Fixing Bad Facebook Ads Is Usually Not As Simple As You Make It Out To Be

Written by Steve Bruce

If you are experiencing poor results with your Facebook Ads and have a “quick fix” in mind, please read this post before you attempt to fix it.

When you create Facebook ad campaigns, you know that there are just so many different ways that it can be set up.

Like a dozen different campaign objectives… Many conversion optimization options… Hundreds (maybe thousands, idk) of interest you can target… Lookalike audiences… The different platforms you can place your ad on… Video vs. image… Square vs. rectangle… Long copy vs. short copy…

And the list goes on and on.

So whenever you launch a campaign on Facebook and it isn’t working after 5-7 days, you can see how many different things can be adjusted in an attempt to fix it.

I’ve worked on hundreds of ad campaigns on Facebook and have had thousands of conversations about Facebook ads with either my clients or with people who are needing help running their ads and they come to me for consulting or to have me personally launch and scale their ads properly. Sometimes they will tell me what they think is causing their issues and what they say ALWAYS falls into two categories. They either say “I have no idea” or they say that they think the fix is just one thing like “I just need better targeting” or “my ads don’t get enough likes” or “I’m just not sure how much my daily budget is, that’s my main problem”

And I’ve made the mistake of taking their word for it so when I dive into their ad account, I go in with the expectation of just making that easy fix and everything else in the ad account being setup properly. Just fix their targeting or budgeting and it’ll all be smooth sailing from here. Nope. There are always many more problems I see as I go in their ad strategy and setup.

I’m going to go a bit deep here… people often emulate this type of thinking with a lot of things in life that are big problems but think the solution is super simple. When people need to lose weight, they’ll say “If I could afford healthy food and a gym membership, I would be in great shape” but there are so many other problems like their consistency or workout routine… their opinion of what “healthy food” is could be inaccurate. Get them free unlimited healthy food and free gym membership and they’ll still be out of shape. And people think “if I had a million dollars, I would be happy with my life” but then they win the lottery and are still miserable.

Maybe there is some sort of psychological pattern that people do to themselves to feel less overwhelmed with their problems? I’m not an expert in that area!

Here’s the point I’m trying to make: the fix for your low performing ads is MUCH more than just one single small little fix. It’s either a lot more little fixes or one big fix.

If I dive into your Facebook ad account and I see horrible campaign structure, improper budgeting, confusing ads, and terrible targeting… turning on “target people connected to Wi-Fi” is NOT going to fix your campaign. Find the “perfect interest” to target won’t fix it either. But this is the type of thinking that people have that I talk to with broken ads.

When it comes to fixing broken Facebook campaigns, all of the solutions fall into two main categories, each having their own criteria that MUST be met.

The categories

  1. Campaign structure

  2. Product (or offer)

The criteria that both must be met for a winning ad campaign

  1. The campaign structure must cater to what Facebook prefers

  2. The product must cater to what your target demographic prefers

Some things do overlap a little bit into both categories. For example, the ad design needs to be social media friendly so that Facebook doesn’t throttle your reach with high CPM and your ad must cater to your target demographic by being easy for them to understand what you are selling. So that’s a little bit of both Facebook and target demographic in that situation. And then in the scenario where your product can’t go against Facebook’s ad policy is clearly something that must cater to Facebook’s preferences.

I could write a book going over all of the things that fall into these categories that will fix a failing ad campaign, but here are a few real examples I’ve seen inside of ad campaigns over the last few weeks.

1. Budget spread too thin among ad sets and/or ads

An ad account I started working on last week was using dynamic ads with as many ad variations as possible. Maxed out number of creatives, maxed out number of ad copy, and headlines. The amount that they were spending on this dynamic ad was about $100 per day, however because they had so many dynamic options, they basically had like 200+ ads in one ad set. Put $100/day into that and you’ve got 50 cents per day per ad. That’s not nearly enough budget to give Facebook with any ad. If you are going to use dynamic ads or multiple ads in one ad set, try to give each ad a range of $5-15 per day.

2. Ad talks more about the business or brand instead of the product

This one broke the rule of having the ad and product cater to the target demographic. Especially for newly established brands, your best target demographic are impulse buyers. They don’t typically care about how long you’ve been in business or how your product is made. Now I’m not saying you should never put that into an ad, but I would recommend talking about the product or special offer at the top of the text in the ad and in the headline which is the first thing that a viewer will read.

3. Targeting is far too restricted and narrowed down

A rule of thumb when it comes to Facebook’s targeting is you want to make it easy for Facebook to find who it is you are looking for. When you add too many constraints on your targeting, it requires Facebook to work extra hard on figuring out who to put your ad in front of and Facebook makes you pay for that extra work it has to do by raising your CPM substantially. The ad account I worked on had 5 interests in the first level that were entertainment based, then narrowed down to 3 more interests that were hobby based that must match, and then finally was narrowed down again towards engaged shoppers. So when Facebook finds someone in that first level of audience, it needs to check if they match the second level, and then the third as well. For best results, just test out one or two interests in each ad set starting out.

4. Creative is not social media friendly

Your ad doesn’t need to be “good” as much as it needs to be designed in a way that Facebook prefers so that it shows the ad to a lot of people. This is the first warning sign that I encounter when I look at an ad in the ads library for a Facebook page. I was on the phone with someone consulting them on their Facebook strategy and they said “My biggest problem is the targeting. I have no idea what interest is the right one,” but then I look at their ads in the ad library and it doesn’t matter who they target with that ad, Facebook doesn’t like the ad. Too much text on the ad and low quality image is the common one I see for this one. The 20% text rule is no longer in effect, however if you put too much text on an ad it will throttle the reach and increase the CPMs (usually by a TON to where it is nearly impossible to counter) If you have some big bold text you want to put on the creative, just put that in the headline of the ad instead.

And there are many more errors that I have witnessed but I’m sure that a lot of people who read this post are making similar errors to just the few examples I’ve mentioned and I hope this can help them fix their ad account at least a little bit.

Hope you found this post helpful and good luck improving your ad performance!

-Steve

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