Got Facebook ad issues? Here’s how to troubleshoot

Facebook ads are a business necessity now more than ever before.

More than 5 million businesses are advertising on the social network as of April, according to Business Insider.

But if you don’t have a social media manager to rely on, where do you turn if issues pop up with your own Facebook ads? Whether your ad isn’t being approved by Facebook to publish or the results aren’t what you’re looking for, the entire task can quickly devolve into an aggravating time suck.

Thanks to Social Media Examiner and Facebook itself, here are several questions you should ask yourself if your ad is not doing what you expected:

Did you pick the correct objective for your goal?

Before you even start setting up a Facebook ad, you need to ask yourself: “What’s my goal?”

Are you trying to increase your Facebook page following? Drive traffic to your website? Something else? There’s an objective for that.

Is it too soon?

Once you see that your Facebook ad is approved and running, it’s often tempting to check out your results only hours later — and then either celebrate or panic.

Don’t do it! Facebook needs a little time to optimize your ad delivery. Give it a few days to make any decisions based on the results shown.

What’s going on with your landing page?

This question only applies if you are trying to direct traffic to your website.

Let’s say that you’re encouraging people to sign up for a newsletter, and you’re directing them to enter their email on the landing page they see when they click through from Facebook. And let’s say that you’re driving a good number of people to that page from Facebook but are seeing very few sign-ups.

Short answer: Facebook isn’t the problem.

If your Facebook ad is talking about your newsletter (to continue the example), and people are clicking the button to sign up, then it’s what they’re seeing next that’s failing to convert.

Make your landing page as visually enticing and easy to use as you would want to see as a user.

Are you using the Facebook Pixel? Is it properly installed?

Speaking of landing pages and encouraging people to do something off of Facebook, the Facebook Pixel is a relatively new-ish offering that enables Facebook to monitor the website actions that you’re interested in — and tell you what’s actually happening.

First things first, you have to install it. If you’re a business with administrative control over your website, this should be relatively simple to do on the back end. Facebook provides you an HTML code to install on the relevant web page you want to track. If you don’t, reach out to your web developer and request that this be done.

If the pixel isn’t installed correctly, none of the results can be considered accurate. Fortunately, Facebook will warn you during the ad setup phase. But be vigilant, nonetheless, because if it’s simply on a page that won’t give you the results you’re looking for, Facebook won’t warn you about it.

Is your ad violating Facebook’s Terms or Conditions of Use?

This is a big one. And something I have run into many times myself. First of all, Facebook’s Terms or Conditions of Use do evolve and change. They are not static. So, usually, you’ll realize you’re in violation of something after the fact — when you receive the notification that Facebook disapproved your ad. While they do get updated frequently, it’s always a good idea to be aware of Facebook’s policies. And there’s a lot — from the obvious disapproval of adult content to the less-obvious bad grammar.

The most frequently violated policy is too much text in the promotion image. Less than 20 percent of the image used to mean you’re in the clear, but lately, any amount of text might cause Facebook to show your ad to fewer users — and, if this is the case, they’ll tell you that during the ad setup phase.

Are your bidding amounts and budget at the right level?

This may sound obvious, but you need to remember that you’re only one of 5 million businesses advertising on Facebook right now. You’re all competing on a platform that’s running out of space to advertise to users.

Facebook will warn you if it thinks your budget/bid is too low. But before you try to nickel and dime the system, remember that social media is how you can reach a bigger pool of potential clients (when done right). What is that worth to you? What is one new, loyal client worth to you? Answer that, and then set your budget.

Who’s your audience? Who should it be? What are they seeing?

One of the best features of Facebook ads is its audience targeting. You can target people based on their interests, behaviors and demographics.

Anyone newer to Facebook ads might only focus on the location of people being targeted. This is a mistake. If your business is related to home improvement, for example, you’ll also want to include a wide variety of interests and behaviors, including (but not limited to) DIY, home improvement, homeowners, HGTV and home buying. Fortunately, once you start to enter one, Facebook will automatically show you a dropdown list of related suggestions to keep the creative juices flowing.

Also make sure that the ad you create will actually appeal to the audience you’re targeting. The image and language should tell your targeted user why your ad matters to them.

And when all else fails, consider the conversion you’re asking for. Let’s return to our newsletter sign-up example. You want people to sign up for your newsletter. You publish a Facebook ad to that effect, but no one is signing up for it — and you’ve troubleshot everything else. Here’s what you need to look at: Is your Facebook page posting content (outside of ads) that demonstrates your value and expertise?

If you’re a home contractor, are you posting videos or Facebook Live videos talking about the biggest mistakes homeowners make when choosing a contractor? What about a blog about the trickiest DIY renovations (i.e. “Don’t try these at home”)?

Balance the posts that show your value with your Facebook ads, and you should not only see better ad results, but improved reach and engagement on your Facebook page, as well.

Looking for a bit more guidance? Contact my colleague, Brook Bentley, social media and content manager at Sierra Nevada Media Group, at for a free social media consultation for your business.

Caren Roblin is director of content at Sierra Nevada Media Group, which publishes the Northern Nevada Business Weekly. You can contact her at


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