Top 10 Reasons Your Facebook Campaign Isn’t Working

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To most PPC marketers, the Facebook paid ads program represents an ideal marketing opportunity. Finally, you aren’t limited to targeting your ads based on geographic location and time of day alone (I’m looking at you, Google Adwords!). In fact, if you wanted to run a campaign targeting 16 year old boys in San Francisco who like the video game “Gears of War” you could do it – the Facebook paid ad targeting system is that powerful.

But for all of this power, why does it seem like so many Facebook paid advertisement campaigns produce mediocre results, ending up with low click-through rates and a negative return on investment (ROI)? Let’s take a look at the Top 10 reasons your Facebook campaign isn’t working:

Reason #1 – Your Ad Isn’t Targeted Well

Despite the vast capabilities of the Facebook targeting system, plenty of advertisers wind up targeting markets that are either too large, too small or not relevant to the product they’re selling. And while there’s no set target market size that will optimize every single Facebook ad campaign, you can use your past results as an indication of how well your ads are targeted.

If you receive too many responses, pare down your targeting criteria even more. If you receive too few responses (or responses from the wrong type of people), adjust your targeting to reach different groups.

Reason #2 – Your Image Isn’t Eye-catching Enough

Perhaps the biggest weakness of the Facebook Ads program when compared to Google Adwords is that people go to Facebook to be social. When someone types a query into Google, they’re looking for information, and it’s possible that one of the paid Adwords ads will meet that need best. But on Facebook, users tend to gloss over ads because they aren’t in an information-gathering or product-purchasing mindset – they’re simply there to hang out with friends.

To remedy this, it’s crucial that you choose an image to pair with your ad that’s both eye-catching and relevant to your promotion. If you’re seeing a low clickthrough rate on your ads, the specific image you use should be one of the first elements you test.

Reason #3 – Your Headline or Description Text Isn’t Unique or Compelling

Facebook ads don’t give you a lot of room to talk up your product. With just 25 characters for your title and 135 characters for your description, you’ve got to say a lot in a very little amount of text. And when you consider that users are skipping over ads on the site anyway, you can see how crucial it is that these characters be used as effectively as possible.

If you aren’t the world’s greatest copywriter, this could be an ideal place to outsource your marketing campaign. Working with a company with a successful history on Facebook Ads could mean getting a lot more activity for your marketing dollars with a lot less frustration on your part.

Reason #4 – You Don’t Have a Clear Value Proposition

The 22 Michaels blog published a fascinating case study that demonstrates how important it is to understand the customer you’re targeting and tailor your ads to show clear value to these users. The company ran the following ad over Valentine’s Day this year, encouraging men to purchase shoes for their dates on this romantic holiday:

Ultimately, the ad failed, in large part due to the fact that there’s no clear value proposition for men. As one reader pointed out, “For a male audience who are not aware of your brand, the “Shoes of Prey” headline would have done little to catch their attention.” When advertising on Facebook, be sure you understand exactly who you’re targeting and what specific needs they might want to address.

Reason #5 – You Aren’t A/B Testing Your Ad Copy

As with so many things online, the only real way to know if your headline or description text is as effective as possible is to split test different options. Facebook Ads gives you this capability, so be sure you’re running at least two variations at all times in order to uncover your most compelling ad text options.

Reason #6 – Your Ad is Stale

Because Facebook readers’ eyes tend to glaze over at the sight of paid ads, “staleness” of ads should be a crucial concern for advertisers on the site. In fact, some experts believe that Facebook ads become stale within 2-3 days, which means that you must be constantly revising your campaigns in order to gain attention.

Reason #7 – You’re Using the Wrong Type of Facebook Ad

Facebook offers a number of different paid ad formats, including poll ads, like ads, sampling ads and others. If you aren’t seeing the results you want with your Facebook advertising campaign, it’s possible that you’ve chosen the wrong type of ad for your target market. Experiment with other types to see if your results improve.

Reason #8 – Your Bid Price Means Your Ads Aren’t Being Seen

In order to accommodate marketers with different budgets, Facebook offers both Premium and Marketplace ads – but the catch is that only Premium ads are guaranteed to display. If your ads aren’t getting the number of impressions you expected, you may need to increase your bid price or take advantage of Premium ad placements to get your campaign seen by more people.

Reason #9 – You Don’t Have a Clear Understanding of the Calue of a “like” or Your Expected ROI

With Google Adwords, your expected payoff is fairly straightforward – you get someone back to your site where they either buy products or sign up as a lead for your services. But the end goal of Facebook Ads is a little more difficult to grasp. Essentially, you could be running an ad in order to build brand awareness, which will be measured in the number of “likes” on your fan page.

But since “likes” don’t pay the bills, it’s crucial that you understand what exactly these social votes mean for your business model. Having brand awareness is important, but if you drop tens  of housands of dollars to boost the popularity of your company page and don’t see a single sale as a result, the ROI of your campaign just doesn’t make sense. For this reason, it’s important to understand the expected ROI of your social media participation and ensure that your bids and ad
spending are in line with these goals.

Reason #10 – You Aren’t Following Up with Personal Interactions

Facebook is a social site, which means that – in order to be most effective – ads can’t simply be a one-way street. If someone takes the time to follow through with your paid ad – whether by simply “liking” your fan page or taking a more involved action – it’s important to show that you value their engagement by following up with a personal interaction.

Whether you respond with a personal note or offer a special coupon or reward in return, reaching out in this way will help you to build a relationship with your target market and ensure that you get the most value possible out of your Facebook advertising campaign.

Sujan Patel
Sujan Patel has over 12 years of digital marketing experience and has helped hundreds of clients increase web traffic, boost user acquisition, and grow their... Read Full Bio
Sujan Patel
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  • Nick Stamoulis

    I think the most important point here is that, like you said, people use Facebook to share and connect with others. They aren’t necessarily looking for something, like they are when they search. This means that it’s that much harder to attract their attention.

  • Jon Loomer

    Good stuff, Sujan! I’d say #4 is pretty important, particularly if you aren’t a well-known brand. If you’re Starbucks, you can get away with it (“Starbucks? Sure, I like that!”). But otherwise, you need to offer something as bait. Free eBook, daily discounts, exclusive deals, something that gives your page value. These will also be engaged users looking for that type of information from you as opposed to just a casual “Sure, I like that.”

    I’ve also found targeting friends of fans can be extremely effective. It always depends on the page, but I only use that approach currently (actually, I typically try not doing it with each campaign, and always go back to friends of fans).

    In line with the ROI section, there’s really only one metric that matters: Cost per Like. Click through percentage and number of clicks are interesting, but ultimately (if you’re running ads to get more likes, of course), there are only two things that matter: How many likes the ad generates and how much you spent to get there. I’ve found this to be especially true with my ads targeted to friends of fans. The click through rate was lower for those ads than others, but I was getting double the number of connections per clicks. This seemed impossible, but it was due to the reinforcement the targeted users were getting. Some weren’t clicking on my ad when they saw it, but liking my page after their friends were getting it.

    Thanks for the post!

  • Wasim Ismail

    Facebook adds I would say are more tricky than the standard Google PPC, but if you can get it right it can be very lucrative, as its very targeted. What I find works is engagement adds, as users on Facebook are there to engage and socialise with others, they are already in that mind frame, if your add can be more reclined towards that such as: “Click LIKE to get…..”

  • Norm

    I’ve noticed that many advertisers like to use attractive females as their ad image, and maybe that has something to do with the fact I am a 40 year old male. In all seriousness though, getting clicks, is not an indication that your facebook ad is working. It just means you are getting clicks. Unfortunately, Facebook yanked their beta conversion tracking, leaving it up to advertisers to figure out if their ads are generating leads/conversions or not. I’m betting they yanked it because many people discovered they were not converting. I can’t imagine any other reason why Facebook would not want you to be able to track sign up/purchase actions from people who click your ads on their network.