Why Failing Social Media Ads Can Be a Good Thing

December 14, 2018

It seems counter intuitive to think that failing at anything could be a good thing – especially paid advertisements. Tons of small businesses try out social media marketing, but many end up pulling the plug because their ads didn’t yield the results they’re looking for. ​

It seems counter intuitive to think that failing at anything could be a good thing – especially paid advertisements. Tons of small businesses try out social media marketing, but many end up pulling the plug because their ads didn’t yield the results they’re looking for. Let’s take some of the old adages, shall we? “The only failure is when you quit” or “When you fail, try, try again” You get it. So why would you keep pouring money into social media ads when it’s not delivering the results you want and need?

I find the best way to make a point is by relating it to something in our lives. So here it goes: We always tell our kids to wear helmets when riding their bikes. Don’t jump on the furniture. Stop trying to eat the raw habanero peppers. (Or perhaps that’s just my kid…) What do they do? They jump on the bike, leaving their precious head protector on the floor. They tie a cape around their shoulders and fly across the room like Superman. They wait until you turn around to try a bite of that enchanting, mysterious pepper. What happens? They fall off their bike and bump their head, hit their knee on the coffee table, and experience what it would feel like to swallow real fire. Any parent would say, “That’s a hard lesson learned,” right?

The choppy road to success is paved with mistakes – each stone forged by ourselves and others. When we extract lessons from our mistakes, we’re able to find new solutions that get us closer to where we want to be. So how do you find your lessons in your failed ads?

Let’s examine common social media ad fails, and the possible cause:

Problem 1: High Cost per Click or Low Engagement.
Cause: You’re Not Reaching the Right Audience.

If your ads aren’t generating a ton of traffic, or if the engagement rate is super low, this is a strong indicator that your ads aren’t resonating with the right audience. You could have killer creative, but if you’re delivering that message to the wrong audience, you might as well talk to an empty room. For example, why would a 16 year old want to engage with an ad about getting $100 off the first plumbing service?

It’s time to get to know your customers. Start by mapping out their Buyer Personas. This will help you gain a deeper understanding of who your customers are, what they’re looking for in their personal and professional lives, and how your products and services solve a problem or challenge for them. Bonus: they even help with finding ways to optimize your site in a way that’ll make them excited to use it. >>Read How to Build Your Buyer Personas for Your B2B or B2C Business.

Problem 2: High Click Through Rate, But They’re Not Staying on Your Site.
Cause:  The Destination Isn’t Optimized.

So your ads are generating website traffic, just how you wanted! That’s great! But then, you look in Google Analytics, and they’re bouncing immediately when they arrive on your page – yikes. Don’t worry though, there is a silver lining. Your ads are reaching the right target audience, but your website, or destination page isn’t optimized for them. There could be a couple of reasons why this is happening: 1) the destination page doesn’t match what was advertised; 2) there are conflicting messages between the advertisement and landing page itself; 3) your website isn’t easy to navigate, is confusing, isn’t intuitive, or doesn’t look trustworthy.

If you’re using a landing page, make sure your ads and your landing page are using the same language, have the same tone and personality, and spell out the value to the customer. If the messaging is consistent, then try a different layout. Move the contact form, add a new image, try asking for less information. There are tons of things you can test out before going back to the drawing board – and you should!

If you’re directing people to your website, perhaps it’s time to create your Web Design Personas. Similar to buyer personas, web design personas not only map out your customer’s wants and needs, but it takes it a step further by using their wants and needs to create the structure, layout, and features of your website. There are always ways to improve your website – it can be as simple as adding an informative video to your home page, to adding online bill pay as an option for your customers, or updating your home page with your promotional offer.

If you’re still stuck on why your customers aren’t staying on your site longer, or visiting more pages there are a couple of options: 1) ask your customers to peruse your website over lunch, and gather some feedback about it; 2) use a tool like HotJar to see how visitors are using your website and to see where they bounce off at (they even offer recorded sessions so you can watch and compare different sessions over and over again; 3) enlist the help of a web development & design agency to review your data and find ways to optimize your site.

Problem #3: You Know You’re Reaching the Right Audience, But Your Engagement is Still Low
Cause: Your Creative Isn’t Resonating with Your Audience

If you’ve been running ads on social media successfully, and you feel really confident with your target audiences, then it’s time to revisit the creative you’re running. There’s a disconnect between your messaging and your audience. It may be time to take your campaign in a different direction. This is totally fine! Now you know what doesn’t work. Go back to your personas, see what other similar companies across the world are doing, and think outside of the box! How can you relate to them on a more personal level? How can you create a message that strikes an emotional connection with them? This is your chance to get even more creative and find new and exciting ways to connect with your audience.

Problem #4: You’re Not Converting as Many Sales as You’d Hoped
Cause: Expectations & Understanding Where You’re At Today

So many businesses go into social media thinking it will be their answer for new business development. While social media and social media ads can definitely help generate sales and phone calls, it should not be the sole source of new business. The role of social media is to generate awareness, drive engagement and traffic – and is on the top of the funnel. This is especially important for start-ups, new businesses, and those businesses who are just getting started in social media. There is a period of time that will require patience, plenty of testing to find and attract the right audience, and building trust and credibility with this audience.

It takes time to find your groove in social media marketing. Be patient.

Another thing to consider is running a remarketing campaign. This type of ad campaign will help you remarket to those who have previously expressed interest in your services or products. Facebook and Instagram are able to get your ads back in front of those who have visited your website or added your products to their online shopping cart, but didn’t purchase. This is a great opportunity to try to push them down the sales funnel. But don’t forget – you need to make sure your web developer adds the Facebook Pixel (the piece of code on your website that allows you to track the performance of your ads and organic posts) to your website.

If you’re an eCommerce business, it wouldn’t hurt to re-evaluate your checkout process. There could be tons of ways to make it easier and more convenient!

Regardless where you’re at with your social media marketing, it’s always good practice to look at your data on a regular basis and use this data to find ways to improve and optimize your existing strategy. (And if you don’t have a strategy – it’s time to get on that!) See? Failures aren’t a bad thing – it’s just a chance to improve and continue on your path to world domination! Starting with your social media ads…

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