Episode 54: 4 Facebook Ad Troubleshooting Tactics to Improve Conversions

What do you do when you’re generating leads and customers with Facebook campaigns, but the volume isn’t where you’d like it to be? You may be experiencing high traffic campaign cost, and/or low conversion volume. This is a problem everyone has, whether they’re just starting to advertise on Facebook or are spending thousands of dollars a day.

There are four ways to fix the high conversion cost, low conversion volume problem. This is the process the experts use when they run into this problem, and how they fix it.


  • What to check for if you’re getting the dreaded goose egg on a Facebook ad campaign (<< and the free, critical tool we use verify our Facebook Pixel).
  • The approach to optimize a campaign with a CTR low, and a high CPC.
  • What to do when everything looks good on the traffic end, but you’re still not getting any conversions.


Power Editor
FB Pixel Helper
Customer Value Optimization
Episode 12: The Perfect Cold Traffic Ad: “Ad Scent,” the One-Two Punch, and the Guard Down Trick
Episode 37: The 5 Biggest Facebook Ad Campaign Mistakes
Episode 43: Ryan Deiss Shares 4 Steps to Crafting and Optimizing the Perfect Offer
Episode 52: Results of 687 Facebook Ad Surveys (…And a Pep Talk from the PT Team!)
DM Facebook Live: Elements of a High Converting Landing Page (Dos and Don’ts):

Episode 54 Transcript (swipe the PDF version here):

Keith Krance: Hello and welcome back to Perpetual Traffic, Episode Number 54. Welcome back to the podcast. How are we doing by the way?



Molly Pittman: Hey, doing well.



Ralph Burns: Doing good.



Keith Krance: On today’s episode, we’re going to be talking about a super common question that we get all over the place, on our Facebook groups, through support, we’ve seen on the survey data, all over. This is something that Molly is seeing a lot of questions about in the Facebook group and we’re just going to hit on this two-pronged issue and really what it is. What to do when your conversion cost on your traffic campaigns is too high and/or your conversion volume is too low.



Molly Pittman: The problem here really is that you have a goal for your Facebook campaigns. Maybe you’re trying to create leads or customers and you’re simply paying too much for them. You’ve done the math backwards and you know how much you can pay to acquire a customer and for some reason you just can’t get that conversion cost within a reasonable amount. Really going hand in hand with that you might also have the problem that you’re generating leads or customers but the volume just isn’t as high as you would like it to be.



  We’re going to cover really four ways to fix this high conversion cost, low conversion volume problem and this is the process that we use at DigitalMarketer and that you guys use over at Dominate Web Media. Really exciting. This is what we check when we’re having the problem to try and diagnosis it and how we fix it. We’re playing doctor today.



Ralph Burns: Yes, we all have our stethoscopes on and white lab coats. Does everybody have them on?



Molly Pittman: Ralph is looking especially doctoral.



Ralph Burns: I’ve got that mirror thing on my head. I don’t know if they still use that.



Molly Pittman: That mirror thing.



Ralph Burns: This is a problem that everybody has. I mean it doesn’t matter if you’re first starting. It’s your first couple of dollars you spend on advertising or you’re spending a couple thousand dollars a day. This is a problem that spans every single person that runs ads on Facebook because the idea is that you want to run those ads to be able to get something from the people you put your ad in front of.



  Whether it’s a lead, whether it’s a sale, whether it’s an engagement for your post, whatever it happens to be. You’re looking at some of these metrics. One of the biggest metrics that we all are really keyed on is obviously a website conversion of some sort. Maybe it’s a name and an email. Maybe it’s a small purchase. Maybe it’s a full priced offer.



  The worst-case scenario here is you’re getting zero conversions. I think that’s what we’ll get into first. No matter who you are, what level you’re at, I think you’re going to be able to find something in this episode here to be able to help you out.



Keith Krance: There was a lot of craziness going on wasn’t there guys like in June. The entire month of June. I think a lot of it had to do with the transition with algorithm changes to be focused more on engaging ads and transitioning over to this new Facebook pixel. I think we’ve seen the dust settle quite a bit in the last few weeks and most of our clients have transitioned completely over to the new Facebook pixel. Maybe Ralph you can touch really quick on that now so people are clear on that.



Ralph Burns: Well, I mean I think the month of June I still think there was a lot going on behind the scenes that Facebook didn’t necessarily change how we interact with the platform itself through the Ads Manager and the Power Editor, although that has changed somewhat since then. I think the machinery behind the front facing interface was really changing a lot and I think it’s because of and I think we’ve said this a number of times here on the podcast is that there is coming upwards of three million advertisers here on Facebook so Facebook has to really up their game to make sure that they maintain the best user experience possible showing the right ads in front of the right audiences so they don’t alienate their base.



  I mean, we all rely on those one billion active users every single day getting on Facebook to run our ads in front of them. If you’re alienating that user base, then they’re not going to be coming back. I think Facebook has gotten smart with this and it means that all of us as advertisers need to continually up our game and get better at what we’re doing. There will be some tips here in this show that’ll definitely help that. I do think the dust has pretty much settled at this point. It seems to have normalized out and I think there’s some good changes they’ve made as well.



Keith Krance: Let’s talk about number one. Ralph what’s the first thing you tell your team to check when it comes to trying to figure out why you’re not showing any conversions or your conversion cost is supper high or maybe supper exorbitantly low?



Ralph Burns: The dreaded goose egg is really the one that we fear the most because that means we probably haven’t checked everything. You’re running ads for maybe a couple of days. You may or may not be checking your infusion stuff, your email provider, to see whether or not you’re getting leads but you look inside the Facebook Ads Manager and you don’t see any conversions. You see zero conversions. That immediately raises a red flag because chances are, even if you don’t really know what you’re doing, you’re probably going to get maybe one or two conversions.



  This might be a conversion for a lead or it might be a step after the lead. Like in our case sometimes it might be a registration for a webinar and then they purchase a product. There’s two things we’re measuring there. Whenever we see zero conversions in any step of the funnel the first thing we do, and we have a very specific checklist for this in the agency, is we go through and check our pixels and check everything, all the different URLs in that specific funnel. Make sure number one that there is a Facebook pixel on every page. Sometimes it’s not. Make sure that it’s actually placed in the right spot and that it’s firing correctly.



  There’s a tool that we use and if you’re running Facebook ads you should almost primarily be on the Google Chrome browser because obviously, you can access Power Editor for that as well but one of the best extensions, which is a little thing you can actually add on to your Chrome browsers is what’s called the FB Pixel Helper. It’s definitely a writer-downer and something that we’ll have in the Show Notes, here as well. If you don’t have that installed on your browser, do that immediately after you finish listening to this episode here because it’s so important. That will tell you whether or not you have a Facebook pixel on any page of your funnel or on your website. Definitely get that. That’s the first thing that we check. We check that it’s on there.



Molly Pittman: So, important and this might seem like a duh! but it’s something that a lot of people skip. They go right to diagnosing other problems. This is the first thing we look at too. If I’m running a campaign and it’s three to five days in and it’s time to go in and analyze the performance for the first time, if I see that our conversion costs are too high or just not getting any conversions usually there is an issue with URLs or pixels and I find errors all the time. This happens to everybody.



  Making sure that you’re not only sending traffic to the right page but that you’re also optimizing for the right pixel, for the right success page. Whatever you’re optimizing for. Because there have been times where I’ve set up campaigns, we’re sending traffic to the right page, but for some reason I accidentally optimized for the wrong conversion. Although we were getting opt ins it wasn’t reporting and we were optimizing for the wrong action.



  This happens a lot and sometimes there are bugs in Power Editor where you’ll think you selected the correct conversion pixel and may have accidentally selected the incorrect one. It seems simple but it’s a big issue and it will absolutely effect not only your optimization but also your tracking and the numbers that you see in your reports.



Ralph Burns: Yes, without a doubt. The first thing you want to check is to make sure the pixel is on there. That’s like solution number one. Solution number two is definitely make sure that your correct conversion pixel is actually the one that you have set up on the specific ad set. Another one that we find a lot is sort of solution three to this really almost is make sure that the Facebook pixel that’s on the pages that you’re running traffic to are actually associated with your ad account.



  We find this all the time in fact. Especially for an agency that does this, if you have multiple ad accounts or maybe they have another affiliate that they’re running traffic to that offer. Sometimes you’ll see a Facebook pixel on there, using the FB Pixel Helper, but it’s not yours. What you need to do is you need to go into your Ads Manager and actually check and make sure, there’s a little section in the Ads Manager under All Tools where you can check the number or what’s called the pixel ID number and you can double check that with what shows up inside FB Pixel Helper. Make sure that the right one’s on there. I think it’s a simple thing to do and sometimes something that people forget.



Molly Pittman: Step one, if your conversion costs are too high or volume is low, check your URLs and check your pixels.



Keith Krance: Problem Number Two. What’s Number Two, Molly?



Molly Pittman: Number two is that your click through rate is high and your CPC might be low but you’re still not getting conversions so usually we set a bench mark of anything over about one percent click through rate is great. That’s a really solid click through rate and depending on your market, any costs per click on Facebook, you know under a dollar is also thumbs up really good. We hear this a lot. My click through rate is great. My cost per click is low. I’m still not generating conversions or my conversion costs are just too high.



  The issue here is usually your landing page or our ad scent. Your ad has done a great job of qualifying the audience and getting them really interested and getting them to click over to your page but once they get to your page something bad happens. There’s something about your page that threw the user off so the ad scent was bad. The design from the ad to the landing page was too different. The offer that you made in the ad was different than the offer you made on the landing page. The copy in your ad was very different from the copy on your landing page.



  If you have that poor ad scent and when people click from the ad over to the landing page and it’s a totally different story then they heard in your ad, that’s really going to hurt your conversions. Your landing page is going to underperform. If you want to learn ways to increase your landing page conversion rate definitely listen to Episode 41 with Justin Rondeau, he’s the Director of Optimization here at DigitalMarketer.



  He shares ways to increase your landing page conversion rate because no matter how awesome your ad campaign is or how high your click through rate is or how low your cost per click, if they click over to the landing page and the landing page is not converting, your conversion cost is going to be high and your conversion volume is going to be low. If everything looks great on your end, on the traffic end but you’re still having an issue it’s definitely time to increase your landing page conversion rate and really look at ad scent.



Keith Krance: I know that Justin Rondeau recently did a Facebook Live on the DigitalMarketer Facebook page. Maybe we can link to that in the show notes as well. You can go to the DigitalMarketer main Facebook page and scroll down or you can just go to the show notes at digitalmarketer.com/podcast, and is it okay if we link out to that recording?



Molly Pittman: Absolutely. We can even embed it into the Show Notes. Justin on Facebook Live is going in and auditing landing pages so you can see some real-life examples of high converting landing pages. Of course, also listen to Episode 41. If your ad and your traffic campaigns are doing their job but your conversion cost is still too high, your volume’s low, then it’s really time to focus on your landing page. That’s the second item that we go and check out in order to diagnose an issue here.



Ralph Burns: Episode 12 actually goes into ad scent quite a bit. It’s almost an entire episode. I’d definitely recommend you go back and listen to that one here because if you think about it, lots of people are clicking your message to your market, your interest group is good. You’re resonating with them. They’re clicking. They’re getting low cost per click. You’re doing the first part of your ad really well.



  Sell the click, get them there but something on your landing page is saying, uh huh, no way. This becomes more of a landing page issue. Even on the landing page itself just on this one, this is another one where we go back to what we first talked about. Make sure that the buttons on your page are actually working. We had this happen just this past week with a customer like conversions dried.



  The gut manager went in and saw that the button that actually opened up the opt in wasn’t even loading. It’s stuff like that. Just double check. If you’re working, you’ve got a lot of different people in your organization. Maybe somebody forgot a little snippet of code or something like that. Double check your landing page. It might be that your landing page is good but maybe it’s just a technical issue on that page. Make sure it’s loading correctly. Make sure your buttons work. Everything else. Obviously, listen to those two episodes that we mentioned as well as the resources from Justin.



Keith Krance: Great stuff. Let’s move onto number three. Number three is what happens if your click through rate is low and your CPC or your cost per click is high? People aren’t clicking on your ad. Maybe your click through rate and the benchmark you gave Molly is less than one percent. This always of course depends on your industry. Maybe for you a high click through rate is five or six percent and a low lick through rate is one or two percent. If you have a really engaged audience, it’s low compared to your normal ads. That’s what we’re talking about here. Your cost per click is higher than normal. Then what’s the next step?



Molly Pittman: What do you think Ralph?



Ralph Burns: Well, you’ve got some work to do on this one.



Molly Pittman: We have a problem way before we even get to the landing page.



Ralph Burns: Right. There’s something that’s really not resonating here. This is probably the worst-case scenario, here, so if you’re getting super low CTRs, it depends like he says. We use an under-one percent benchmark in most cases maybe your cost per click is one dollar, two dollars, three dollars. That means that there could be lots of different things here. It could be your first off, reevaluate your offer. I think probably-



Keith Krance: Your hook.



Ralph Burns: Your hook specifically.



Keith Krance: What he means by your hook, it’s the reason why you’re wanting somebody to click. It’s the title of your blog post. Why you’re getting them to go read that or it’s the title of your lead magnet. Why you’re getting them to click or why you’re getting them to watch your video if it’s a video ad. Let’s re-evaluate the reason why you want them to take action.



Ralph Burns: In the episode with Ryan, on Episode 43, that’s probably the best episode there is about specifically your offer and then also there’s a great page on DigitalMarketer on Customer Value Optimization, which is an awesome one as well. You definitely want to look at that, probably first and foremost.



  Another issue here, a solution passed that one. I would say that’s really the big one is that you probably need to do some additional interest research. Your message in your ad is not matching the audiences that you’re putting that ad in front of. That’s almost a combination of two things.



  Go back to the drawing board. Go into audience insights, that great Facebook tool. There’s even a greater drop down interest that you can now get inside Power Editor which are super targeted. Really are very helpful. Then you want to look at your ads. Your ad copy. Your images. Is it matching what your market and what your offer is trying to relay?



  This is the multi-pronged one. I don’t think there’s really one specific thing but I think probably the biggest part of this is that you really have to look at your offer. Is it something that that market wants? If you know that it is then you can take steps two and three here with interest research and ad copy.



Molly Pittman: I you’re looking and your click through rate is low. It’s below one percent, even below point five is really where I’m at, “Ooh, that’s especially low,” or you’re CPC is high then you really are analyzing your campaign. Is this something that people actually want? Am I portraying why people should want this thing in my copy and am I putting it in front of the right people?



Keith Krance: This is a big one here. I’ve got four amazing business owners at my house right now for three days. We’re having this intensive workshop and it’s awesome and it’s funny because a lot of times people are out thinking, they want all the ninja, the target audience and the retargeting and all the things that they think are the sexy topics. You know what we’re spending eighty percent of our time on? Probably more like ninety-five percent of the two days on each person is their offer, their hook and then their messaging. What they’re doing to get people to click.



  The most successful clients in the agency are the guys that come to us that already have a killer offer and really good messaging. It makes the job so much easier. I actually did a Facebook live, I don’t know, maybe a week ago or so ago. One of the guys here told me yesterday that, “Yeah,” he goes, “I actually took action on what you said. I gave people an exercise a little bit like what Roy Williams talks about in Wizard of Ads. One of Ryan Deiss‘ books he recommends and gave us at War Room.” I said, “Hey, do this. I want you to do an exercise. I want you to get out of this for a minute, this conversion like thinking, and try to create an ad that will get people to share your ad.”



  This is what Facebook wants. They want engaging ads. They want stuff that people share that shows them your ad is relevant to your audience. Just do an exercise. Don’t think about conversions at all. Just try to create an ad that somebody will share and like.



  One of the guys did. He took, he had this thirty second video clip. He’s in the wrestling space. Killer, he teaches tactile wrestling and he had this thirty second clip and he used that as an ad and he linked out to the home page. He was implementing this exercise. He’s like, in twenty-four hours that video got one hundred and fifty thousand views organically. Not reached, but views. Basically, it went viral. It got three hundred thousand views in two days.



  He linked to the homepage and they’re getting leads and sales from that. Now, because of that exercise, now we’re going to take that thirty-second video and make that the intro to actual videos that sell stuff. Now it’s thirty-second video that’s killer and then it goes into thirty seconds or a minute or two minutes of teaching and call to action. Now all they have to do is add some value and add a call to action.



  Facebook shares that because it’s high value but you want to think about what are your audiences pain points? What do they really want? How can you deliver value and deliver something that’s engaging so Facebook rewards you with massively more impressions and cheaper clicks? Then you’ve also got to get them to take action. You’ve got to have something they want. That’s why you’ve got to go back and listen to these episodes where Ryan talks and we talk about offers that work with Facebook and messaging.



  I’m telling you, this is the biggest easiest way to take your business and I think your life to the next level is get your messaging and your offer right. Everything else will take care of itself.



Molly Pittman: Yes, Keith, the wrestling example is interesting. Of course, we don’t recommend sending traffic right to your home page if you want conversions.



Keith Krance: That was just an exercise, exactly.



Molly Pittman: What he was doing was testing messaging. Really when you’re writing ad copy you shouldn’t reinvent the wheel. If you have emails that have worked in the past, if you’ve given a talk at a live event and people really resonated with what you had to say, pull copy, pull messaging from those scenarios and use them in your ads because you know that they work. I think that’s a great example of testing. We talked about in Episode 52 really spending a few hundred dollars to collect data and figure out what your market responds to and then turn those ads into ads that the goal is conversion.



Keith Krance: Think outside the box. What we took from that learning session was that that clip was awesome. It was actionable. It was like emotional because it was like Dan Gable talking in the background, the coach of Iowa who was his coach in college. Then he can transition into him giving value or him saying, “Hey, I’ve got this amazing,” my eleven commandments. They can go now. They can lead into their call to action. We’re going to take that learning lesson and turn it into an ad that will get people to click and convert and take them to the landing page.



Molly Pittman: That’s great, Keith.



Keith Krance: You’ve got to learn and adjust and think outside the box like this. This is how you win big on Facebook.



Molly Pittman: For example, we’re launching a new product right now at launchgrid.com and the ads that I’m creating are really just variations of emails that we’ve sent that worked. We knew the messaging worked. It was longer copy that was more conversational. I simply copied, pasted it over into Power Editor, made some adjustments because it’s an ad and not an email. We knew that that worked so why not use it?



Keith Krance: You Facebook-ized it.



Molly Pittman: We’ll have an episode here in a few weeks that lays out our traffic plan for that launch. It’s been really effective but use what you have and what you know works. Speaking of an engagement, I think that rolls into number four, which is, if you have a campaign and you have ads that have high social shares, high relevance scores, high engagement, but conversions are low, that’s really the fourth thing that we look at.



  I see this a lot. People have ads and maybe it’s a video and they’re like, “Molly, this is having millions of views,” or “Look at this link post ad, it has hundreds of shares and lots of comments but it’s still not converting.” The first thing that we ask ourselves is, “Is that the goal of this ad,” because a lot of times if you are running a super engaging ad, especially to cold traffic, well the goal of that ad is to introduce yourself to that audience. To pixel people. To really begin that relationship.



  Your goal wouldn’t be leads or sales. Just to separate the two there and to really understand first is that the goal of this particular campaign or this particular ad? If it’s not, then let that ad keep doing what it’s doing best and engaging with the audience. That ad is doing what it’s supposed to. Let your retargeting ads do the work on the conversion side. That’s just a mindset switch there and really understanding the goal of your campaigns. If you do have an ad that’s getting a lot of engagement, high relevant score, and the goal is conversions what would you guys recommend changing or evaluating?



Ralph Burns: For us, this was a problem that we had with a specific ad that was in the survival niche that we had. The creative was very, and the ad copy was very nationalistic for a US based audience. It was getting tons and tons of shares. Everyone loved it. Lots and lots of comments. Everything positive. Nobody was converting.



Molly Pittman: It looked good from the outside but on the inside you were sad.



Keith Krance: Yes. Very sad, unfortunately. That was goose egg one. We had lots and lots of engagement. How we switched is we basically just said, “We need to do one of two things.” Either put some sort of specific call to action that’s related to the message, which we did do, or we just went back to other ads that we had done previously that had converted well and really swapped out our ad copy a lot.



  We didn’t get the amount of social shares and everything else on the other ads that we created but we really went back to square one. Our message is missing the mark here. Even when we did add a call to action, it still, the shares and everything else didn’t overtake the fact that it wasn’t converting. We did eventually get some conversions on it. We really just re-framed everything in our ad. Our ad copy, creative, everything else. Just to match the market better.



Molly Pittman: You also want to look at your campaign objective. You could have an ad that you have optimized for page post engagement or video views and it’s getting a lot of engagement and it’s not converting and that’s because you’re not telling Facebook that’s what you want.



  My suggestion there would be to take that same ad that has all of those social shares and likes and comments and create a new campaign where you’re optimizing for conversions. You’re optimizing for clicks. You can take that ad that has a high relevance score that you know that people like and then behind the scenes you’re telling Facebook, “I want to optimize for leads or I want to optimize for the slow dollar sale.”



Keith Krance: Love it.



Ralph Burns: Yes, and when we covered that in Episode 37. Lots of referring back to other episodes here but that was one of the five biggest mistakes that we see when running Facebook ads and when we look at ad accounts is exactly that. It’s reevaluate your objective. Tell Facebook exactly what it is that you want. What you want out of your campaign. They’ll get it for you.



Keith Krance: It’s like video ads and if you’ve done that right, first of all pat yourself on the back. You need to take some time and acknowledge that’s not easy to do, to make something that’s relevant that people are sharing and liking. You either have to switch your objective or try to figure out a way. Take some time to transition into a call to action that makes sense. Don’t try to do it in a hurry.



  I’ll take half a day writing one ad a lot of times. This is something that is worthwhile, time well spent. If you’re doing a video ad we usually use website conversions for the objective for video ads. I’ve seen video views as the objective went out. In some cases, as far as cost per conversion, if it gets a super low cost per video view but most cases if we’re trying to get them to take action like buy a product or opt-in for a webinar we use website conversions.



  The great thing, too, is when you’re doing these types of ads is—we’re seeing really cool, amazing results right now from the video view custom audiences. We’ll get on that in future episodes but people who have watched twenty-five percent or more, re-target those people. We’re creating lookalike audiences now of people who have watched fifty percent or seventy-five percent of videos and audiences are really working well.



  If you’re doing something like that you are building that goodwill. You’re branding yourself more than you realize. You’ve still got to get conversions and ROI. If you’re just losing money you can’t keep going. You’ve got to figure out a way to change objective or transition to a stronger call to action. You just have to. Otherwise it’s going to waste a lot of money. Take some time thought. It doesn’t always happen overnight.



Ralph Burns: Indeed.



Molly Pittman: To recap, if you’re conversion cost is too low or you’re not generating the amount of conversions you would like, first check your pixels and your URLs. That seems simple but it’s a very, very common mistake. Number two, if your click through rate’s high and you’re CPC is low, then it’s time to analyze your landing page and really make sure you have consistent ad scent from your ad to your landing page.



  If your click through rate’s low and your CPC is high, you have a lot of work to do on your traffic campaign. It’s time to make sure you’re making an offer that people actually want. That your ad copy is really speaking to their pain points and the specific end benefit. That your creative really portrays the marketing message and that you’re actually putting the ad in front of people who are interested. That your targeting is really specific and that you’ve done your research.



  Last but not least, if you have an ad that’s getting a lot of engagement, that people are really responding to but you’re still not getting conversions then make sure you’re setting your objective to tell Facebook that that’s what you want. That you’re making strong calls to action within the ad.



Ralph Burns: Perfect.



Keith Krance: All right. Love it. Great recap. Like we said, get back with some of those episodes. Get back to the show notes. We’ll have all of the screen shots we’ve talked about, Facebook live videos, all that stuff in the Show Notes. Hope you enjoyed this. Take some action. Pick one of those. Adjust your ads and see how it improves.



Molly Pittman: Let us know.



Keith Krance: Yes, let us know how it is in the Facebook groups. All right. Talk to you soon. See you next week.



Ralph Burns: Can we take our lab coats off now? It’s getting hot in here.



Molly Pittman: No, Ralph, you have to wear yours all day.



Ralph Burns: Oh, man. It’s so hot outside. All right. Whatever we need to do for Perpetual Traffic is fine by me, Mol.



Molly Pittman: We’ll include pictures of Ralph in his lab coat too.



Keith Krance: Yes. All right. Talk to you soon.



Ralph Burns: See you.



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