If you’ve ever played around with Facebook ads, you know they’re incredibly complex. There are dozens of ways your ad campaign can go wrong, ranging from rejected images to disabled ads to payment issues and beyond. Often times, you barely have any idea as to why your ad isn’t working, and Facebook’s contact system is thin at best. Rather than wait a week or more for a response from them, let’s try to troubleshoot your ads manually first.
Ad Images Look Bad
The main reasons an ad image looks bad have to do with the resolution and size of the ad. Each type of ad, be it mobile, news feed, or sidebar, has recommended dimensions. Facebook has guidelines for the size of various ads, but a much better source of size advice comes from Jon Loomer.
If your ad image is too large or too small, it can appear distorted. Likewise, if the image ratio is off, it will appear stretched or squished. It’s like stretching a normal movie to a widescreen TV, or vice versa. Additionally, Facebook will compress overly large images in terms of file size, so extremely large PNGs will appear pixilated.
To fix this issue, make sure you’re using images that fit the dimensions of your ad placement.
You Need to Change a Boosted Post
When you boost a post – or run a promoted post advertisement – the copy of the post is set in stone as long as you’re paying to promote it. This is because it effectively becomes an ad, and Facebook reviews all ads before they can be promoted. You can’t change ad copy while the ad is running, regardless of the position of the ad.
In order to edit a boosted post, navigate to the post. Hover over the budget remaining and click the gear settings icon. Click to delete the boost. Once the boost is deleted, you can click the V in the top right and click to edit the post. Once you’re done editing it, save the changes and restore your boost, if you want to continue boosting the post.
This only applies to copy. You can’t edit the image of a boosted post in any way. You will need to pause the current version or delete it, create a new version with your variant image, and boost that version.
Ads are Running but Not Delivering
We’ve published a post about this topic – check our blog – but here’s a quick rundown.
- Check to see if the campaign, the ad set, or the ad is turned off. If you’ve disabled them at any level, they may say they’re running but are actually disabled. Make sure they’re on at all three levels.
- Check to see if your ad was actually approved. Facebook reviews ads before they go live. Prior to approval, your ads will be pending. If your ad is rejected, you will need to edit it and submit it for approval again.
- Check to see if you have a high enough budget and audience. Too narrow targeting and too small a budget make for an ad that effectively has 0 possible targets. Obviously, your ad can’t run in these situations.
- Check to see if you’ve scheduled the ad to run at a future date, or on a date in the past. Ads need to at least have the current date within its date range in order to run. If you scheduled it to start next week, it won’t be running right now.
There’s also the issue where your ads were working fine but have dropped off dramatically in terms of impressions. This can be caused by reaching your maximum budget limit, either for the ad or for your account in general. It also might be caused by the ad running for an overly long time, reaching a maximum frequency limit. Users tend to ignore ads after they have seen them more than once or twice, so once your frequency has reached 1-3, it’s time to retire the ad or choose a different audience.
Your Ad Relevance is Low
Facebook ranks ads by relevance in much the same way that Google provides a quality score. It’s also calculated in many of the same ways. A low relevance ad will have low priority when shown to users, particularly in high competition niches or targets. You can only see your relevance score once your ad has been seen by 500 people, and it’s not available for everyone.
If your relevance is low, you can improve it by making your ad more relevant. Shocking, I know. If users find your ad offensive, dial back on the cause. If they find it irrelevant, or if they click through and find the landing page is too disconnected, you will need to make your copy less misleading.
Relevance can also be affected by audience targeting. An ad for diapers might not be relevant to teenage boys, but to new mothers it’s very relevant. Change your targeting to better fit your audience for higher relevance.
Ad Targeting Isn’t Appearing
When you’re selecting targets for your ads, various problems can crop up. For example, you might want to target a specific country, but that country doesn’t appear. This is natural, because of Facebook’s limited presence in some parts of the world. You can’t choose geographic targeting for areas Facebook doesn’t have a presence in.
Interest targeting is also limited by availability, typically due to a topic being too small. You might be able to choose model trains as an interest, but not a specific make and model of miniature caboose. These change, being added or removed as interests wax and wane.
You also might know a certain targeting option exists, but find yourself unable to use it. This occasionally happens when you try to choose two mutually exclusive targets. For example, you can’t target just United States residents and also limit your ads to run only in a small town in France.
Other Ad Issues
There are dozens of other issues that might crop up, particularly in setting up ad groups or business managers, or billing. If you have issues in one of these areas, or an issue I didn’t cover – entirely possible, despite how comprehensive this post obviously is – you can check with Facebook’s help. I always recommend trying to figure out what’s going wrong manually before contacting their help desk, but you can use their knowledge base or community forums easily enough.