5 Reasons why your Facebook Ads suck and how to fix it

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5 Reasons why your Facebook Ads Suck and how to fix it

Let’s face it, most Facebook Ads suck! And that includes yours too. And if I am being honest, so do mine – at times. And before you get offended, borrowing Longman’s dictionary’s definition, here’s what I mean. Most Facebook Ads perform poorly that we end up not liking them or even think that they work. Essentially, we get the life sucked out of us because we are not getting the results we want.

In this article, we will look at 5 reasons why your Facebook Ads suck and what you can do to fix this problem. Without Further ado, let’s jump right in.

1. Your strategy for Advertising on Facebook is misplaced

One of the reasons why your Facebook Ads suck is that you have the wrong strategy or perhaps none at all. We need to remember that Facebook is a Social Network platform designed for Social interaction. You and I know that the vast majority of people on the platform are not there to intentionally buy anything from you. Heck, there’s a high chance that when you opened your Facebook app today, you did it unconsciously. Perhaps you were bored and needed a little bit of random entertainment from your timeline. Or needed to ‘zone out’ from the stressful economic situation we are facing in 2018 – I mean who doesn’t right? But why do we treat others any differently from how we use Facebook?

You need to have a strategy that factors this in. No one in their sane mind is coming to Facebook to buy from you – especially when they’ve never heard from you. If anything, in the most recent years, people visit business pages of companies they know to have queries resolved. A good strategy is one that includes the following:

  1. Brand awareness – How are you making people know more about your business?
  2. Engagement – What interactions are you having with your potential and existing customers?
  3. Conversion – The actual sale of a product or having a customer sign up for your services
  4. Retention – How do you get to keep your new and existing customers?

Also, quite importantly, somewhere between Conversion and Retention, is you making sure your customers continue using your product or service. This can be achieved by having a well thought through marketing funnel. A good Marketing funnel describes various stages of a prospect’s journey from the first interaction with your brand to the ultimate goal: conversion.

2. Marketing to the wrong Target Audience

Facebook has well over 1.9M Zambians you can reach but you don’t have to reach everyone – why? Not everyone is interested in buying your products or services. Even if you are in the milling business and everyone eats nsima, they all don’t need to get it from you. And with this health talk on ‘low-to-no Carbs’, the number of people eating nsima is dwindling. I digress! Point is, paying for advertising to people not interested in your service is a sheer waste of money.

Most marketers usually don’t have a well thought-out tactic regarding marketing. They just ‘spray and pray’ that their message/brand gets out to the public. Yes, 1.9 Million sounds great, but you are wasting money! Your target audience should be one that either has the intent to buy from you or is more likely to do so. This calls for you creating a ‘Buyer Persona’ of who your preferred customer is. With a Buyer Persona, you can profile your preferred customer based on their demographics, traits and characteristics. Once you have this in place, you can hop onto Facebook’s Ads Manager and try and find the audience that fits your Buyer Persona. Choose your objective in Campaign, then in Ad Set and under Audience, scroll to detailed Targeting. Here, you’ll be able to define your audience based on interests that fit your customer’s profile.

Reasons Why your Facebook Ads Suck

Use Custom Audiences to fix this

Using Facebook’s detailed targeting for interests and demographics is just the start. You need to take it a notch higher by building custom audiences and using re-targeting methods. Creating a custom audience enables you to reach people who have interacted with your business before. This could be existing customers, people that have either seen your Facebook Ads or visited your website or leads’ phone numbers. With Facebook’s custom audiences feature you can:

  1. Load email addresses or phone numbers of clients and advertise to them
  2. Advertise to clients who have visited your website before
  3. Target customers who have already seen any piece of video content you’ve shared before
  4. Advertise to customers who have used your App before.
  5. Create Look-alike Audiences that have similar traits to your already existing audiences.

Advertising to custom audiences yields more results than just interest-based Advertising. Why you ask? Because these audiences already have some knowledge of your business and are more likely to buy from you. Plus, you can always advertise to the various audiences based on their customer journey in your Marketing Funnel.

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3. You are choosing the wrong objective for your Ads

Ads Manager has about 11 objectives to choose from for your Ads. The objective you choose will affect your targeting, optimization options, and Ad types. And Facebook allows you to only choose one objective per campaign. Trying, otherwise, to ‘kill two birds with one stone’ is one of the reasons why your Facebook Ads suck. I hear this many times from clients, “We want many people to watch the video, and have them visit the website.” With Facebook Ads and any other good strategy, it is ‘either or’! Your number one task before opening Ads Manager should be deciding your objective for your tactical post. Then you can marry this objective to the options available in Ads Manager.

Facebook uses the data it collects from people’s actions on Facebook to assist with who within your audience would see your Ad. Choosing the right objective for your campaign allows the algorithm to choose the right people to see your Ad. For example, if you choose Website clicks, Facebook will optimize your Ads to get as many clicks as possible at the optimal price. However, if you just wanted brand awareness, perhaps Reach in objective or Video views would be the better option. The latter looks for people that are more likely to watch your Video Ad post. The former allows you to reach the maximum number of people. It doesn’t matter how great your actual Advert looks like, if the objective or targeting is wrong, results will be poor. And no, there are no refunds from Facebook for your lack of choosing the right objective. Sorry!

4. Not having Thumb-stopping Artwork

Your image or video is the first thing people will notice on your post – that is if it’s interesting. Think of your artwork as the trailer to your epic movie. It is the intro/teaser to your content, without revealing so much. If the artwork you are using does not captivate the viewer, there is a lesser chance of them reading your message. On my last visit to Facebook Africa HQ in 2017, I learned that it takes a person 1.7 seconds to scroll on their timeline on mobile. And it takes a 2.5 seconds to scroll their timeline on Desktop. These numbers are actually lower for younger people plus they see things and Ads they want to see. Your image or video is racing against the thumb or mouse click. Choose your artwork wisely!

Use the right Dimensions for your Artwork

Compelling Artwork is the key to you standing out in this digital space. Your image and video has to be visually appealing. There’s a lot of visual content on online for consumers to see – and grabbing their attention is getting harder. Make sure that both videos and images have clarity in appearance. Your Artwork should be relevant to your message and not misleading.

Also, very importantly, make sure that you follow the right dimensions for your Artwork, depending on objective chosen. Facebook shows your Ads in different dimensions depending on the platform your Ad will display. For instance, for link posts, your image has to be 1200 x 628, and 1280 x 720 for videos. Not following these dimensions would mess up how your Ad would display on Mobile or desktop. If you have text on your image, for instance, some of the text or image might get cut.

Use less text in your images and videos

If you are going to put text on your image or video, Facebook has a policy for that. Its 20% rule of how much text your image should have, applies – even though they are less vocal about it. Yes, in case you are new to Facebook Advertising, there is such a thing. Rule of thumb is to have the message in your copy and less text on the image. Text like ‘Free’, ‘Limited time only’, ‘Get this now’, can be used to grab the person’s attention. If you want to know if your image has got the right amount of text, try this tool out. I use the Facebook Text overlay tool all the time before I run my Ads. Check out how these images fared on Facebook’s Text overlay score sheet.



The first image on top shows that its reach may be slightly lower whilst one with less text is ok. Why does this matter? Facebook wants the consumers’ experience to be the same on the site and not be shown too many Ads. Instead of not running your Ad as previously was the case, Facebook charges you more for having too much text in your Artwork. So, you get to reach less people and your CPM (Cost Per Thousand Impressions) and CTR (Click Through Rate) are higher. We all want to save money, now don’t we?

You are not measuring your Ads’ performance for optimization

I learned this early on in my Business Analytics career – “If you do not measure, you cannot manage”. Not measuring your Ads is one of the reasons why your Facebook Ads suck – really bad! I am not talking about just reporting on likes, reactions, shares and comments here. While those are good, they are not what’s going to drive your business to success. I am talking about things like, video views, number of people reached, website clicks, number of leads, actual conversions, etc. If you want to convince your boss to spend money on Video Advertising on Facebook than on TV, you have a very good reason here. You can actually measure how many people watched your Ad. ZNBC or DSTV won’t share this data with you. Paying attention to your Ads’ performance will give you insights you can use on both existing and future campaigns.

Your Ads could be yielding better results if only you checked how they were performing. Besides the reasons above, your Ads could not be doing well because your target audience is small or big. You can only know, for example, by checking the performance in Ads Manager. Perhaps, you might want to expand your custom audience to include a ‘Look-Alike’ Audience. Perhaps the issue is the amount of text on the image. You might want to change this. Gaining insights from comments on the post and marrying that to the analytics will help you improve on your advertising greatly. If not for mere reporting, think of how you’d measure your ROI (Return on Investment). What better way to prove to your leadership that this thing works than by showing actual data from your Ads performance?

Final Thoughts

Truth be told, these mistakes are very common and you are not the only one that’s making them. And I haven’t even delved into others that didn’t make this cut. The good news is that you can work on fixing each one of them one-by-one. Have a strategy that incorporates a marketing funnel built on creating awareness, relationships, leads and then conversions. Create custom audiences that you can always re-market to. Choose the right objective for your Ads, paying attention to what each campaign is supposed to achieve. Pick visually appealing artwork that will stand out as an attention grabber. And last but not the least, analyze the data from each campaign to help you improve. Keep trying out all the new things you learn from the insights gleaned from each campaign you run.

Your turn – let me know what other mistakes you’ve made or seen others make. And if you need any help, I will be conducting an Ads Manager training session soon. Sign up, to be part of the waiting list of the course. And if you just want us to take care of your Facebook advertising needs, please don’t hesitate to give us a shout!

Ronny is a digital enthusiast with over 10 years experience in Web Design and digital marketing with a huge passion for Facebook Advertising. He is the creative director and founder of 360nx Designs.

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