that there’s only one clear action for visitors to take?
  • Is it clear what that action is?
  • Does it give enough information and create enough appeal for someone to do that action?
  • Does it load quickly?
  • Is it optimised for different devices and browsers (it’s incredible how mnay people build landing pages on their desktop, drive traffic that comes from mobile devices and don’t actually preview the mobile version of their page first!)

For my campaign…

I’m pretty happy with my landing page.

It’s quick loading, clear on action, optimised for mobile and in my own view the copy is clear.

For the right audience I think it works well.

But I might tinker with different headlines or layouts as well.

My one concern is that it’s too long for what it is and generally for a cold audience, horter and quicker might be better – especially as currently my ads are relatively long copy.


Facebook ads an ongoing testing process of getting the right offer on the right page in front of the right audience in the right way at the right time.

Easy… right?

My next steps

I’ll go into detail whe I have more stats to look at and the campaign is alittle bit older but based on the above, I apparently am planning on tearing my campaign apart and rebuilding it:

  • Traffic objective instead of conversions (for now, until I have 50 people who have successfully opted in from my campaign)
  • Rework audience targetig and narrow it down a little bit to suit the micro budget I’m working on
  • Change some ad images to make it more relevant to my product
  • Maybe tweak the landing page

When I make the changes I’ll drop some notes on what stats I looked at and how I cam to the decisisons I made.

Keep an eye out for that!

About Abhi

Hi, I'm Abhi. I'm a blogger, copywriter, marketer and coach. Super Simple Mode is my space where I document everything I try in marketing and conversion so you can learn from my screw ups. Thanks for being here.