6 Reasons Why Your Facebook Ads Didn’t Work (And What You Should Do Instead)

6 Reasons Why Your Facebook Ads Didn’t Work (And What You Should Do Instead)

“Facebook ad don’t work”

Have you ever said those words?

I think a lot of people have. Especially those who spent a lot but got no clear results.

As a Facebook ads guy, that makes me both sad and excited.

I’m sad because they actually do work and I’m sorry that they haven’t for a lot of advertisers. But excited because I’m eager to hopefully change your mind about it.

So without any further ado, I’d like to get to the 6 reasons why your Facebook ads didn’t work.

You’re Not Measuring Results

Maybe the issue isn’t whether you are getting results. Maybe it’s because you are not able to measure results correctly.

Don’t worry, it’s understandable and it happens more often than you think.

The main point of any advertising effort is always to spend and get the money back through sales.

I’ve seen advertisers spend lots of money just to promote their business but do not have the proper tracking in place.

In order to properly track the sales coming into your website, you must make proper use of the Facebook Pixel. The pixel is a piece of code advertisers are given to place on their website. This code gathers data from the behavior on your site and sends them all back to Facebook. This includes how many people purchase on your website and how much they spent.

If you’re able to measure this, you can compare it with your ad spend and determine whether or not you are getting proper returns.

But what if your business does not allow your customers to transact online?

For these instances, we use what is called Offline Events where advertisers upload customer data and matches it with the people who have interacted with your ads. For every match, Facebook counts it as a conversion on the ad and allows you to measure your success.

Key Action: Set up the Facebook pixel and standard events for conversion tracking

You are Using the Wrong Ad Objective

When creating ads on Facebook, advertisers are asked for their ad objective.

More often than not, I choose conversions. That’s because I define conversions on the website and optimize for those actions.

Sometimes, when I ask a business owner what he or she did with their ads, all they say is “I boosted some posts”.

Don’t get me wrong, boosting posts are great and they lead to sales. Definitely. But they optimize for post engagement which is usually what the client is not hiring me to get for them.

If you want to optimize for actions such as purchases, I highly recommend using the conversions campaign.

When Facebook asks you what your objectives are, it’s best to clearly state your objectives for the specific campaigns you create.

Another common thing I see would be advertisers who want to sell their product through a video. Just because they are using a video, they tend to choose “Video Views” as their campaign objective. This tells Facebook to show the ads to people who are more likely to watch the video. That’s just watching. Not buying.

On the other hand, even if you use the video and select conversion as your objective, Facebook will show your ads to the people who are more likely to purchase.

Key Action: Use the proper campaign objectives as needed by your business model

Looking for a Community for Facebook Advertisers?

We have a Facebook Group for exclusively for Awesome Facebook Advertisers in the Philippines where we can help each other out when it comes to Facebook Ads.

You Are Not Retargeting

Retargeting is the process of reaching out to the people who have already interacted with your business and/or website.

A lot of times, we run ads to our target audience with the hope that they visit our site and convert that same visit. When they don’t we just wait again for another person to come in and hopefully buy.

It’s not an immediate thought for advertisers to run ads to the people who have already visited before.

But the key thing to remember is that just because people did not buy on their first visit, it doesn’t mean that they are not interested to buy ever.

Think about it.

How many times have you yourself gone into a store, online or offline, and bought on the first visit?

Retargeting allows you to reach back out to these people and talk to them about why they should go back to your site and why they should take action.

So before you restart your paused Facebook ads, I’d recommend running retargeting ads first aimed at the people who already visited before.

Key Action: Run a retargeting campaign

You Are Selling to Cold Traffic

Cold traffic is what I call the group of people who are not even familiar with your brand or business.

These people don’t know you. You have not yet established any relationship with them. But yet you’re already asking them for money.

What’s the one thing TV parents told their children?

Don’t take candy from strangers.

But what if the candy came from someone familiar? Someone who you knew and trusted. Someone you had a relationship with. Candy for you!

It’s the same online. You’re the stranger.

Before asking for something, build that relationship first. Get them to know you and trust you.

Key Action: Lead with value by providing content that educates and/or entertains.

Your Targeting Is Off

I’ve written quite a number of posts here in this blog about how I rave about targeting as one of Facebook’s best features for advertising.

The data is so vast that it’s actually very easy to get this wrong.

For example, a local gym may want to promote itself. Though it makes sense for the advertiser to target ‘Health & Fitness’ in general, we also have to remember that not everyone who is into health and fitness are into bodybuilding and exercising. Some prefer sports while others may fall under that category for diet and wellness.

Assuming that the gym is focused on bodybuilders, the advertiser may want to target specific body building icons like Lazar Angelov. People falling under the Health & Fitness interest who are not bodybuilders will probably not be interested in Lazar Angelov so you’re able to remove them from your audience already.

A lot of times, advertisers get targeting wrong not because they are missing the mark but because their targeting is too broad.

Key Action: Narrow down the targeting by asking “What interests (or combination of interests) would appeal to ONLY my specific target market?”

You Don’t Have a Call To Action

This usually happens to beginner advertisers, including me when I got started.

The first few ads I ran were basically just a big sign to ask people to “check out our site”. But merely visiting the website did not do much to move the business forward.

Some advertisers now still do ads with the basic message of “look at this!” instead of “do this”.

If you want people to buy, ask them to buy.

If you want people to sign up, ask them to sign up.

Most of the time, it will require you to have an offer as an incentive for them to take the action. This is why there are a lot of websites giving away free but value-filled e-books to get you to sign up for their list. Or at the very least, there are blogs which you sign up for in exchange for regular access to their content.

You can’t always expect your audience to know what to do. Guide them by calling them out to the different actions you want them to take.

In the ad copy, tell them what to do after they click.

Your audience makes a lot of big and small decisions throughout the day which depletes their willpower. Don’t add to that.

Key Action: Make your calls to action clear. And measure it.


The points I gave are common reasons I have personally seen in different ad accounts. These are normal and are part of the process of growing as a Facebook advertiser.

I personally have been guilty of all these which is why I am able to identify these issues and recommend an action point for each.

So if you’ve given up on Facebook advertising before since you did not get the results you wanted, I recommend reading through this again, identifying what applies to what you did and take the recommended action.

Facebook advertising works guys. You just have to also work with it.

Looking for a Community for Facebook Advertisers?

We have a Facebook Group for exclusively for Awesome Facebook Advertisers in the Philippines where we can help each other out when it comes to Facebook Ads.

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