Read any online marketing blog and you’ll be sure to find an article suggesting that you should be advertising on Facebook. And rightly so, it is one of the most powerful digital advertising platforms in existence.

The problem is that people hear great things about Facebook advertising, then go set up a few ads and expect the dollars to roll in. But the dollars often don’t roll in. In fact, they may not even trickle in. So the once-eager advertiser becomes disillusioned and then gives up. If this sounds like you, then don’t give up on Facebook ads just yet. Facebook advertising DOES work. You just need to do it properly.

(note: I am in no way affiliated with Facebook and this is article is not sponsored by Facebook)

Here are my top 6 reasons as to why your Facebook advertising is probably NOT working.

1. Your targeting is not specific enough

You make a post on your business Facebook page, boost it with $500, choose a city to target, and a broad age group. The more the merrier right? WRONG. Boosting a post directly from your page gives you the least amount of control when selecting targeting options. But if you insist on doing it this way (or have good reasons to do so), make sure you focus your ads on a very tightly defined age group, gender, and geo-location. Then select some of the interests that might be relevant to your target market. Facebook’s interest based targeting is super powerful and you’re crazy not to use it.

Instead of boosting posts from your page, you should try going into your ad account and setting up an ad to promote your post. You’ll have a lot more targeting options that way such as being able to target custom audiences.

2. You’re acting like a stranger and not using custom audiences

We’re more likely to click on an ad from a business that we already have some knowledge about right? Yet so many advertisers are promoting their ads to audiences who have never heard of their business. Sure this is a way to build brand awareness, but by virtue of the relationship or lack thereof, conversion rates are going to be lower when talking to strangers.

Through the use of custom audiences (set up through your Facebook ad account) you can target your Facebook ads to previous visitors to your website. Assuming they didn’t convert the first time round, now is your chance to speak to them again and perhaps show a more human side to your business (after all this is what social media is great at). Or you could go straight for the kill and ask for them to buy/download or subscribe to something. Whatever it is, you’re going to have much higher conversion rates if you’re remarketing to people who are already are aware of your brand.

Another great way to use custom audiences is from your existing email database. Perhaps you have a huge database made up of previous customers. Maybe you communicate with them via email occasionally. Wouldn’t it be great if you could communicate with them on Facebook too and try get a repeat purchase? Well guess what, you can.

The power of Facebook’s custom audience functionality is huge and can deliver excellent ROI. Use them.

custom audience

 3. You’re showing your ads to the wrong people

If you’re running a local business such as a café, massage therapy, or retail outlet, chances are you’re interested in local consumers. Which is why in 2015 Facebook introduced a new ad format called Local Awareness ads.

By using this ad format your ads will get more effective reach and provide you with more efficient use of your media budget as you’ll solely be communicating with consumers within a pre-defined geographic distance from your business location. The ads allow you to give directions to your location or have people call you from their phones which gives you a great opportunity to be discovered and get new customers. With the forever growing usage of smart phones (now more popular than desktops), these ads are particularly useful when targeting consumers on their mobile device.

4. You’re not responding to comments and questions

With the advent of social media, consumers and brands are now able to engage in a two-way conversation. Gone are the days of the consumers not having a voice. Now they have a very powerful voice and they aren’t afraid to use it.

If you’re running Facebook ads and consumers are commenting, asking questions, and sharing your ads then this is a great opportunity for you to get involved and build the relationship. If someone tags a friend go in there and like their comment. They just did you a favour so you should recognise their contribution! If someone asks a question relating to your business then it’s crazy not to reply and provide them a prompt response. People will appreciate the effort your brand makes and reward you by engaging more and ultimately becoming a customer who might bring more customers.

local awareness ad on phone

5. Your content and your ads suck

You’ve heard it before. Content is king. Well it remains true; high quality content is becoming more and more important. Your ad objective can vary… sometimes you might want someone to read a blog on your website, other times you may want people to engage in a post, or you may want people to book something from your website. Whatever it is, the ad needs to quickly and clearly communicate the value that the desired action is offering, if there is no value then consumers will not engage with it.

There are also other benefits to users engaging with your ads with the number one being a lower cost per click. If more people are engaging with your ad, Facebook will reward your quality content by giving you a lower cost per click. Also when people tag their friends, make comments and share your ads it provides you with a bigger reach to a bigger audience, allowing you to reach more people for less money.

6. You’re trying too hard, way too hard

This ties in nicely with point number 5. Facebook is primarily a social networking platform, not a market place. The emphasis is on being social. Consumers use it to communicate with their friends and we as marketers are just lucky that consumers are okay with us jamming paid ads down their throats and disrupting their social networking.

So with this in mind it’s important to avoid always going for the hard sell. Don’t get me wrong, you can sell on Facebook and it’s really great for that, but you want to have a balanced mix of content that’s based around providing really great value first and selling second. One of my social media mentors, Gary Vaynerchuk, is regarded globally as an opinion leader when it comes to social media marketing. He swears by a ‘jib, jib, jab’ approach. Meaning go soft a couple times then hit with the hard sell and it makes sense… build trust and the relationship first then ask for the sale.

Wrapping it up

Facebook can be an extremely powerful platform, provided you play to its strengths. To summarise, make sure you’re doing the following things to succeed with Facebook advertising:

Take advantage of Facebook’s awesome targeting options.

  • Use multiple custom audiences.
  • Keep up to date with the latest advertising options and use local awareness ads if applicable.
  • Engage with your audience and respond to comments.
  • Don’t just settle for good content, make it AWESOME. It may take a bit more work, but the effort will be worth it.
  • Don’t sell too hard all the time; use Facebook as a way to educate and build relationships