Over the last few years, there seems to persist the lingering idea that you can lay on the beach with your laptop and make thousands per day. While it’s a possibility in the internet age, online business generation takes hard work, creative thinking, money and luck. And as this daydream pertains to Facebook advertising, you’re bound to face challenges both difficult and expensive. Don’t underestimate it; rather, expect setbacks, learn and tweak your game plan.

  • Targeting Facebook users -- who are just hanging out, wasting time or browsing their feed -- is a more passive form of advertising than search engine marketing.
  • Experiment by testing multiple versions of your ad and collecting data. Make decisions based on the results.

Over the last few years, there seems to persist the lingering idea that you can lay on the beach with your laptop and make thousands per day. While it’s a possibility in the internet age, online business generation takes hard work, creative thinking, money and luck.

And as this daydream pertains to Facebook advertising, you’re bound to face challenges both difficult and expensive. Indeed, mastering this tool is not easy. Don’t underestimate it; rather, expect setbacks, learn and tweak your game plan.

Your ads on Facebook could be falling flat for a number of reasons and therefore failing to deliver any kind of tangible return. We could spend days debating which strategies are best, but there’s no switch to jumpstart lead generation.

Meanwhile, Facebook seems to be constantly releasing new tools for advertisers to flock to, and just when it seems you’ve got something down, there’s a new tool that forces you to learn from scratch again.

It keeps you on your toes, constantly researching and testing new strategies. Start off slow, building upon the previous successes you achieve with your ads.

Social browsers versus driven searchers

It’s no secret that there are billions of users on Facebook worldwide. It’s also worth noting the type of consumer you’re advertising to. To create effective ads, it takes critical and creative thinking to dive deep into who your audience is.

You should know the difference between who you’re targeting when advertising on a search engine versus social media. When Google users search “social media management for real estate,” they will receive search results similar to what they searched for, plus relevant ads.

In this scenario, you’re advertising to users searching for the exact product or service you offer, meeting them at the intersection of their search and their need. They may be ready to buy, and they also just might be in the research phase.

(Many real estate professionals need to realize that a ton of their web traffic comes from users in the research phase.)

Now, when browsers casually scroll Facebook on a Wednesday afternoon and see “social media management for real estate,” it’s a toss up whether they will click the ad or not.

Because unlike Google, users on Facebook are just hanging out, wasting time or browsing their feed. They might be your target demographic but they also may have no need for your service or product.

You’re not advertising to them when they’re searching, and therefore your marketing efforts in this case is a bit more passive.

Take this differentiation into consideration, and jump into the top 10 reasons your ads may be missing the mark.

10 reasons

1. You’re directing users to a page that is unsuited for collecting leads with an ineffective call-to-action.

If you’ve got a website, and you started it for the sole reason of “being online” like everyone else, you’ve made your first mistake.

The best way to describe this is a situation akin to having an employee.

Your website is your employee who’s working for you 24/7. While you’re sleeping, the employee is awake, putting out your good name and collecting contact information to nurture your leads.

If that employee is dressed poorly and failing to ask for contact information from potential customers, then why are you paying that person to work for you?

If your website (that you’re paying for) looks bad, is rarely updated, doesn’t collect contact info etc. — then why do you have it?

Your site should reflect the traffic you’re driving to it with an enticing offer in exchange for contact information, along with some scarcity (i.e., “only valid for X more days”).

2. Your ad seriously lacks appeal.

Have you ever seen an ad that looks awful or is totally not for you?

That’s what happens when you don’t give the right thought to the ad you’re paying for.

Make sure your ad is appealing to the demographic you’re targeting.

It’s not rocket science. I ask myself when creating ads, “Is this something I’d click on?”

Chances are you’ll answer your own question.

The only way to create appealing ads is to research, check your competition and continue to experiment with split testing (more on that below).

3. You’re ads’ offer doesn’t correspond to the website they’re directed to.

This happens when you see an ad for discounted sunglasses, only to click through and arrive at a website that sells a monthly sunglass subscription service (Goodbye!)

Facebook will assign your ad a poor Relevance Score (a magic number between 1 and 10 that, in a single glance, will let you know how relevant an ad is to its audience). Meanwhile, the cost per click will go higher and you won’t capture what you hope to — more leads!

If you’re advertising a service and offer, a person who clicks on that ad and arrives at your website shouldn’t be surprised.

4. You’re targeting the wrong audience.

This is self explanatory but important.

If your average homebuyer is someone between 35 and 60 years old living in Manhattan, then target them.

Don’t set your ad for users who are 20 to 65 in the entire state of New York while going for the shotgun approach.

Additionally, this is where your creative thinking can flourish!

You could create ads targeted to users who are 18 to 30 years old in Manhattan, for example, and see if they will share the information with their parents, etc. Opportunities abound.

5. Your audience is too broad or narrow.

It’s a simple concept — don’t target an audience that’s too narrow or too broad!

You want to ideally stay in the middle because you can mitigate costs while also leaving room for error.

Top 10 Reasons Why Your Facebook ADs Aren’t Generating Leads

6. You’re not split testing your ads or your squeeze page.

Here, you can save money and improve your leads.

If you’re creating or having a professional create a graphic for an ad, have it made up in four different colors.

Then set up four of the same ads on Facebook in the varying colors.

You can also change up your ad copy slightly (but not too much because you’re mainly testing the ad graphic).

Once your ad has run for three to five days, you should have acquired enough data from the split testing to see which color worked best.

That’s when you ax the other three ads, allocate their budgets to the one you’re keeping and run with the lowest-cost graphic.

If you have a squeeze page, then you should be split testing the traffic you’re sending there as well with different variations of the page.

This is another way to save money while increasing conversions. Trust me, it’s crazy to see how much more successful one squeeze page is versus another just by slightly changing the color palette!

7. Your Facebook page lacks activity that correlates to your advertisement.

If your Facebook page doesn’t have much activity, some users may be reluctant to reach out to you or trust you.

If they see your page is robust with activity, comments, shares, articles etc., then you look more trustworthy and approachable.

Keep up with your pages and post to them using the 80/20 rule — 80 percent helpful and resourceful information, 20 percent about you and things you have done or have going on (closings, new listings, new foreclosures, partnerships etc.)

8. The image you’re advertising with is bad.

Stock images are the worst!

Go to fiverr.com and sign up to have someone there create your ad graphics for $5 to $20, depending on how many you need.

Hire a professional who knows what they’re doing — not your 18-year-old nephew who’s “really good at interneting.”

9. Your ad copy leaves something to be desired. 

Have you ever seen an ad that has way too much text or is off mark? It happens all the time!

Unless your users are really engaged, why on earth would they sit there and sift through your unwanted solicitation?

You’ve got about 1.5 seconds to capture someone’s attention mid-scroll. Be mindful of that!

10. You’re pulling the plug way too fast.

Allow your ads time to mature and level out.

If you’re canceling them after only a week or two, you’re doing yourself a disservice because you’re not able to see the full failure or success analytics.

You can’t always judge your ads by their cost. You might have awesome ads that perform poorly at first but drop in cost over time.

Keep an eye on your ad frequency — the average number of times a user sees your ad. It’s found by dividing impressions (the overall number of times your ad was displayed) by reach (the number of unique people who have seen your ad.)

Keep this number below three on all ads; that means your target audience has seen the ad a max of three times each. Once you go above that, you run the risk of ad nausea.

Stay mindful and research, research, research, and you will start off your Facebook advertising campaigns in much better shape.

There’s nothing greater than reveling in a fantastic, working ad that generates leads; you can build off that success by using the data and tricks that worked last time.

Andrew Molz is the managing partner at Dallas-based startups The Reputation Shop and 12 Rounds SEO. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Email Andrew Molz.

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