Why Facebook Ads Underperform – Marketers Guide

Table of Contents

What is the Problem?

Why Facebook Ads Underperform – Marketers Guide

June 2017 and Facebook has touched a new milestone. The social platform now boasts of more than 2 billion active users every day and this is a population that is bigger than the demographic population of any country in the world! To set things straight, this number doesn’t even include Instagram and WhatsApp, two of Facebook’s most engaging apps. While all of this sounds amazing, it also points towards the huge opportunity that marketers have on the social platform. More than 75% of global brands actively use Facebook as a marketing platform. The average Facebook user will view more than 1500 promotional stories in their news feed every time they log into Facebook. For businesses, this is the place to target. Facebook also ensures that the user sees only stories that are most relevant to his/her interests. The prioritization of stories is based upon several factors but at the end of the day, it leaves a very little room for branded content.

Why are Facebook Ads so important?

This is where Facebook Ads come in. Paid ads have been a proven way to gain exposure in social platforms like Facebook and Instagram. With a little investment, a business would be able to reach out to millions of users, making the investment, both powerful and cost effective. Facebook Ads are especially relevant if you are trying to build a strong social media presence, regardless of how established a brand is. Today, there are more than 4 million advertisers on Facebook and there had been a 50% growth in the number of advertisers between 2015 and 2016.

Why your Facebook Ads Underperform?


Facebook does allow businesses to define the demographics they are trying to reach. It could be people in the age group of 20-25, people who have ‘photography’ as their profession/interests and likewise. All this being said, it is not guaranteed that the people who will see the ad will also go on to click on it or follow the brand. While some may perceive Paid Ads as spam, some others will just ignore it due to lack of fresh content. There are plenty many reasons why even paid Facebook ads might fail and include:

1. Increased Focus on Getting ‘Likes’

Too preachy an ad with the main focus on the ‘call to action’ never sits well with the audience. Facebook Ads should be viewed as a tool that helps reach out to the billions of potential customers out there but it is your content quality that helps you gain following. Businesses should focus on raising the curiosity and hitting the “like” or “follow” button should come voluntarily. Facebook, being a very visual platform requires ads that can actually grab the attention of the audience. Sometimes, a fresh style of ad works and sometimes it is about the images and text you use. Overall, focus on the ad content rather than pushing for ‘likes’.

2. Targeting Wrong Audience

Facebook advertising allows for custom targeting through paid ads and you can seek very precise filters to reach out to a potential crowd. It is necessary that you understand and are able to define your custom audience with the help of these ad filters. Otherwise, your Facebook ad campaign will be shown to people who don’t really care about what you are trying to sell or say. To find your target audience, look for options like interest based filters, demographics filters, age filters, gender filters, location filters, lookalike audiences and similar things. You don’t just want website traffic but this website traffic will help you create a new custom audience as well. You always scroll down through your news feed, either with your mouse or your finger. Since they just drop an ad into your feed, you are not interrupted. You can look at it or just keep on scrolling. It doesn’t change your user experience at all. Custom and lookalike audiences are a great way to increase the detail of your ad targeting (custom audience) and expand your target audience reach (lookalike audience) to maximize your ad campaign results.

3. Targeting Only by Interests

While a customer’s interests are important, so are parameters like age, gender, language, profession, and things that influence them. Targeting only by interests leaves you with very little opportunity to reach out to the right audience. For example, a Facebook user might have “football” marked as an interest but rarely follows the sport. At the end of each Facebook campaign, you should check the ad metrics to understand the relevance score. The campaign is ranked between 1 and 10 and based on the positive and negative feedback it receives. In case, the score is low, consider changing the content or add other filters to find a more targeted audience.The higher the Relevance Score, the better click-through rates you can expect, and the lower cost per clicks, too. Remember the highest performing Facebook campaigns usually have one thing in common: custom audiences.

4. Promoting Wrong Content

This would be a disaster. Promoting the wrong kind of content through your ad will not only help you lose followers but also lose credibility. It is always important to remember that there is a huge competition, even when you are trying to gain an audience on social media. Consequently, everything has to be perfect. Facebook is a perfect platform when you are trying to create brand engagement, video views, app installs and landing page traffic to your website.

5. Your Offer Lacks Value

facebook ads

One of the proven ways to raise interests of an audience is to add an offer to the promotional content you are trying to market. For example, you might be marketing a discount or ‘sale season’ through your Facebook Ads. There might be a lot of reasons why your Ads are experiencing low CTR. Be visual, be creative and offer something substantial to make the cut.You don’t just want website traffic,but this website traffic will help you create a new custom audience.

6. Missing Call to Action

While we said that too much focus on the call to action (“like”) can ruin your ad, ignoring one too can leave your audience confused. The ad should lead to somewhere, be it visiting your website, liking a Facebook Page or “shop now”.

7. Not Doing A/B Testing

A/B testing is the only way to come up with a high performing Facebook Ad. It could be testing CTA against CTA targeting against targeting, image against image and similar tests. It’s about getting to know what works best in a given scenario. Even small things like the inclusion of graphics, removing texts can make a difference to the return on your investment. Also Facebook’s Lookalike audiences can be used to expand your reach from an existing audience.

Avoiding the above mistakes can genuinely help you do more with your Facebook advertising. The aim is always to improve your ROI and it does require a bit of research and brainstorming at your end.

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