Why do Facebook ads fail?

Your Facebook ads campaign is running.

It’s doing remarkably well, if you do say so yourself.

And then, just like that, the results start tanking.

Facebook ads are like marriages, sometimes they fail for no reason.

Or at least, it feels like that.

You’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve tried your hardest, and still it’s not working out…

Call me the Relate therapist for Facebook ads… it’s time to dig a little deeper.

Let’s take a look at what the issue could be, and what you could try.

*And I’m the first to admit, sometimes it’s unfathomable and you just have to bail (yep, we’re still talking about both).

Your Facebook ads have been successful but you’ve scaled unwisely

If something looks like it’s working, the temptation is always to throw a whole stack of money at it to try and max out those results, but sadly with Facebook this rarely works.

Annoying, I know.

That’s why we use vertical and horizontal scaling.

Mysterious, right?

Here’s how it works.

Vertical Facebook Ads Scaling

Vertical scaling is all about increasing your budget, but you need to do it gently and patiently. I recommend a 10% daily budget increase to begin with, which I know can feel frustrating if you’re at the low end of a daily spend. But increase, watch your results, then increase again if costs are holding.

Horizontal Facebook Ads Scaling

Horizontal scaling allows you to increase your budget a lot more, but as with everything carries a risk.

For this, you want to find new people to attract. Create a new saved audience or lookalike audience and build a new ad set. Be sure to check your audience overlap and try and keep it under 30% – otherwise you’re showing your ads to pretty much the same people and basically competing with yourself.

Your audience is saturated

This is usually something more likely to happen with a warm (retargeting) audience than a cold audience, because generally they are smaller.

You need to keep an eye on the frequency.

This is the number of times (on average) that each person in your audience is seeing your ads.

If the number is high, your ideal client is getting spammed with your ads!

One thing you can do to rectify this is break your audiences down further and add in new messaging and creative.

For example:-

  • Website visitors 1 day
  • Website visitors 7 days (excluding web visitors 1 day)
  • Website visitors 14 days (excluding web visitors 7 days)

These three ad sets (with different copy and creative) would mean that people that had just visited your website would see one ad. Then after that (in the 7 days post visit) they would see a different ad, and then after one week they would see something else.

You’re not sure what part of your Facebook ads campaign is failing

It’s very easy to just say “it’s not working anymore”…

And that might be based on one piece of information, such as conversions. You were getting conversions at £XX and this has now doubled or tripled to £XX for seemingly no reason.

I will give you some suggestions for this in a bit, but firstly you should investigate if it really is just one element of the campaign.

Compare a period where you feel your results were strong, to now, if you feel your ads are tanking.

Here’s some things you can look at:

  • Reach
  • Click through rates
  • Landing page views
  • Add to basket ratio
  • Cost per add to basket
  • Cost per sale
  • Frequency
  • Demographic breakdowns – has anything changed in the people responding to your ads

Click through rate is one of my favourite things to monitor. This pretty much determines the relevance of your ads to your audience, and you should always be looking at 1-2% or above. Anything less than 1% and you need to tweak your audiences as you’re showing ads to people that just aren’t into you!

Monitor your landing page views to conversions too.

If you’re getting 100 landing page views and only a couple of conversions then you have a bigger issue than your ads.

The job of the ads is to drive people to your landing page (your website) and if they’re doing that, then they’re pretty much working.

However, if there’s no conversion – the issue could lie in the fact that your target audience is not getting what it needs on your landing page.

  • Is the information there lacking?
  • Have you sold them a dream in the ad that just isn’t backed up by your website?
  • Is the customer journey too complicated?

It’s none of these things. Your ad campaign is great but failing for no reason…

It does happen. Honestly.

Here’s some things to try.


Sounds crazy, but literally duplicate the campaign and publish it.


No, lazy, not duplicate. You should have tried that already!

This is a complete rebuild.

Start from scratch.

If you’ve been sensible with your initial campaign, you will have tested various audiences, a variety of creative and a whole load of different copy.

In which case, you can remove all the “stuff” that didn’t work, and start your new rebuilt campaign with the top performing audiences, copy and creative.


Back to the marriage analogy… just because it WAS working doesn’t mean it always will.

Sometimes you’ve just got to do more of the good stuff!

So work out what that was and think how you can recreate that.

If you were using a LAL (lookalike audience) maybe you were focusing on a 1% LAL – why not try a 3% or even a 10%.

If it was a saved audience, was there something in the targeting that you could find more of? If you’re chasing Waitrose people, maybe look at John Lewis and M&S for example.

Then look at your copy and creative. Was there one ad that was most successful?

If you haven’t been testing, then this is where you’ll get bitten on the bum! You should have tested a stack of creative and a ton of copy – so you know exactly what your audience reacts better to.

Either way, create some new images and write some new copy.

Perhaps the headline with the price worked best? Or you had a killer first line?

Now is your chance to find out what else could work.

Change your strategy

It could be time for a strategy rethink.

If you’ve been targeting a cold audience, then you might actually get better results targeting a slightly warmer audience.

All you really need to do is build out some top of funnel audience building campaigns and change your cold prospecting to warm retargeting.

If you want to dive deep on any issues with your Facebook ads, or feel like it’s time to really get a Facebook ad campaign strategy in place, then we should talk.

Getting a Power Hour or an Ad Action Plan booked in could be exactly the resolution you need to get your ads back on track.

And I’ll chuck in free marriage guidance!

An orange background with white text reading ‘Book your Power Hour with me now! Lets fast track you to Facebook ads success’ and a black rectangle below that with white text reading ‘Click to book’. To the side of the text is the image of Jo Francis who is a white woman with ginger hair wearing a grey short sleeved t-shirt sat at a table with an open MacBook.