How To Diagnose & Fix Failing Ads

Losing sales is never fun and pinpointing mistakes in your funnel can be confusing. 

There are so many variables to take into consideration as well as the metrics you’re measuring. 

However, understanding why you don’t have any sales starts with reviewing your ads. 

Let’s work through a basic example: 

Let’s say I open up my reports and see that my link clicks are costing $3.00 each. 

If I have a 3% conversion rate, then that means that I’ll have 3 buyers for every 100 visits on my site. 

$3.00 X 100 = $300.00 

If I only make $10 per sale, then I can only expect to make $30 back!

This example just goes to show that although you think you may have a problem making sales, the reality is that you have a problem with your ad. 

So now let’s talk about how to take action based on what you’re reporting

Reviewing Baseline Metrics

It’s important to review the metrics you should measure so you have a better understanding as to why you need to measure them. 

Display these metrics within your Ads Manager so when its time to review your ads, you don’t get lost. 

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

The click-through rate is the percentage of people who clicked a link in your ad to get to your site. 

You want to aim for a 1% CTR 

Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM) 

The CPM is the cost per thousand impressions. 

This metric changes depending on your niche, so we will be focused more on the other metrics on this list. 

However, it’s still important to measure this metric in your ad dashboard. 

Cost Per Link Click (CPC) 

The CPC shows how much each link click costs you. 

It benchmarks ad efficiency and performance. 

You want to aim for an average CPC of $1. 

Cost Per Add to Cart 

This metric measures the average cost of each add to cart. 

It’s calculated by taking the average amount spent and dividing it by the add to cart events. 

An average you want to aim for here is about 5-10% add to cart rate for those making it to your site. 

Cost Per Purchase

This metric measures the average cost per purchase. 

It’s calculated by taking the average amount spent and dividing by the purchase events. 

An average to aim for here is about 3%. 

Here are the metrics you should be keeping track of in your Business Manager

The Importance of Link Clicks 

Most of the baseline metrics we just went through rely on link clicks. 

When you’re first starting out with Facebook ads, you may be fixated on the lack of sales. 

But in reality, when you review the metrics you will see that little to no one is clicking on the links to get to your site. 

And for those who are clicking, those clicks may cost way too much, just like the example I worked out in the introduction. 

How To Diagnose Ad Failures And How To Fix Them 

High Cost Per Link Click (CPLC)

If the CPLC is high this usually means the click-through rate is below the 1% goal, and the cost per thousand impressions will, in turn, be high. 

Basically, a high CPLC means that your audience isn’t engaging with your ad. 

The Fix: 

Test a different image or video 

Whatever image or video you’re currently using isn’t persuasive enough to bring customers to your store.

Your image or video should: 

  • Have a clear hero shot of your product 
  • Show the main selling points and benefits

If what you’re selling isn’t clear to your audience, you need a new creative. 

Sakara Life has a simple, straightforward copy and a clear hero shot of their product.

Optimize your targeting 

Are you targeting the right audiences? 

And how well are you targeting these audiences? 

You should be using the following interests within your niche: 

  • Magazines 
  • Websites
  • Celebrities
  • Brands

Review your interests and see where they can improve. 

The link you use in your copy should be visible 

If someone has to click “see more” to view the link to your site, you need to remove that obstacle. 

Instead of rewriting your copy altogether, you can preface the copy with the link. 

You may need to find a new product 

If you’ve gone through the first 3 fixes and nothing seems out of the ordinary, you’ll need to find a new product. 

Your product should make someone stop to buy it the second they see it. 

The best products to advertise on Facebook are the ones people want to buy out of impulse, so sell a product that will make them want to purchase immediately. 

Once you guarantee that the product you’re selling is a leading product, you can then review the next steps in this funnel. 

Solid Link Clicks But Little To No Add To Carts 

If you are measuring along with the baseline average of 5-10%, then that means 1 out of every 10 – 20 people should be adding items to cart. 

Just a heads up: this metric fluctuates when you’re first getting started out, so you won’t see a consistent 5-10% reporting until you get more traffic.

Moving on, each link click you get won’t lead to a sale, so keep in mind that there are losses at each step of the funnel, especially on the product page. 

This happens to everyone, even the most optimized and experienced sites suffer from these losses. 

So, what should you check when you have consistent link clicks but fall under the 5-10% add to cart range? 

Your price 

The Fix: 

Keep your pricing competitive. 

If your product is priced too high, then test it at lower price points. 

See if you can find a similar product on Amazon or Google Shopping if you’re significantly higher then drop the price to something that’s more competitive.  

However, don’t price it too low, you’ll still have to make money off of each sale.

Your product page 

Your product page should be easy to navigate and uncluttered. 

A poorly designed site can drive customers away, so don’t overuse colors in your scheme, scarcity factors, or other ‘conversion-boosting’ apps. 

The Fix: 

Get your site reviewed by a friend or family member to see where you can improve the design of your store. 

You can also use HotJar, a heat mapping software, which will monitor your site visits and show the actions your customers take on your site. 

Your product 

As mentioned earlier, what you’re selling in your ad should be clear to your audience. 

Additionally, your customers should have a good idea as to where they’ll be taken once they click the link. 

The Fix:

Make sure the image you use on the ad is the same image they first see when landing on your product page. 

Your domain and store name should also match up to the name of your store on your business profile. 

If the ad was confusing, they may have had other expectations when coming to your store – which will increase bounce rates. 

So switch up your ad copy and images accordingly. 

You Have Consistent Add To Carts, But Little To No Reach Checkout 

You can view certain metrics in your Shopify Analytics dashboard such as add to carts, reach checkout, and purchases. 

By measuring these metrics, you can see what you’re achieving on the store level vs. specific ad levels. 

So what should you be checking when you’re reporting the average 5-20% add to carts, but little to no guests reaching checkout? 

Your call to action button

It’s important that you move people down the funnel towards the purchase. 

So, is your call to action, or add to cart button, immediately taking your visitor to the cart? 

It should be. 

The Fix: 

Some themes will leave people on the product page after they click the call to action, but this doesn’t fit our strategy. 

If this happens in your store, just go to your theme settings and change the redirect. 

If you are unable to, consider getting a new theme. 

Your cart page 

Now if you have a call to action button that takes your prospect to the cart page, but you still suffer from low initiate checkout numbers, there may be an issue on the cart page itself.

The Fix: 

To diagnose any issues on your cart page, have family or friends go through the purchase process starting on the product page. 

Have them jot down anything that seems odd. 

You can also use HotJar in this scenario as well. 

Again, some loss here is to be expected. 

What we’re looking for is something that drastically sticks out.

You’ve Met Your Reach Checkout Rate, But You Have Little To No Sales

If you fall below the 2-3% target for purchases, even though you meet your 5-10% add to cart rate and an adequate amount of initiate checkouts, there are a few benchmarks to measure. 

You already have a solid flow of buyers, so there aren’t any issues with the quality of your product, however, there are some extraneous factors that may be contributing to the drop off at purchase. 

So what should you look at? 

Shipping costs

Are your shipping rates too high? 

The Fix: 

Review how much you’re charging for your shipping. 

You can review these in your Shopify settings, or just go through the purchase sequence and add 1, 2, 3, etc. items to cart and see what the shipping rate is. 

We recommend charging no more than $4.99 for shipping and it’s best to be transparent with your charges, meaning include your shipping rates in the descriptions on your product page. 

This helps you minimize the number of abandoned carts. 

You can also set a shipping threshold. 

For example, offering free shipping when someone has more than $50 in their cart. 

Product price 

Make sure you’re pricing your product competitively. 

The Fix: 

If your product is priced too high, then test it at lower price points. 

See if you can find a similar product on Amazon or Google Shopping if you’re significantly higher then drop the price to something that’s more competitive.  

However, don’t price it too low, you’ll still have to make money off of each sale.

Are you selling in a location you don’t have shipping set up for? 

The Fix: 

Shopify asks you to set up shipping for each country. 

You should have shipping set up for the United States and possibly international. 

If you don’t know how to set up shipping in different locations, here’s how: 

Head to your settings and select the shipping option in the lower left-hand corner

Select ‘Manage Rates’ in the ‘Shipping Profiles’ Section

Select the “Create Shipping Zone” link at the bottom of the page and select the locations you’d like to ship to

In Summary

It’s important to make sure you’re looking at the complete picture of your customer’s journey. 

Most of the time, a lack of sales starts early in the funnel, usually at the ad level. 

Keep in mind that the baseline numbers we provided are just guidelines. 

Those are numbers typical for stores that are more established with consistently high traffic.

However, they’re still good to measure against when looking at the overall picture.