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Why your Facebook ads aren’t working (and what to do about it!)

‘Facebook ads don’t work for me!’

‘My customers aren’t on Facebook!’

I’ve heard this so many times from folks that have spent time and money on Facebook ads and are now ready to spontaneously combust out of sheer frustration.

But here’s the thing: by assuming that Facebook ads just don’t work for your type of business, you could actually be doing your business a huge disservice. Because Facebook ads can (and do!) work for any business, in any industry and if your ads aren’t working, it’s usually the sign of a bigger problem — one that you’ll need to fix whether or not you decide to give Facebook ads another go.

It’s a sign that something is wrong with your funnel.

The anatomy of a basic funnel

When it comes to a basic, typical marketing funnel, the first thing your audience will see is your Facebook ad. It’s usually a person’s first encounter with your business or your offer, which is why it tends to get the blame when things don’t go to plan!

But it’s only step one in the journey from stranger to customer. The next stage of your funnel is your landing page; this is where they end up when they take action on the ad and it’s where you make your main offer — for example, let’s say it’s a free guide you’re offering. Your landing page will have a headline, maybe a video, and a button to get people to sign up to download the guide.

Free Facebook advertising blueprint: Click here to download the exact formula we use for our Facebook advertising campaigns.

Once they fill in the sign-up form, they’re directed to another page: the thank you page where you confirm the action they’ve just taken, says thanks, and then ideally direct them to your next offer, which is more likely to be a paid product. So their next destination is a sales page for the paid product, followed by another thank you page after they make the purchase.

It’s a 5-step funnel that’ll work for any product, any business, any niche and it’s how you move someone from seeing an ad to becoming a paying customer.

Now, for your Facebook ads to be a success, it’s all about profit. If you’ve spent $5 on an ad, you want to be making maybe $50 back from sales. And if you’re not yet seeing that profit, it’s a sign that something isn’t working. But, given that there are at least 5 different touch points at play here, you need to figure out where the problem actually is.

And to diagnose the issue, you need to start with your numbers.

Looking at the numbers

At each stage of your funnel, there are numbers telling you a story. When it comes to the ad itself, you can measure the CTR, or click-through rate, which shows you how many people are actually clicking on the ad.

You can look at the CPC, the cost per click to determine how much it’s costing you to get folks to click on your ad and you can look at the CPM to find how much you’re paying per 100 impressions. And with these numbers in front of you, you can tell how your ad is performing. For example, when it comes to CTR, you’re really looking for 1-2% plus. It doesn’t sound like much but it really is an indication that your ad is doing okay.

Next up, have a look at your landing page stats to see how well it’s converting. If you get 100 people clicking on our ads and coming here, how many people then end up on the thank you page? Now, you really want at least a 30% conversion rate from landing page to thank you page, so if you get 30 people to your thank you page, you know that it’s performing pretty well. 

Then you need to determine how many people are clicking through to the second landing page. So of the 30 sign ups, how many are following through to the paid offer? And say you get about 10, how many of those actually end up buying?

Beginning to view these numbers as a whole is the first step in finding out where the problem really lies, but to get to the truth, we’re going to have to start digging deeper.

Digging a little deeper

These numbers are useful, for sure, but they only tell half the story.

And to see the bigger picture, you’re going to need to get comfortable with Google Analytics. When you have Google Analytics set up on your landing pages and thank you pages (more on how to create the perfect thank you page here), you can start looking at things in more detail — like how much time people are spending on each page. Because if, for example, you have a lengthy sales page, but the stats show that people are averaging only 10 seconds on there, you know that they’re not actually reading the full thing. In fact, you’re not hooking them in at all.

Bingo, you’ve found your first major problem! And to fix it you might want to rework your headline, or the first few lines of text, and then monitor the stats to see if people are responding better to the new, improved version and hanging around the page a bit longer.

Top analytics tool recommendation: HotJar

You can also use tools like HotJar if you find that your landing pages aren’t converting.

Hotjar actually allows you to watch what people are doing when they end up on your landing page, so you can see which bits are working and which aren’t. For example, if you’ve installed HotJar, you can see that people are maybe reading as far as the terms and conditions section of the page before clicking off. That tells you that something in that section is putting them off, and gives you the option to make changes.

Similarly, if the numbers are telling you that you’re getting a decent sign up rate for the free guide, but no one’s clicking through from the thank you page to the landing page for the paid product, you can make changes to the thank you page copy, or even decide to send them some emails. This gives you even more numbers to work with as you look into email open rates. And again, if the stats there paint a grim picture, you know you have to start working on your email subject lines. Or if they’re opening emails but still not making it to the sales page, you know you should be looking at the body text in your emails.

Testing: the ultimate problem solver

Once you’ve figured out where the problem is, the real secret to making your Facebook ads, and your funnel as a whole, more profitable is to test, test and test some more.

So if people are reaching your sales page but still not buying, instead of throwing your hands up in despair and saying that your ads aren’t working, have a think about how you can improve your sales page to increase conversions. Could you add some trust logos to show who you’ve worked with in the past? Or put up a few testimonials? Then go back, check the numbers, see what’s working and keep tweaking until those stats start to look a bit healthier.

However many steps you have in your funnel, think about what numbers you can track, the story the numbers are telling you, and how you can make changes based on that information. Then keep on testing. This really is a long-term game, but if you stick with it for a period of 6-12 months or so, you’ll get to a point where you can spend money on ads knowing that it’s going to pay off in increased revenue.

When Facebook ads fail to generate a profit, it’s very rarely a problem with the ad itself — more often than not the problem lies much deeper in your marketing funnel. But if you follow the numbers, you’ll have the tools to make your diagnosis and figure out the cure.

If you want some more pointers on nailing your Facebook ads you might also be interested in this blog: How to steal your competitors Facebook ads.

Free Facebook advertising blueprint: Click here to download the exact formula we use for our Facebook advertising campaigns.

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