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 in which 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, the mistakes marketers make will be even more glaring.

These are some examples that have made me cringe in the last little while.

Spelling & Grammar Matter

poor facebook ad

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 over there.

bad facebook ad

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

Find Your Own Images

duplicate ad images

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.


poor segmenting ads

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


  1. Sohan March 29th, 2013

    It’s that and a combination of FB screwing all the advertisers, from the CPM that doesn’t get clicks (costing us more per click) to algorithms that make no sense and counting likes, comments etc as clicks when they clearly aren’t.

    Facebook has a lot of improving to do before their platform is stable.

  2. Erik May 12th, 2013


    I’m quite new to fb adds. However, testing multiple images / variations along with different precise interests has aloud us to maintain a .110 CTR. Using optimized CPM our average CPC is about $.03 cents.

    I’ve found that optimized CPM works so much better than any CPC scheme. Get a good CTR and use CPM. CPM is meant for well performing ads and I’ve been able to save lots.

    These ads are in reference to an external URL for our campaign

    Just wanted to share

    PS: For some reason.. every time I promote my page / post as opposed to an external URL I have hit CTR as high as 8% under sponsored stories. Plus my average page likes campaign has CTR between .220% to .800%. Anyone else found this?

  3. Christian May 24th, 2013

    Hey Erik. Im new on this thing too! I would like to know if you can help me with this cause Im a rookie on this. Email he at Wish you success!

  4. omar July 11th, 2013

    hi based on your comments you seem to be having great succes with high click through rates and very inexpensive ads, due you mind sharing what market or service you where advertising . I am also a newbie to facebook ads in the travel market

  5. Geoffrey November 21st, 2014

    Still waiting for FB to get it’s act together as far as ads are concerned… the ads don’t always suck, CTR is just dismal because their back end still doesn’t quite get it. Not only that, but it’s unheard of to have a platform offer advertising and no access to customer service. I’ll stick with google adsense, thanks.

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Mark John Hiemstra is a writer, and content and social media marketing consultant with MJH Content Marketing Solutions ( He posted his first website content in 2000, beginning a long love affair with the written word via the most accessible platform in the history of the world.