“Why Aren’t My Facebook Ads Working?” How to Fix a Failed Campaign

“Why aren’t my ads working???”

“I’m not getting any clicks.”

“I’m not getting any conversions.”

“I’m not getting any impressions.”

Sound familiar at all? This is basically what my inbox looks like.

And who can blame you? You took a GINORMOUS leap and actually spent money trying to get your business in front of new people.

Everyone around you (*cough* myself included) was all like “YES! Facebook ads are perfect for your biz! You’re gonna get so many new customers/clients/leads/likes on your page. Do it. For sure.”

So you took the plunge, and now you’re cursing me a little because you have no idea what happened. You’re not even sure the problem is you – maybe Facebook ads are just a scam! All you know is that you took a risk, got nothing in terms of results, and now Facebook is charging your credit card. Fuuuuuuuck.

Deep breath. Aaaaaaaand exhale. Now we’re gonna figure out what exactly happened with your campaign.

Let’s take a look at the different reasons your ads might not have hit it out of the park, and their “symptoms,” a.k.a. the less-than-awesome results you can see immediately:

SYMPTOM #1: Your ads don’t get many clicks, and yet your budget gets completely eaten up.

What’s the deal, yo? Why does this even happen?

There are a number of reasons why people might not be clicking: you may be targeting the wrong audience, and/or it could be a case of ad copy that’s uninteresting, confusing or scammy, or boring, weird or unclear ad images.

A lot of the way Facebook charges you is tied up with the click-through rate. If your click-through rate is low, you end up spending more for clicks. That may be why your budget got eaten up quickly even though you didn’t get many clicks.

How do I know if this is where things went wrong:

Check out your ads’ click-through rate in the Ad Manager:

Fix Your Facebook AdsWHAT TO DO NEXT:

  1. Take a good hard look at your ad copy. Is it super clear about the benefit I’m going to get if I click on your ad? Is there any mention of a product or program of yours that I won’t understand if I’m not already familiar with your business? If so, get rid of it. When in doubt, keep things simple and straightforward.

  2. Consider your images. If you haven’t already, go back and redo your ad image using a photo of yourself! Even a good-quality selfie will work. People are always more likely to take the action you want them to if they feel like there’s a real person they can get to know behind the business.

  3. Recheck your ad’s target audience. If there’s anyone in there, anyone at all, who doesn’t need the thing you’re promoting, filter them out.

SYMPTOM #2: Your ads get clicks, but you don’t get any conversions over on your website.

What the heck? Why does this happen?

1. People clicked on your ad but not on your link. Remember: your end goal should (usually) be to drive traffic over to your site. So it’s really important to have a very clear call-to-action in your ad copy so that people are directed to click on your link.

2. People clicked through to your website but didn’t convert. Your goals in Google Analytics can tell you what the conversion rate on your landing page is. There are a few reasons why people may not be converting, but usually it comes down to attracting the wrong people (i.e. your ad’s target audience) or the landing page itself.

How do I know which of these two is my problem?

By digging into Facebook’s advertising reports. Check out this image again:

Fix Your Facebook Ads

When you select Performance and Clicks, you’ll automatically load 2 columns (in addition to several others): Clicks (All) and Clicks (Link). You will always have more clicks in general than the clicks on your website; people might be checking out your page, clicking the “See More” link if you have long text, or maybe even clicking the Like or Share buttons.

But if you have TONS of clicks on your ad, but not so many on the link that takes them to your site, then something might be wrong.


If you got clicks on your ad but not on the link to your site:

Rework the ads. Make sure the copy in compelling and that there’s a really clear call-to-action so that people know that they’re going to be freakin’ dazzled once they click over to your site.

If your ad got clicks to your website but no conversions:

You need to find out where the disconnect is between the traffic and the conversions. What’s the average conversion rate of this landing page? When people find it organically, do they tend to convert at a higher rate? If they do, then your problem is your target audience.

If you check out Google Analytics and see that your conversion rate for this landing page is generally pretty low, then you’ll want to rework the landing page.

(What’s a good conversion rate? I aim for landing pages to convert at a rate of 30% minimum, especially if I’m paying for the traffic. People like Leadpages a lot, but it’s about a lot more than just the template. Here are my tips on writing a great landing page headline and bullet points.)

There you have it, a round-up of the most common problems with Facebook ads that didn’t quite kick ass: confusing copy, overly broad targeting and/or landing pages that don’t convert.