5 Minutes

6 Reasons Why Your Facebook Ads Conversion Rate is Low

There could be many reasons why your Facebook Ads have a low conversion rate. Here are the 6 most common causes and how you can fix them.

Using Polymer Search, a tool for analyzing Facebook ads data, we looked at over 2700+ Facebook Ad campaigns to determine the main causes of low conversion rates and found that the most common culprits were:

  1. Poor ad copy and creative
  2. Website / Product Issues
  3. Targeting Issues
  4. Lack of Testing
  5. Lack of Audience Exclusion
  6. Using Manual Placements Instead of Automatic Placements

1. Poorly Written Ad Copy and Creative

Poor ad copy and design is the most common reason why Facebook Ads don’t convert.

Crafting the ad copy and creative is difficult because the results vary depending on your audience and industry. 

The marketing messages you send to a cold audience will vastly differ to a warmer audience (a retargeting audience). 

Same goes for targeting a tech-savvy audience vs. non-tech-savvy.

In order to find out what works best, you have to do an A/B test. It will require lots of testing, which many people fail to do (mistake #4). 

But from analyzing our data, here are some tips that we found work with most audiences:

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  1. Use emojis! These are great for boosting click-through-rates and engagement. From our A/B tests, we saw conversion rates almost doubled when adding in emojis, going from 2.1% to 3.6%. How do you find emojis? Use Emojipedia.
  2. Use the “Shop Now” CTA button: We’ve found this to be the best CTA button.
  3. Shorten your ad copy: If your ad copy goes over 280 characters, you’ll get a warning that suggests shortening the ad copy. On average, shorter messages under 150 characters tend to perform better. We don’t recommend going above the 280 character limit, however, there are exceptions. If your intuition tells you that longer ad copy works better, it's definitely worth testing out to find out, even against Meta's recommendation.
  4. Mentioning “free shipping” can slightly boost conversion rates. 
  5. Avoid limited-time offers/discounts and social proofing. People hate advertisements shoved down their throats.

However, for a warmer audience (retargeting), we do recommend using limited-time offers. I've personally found that retargeting ads which offer a ~20% discount with a limited time deal (usually 3-5 days) tend to perform the best.

Lastly steal ideas from the Meta Ads library. Look for ads that have been going for a long time. These are most likely the successful ads.

2. Website Issues 

It doesn’t matter how well-optimized your Facebook Ads are. If a user clicks on your ad and lands on a page that looks like it was built from 2006 with no reviews and no clear value proposition (why would I buy this product over another?) then you’re likely to get no sales.

If you’re selling cameras, why would someone buy it from your store when they can purchase from Amazon, Canon or other reputable sites?

If you want people to convert, build enough trust with them by getting user reviews (on and off-page), a professional website design and real user testimonials (e.g. unboxing videos are very popular).

Finally, give them a compelling reason to buy your product. Make your value proposition really clear. 

3. Targeting Issues

You can have the best ad creative and copy in the world and get amazing click-through-rates, but if none of those people are interested in your product, then your conversion rates will be low.

That’s why it’s crucial to select the right audience for Facebook Ads targeting.

Here’s how you can target the right audience:

1. Trust the algorithm: This has become one of the most popular approaches throughout recent years. When you run Facebook Ads, their AI algorithm will learn who the best audiences are over time and automatically target those people. 

Instead of manually choosing who you want to target, leave the targeting empty and let Facebook do all the work. This is called broad targeting. From our testing, this is often the best approach.

2. Use Lookalike Audiences: This used to be the most popular form of targeting, however, after the iOS update, some people say it’s less effective, whilst others say there was no impact.

Unfortunately there is no definitive answer as to when to use lookalike audiences over broad targeting. It depends on your customer base.

Sometimes, lookalike audiences will perform better than broad targeting. The only way to find out is by doing a controlled test with each of them. And you should definitely test it.

Start with a small seed audience of around 1-50k people. The smaller the audience, the easier it is to find commonalities between them.

4. Lack of Testing

Facebook Ads is a trial and error process. Most low conversion rate issues can be solved through testing.

How many ad creatives are you testing every month? 3? 5? 10?

If you’re only testing 5 ad creatives a month, that’s way too little to see results. You want to aim for 20-40 tests per month, the more the better.

Put it this way:

Every 20 tests you do, there’ll be 19 that have low click-through-rates (1-3% CTR), and one ad that performs significantly better than the rest (4%). 

Take inspiration from that one successful ad, do more tests, eventually you’ll find that killer ad that gets you above 5% CTR. 

You’ll need to do a lot of testing in order to find this ad.

In order to do a lot of testing, you’ll need a bunch of ad creatives and copy. This is where it gets tricky.

Most businesses don’t have a process for getting new ad creatives frequently with no bottlenecks. That’s why they test so little. Even many agencies suffer from this.  

A few ways to get ad creatives are: through leveraging Tiktok trends, getting influencers to make videos on your product or taking advantage of UGC (user generated content). Your editor will put everything together afterwards.

Note: Every business is different and will approach this differently.

5. Lack of Audience Exclusion

Using audience exclusion is an easy way to reduce conversion rates and lower ad spend.

If you’re running ads for a software company, you want to exclude audiences that won’t convert. There are a few ways to approach this:

Exclude Audience Facebook Ads

Firstly, exclude your existing customers. Import your email list of people who’ve signed up for your software, and exclude those audiences from Facebook Ads.

Secondly, exclude people who’ve already visited your website. You should instead retarget these people with a limited time offer.

Lastly, exclude audiences that you already target in a different campaign so there’s as little overlap as possible. 

6. Using Manual Placements Instead of Automatic Placements

Facebook Ads advantage+ placements

A common rookie mistake is to use manual placements. 

Using manual placements means you’re limiting your ad to a couple of different placements and this will often cause you to lose out on a lot of conversions.

Facebook does a great job at determining the best placements for ads, so it’s a good idea to rely on them.

From our testing, advantage+ placements resulted in a near 50% decrease in customer acquisition cost (CAC), so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be using it.

Next Steps

For more hacks on how to increase your Facebook Ads conversion rates, check our amazing guide on how to optimize Facebook Ads. This will teach you 11 ways to improve your Facebook Ads ROAS.

If you struggle with data and want an easier solution to analyze your Facebook Ads, make sure to get Polymer Search, which integrates directly with Facebook Ads and allows you to find valuable insights from your data.

Posted on
September 18, 2022
under Blog
September 18, 2022
Written by
Ash Gupta
Former Tech Lead for Machine Learning at Google AdWords (6 years) and a quant developer on Wall Street. Co-Founder & CEO of Polymer Search.

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