Published an ad but don’t see it getting the reach you expected? Wondering if your Facebook ads are delivering at all?
Keep reading for a list of the top reasons why your Facebook ad campaign isn’t delivering and how you can fix it right away.
“Not delivering” means that your active ads are not being displayed to your target audience. This can happen to new ads or to existing ads that have been delivering in the past.
To see if this is the case for your campaigns, ad sets or ads, check the Delivery column in Ads Manager.
The status “Not delivering” can appear for a variety of reasons. If an issue prevents the ad from being delivered, the sub-status will read “Update required.”
No matter the reason, don’t fret or ditch the campaign. The reason is, more often than not, something maddeningly simple and straightforward to fix.
Here’s a list of the most common reasons your Facebook ads are active but not delivering — and what you can do to set things right.
The Facebook post associated with your ad may have been removed, or you may no longer have permission to view it. Or, you may be using a post that can’t be promoted in an ad.
Your ad might contain an offer/event that has ended/expired, or the product you’re trying to promote couldn’t be found because the product ID is missing or the product set is empty (out of stock or deleted).
Also, Shared posts can’t be boosted by anyone except the owner of the original post.
Depending on the exact reason, you can either:
- Get permission from the page Admin or Editor.
- Choose a different Page post.
- Create a new offer and ad in a different ad set.
- Review your catalog to see if the product you wish to promote is available.
Once you’ve made the necessary changes, manually toggle the ad set back to active, and the “Update required” sub-status should now be gone.
Another simple problem that’s easy to forget (but also easy to fix!) is going over your account’s spending limit. Your account spending limit is the overall spending limit you set for the entire ad account. Once the limit is reached, Facebook will stop showing your ads.
In Ads Manager, navigate to the Billing & Payment Methods section in Settings.
You will find the account spending limit box on the right side of the screen, along with the amount spent out of the total limit.
To resume your ad delivery, change, remove or reset your account spending limit.
Laser-targeting your ads helps prevent wasting budget on uninterested people, but restricting your ads to an extremely narrow audience set might stop your ads from delivering at all. Facebook requires advertisers to have at least 1,000 users in their target audience.
Your ads might not deliver if:
- Your targeting parameters don’t have enough users in them.
- You’re leaving out too much of your audience for your ads to be efficient.
- The customer list you’ve uploaded isn’t matching the number of people expected.
Here are a few fixes:
- Add more behaviors or interests.
- Allow the Facebook Pixel to collect more data before launching retargeting campaigns.
- Reconsider your geographical restrictions.
- Use Lookalike Audiences to let Facebook use a source audience (website visitors, email list, etc.) to find similar prospects based on demographics and interests.
- Add more users to your customer list.
Ultimately, you’ll need to reach the 1,000-user threshold for your ads to deliver.
Forget delivery; your ad can also be rejected for publishing. Issues with getting Facebook ads approved are fairly common on the platform. This is because Facebook rigorously makes sure every ad meets its advertising policies before publishing.
If your ad doesn’t, you’ll receive a notification email with the reason for disapproval. You can also check an ad’s status in Ads Manager.
There are plenty of reasons why Facebook may reject your ad, such as the use of restricted content (depictions of alcohol, dating, gambling, etc.) or prohibited content (depiction of illegal products, weapons, profanity, etc.).
The review process also includes your ad’s associated landing page. So, make sure your ad’s landing page is functional, doesn’t have a misleading/sensationalized headline, and contains an offer (product/service) that matches the offer in the ad.
You have two options:
- If, for example, Facebook cites the reason as your image being inappropriate, change the image to one that complies with their guidelines. Save the ad and hope it gets approved upon resubmission.
- If you feel that your ad has been wrongfully disapproved, you can request a re-review in Account Quality.
Also, suppose your ad falls into a special category (such as social issues, employment opportunities, etc.). In that case, your targeting will be limited (for instance, you can’t target by age or gender for employment-related ads). You must choose the category that best describes your ads so Facebook can ensure there’s no discrimination happening on the platform.
Another rather common reason for an ad not delivering is a tight bid or budget that doesn’t let Facebook show the ad to the intended audience.
Consider this: your audience targeting tells Facebook’s ad delivery algorithm who you want to serve your ad to. The algorithm then delivers your ad to a section of that audience that is the most likely to take the desired action (like your page, fill a form, etc.).
The algorithm decides optimal delivery based on the ad’s performance. Still, if you’re too restrictive with your budget, it’ll limit your ad’s delivery to such a tiny audience that the algorithm can’t gather statistically significant data and learn from it.
For instance, if you run ads with a daily budget of $2, Facebook’s algorithm can’t learn fast enough to determine if the ads are effective, and it will ultimately lead the algorithm to stop serving your ads altogether.
Likewise, even if you have a decent daily budget (say, $40/day), setting a tight bid cap (say, $1.5) may not give the algorithm enough opportunities to reach relevant audiences who are likely to take action. And if the ads aren’t being seen, the algorithm will stop delivering them.
With the problem clear, the fix is easy. Keep your budget and bid high enough to give the algorithm ample time to learn and optimize your ads.
Consider ditching the daily limits and setting a lifetime budget instead. This lets Facebook spend your budget as it sees fit and spread the amount that you spend over the entire runtime of your campaign or ad set.
Furthermore, consider starting with the lowest cost bid strategy (automatic bidding), as it helps drive the best results at the lowest possible cost. It lets Facebook make full and efficient use of your budget. This strategy ensures your bid price will never be set too low (and under-deliver).
You can then adjust with daily bid caps (if you want) based on initial performance.
Don’t guess your budget. Download our free Facebook Ads Budget Calculator to determine exactly how much ad spend you need to meet your ad campaign’s objectives.
It’s in Facebook’s best interest to show ads that are relevant and engaging. So if your ads are getting little-to-no engagement, they won’t be delivered as often as ads that drive more user engagement.
- Quality ranking: How your ad’s perceived quality compared to ads competing for the same audience.
- Engagement rate ranking: How your ad’s expected engagement rate compared to ads competing for the same audience.
- Conversion rate ranking: How your ad’s expected conversion rate compared to ads with the same optimization goal competing for the same audience.
One way to solve this issue is to create a new ad with refreshed creatives or target a higher-intent audience. Here’s a comprehensive chart from Facebook that provides recommendations on fixing this issue.
Also, Facebook emphasizes that it’s more impactful to move a ranking from low to average than to move the ranking from average to above average, so your first focus should be on improving low rankings first.
If you’re targeting a similar audience with multiple ads, you are essentially competing against yourself, which can seriously hurt your ads’ delivery.
When your audiences have near-identical targeting across your campaign’s ad sets, Facebook tries to prevent your ads from competing against each other during the auction process. This helps lower costs and make optimal use of your budget.
If your ads are running like they’re supposed to, and none of the other solutions are helping fix delivery issues, then it’s worth checking your audience targeting to see if there’s a significant overlap.
Fortunately, Facebook has an Audience Overlap Tool to help fix this exact issue.
In Ads Manager, navigate to the Audiences tab and choose the audiences you think are overlapping. Then, select Show Audience Overlap under Actions. You’ll be shown an overlap in the number of people, along with the percentage overlap.
Another way to overcome overlapping audiences when targeting two separate audiences with different ad sets is to exclude them from one another. To do this, go to that particular audience and select Interests. Next, use the exclude option to exclude the other audience based on that interest.
As discussed earlier, each ad is reviewed by Facebook’s team to ensure it complies with their advertising policies and terms of service. The reviews are done by combining Facebook’s automated review systems and manual reviews done by members of their support staff.
As per Facebook’s Business Help Centre, “most ads are reviewed within 24 hours, although in some cases it may take longer,” — which means that your ads can get stuck in the review process for longer than 24 hours (especially around the holiday season when more brands are investing in Facebook advertising).
Facebook recommends planning and scheduling your ad posts ahead of their intended dates. In the Budget and Schedule section of ad creation, select a start and end date. This lets you have a few days’ grace if your ad needs to be sent to Facebook’s team for manual approval.
The following changes to previously scheduled or running ads or ad sets will trigger a new review process:
- Creative (e.g., images, text, links, or videos)
- Billing event
So, don’t edit your ads until the approval process is done since these changes force the review process to start over again.
Another somewhat common and relatively trivial issue hindering your ad delivery is scheduling.
In essence, Facebook will only show your ads during the time you specify, and a few potential scheduling issues could prevent your ad from delivering:
- Your campaign is set to run in the future.
- The end date already passed.
- Your ad, ad set, or campaign is paused.
The fixes are straightforward. If your campaign is set to run in the future, but you wish to start now, edit your ad schedule. Suppose the end date has passed, set a new end date. If your campaign is paused, restart it.
By picking an optimization goal, you tell Facebook exactly what type of action you want your audience to take. This helps Facebook to target your audience with better precision.
Let’s say you’ve chosen to optimize for link clicks. Essentially you’re telling Facebook you’d like to target the people who’re more likely to click through to your links based on their engagement behavior with similar ads.
Facebook considers user value signals to determine the best audience for your chosen optimization goal:
Choosing the right optimization goal for your campaign objective is pivotal to narrow down your audience, but problems may arise when you optimize for conversions.
Optimizing for conversions from the get-go isn’t necessarily “wrong” per se — but it can cause delivery issues due to a lack of conversions.
That’s because when you optimize for conversions, Facebook uses conversions as the seed metric for finding ideal targets. With negligible or no conversions, though, there’s not enough data to work with, and thus, the algorithm can’t determine who’d be interested in your ad.
To avoid this issue, switch to a type of conversion that’s likely to happen more frequently, such as using the “Add to cart” event instead of “Purchase.”
You can also change the optimization goal to link clicks instead of conversions. This way, conversions will still be tracked, but Facebook can also figure out who’s interested in your ads based on who has clicked and can then optimize your ad’s delivery to reach your ideal audience.
Once you are getting consistent conversions, change the goal back to conversions.
To do this, in Ads Manager, select your ad set to edit, and change the optimization goal to “Link Clicks.”
It’s even easier in AdEspresso — all you have to do is head over to your campaign dashboard and select the pencil icon next to the optimization goal field to make your changes.
Now you probably know why your Facebook ad is approved and active but not delivering (or why it’s rejected). You also know exactly what to do if your ads aren’t delivering.
Of course, you may not be able to fix every single issue you face, but the above list would save you from a lot of avoidable frustration.
And if you’re still having trouble with your campaign and need an extra pair of eyes to ensure your ads deliver the results you expect, grab an espresso and let AdEspresso do the rest!
Pick from our campaign reviews, 1:1 coaching, and Facebook advertising concierge services to tackle all the deeper issues with your ads and get expert advice/action to drive real ROI from Facebook advertising.