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10 Reasons You Failed with Facebook Ads

Kenny Novak • Updated on May 29, 2023
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Failed with Facebook Ads

Businesses both large and small can advertise on Facebook. Both large and small companies can achieve success on the platform, but likewise, they can both suffer great defeat. This can be seen from the collapse of GM’s advertising a few years back, and in the regular failures small businesses often complain about. With that in mind, here are ten ways a business might fail with Facebook ads, and how to fix the problem.

1. Your Targeting is Off

Targeting Facebook ads is as much an art as it is a science, and every ad will have unique targeting. You need to know your audience, but you can’t just target them; you need to target specific interested subsets. To learn what subsets those may be, you need to really dig into your Insights and get to know the people you’re targeting.

In some cases, you might want to run regular posts, not promoted posts or ads, with the same targeting features as the ads you want to run. Study the analytics about those posts, because the people engaging with them will be the people who see your ads. Refine and test more targeting and run the ads only when you feel confident of their success.

2. Your Ad Copy is Boring

Boring ad copy does nothing but hurt you. If you have an image attractive enough to draw the eye, the copy needs to then convince the user to click through to whatever the destination of the ad happens to be; post, picture, video, link, whatever. If your copy is boring, nonsensical or just plain off base, it’s not going to get the compelling power it needs to convert.

3. Your Copy Has No CTA

This is a related issue, but the call to action in your ad copy is downright essential. You only have a single sentence, maybe two, to make your point. You need to tell users what benefits they’ll receive from clicking on the ad and converting for your product. You need to compel them to do so. Your CTA needs to be brief and to the point. It can’t just promote your product; it needs to promote why. It helps if you ask a question, too, to establish that benefit. There’s an art to ad copy that takes a lot of work to get just right.

4. You’re Competing with Better Ads

Sometimes, your Facebook ad failure comes through no fault of your own. You might just be trying to compete with targeting in a niche where there are more robust businesses spending more money than you can muster. The problem is that this ends up eating up your budget on objectives that don’t really help you, when that money could be better spent on better targeting. That’s really what it comes down to; targeting that’s too broad to support your goals.

5. Your Link is Broken

This is a basic one, but it happens surprisingly often, particularly when your ad campaigns are numerous or old. How long has it been since you went over and reviewed all of your ads and the links they attach to? Have you significantly changed up your site since the last time you reviewed your ads? Do you have more than a couple ad sets or campaigns running concurrently? The larger the business, the more ads you likely run, and the easier it is to lose track of something in the shuffle. It’s distressingly common for a business to move a page or implement a redirect that breaks an ad and never quite fix it. If your ads are receiving clicks but you haven’t gotten a conversion, check to make sure the link is functioning properly.

6. Your Landing Page Doesn’t Convert

When running a Facebook ad, you have two options for your destination. You can link to a page on Facebook, or a page off Facebook. Some people recommend only linking to pages on Facebook, because the user has the chance for a dual conversion; they can like your page and they can still move on and convert in other ways.

If you choose to link to a page outside of Facebook, be aware that you’re automatically lowering your conversion rate, just because many people are on Facebook to stay on Facebook. When an ad or a link takes them away from the site, they already form a negative opinion. Your landing page will have to combat against that.

There are dozens of ways for you to optimize your landing page, and they will require extensive testing, multiple ad runs and a lot of time. Do them properly and you’ll see quite a bit of success, at least.

7. You’re Using the Wrong Objective

Facebook has a number of different objectives for your ads, but they don’t seem to change much. After all, you’re still free to put in whatever link you want at the end. You can send a page like objective off-site if you want, or link to a picture with the post objective. The problem is, this makes everything subtly off. Facebook expects a video when you put in a video objective, and anyone thinking they’ll get a video will end up disappointed. All you’re doing is shooting yourself in the foot, for no benefit. Deception, intention or otherwise, is harmful in ad campaigns.

8. Your Ad Image is Unrelated

Some images are never unrelated. Happy people tend to work for just about any ad purpose. Your logo is never unrelated to an ad you’re serving. On the other hand, some images just don’t fit. Why is your ad image a cat, when your product is explicitly for dogs? Make sure your image works, because the subtle influence of that image is what draws the eye over, and the person parsing that image expects the destination of the link to have something in common.

9. Your Ad Image is Too Attractive

Yes, surprisingly enough, it’s possible for an ad image to be too popular. This, however, typically isn’t an issue with your ad image itself. Instead, it’s an issue with the ad’s targeting. If your targeting is too broad, and your image is too attractive, you’ll pull in a lot of people who won’t necessarily want to do anything with your page. Once they land on your page, they’ll be bored and leave, and your ad budget is eaten up.

10. You’re Not Testing Variations

Split test your ads. Test your ads. Don’t argue, don’t make excuses, just test your ads. Do more testing. I don’t care how much testing you’re already doing; do more.


  1. Justin Arndt


    I’ve spent hundreds on Facebook ads and haven’t seen the results or sales I’m looking for.. not even close in fact. I’m a bit hesitant to try it again because of how expensive it is. Am I just doing something wrong or am I missing something?

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