3 Reasons Your Facebook Ads Aren’t Spending Their Budget

At least 2-3 times a week within Facebook Ad groups, I see the following question:

“Why aren’t my ads delivering? It’s not coming close to spending the budget.” People get frustrated and start tearing their hair out trying to figure it out. I see it most commonly on smaller spends, but it definitely happens on larger ones, too.

Looking to troubleshoot it? Here are the most common reasons your Facebook Ads aren’t delivering fully, or aren’t spending their whole budget!

Problem #1: Running conversion ads without enough data

When you pick a conversion-focused ad, you are going to specify in your ad set the action that you want Facebook to optimize your money for. That sounds great, except you need a good chunk of those actions happening in a week: Facebook recommends 50 conversions per ad set, per week. Not a small number.

A lot of advertisers go right for the conversion and pick events like purchases or leads.

Here’s the thing: without those things happening 50-ish times a week, Facebook doesn’t know how to optimize your buy. It kind of freaks out and freezes up, because it has no data history to base its decisions on.

If you are focusing on a conversion ad, but don’t have a lot of your ultimately-desired conversion happening, pick something that happens more often for the time being. Something like Add to Cart instead of Purchase, or a simple lead capture for a free giveaway vs. a webinar registration. This can help not only solve chronic under-delivery of your Facebook ads, but also give the algorithm some data to start learning with.

Problem #2: You have a small Facebook ads budget that you’re expecting too much from

One of the things I focus on helping advertisers understand is the wide variety of costs you’ll see on Facebook.

If you are focusing on something expensive like conversion ads that are a $20 CPM and you’re only putting $5/day towards your ad sets, this can be a problem. You are affording such a small part of the audience for the cost of what even 1,000 impressions cost, it’s hard for Facebook to even squeeze you into the auction some days.

Again, back off the conversions and go for something cheaper, like post engagement or video views to get more eyeballs for cheaper.

Problem #3: Audience overlap in your ad sets

I have a longer post on this, but the basic premise is this: users are fluid. Ad sets are not separate and distinct from one another. You can have the same user popping up in multiple ad sets.

When this happens on a smaller scale, it’s not a big deal, but it becomes a large problem if it’s happening a lot.

A little over a year ago, a rep told me that the algorithm was catching on to advertisers who were taking the same ad sets and duplicating them several times to scale. It caused frequency issues for the users that were a concern. They warned that it would start picking a winning ad set and pushing the results to that – I have seen this start to happen over the last several months.

That same logic can wreak havoc when you have unintentional overlap going on.

I have a six-figure ecommerce client that was targeting a bunch of interest combinations.  In theory, what they were doing made sense – but they weren’t aware of things like audience overlap. The combinations would do well the first few days, and then the CPA would just get out of control on some, while reach completely flamed out on the others.

It’s because there was so much overlap between the ad sets.

The interests had a lot in common with one another, but they were running them in separate ad sets, so they were hitting a lot of the same users.

Another large ecomm client I have was seriously struggling on ROAS. When I disabled some of the ad sets I suspected were causing major overlap issues, the results skyrocketed on the ones we kept live.

There can be other reasons your Facebook ads under-deliver or don’t spend their budget fully, but over half the time, I find these are the culprits. If you’re struggling with this, I’d hit these most common issues first!

I do have a longer post on audience overlap coming up – if you want to get a heads up every time a new post hits, don’t forget to hop on my email list!


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