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#034: Facebook Ads Not Spending? Here's The Fix

Aug 26, 2023

Read Time: 4 Minutes

If you've been through my Facebook Ads For Authors Masterclass or Jumpstart Facebook Ads For Authors course, you'll know that each week, I set up 2 new Facebook Ads (each inside their own Ad Set) using a feature inside Facebook Ads called Dynamic Creative.

Dynamic Creative (or DCTs as I call them, which stands for Dynamic Creative Tests), allows me to harness the power of Facebook's machine learning and AI (Artificial Intelligence), and let the algorithm do all the heavy lifting in regards to identifying the winning Ads that I can then scale up.

At the same time, I'm running a 3rd Ad Set (my Main Ad Set) that contains all my winning Ads (that have been identified from previous DCTs).

You can see my Campaign structure below, with the Main Ad Set at the bottom and two DCTs above (036 and 037).

What I'm looking for when I come to optimize the Facebook Ads each week, is the DCT that has spent at least 50% of the budget that has been spent on the Main Ad Set, but ideally more than the Main Ad Set.

This week, so far (it's Wednesday morning as I write this newsletter) the two DCTs aren't looking good, as you can see from the Amount Spent column below.

The bottom line here is that if a DCT doesn't get much spend, it's a bad Ad, or at least, you've given the algorithm bad assets (i.e. Images, Headlines or Primary Text).

DCTs need to receive significant sums of money each week, otherwise, you’re not proving that these Ads can work at scale – and if you want to reach more readers, you need to find Ads that work at scale.

What Do I Do When DCT's Don't Spend?

Quite simply, if DCTs aren't spending money, I keep creating more DCTs and continue testing.

But I'm not just throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks; I'm testing strategically (which we'll cover shortly).

Facebook will spend money on DCTs that:

  • They have high confidence in
  • People resonate and engage with
  • Produce the result you're looking for (for us, that's clicks, using the Traffic objective)

I'm also looking for DCTs that not only send a lot of clicks but also impact the business in a positive way.

By this, I mean that, as I'm sending readers from my Facebook Ads to Amazon to buy my wife's books, I'm looking for an uplift in bestseller ranks, total royalties, and read-through, which comes from more sales/borrows of not just the book I'm advertising (Book 1 of the series), but other books in the series/catalogue.

Sometimes, I'll find DCTs that get a lot of spend, but don’t impact the business, which is totally ok (if you spot them in time); I just need to turn those DCTs off sooner rather than later. I call these Trojan Horse Ads and wrote about them in a recent edition of The Saturday Self-Published Author.

When I find a winning DCT, like the example below, I do not do anything differently from an Ad Account perspective; I still follow the strategy and account structure I lay out inside Jumpstart Facebook Ads For Authors. I just do things differently from a creative standpoint and test strategically (more on this shortly).



A Few DCT Rules I Follow

  • Leave DCT active for 7 days before making a decision
  • If it’s not getting a lot of spend, turn it off
  • If it gets a lot of spend, but there’s no significant uplift in overall business performance, turn it off
  • If it gets a lot of spend, and business performance stays the same or improves, leave it turned on and move the winning DCT over to the Main Ad Set

I just have one caveat to the above... After 3-4 days of the DCTs being launched, make sure they aren't suffering from a Trojan Horse Ad (I simply check the conversions with Amazon Attribution to confirm this).

Your Opinion Doesn’t Matter

This was a hard pill for me to swallow, but at the end of the day, your perspective of believing an Ad to be a "good Ad" doesn't matter.

Your opinion of an Ad doesn't matter.

The only thing that matters is what your audience, and therefore Facebook, thinks of your Ad. Nothing else.

I’ve lost count of the number of Ads I’ve run that I’ve thought weren’t particularly good, but have crushed it, and then Ads that I thought were amazing that have completely tanked.

Let Facebook tell you whether it’s a good Ad or not.

The only thing I care about is creating Ads that will work at scale and make a significant impactful improvement on the business.

Testing Your DCTs Strategically

If a DCT doesn’t work (i.e. spend money), you need to test more ideas.

But what do you test? Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing and ensure that you're not just throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks; you're testing your ideas strategically and methodically:

  • Test different personas (appeal to different people by mentioning different tropes of your books in your Ads)
  • Test different desires (what do people who read books in your genre look for? Test Ads that appeal to these different desires)
  • Test different benefits (price, formats available, the experience of reading your book, a bonus story they receive with the book, etc.)
  • Test different visuals (test new image ideas, different reader quotes, different straplines, different characters, etc.)
  • Test different angles (pitch the story from a different perspective, set the scene differently, create tension and stakes in a different way, etc.)

Wrapping Up

If a DCT isn’t getting spend, in my eyes, it’s Facebook's way of telling me it’s a bad Ad (whether it’s the images, the headlines or the Primary Text of the Ad – or a combination of all of them)

Even if a DCT is getting a good ROAS (Return on Ad Spend), conversions are strong, and cost per sale is good, at a low spend, if it’s not spending significant sums of money, it’s not a good Ad.

I've had DCTs that have spent $5 - $10 per day over the course of a week that convert well and have a great ROAS and cost-per-sale, but when I put those Ads into my Main Ad Set, they do nothing. And it's because they aren't built for scale.

Which is why I no longer base my decision on what a good Ad is on ROAS, Conversion Rate or Cost-Per-Sale alone.

So, the answer is simply to continue testing, and stay consistent.

Finally, understand that most of your DCTs won’t work – I see around a 20% success rate of DCTs, and that’s perfectly ok.

Your Main Ad Set is driving the majority of your sales anyway.

The sole purpose of the DCTs is to “beat” the Ads in your Main Ad Set and find new winners that can be profitably and sustainably scaled.

Those that stay in the game, win. You can only fail at anything in life when you give up.

You got this.

To Your Success
– Matt



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