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Why are you getting low CTR on Facebook? Because your ads suck

Joseph Kerschbaum
Joseph Kerschbaum
SVP, Search & Growth Labs
4 min read
27 March 2013

Much is made of the low CTR of Facebook ads. An average (or even good) rate of click is 0.020-0.050%, depending on who you ask. That’s a lot of ads displayed with not very many clicks. Others approach a more respectable, but still frustratingly low CTR of up to 0.5%

There are reasons for low CTR, but the biggest one I’ve noticed while checking for pictures of what my friends had for lunch that day is that most Facebook ads just suck. Plain and simple, no kid gloves, they suck in many ways.

The competition: The newsfeed

There are several reasons for low CTR that we can attribute to outside sources, the first of which is that Facebook is a site where you have a lot of competition directly on the Newsfeed. There are few cases in which any ad is more enticing to look at, let alone click on, than a video of some really cute kitties.

Unlike on other websites (everyone goes to a website to consume content, not click on ads), the competition comes in fast and furious, with people scanning different content all along the page.

That means your ad better be top-notch if you want even the slightest chance of having it clicked.

And with an updated Newsfeed coming soon with ads that will roll into the feed and be even larger, marketers’ mistakes will be even more glaring.

These examples have made me cringe.

Spelling and grammar matter

Passive income formula advertisement for business building tips. Bad grammar example.

Come on, now. “Residaul?”

And with the above image, grammar also matters. I know you’re trying to fit a lot of information into a small space, but “Get best free business success building formula” is not giving me any confidence in anyone’s business ability.

Example of an advertisement where the spelling and grammar aren't correct and how this undermine the credibility of a brand.

And this one. This one is not from Facebook, but the point is that if you can’t spell correctly, how do you expect anyone to take your ad seriously?

Find your own images

Two identical photos used in two different ads.

Folks, if you can’t be bothered to find your own images, this could happen to you: two ads with the same image stacked on top of each other. This is the Facebook Ads equivalent of two people wearing the same outfit to a party in 1962. It’s embarrassing for everyone and no one takes you seriously anymore.


Lazy advertising example

This is just lazy advertising. There’s a segment for each of these sports categories, and you could drill down a lot deeper than just the league – the city, the team, even a specific player. Facebook is letting all those people Like stuff so that you can find them with your ads. Take advantage and segment!

There is a cure!

First step: admitting you have a problem. Like any other solution, you have to be aware of the problem before you can fix it, so take some time to really look over your ads and make sure they’re fit for public consumption.

It’s hard enough on Facebook to catch people’s attention, and there’s a whole lot that can be written on that subject, but for now let me just leave you with this one thought: If no one is clicking on your ads, your ads might suck. Refine your strategy accordingly.

Mark John Hiemstra

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SVP, Search & Growth Labs

Joseph Kerschbaum