Facebook Ads

What to do when your Facebook ads are not performing as expected

To start with, it's always good to keep in mind that a possible reason for poor performance in your ads can be too high expectations. That's why expecting realistic results starts with understanding the standards and metrics of your industry, segment and conversion funnel type.

There are also a variety of reasons why your Facebook ads can fail, which can be divided into two main groups: Technical errors and errors in creative.

Technical errors can include situations such as incorrect Facebook pixel setup, poor campaign structure and incorrect budget selection. Creative errors are usually in the copy, headlines, images and landing pages.

To fix creative errors you need to identify if they are on your landing pages, in your ads or both. Finally, test and optimize your messaging elements so you have the basics to start working with.

How to test and measure messaging elements in your Facebook campaigns

To determine if you are making mistakes in your Facebook campaigns look at your Link Click-Through Rate (CTR) and not the Total CTR.

Total CTR identifies all clicks made by users anywhere in your ad. Link CTR on the other hand indicates specifically how many people clicked on your landing page.

A good benchmark for Link Click-Through Rate (CTR) is between 1% and 2%, which means that if 1000 people saw your ad, 10 or 20 people should click on your landing page. If your metric is below 1% it is likely that message targeting is disabled.

To change the focus of your ads you should test the copy, images and headlines, in that order and one variable at a time.

On many occasions the length of the copy is one of the biggest factors that can vary the performance of an ad. However, this variable can change on a case-by-case basis. Some brands do very well with super long copy and others with clear and concise text ads. To find out what works best for you, you should test three lengths of copy:

  • Short: a few sentences
  • Medium: Short paragraphs
  • Long: As long as it takes to tell your story, whether it's 1,000 words, 2,000 words or 3 paragraphs.

Try all three variations of text length with the same graphic elements. If you have a small business you can run your ads for 2 or 3 days until you reach a thousand users or get about 7 conversations. If you have a larger business you should probably allocate between 5 to 7 days to do your testing.

Once you have determined which copy length gives you the best link CTR, you can start testing your visual assets. To do this I recommend that you work with a minimum of 3 to 5 images. I recommend combining static content with or without text, both illustrations and photos, videos and GIFs.

You should also test the piece that works best with the copy that has had the best performance in the previous stage, to determine the combination that gives you the best performance.

Then you can move on to the headline testing stage. At this point you should keep in mind that it is not always the most creative headline that performs the best. On the contrary, sometimes a headline containing a direct message can be the best option. For example, a simple message such as "Download it now" or "Sign up" may work better in your ads. So in this case I recommend you to test between 3 to 5 types of messages to communicate.

Run each headline or call to action with the graphic element and text you have determined in the previous points to get the best combination for a good link CTR.

How to test and improve elements of your landing pages

To determine if you are making a mistake on your landing pages or in your ads you should look at your conversion rate.

If your landing page is getting emails for training, downloading content or getting a promotion, your conversion rate should be 30% to 40%. If on the other hand you are looking to generate inquiries from users, your conversion rate can be between 5% and 15% depending on your industry. For example, the conversion rate for an online store landing page is usually 5%, however this indicator varies according to the type of industry and the price of the product offered. If your conversion rate is below these values, I recommend you review the points seen above.

I also recommend you to test your pricing strategy. If your landing page offers an incentive, test what works better, whether to offer a 20% discount or to show the final discount in money, for example "Save $20". For some cases it may be clearer to have $20 off than 20% off.

How to use Facebook Dynamic Ad Optimization

Once you've tested all your posts and elements on your landing pages, you can improve the performance of your ads with dynamic content optimization. A feature you can find when setting up your campaigns in the Ad Set section.

By using this feature you can upload up to 10 visual elements, 5 copy variations and 5 headlines and then Facebook will automatically mix the different options, until it finds the best combination for your audience.

For example if a user tends to interact more with video content, the ad platform will show that version of the ad that has a video. Similarly if a user clicks on ads with overlay images, Facebook will show them this type of content.

To have a good mix of elements, I recommend you use a list like the one I show you below, with the best content from your tests:

  • 5 static images, 3 videos, 2 GIFs
  • 2 variations of copy
  • 2 headline variations
  • 2 variations of buttons with a call to action.

Dynamic ads are likely to take a little while to generate results, however with a little time they can perform better than other types of ads. That said, if you don't have a large budget I recommend that you be careful with this type of ad creation.


Having winning ads requires understanding your metrics and expecting realistic results. Also, to know where you have room for improvement, it is advisable to test one variable at a time to determine what combination of elements works best for your brand and industry.

I recommend that your tests be as exhaustive as possible so that you can understand which ones to keep in future communications and which ones not to keep.

Only then will you be able to generate campaigns that perform well over time.