5 Reasons Your Paid Social Ads Aren’t Working

We’ve all had those social ad accounts before – or you might be running one yourself – that you just can’t get right. Many clients have come to us and said “We just can’t get paid social ads to work”. There can be a thousand reasons why this is the case, but I’ve narrowed it down to the most common five reasons why your paid social ads aren’t working.

Disclaimer – the below is based on our experience in the industry and across 100+ paid social media accounts, both high performing and underperforming. 

At Embryo, we have years of collective experience in our paid social team and can help create stunning campaigns across all the main social media channels. To learn more, get in touch today by phone, at 0161 327 2635, email at [email protected], or alternatively, hit the contact button below.

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The Five Reasons Paid Adverts on Social Media Isn’t Working

1. You’re Not Testing Enough

One of the first things that I talk about in any audit, account strategy meeting, or overall discussion around paid social advertising is the importance of testing. If you do not try different approaches to see what works with your audience, you’re effectively putting all of your eggs in one basket (one ad) and hoping it sticks. Testing should be paid social 101 and if your agency isn’t supplying new suggestions or trialling new approaches, they’re doing it wrong.

There are things that you need to be testing on a regular basis:

  • Creative type: still image vs. video vs. carousel 
  • Creative approach: text on the image, lifestyle photography, graphic imagery, gif, how-to video etc. 
  • Copy type: long copy, short copy, bullet point copy, formal copy, sales-focused copy etc.
  • Copy approach: price-led, delivery-led, solution-led, sale-led, review-led, case study-led etc. 
  • CTA button: Learn more vs. shop now etc.
  • Landing page: testing different landing pages against each other
  • Targeting: Broad vs. specific vs. interest-based vs. lookalike etc. 

Even if you are running five poor-performing campaigns and see that one style of ad is working, that doesn’t mean that you implement that across all campaigns. Continue testing. 

The best-performing paid social accounts that I’ve ever seen are all implementing testing on a regular basis, whether it’s a small button test or a whole test campaign.

2. You’re Not Allowing Things to Learn

Once you start testing everything, it’s equally important that you allow each of your tests to properly learn. If you turn on a test at 9 am on a Monday, don’t see 1,000 leads come through within an hour and proceed to turn off the campaign at 10 am, you haven’t really done it properly.

Facebook recommends that after each key change, an ad needs to achieve roughly 50 optimisation events to be fully stabilised. In reality, we tend to say that it takes around a week without any further changes being made for you to have enough data to truly make data-based decisions. 

Once you have a week’s worth of data, you can start analysing the following data to understand the performance of your tests:

  • CTR% – if you’re testing different creative or copy, take a look at how it’s impacted your click-through rate
  • CR% – if you’re testing a CTA button, see how that’s impacted your conversion rate 
  • CPM – if you’re targeting a new audience, monitor the difference in your cost per 1,000 impressions

These are all metrics outside of your classic CPL, ROAS, CPA etc. that can show you the impact of your tests. However, unless you allow the account time to stabilise these metrics will be useless. 

Paid social adverting is a long-term strategy to build brand awareness and drive performance, not a quick win tap that you can just turn on when you’re desperate for leads. 

3. You’re Not Spending Enough/Spending Too Much

Your account might not be working well if you’re spending too much or not spending enough. Both are just as dangerous as each other. 

If you’re underspending, you won’t be competitive in the market and will be outbid in the Facebook auction. You might not realise you’re underspending either. There have been many instances where a client is spending £10,000 but running 10 campaigns across 10 different countries. They may think that spending £10,000pm is a large chunk of their marketing budget, but in reality, each location is only receiving £1,000pm. 

If you’re overspending, you will just start reaching every man and his dog, in addition to exhausting your existing audiences. This will ultimately lead to increased costs and a reduction in CTR and CR%. 

Similarly, large budget increases in a short space of time will most likely negatively impact your account performance. Budget increases put your ads back into learning and if you go too high then your campaign will end up drowning and just spending money with no strategy. 

4. Your Margins Are Too Tight

If your account is driving sales but in order to be profitable you need your sales to cost you no more than £4 each time, it might be that your margins are too tight and it’s actually just not possible.

Sometimes businesses will increase their target ROAS or CPA to account for other factors such as high returns rates, retainer fees etc. which ultimately results in unattainable targets. 

Paid social media can be great for sales and leads, but it is actually most effective when combined with top-of-funnel brand awareness campaigns. We like to talk about social ads as ‘A more creative, targeted, and tangible billboard’. With that in mind, you need to have the wiggle room to play with. 

Super tight margins will never result in high-performing campaigns. 

5. Your Offering Isn’t Right

Finally, if you’ve: tested everything, you’re leaving everything to get out of learning, you’re spending the right amount of budget, and your margins are healthy, it could actually just be that your offering isn’t good enough. 

I know, it sounds super critical, but if you’ve exhausted all other avenues, perhaps your website isn’t good enough. Or your product is overpriced. Or your USPs aren’t unique enough. Or your audience isn’t engaged. Or your reviews are terrible.

There are so many factors that can impact your ad performance outside of the ad account. It’s up to a great paid social advertiser to identify when that is the case, and a great business owner to understand. 

Sometimes you have to be highly critical to really achieve results. 

Work with Paid Social Experts to See Great Results from Your Paid Social Campaigns

If you’re looking for support with your paid social ads, please get in touch! Our phone lines are open, just call us on 0161 327 2635 or email our team at [email protected].

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