Why Facebook Ads Don’t Work


If I would have made 1 dollar for each person who told me “Facebook ads don’t work for me”, now I would be rich!

I was one of these people. I wasted thousands of dollars on Facebook ads, and I got nothing back. Massive cost per acquisition, contact leads who weren’t reading my follow up emails, subscribers who didn’t show up at my webinar… 

Keep reading cause I’ll reveal what 90% of the marketers on Facebook do wrong and how to fix it

A totally wrong User Experience

I think that having a long career as a UX designer helped me figur out why I’ve spent all that money for nothing. If you don’t know what UX means, it’s user experience.
In small words, a UX designer develops websites, software and apps that are intuitive and pleasing to use. And you can create something like that just if you analyse if the entire process makes sense or not.

And this is the same thing I’ve done with Facebook ads.
When I was at the point to say “Facebook ads don’t work for me”, I stopped for a second, and I analysed what I did till that point.

And I had a revelation.

It was evident that I didn’t get results. My user experience was totally wrong.

Here’s what I use to do, and I’m sure this is familiar with a lot of you reading if you’ve used Facebook Ads in the past.

What everyone does

I choose the marketing objective, most of the times “Lead Generation” cause my target was to send people on a landing page where I offered a free pdf, a video series or a webinar.

Lead Generation

I would pick all the countries where the primary language is English.


Pick interests to target and maybe a few competitors.

And voilà. I launch my ad.

It didn’t matter what I offer (eBook, webinar, video course), if I use a video ad or a title and image ad, what interests I target or the placement of my ad.

The results were always a high cost per lead and subscribers who got my free offer and disappear.

So, what was wrong with my procedure?

The revelation

Think about this scene. There is a stranger in the street saying to you: hey mate, I want to sell you these brand new pair of shoes! They cost 500$ in a shop, but I sell them for 50$.
Just follow me to that house, you pay me and get the shoes.

Would you follow him?

This is precisely what almost every marketer is doing on Facebook.

We promote offers to complete strangers who’ve never met us, and we invite them to follow us on our landing page to get something for free in exchange for their personal data.

This method lacks 2 fundamental elements.

1) Trust.

The Internet is full of scams and salespeople, and you won’t be different from them.

Your target audience will think
“Why does this guy offer me something for free? He’ll drown me with spam!”
“I’m sure there’s nothing valuable in this webinar. It’s just another sale presentation”.

And you know what, they’re probably right! How many times have you been covered with spam cause you got an eBook for free (that wasn’t good at all), or you attended a webinar that was meant just to sell you an expensive course?

2) Content.

Facebook is developed to make users feel comfy in that environment.
Asking someone to leave Facebook to visit your Landing Page is a shocking experience.

You need to provide content first. That’s the reason why video ads and long text ads work so well on Facebook.
They provide content without leaving the social network.

Your audience will feel safe cause is consuming valuable content in a familiar environment.
Facebook will be happy cause you keep their user on the platform for more time, and for this reason, your ad will perform even better.

The Biggest Mistake

We’ve entered a new era for online marketing, the content era.
Showing old-style ads to a cold audience will just empty your pockets giving nothing in return.

Nowadays you need to help first, and sale later. Your viewers will be ready to become leads and eventually customers, only after you gave them something valuable.

You don’t necessarily need to teach them something new. You can even tell an enjoyable story and entertain for a short time. Your viewers need to feel enriched after consuming the content of your ad, on an educational or emotional level.

The only content you need to show to a cold audience, is an informative content, without any call to action.
Look at one of Amy Porterfield ads.
Why do you think she promotes an episode of her podcast?

Amy Porterfield

A new way to grow your list

This is the technique I’ve been using in the last year to run Facebook ads, and it’s been working amazingly.

My ad promotion involves 2 steps.

1st Step: Awareness

I run weekly Facebook Live on my Facebook page, and I announce time and day on the header of my page.

Facebook Live

You should book a day per week to shot your Facebook Live as well. They’re a great tool to reach your community and offer free content.

At the end of each live, I promote my session for a couple of days, just to get enough data. You don’t need to spend too much on it, 10$ per day will be enough.

In this case, as a marketing objective, you should choose “Video Views” cause your goal is to put your Facebook Live in front of as many people as possible.

Video Views

Facebook gives you lots of important analytics, but in this case, the one you should focus on is the 10-second view column. 

10 second column

2nd step: Retargeting

At the end of this promotion, when I have enough data to work with, I take my Facebook Live and I get out of it short clips of 50-60 seconds.
These are the clips that I will promote in front of the 10-second viewers of my Facebook Live.

Be aware that your clips need to be relevant on their own, and promote valuable content even without being in the long Facebook Live.
I cut this clips and I add title and captions.

Short Clip

So I create a new Campaign setting the Marketing Objective to “Conversion’, cause this is my target now.

Conversion objective

And in the Audience Panel, I create a new audience based on the people who watched at least 10 seconds of my Facebook Live

Click on “Create New” on the Custom Audience field, and choose “Custom Audience”.

Custom Audience

Then choose “Engagement” in the popup window.


Then click on “Video.”


In this last screen, you’ll be able to choose the audience who watched at least 10 seconds of one of the videos you promoted.

10-seconds Viewers

With this method, you make Facebook happy, cause you promote ads that will keep for longer people on the platform, and for this reason, Facebook will promote your live as much as it can. But at the same time, you’ll make your audience happy cause they’ll consume your content without leaving Facebook.

Short Clip Promoted

And just when they’ll trust you, you propose your call to action.

Trust is what makes the difference between a salesperson and a marketer.

Additional Contents

Anyway, if you want to have this steps listed in a PDF with screenshots on the side, click on the banner below and download it. 

[thrive_2step id=’1530′]facebook ads that convert[/thrive_2step]

If you instead are curious about different ways to use this technique, you’ll find the content upgrade of this article pretty juicy.
I found 5 digital marketers and brands who are doing really well through their ads, delivering content to grow their list. The 5 brands have diverse niches and promote distinctive offers so you can see how elastic is this technique.

Click on the banner below and download the document. I can honestly tell you that this is a must read if you want to have a successful advertising strategy in 2019 and 2020.

[thrive_2step id=’1524′][/thrive_2step]

I’ll see you in the comments below, or in the next one. Cheers mate!


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