How To Fix A Poor Performing Facebook Ad Campaign
Facebook Ad Campaigns
Facebook Ads have been at the forefront of any social media marketing strategy for almost 15 years.
If you want to grow a business, following, or event Facebook/Instagram advertising is where you should first turn.
So let’s assume since you are reading an article about optimizing your Facebook Ad campaign that you have already started your Facebook Ad campaign.
Since the pandemic, with the influx of businesses starting to advertise online, the overall competition has increased in almost every industry.
This increase basically means that it’s more likely that your campaign is not performing as great as it once did.
Your cost per conversion may have gone up to the point where you are losing money with each sale.
How do you get your advertising campaign back on track?
The first step is to identify where your funnel visitors are dropping off by adjusting your dashboard filters.
Basic Funnel Filter View
Let’s rearrange your dashboard view to something I like to call the Basic Funnel Filter View.
This filter will organize your Facebook Ad dashboard to the stages of your funnel to begin the troubleshooting process.
Click the “Columns” tab and navigate to the “Customize Columns…”
I would start by removing all the current metrics from the right side of the screen so we can add back the ones we need in the correct order.
Next, let’s add the following metrics in the following order for lead gen:
- Link Clicks
- Landing Page Views
Next, let’s add the following metrics in the following order for sales:
- Link Clicks
- Landing Page Views
- Add To Carts
- Initiate Checkout
Once this is done click “Apply”.
This should give you a visual representation of your marketing funnel for your Facebook Ad campaign.
Now let’s look if we can observe an issue with your campaign.
Common Facebook Campaign Issues
To understand how your campaign is truly performing we have to understand your funnel or buyer’s journey.
The typical buyer’s journey is that they see your ad (Impression).
If they are interested they will click your promotion link (Link Click).
Next, they will wait until your landing page loads if they are truly interested (Landing Page View).
Then once they are on your site, they should then take the action you are requesting (Lead or Purchase).
You should see the highest number under Impressions and slowly the numbers drop off.
The key here is to look for any large drops that do not make sense.
For example, your CTR (how many people clicked / how many people saw your ad).
On Facebook, if your CTR is lower than 1% then the issue is either with your targeting or messaging.
You are just not resonating with your audience with your offer.
This means you may need to change your audience or change your ad.
How you would test this is to duplicate your campaign with a new audience with the same ads and test if CTR improves.
Landing Page Views
You may have a fine CTR but you are seeing a discrepancy in Link Clicks V.s. Landing Page Views.
This can be due to two things.
- Your landing page is loading too slow
- People are clicking on your ad by accident
I once ran a campaign targeting the elderly on Facebook and we saw a huge amount of accidental clicks.
This was mainly a messenger ad and we would get clicks of people asking “why are you messaging me”.
“Ma’am you clicked on my ad”.
“Take me off your call list”.
If your ad is routing to your general website this can be the reason for a drop off in landing page views.
It is common practice to set up a new and specific landing page for each Facebook ad campaign with copy that resonates with your target audience.
That messaging needs to persuade the visitor to take the desired action.
Usually, your landing page copy is an extension of your ad copy.
They should share the same messaging.
If you need a platform to create a fast landing page that converts I use Unbounce.
To test the speed of your landing page you can use this tool: Page Speed Insights
Just type in your landing page URL and see what speed score comes back.
If you have no issue with clicks or landing page views the copy on your landing page may not be right.
For effective advertising, you have to hold the hand of each visitor and walk them through your funnel.
All the messaging has to be tailored to them and their specific pain points.
When you go too broad this is where you see a drop off in conversions.
If people are making it to your landing page and not buying or filling out the form it is because your copy on the page needs to be more persuasive.
Now I am an expert in digital advertising but I suck at copywriting.
Make sure you have a professional and skilled copywriter to help you with your messaging.
It makes a world of difference.
This last common issue is only relevant for E-Com brands selling products online.
If you see a good amount of “add to carts” or “initiate checkouts” but low purchases, this means the issue is in the checkout process.
Sometimes when a person is about to checkout but then they see the added shipping fee, this deters them from finishing the purchase.
Also whichever e-com platform you use may be loading slow or causing conflict.
If you think the shipping fee is causing an issue, I would suggest a test of including shipping within the product cost.
I would also encourage every e-commerce business owner or marketer to go through their checkout process once a month to test if everything is going smoothly.
After setting your filter view to the Basic Funnel Filter View and checking into each common issue you should be able to identify what needs to change and how to test it.
Facebook Ad Best Practices
After identifying the underlying issue of your Facebook Ad campaign it is time to start optimizing.
I have taken over a lot of Facebook accounts from big companies with a lot of spend.
More often than not, their performance issues are basic violations of best practices.
It is easy to get carried away and sometimes even the most seasoned marketers neglect the best practices.
It is important to have proper audiences set up before advertising.
Also, it is important to keep your audiences updated while the campaign is running.
Usually, you want a different audience set up for each phase of your marketing funnel.
Brand awareness audience would be your “interest-based” audience.
You can set this up by going to Ads Manager > All Tools > Audiences then select “Saved Audience”.
Set up this audience with your ideal target buyer persona in mind.
Utilize Facebook’s targeting features to refine your audience of your ideal customers.
I also cannot stress enough how important it is to have your pixel and events properly set up.
You need to check on your pixel once per month to make sure it is firing correctly.
There’s nothing worse than spending money to drive traffic when you are not capturing them.
Having your pixel installed leads me to my next audience: retargeting.
Everyone knows these are the most effective audiences but they need to be constantly filled with new users.
That’s where your interest-based audience comes in.
Retargeting gets more and more effective if the retention is smaller.
I usually test 30-day retention and 7-day retention to see which one will convert better.
If your business offers different products or services you should create retargeting audiences for each.
You can do this by targeting users of specific pages and only including pages or posts of that specific service.
These audiences are used for middle or bottom of the funnel campaigns and messaging.
People who are familiar with your brand are the most likely to convert.
Once you get enough users within your retargeting audience you can create lookalike audiences.
Look-a-like audiences are amazing!
This is an audience generated by Facebook of people who match the characteristics of the people who already have shown interest in your company.
This means you are reaching new people who are just like past customers.
Ideally, you need to wait till a retargeting audience has about 1,000 users in it for the most effective results.
I do typically create a 2% Look-a-like of past purchasers of a client who has over 1,000 tracked purchases.
These audiences always perform well for me.
I use them as top of funnel audiences and I test them against the interest-based audiences.
Usually, once a campaign is up and running I use a 2% lookalike audience based on past purchasers as the brand awareness.
Next, I will use a retargeting audience of page or video views for the consideration phase.
Then I use another retargeting campaign for only the people who saw or interacted with my consideration phase ad.
This is a basic audience set up but you should check your audience set up to make sure you are set up for success.
Phases & Objectives
Let’s dive deeper into each phase of the funnel because that is always smart to evaluate.
A lot of marketers get caught in the daily task of optimizations that they lose sight of their marketing funnel.
Each campaign you launch should be part of your funnel and you should not only run a “conversion” campaign.
You need to keep your funnel full with brand awareness and slowly drive those users to conversion.
I also want to touch on actual “Brand Awareness” campaigns, not just “Traffic”.
Oftentimes I see marketers always avoid brand awareness-specific campaigns but I actually love them.
These campaigns focus on getting the most impressions and reach at the lowest frequency.
This allows you to reach the most people and the most interested will click through, which you can then retarget.
Utilize all 3 phases with different objectives for your Facebook Ad Campaign.
So many times I’ll audit an account that only has 1 active conversion campaign and they wonder why performance has decreased.
Creatives and Copy
As marketers, we need to always test new creatives.
I recommend testing 2-6 new creatives & copy variations every 2 weeks.
Once your targeting is set up properly the last thing to test is your creative and copy.
You have to avoid creative fatigue by constantly improving ads.
Eventually, your ads will start converting higher and having higher CTRs.
If you keep moving in the right direction your ads will resonate better with your target audience.
Don’t come up with your creative and copy once and never revisit it.
You have to understand the more personalized your creative and copy becomes the better your ads will perform (duh).
Dynamic Facebook ads are great but sometimes you can’t tell which headline got the click.
When you set each ad individually you can see more of which ad and copy are performing best.
Get Assets Approved Not Full Ad Designs
If you are a marketer working with clients it is easy to get one ad approved and run with that.
You don’t want to get stuck in that long process of getting ads approved by the client every time.
We have found it is best to get several assets approved; stock photos, colors, fonts, etc.
Then also get a list of different copy variations approved.
This will allow you to play around with approved assets without having to get approval from the client each time.
As I said, you need to test your creative and copy a lot so this is the easiest way to get the most effective results.
Also, it is important to remember that Facebook ads are still ‘content’.
You want this content to be enjoyable for the user.
This is why video content always performs best.
When you can, use video ads that were made as video ads.
If your campaign’s performance has always been poor, it could be from your creative which does not resonate with your audience.
Each week when I go into a Facebook Ad account I utilize the “Breakdown” tab quite a bit.
This tab allows me to separate each campaign or ad group by different metrics which allows me to understand performance better.
You may not have proper insights into your campaign if you are not actively utilizing breakdown views.
If over 80% of purchases are attributed to a single gender or age range you may want to refine your audience.
We just had a client, who targeted both genders, realize that 70% of sales were from women.
Then we created two separate campaigns, one speaking to women and the other men.
70% of the budget was allocated to the women’s campaign and 30% to the men’s campaign.
This increased overall ROAS by almost 2x.
The breakdown views give great insight into campaign performance to base your next optimization on.
Event Tracking & Pixel Troubleshooting
Every Facebook marketer knows how important their Facebook pixel is.
Having this properly set up is key to optimizing your campaign.
This article is meant for advanced marketers so you should already know how to install a pixel.
If not, here is how you do it: Install Facebook Pixel
However, since the IOS update, it seems Facebook wants us to prioritize events properly and we are allowed 8 events per ad account.
I check in on the client’s pixel set up at least once per month.
Navigate to your “Events Manager” section of your Facebook Ad Account.
Make sure you do not have any warning on your pixel set up and check to see if events are regularly recording events.
If you are marketing a newer business and sales are not very frequent yet, just verify the sales you do have are reflected in the events manager.
It is also good practice to “Test Events”.
We have had clients in the past that will update their website or checkout process without notifying us.
Sometimes this can break our Facebook tracking and we can lose a lot of data by advertising without a pixel properly set up.
This can also happen when a client or a web developer is adding or changing the code on the website.
If your performance all of a sudden dropped, it could be due to your Facebook Pixel not firing properly.
The Big Idea Of Facebook Ads
With paid ads, it is easy to get a little carried away from the basics of marketing.
Just because you are paying for a Facebook ad doesn’t make the ad, not content.
Users don’t like being annoyed with ads for businesses.
It is important to design the ad to be fun for your audience or something they would enjoy seeing.
Sometimes your ads won’t perform well because they are just designed like ads and not content.
If you can grab your audience’s attention they will be receptive to your offer if it is any good.
The Offer Is Everything
The main idea of advertising is to offer something that people want or need.
But it is easier said than done.
There are so many external factors that need to be addressed properly within your messaging.
This all has to be done within a certain word count and other restraints.
The basics of creating your offer is knowing your audience and really having a buyer persona defined.
Come up with your buyer persona (hopefully based on past customer demographics).
Creating A Buyer Persona
Ask yourself the following questions about your buyer persona (Borrowed from Traffic & Funnels):
- The biggest result I can help a business or person achieve is?
- Describe your favorite customer you’ve ever had that you want more of…
- What’s the biggest problem your most ideal customer has?
- What frustrates your most ideal customer the most?
- How can they achieve success in four or five steps?
- What keeps your perfect customer awake at night (worrying, fearful, anxious)?
- How would your perfect customer be humiliated (an event or occurrence they are trying to avoid)?
- What is the cost of staying where they are right now? How bad can things become if they don’t fix it?
- What is their most urgent, pressing crisis they have to solve right away (the real pain they’re facing, the thing they need to be fixed immediately)?
- What are the top 3 things that frustrate your perfect customer on a daily basis? (is it doing things they don’t want to do? people? circumstances? chores?)
- What does your perfect customer want more than anything else?
- Explain what you would do if you were in their situation – high-level steps. (Share ‘what’ you would do, not ‘how’ to do it.):
Uncovering the exact motives of your buyer persona will give you a good idea of how to craft your offer.
You need your audience to feel that you truly understand their pain points and you alone know how to solve them.
In every industry, you have competitors doing the exact same thing.
The business that will make the initial sale is the one that can speak to and resolve the customer’s pain points the best.
Don’t feel discouraged when your ad is not performing well, keep testing.
You should be testing new copy and creative every 2 weeks or so.
If budget permits, you should introduce 2-6 new ad variations each week.
Your Facebook Creative Needs To Be The Best
Look back on your current creative.
If you didn’t work for the company and saw your ad would you stop and look?
Be honest with yourself.
Would it grab your attention in a split second?
Most likely not.
Do you know how I knew that?
Because it is very challenging to create an image or video asset that provokes an action.
This is why it is important to test so many variations of your ad until one outperforms the rest.
If you notice an ad with a higher CTR than a previous ad, it means you are headed in the right direction.
With your basic funnel structure, CTR is the first metric that really determines if a click will turn into a sale.
A higher click-through rate means you are targeting the right people and they are interested in what your offer is.
If you created your ad in canva in 15 minutes and have not revisited or edited the ad since this could be the reason for your drop in performance.
Introduce a lot of ads into the market and see what sticks.
Even more, seasoned marketers still have to test this for new clients.
Make sure your creatives are outshining your competition.
Write down 3 things you like and dislike of your competitor’s ads.
Now be honest with yourself on how you can improve your ads to be better.
What colors do they use?
How about the fonts do they use?
Do they use graphics or images?
I wish I could be less vague but each industry and location is different.
If all competitors are offering 10% off, try 20% off.
If competitors are offering a 30-day money-back guarantee, offer a lifetime guarantee.
The biggest takeaway is if your ad doesn’t scare you as a business owner, it is not going to be enticing enough for your new buyers.
Understanding The Scope Of Your Marketing Funnel
If I could go back in time and tell my younger self one thing, it would be to not neglect all 3 phases of the marketing funnel.
In my naivety and what I find with a lot of the clients I have worked with is that most of us neglect the brand awareness phase.
But understanding how your customers ultimately found and purchased from you is so important.
The biggest issue I see with drops in performance on a conversion objective is the lack of a brand awareness campaign.
Most likely you will not get conversions from a brand awareness phase but this will introduce more people to your company.
Without new users in your audience, your conversion campaign or bottom of funnel campaign will stop converting.
But with your brand awareness phase, you also need a campaign for consideration to explain the benefits better.
With the right offer and the right creative, it should be easier to reach your audience.
You need to create and test ads for every phase of your funnel.
This does not have to only be on Facebook but cross-platform as well.
I want to end this article about how to troubleshoot your Facebook ad campaign by revisiting the user experience.
People go on Facebook to escape.
They like to see pictures of friends, family, and memes.
Ads just get in the way.
The best advertising is when the ad does not feel like an ad.
Personalizing your ads is the key to a successful Facebook marketing campaign.
Imagine if you saw an ad that said “Hey [Your Name]”.
You would most likely stop and read more.
The more specific you are with someone’s personal pain points the better your campaign will perform.
Don’t try to “target everyone”. You will lose money this way.
If you design your Facebook campaign with the user experience in mind, you will have better success.
These are real people you are targeting and you should respect them enough to not treat them as just “impressions”.
Create a buyer persona and tailor all your messaging to their pain points.
Separate that messaging by the 3 phases of the marketing funnel:
Awareness: Introduce your business
Consideration: Highlight why they might need your product
Conversion: Explain why now is the best time to buy
If you followed this article to troubleshoot and optimize your Facebook campaign I am curious as to how that went for you.
Let me know if this article helped you solve the problem or if it still persists.
If you are sick of getting mediocre results or ROAS of below 100% let’s explore us working together.
Get The Marketer on your team to help improve overall digital marketing performance.
Thank you for reading!
-Brenden The Marketer