ADMedia | 4 Reasons Why your Facebook ads aren’t working and how to fix it

Why aren’t my Facebook ads working? Is a question we hear from new clients all time!

Don’t worry, we get it. It’s common for small business owners and marketing professionals to agonize over the copy for an ad and spend hours editing and selecting the perfect images only to be completely underwhelmed with the ad’s performance.

 With roughly 2.89 billion monthly active users and big and small companies alike dropping some serious dough when it comes to Facebook advertising spending, the competition is fierce! That said, there are some easily avoidable mistakes that once rectified can significantly improve the performance of your Facebook ads.

1. Improper Targeting

One of the primary reasons why your Facebook ads may not generate the results you want comes down to improper targeting. Since the IOS-14 changes have come into effect, marketers have been encouraged to keep their audiences broad to allow Facebook enough flexibility to show them to the right people. Updates to privacy conditions mean that Facebook has to work harder to find and identify people who are interested in your product or service.

If your audiences are too small and specific Facebook won’t be able to deliver the ad correctly. A general rule of thumb, particularly if you’re focusing on bottom-of-funnel objectives such as brand awareness, would be to keep your audiences broad. You can do this by targeting people based on their interests.

It’s also important to clearly define your ideal customer. Ask yourself what their interests are, their demographic background and how they behave and interact online. Once you have a comprehensive understanding of your target market you can begin to think about the type of creative material and tone of voice that would have the greatest level of resonance amongst this audience. Creating specific buying personas or avatars can be a useful exercise to help you craft more precise marketing campaigns.

After brand awareness comes the lead generation phase.  This is where your custom audiences can come into play. Hopefully, if you’ve managed to create an effective brand awareness ad you should have given your website traffic a nice boost. You can now create ads designed to retarget your website visitors thanks to the use of a pixel.  You can also retarget people who have interacted with your earlier ad as well as your existing social media following. Keep in mind, however, that Facebook requires you to have at least 1000 people within a particular category to create a custom audience. If you try to direct an ad to an audience with any less than 1000 users, it simply won’t deliver

2. Make Sure Your Website’s Looking Good

Make sure that the landing page in which you send people clearly aligns with the message of your ad. Or to put it another way, it’s important to ensure that the

key phrases used within the imagery and headline of your ad also appear in the headline of the landing page in which you’re linking to.

Remember people have exceptionally short attention spans, if you’ve been able to successfully stop them scrolling through their social feed and actually click on your ad you want to make sure that the landing page, you’re sending them to doesn’t confuse them in any way.

Take this example from the iconic MasterClass series. Below is an advert featuring former Teen Vogue editor Elaine Welteroth

facebook ads not working

If we click on the ad we are directed to the landing page featured below.  To avoid the content looking tired a different image of Elaine has been used but the headline of the ad  “Elaine Welteroth Teaches Designing Your Career” has been repeated on the landing page.

An improperly optimised landing page is a relatively easy problem to identify. If you’ve created a traffic ad that seems to be generating a high number of landing page views but the bounce rate is high and there have been no actions taken on that page such as purchases or inquiry forms submitted, it may be an indication that it is too difficult to navigate or the message has not been defined clearly (or early ) enough

3. You need to rethink your creative

 If your creative material is bland and boring, it’s not going to stop people from scrolling. People use social media to be informed, entertained, and stay in touch with friends and family, not to be bombarded with advertising material. The importance of great creative content cannot be understated.

Consider Video First

When considering your creative, it’s always a good idea to opt for video above static imagery. Video has been well documented to offer the highest ROI (Return on Investment) compared to other forms of marketing content. Make sure your videos are properly optimised for mobile and include captions as most people watch with the sound off. An effective video ad doesn’t necessarily need to cost a boatload in terms of production value, but it does need to tell a story and convey emotion if you’re hoping to capture your audience’s attention.

If you choose to use an image within your ad, make sure it doesn’t have much text on it. Images with text can impact the reach of your ad. Facebook will provide you with a notification prior to publishing your ad if it believes it contains too much text.

Take a Sneak Peek at your Competition

If you’re lacking inspiration on where to begin, there is a nifty free tool out there called Facebook Ad Library that allows you to look at the ads of your competitors. To identify your competitors all you need to do is search in Google using the keywords your business would ideally like to rank for. Once you have a list of competitions simply insert the name of their Facebook page into Facebook Library and voila! All of their active ads will be made available for your viewing pleasure.

Although Facebook doesn’t allow you to view the metrics for these ads one way you can determine the type of ads that are most successful is to find their oldest running ad. If you find an ad that’s been running for 2 months chances are it’s performing well, why else would your competitors continue to spend money on it? Take note of the creative material they’ve used in this ad and try to devise something as equally compelling for your own business (without copying them of course)


You can also test different creative materials to determine which is most effective through the use of AB testing.  An AB test allows you to compare different variables such as an image or headline against one another to see which performs best. You can also use an AB test to compare different audiences or placements to ultimately help you determine the winning combination.

When writing the primary text and headline for an ad, Facebook also provides you with the choice to include three different options. Facebook will then determine which combination is most effective. We would recommend taking advantage of this feature and always including three variations when writing the copy for your Facebook ads.

4. Your bidding/ budget parameters haven’t been set right

Another fairly common reason why your Facebook ads may be underperforming is the result of a budget that is too tight.

The Facebook algorithm continually gathers data and learns from it for as long as your ad is running. It determines who amongst your selected audience is most likely to engage with your ad and then serves your ad to those people. However, if your budget is quite low, Facebook will only be able to deliver your ad to a small percentage of your target audience. Because of this, the Facebook algorithm will not be able to gather enough statistically significant data to be able to understand who the ideal audience is. This means your ad performance will stagnate and likely enter the “learning limited” phase.

Thankfully, issues related to budget are some of the easiest to fix. Keep your budget and bid high enough to allow Facebook enough wiggle room to learn and optimise the performance of your ads.

Setting a lifetime budget as opposed to daily limited allows Facebook the flexibility it needs to spend your budget the best way it sees fit over the period of time you’ve set.


Facebook advertising can often feel like a labyrinth of obstacles. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but hopefully, we’ve provided you with a few tips to help save you from some avoidable frustration.

Still wondering “why aren’t my Facebook ads working?” The digital marketing specialists  at AD Media are happy to arrange a free consultation to see how we can help optimise the performance of your Facebook ad campaigns. Get in touch on 0416 022 287 or email us at