As a social media advertising expert, I often hear from businesses and marketers who are perplexed as to why Facebook isn’t spending their entire ad budget. Despite setting a daily or lifetime budget, they notice that their ads may not be delivering at all or are only running for a portion of the time. This can be frustrating, but it’s important to understand that there are several reasons why this might be happening. In this blog post, we’ll explore these potential explanations and provide solutions to help ensure that your ads are getting the exposure they deserve on the world’s largest social media platform. So, let’s dive in and unravel the mystery behind Facebook’s ad spend.
Step 1: Check the Delivery Column
If you’re experiencing issues with your ads not delivering on Facebook, the first step is to check the Delivery column in your Ads Manager. This column provides insights into the status of your ads, such as how many people your ad has reached, how many times it’s been shown, and whether or not it’s delivering correctly. Oftentimes, issues like Learning Limited and Creative Fatigue can be identified through this column as the most common culprits that could lead to a drop in delivery.
Learning Limited occurs when your ad set has reached its learning phase limit, meaning that Facebook’s algorithm has determined that it has learned as much as it can about your ad’s performance. Once this happens, Facebook may limit the delivery of your ad set until it can gather more data to optimize its performance. This can be a frustrating experience for advertisers, but there are ways to combat this issue, such as adjusting your ad set’s targeting or increasing your budget to allow Facebook to gather more data.
On the other hand, Creative Fatigue happens when your ads have been running for a long time without any changes to the creative elements such as the images, videos, or copy. Facebook’s algorithm may begin to see your ads as repetitive and less engaging to your audience, leading to a decrease in delivery. One solution to this issue is to refresh your ad creative regularly to keep it fresh and engaging for your audience. This can be done by swapping out images, videos, or ad copy or by testing new variations of your ad creative.
Step 2: Check Your Activity History
When your Facebook ads aren’t delivering as expected, it’s important to take a look at your Activity History. There are a couple of reasons why this could be useful in identifying potential issues.
Firstly, it’s possible that there was a significant change made to your campaign or ad set that led to the drop in delivery. By checking your Activity History, you can identify any changes that were made and assess their impact on your ad’s performance. Perhaps someone made a change to your targeting or budget, and this resulted in your ads not spending the entire budget. Identifying and addressing these changes can help get your ads back on track.
Secondly, it’s important to look for frequent changes or pauses in your ad activity that could negatively impact delivery. These can include changes to your ad creative or targeting, or even just pauses in activity that could cause Facebook’s algorithm to see your ads as less relevant. By breaking down your ad performance by day or time, you can isolate when these changes or pauses occurred and assess their impact on your ad’s delivery.
In Ads Manager, you can easily breakdown your ad performance by day or time to get more insights into your ad’s delivery. By analyzing your Activity History and isolating problematic dates, you can gain a better understanding of why your ads aren’t delivering as expected and take proactive steps to address the issues. So, make sure to check your Activity History regularly and breakdown your ad performance to identify potential issues and optimize your ad’s delivery.
Step 3: Check Your Audience Size
One common reason why your Facebook ads may not be spending your entire budget is that your target audience is too small. It’s a simple concept, but one that many advertisers overlook. If your goal is to target a very specific audience and you set a budget that may be more appropriate for a larger audience, you shouldn’t expect your entire budget to be spent. You may see your budget spend initially, but as time goes on, it may struggle to spend the entire amount – especially if the ad’s performance begins to wane.
If this is the issue you’re facing, consider expanding your target audience or lowering your daily budget. By expanding your audience, you can increase the number of people your ad is shown to and increase the chances of spending your entire budget. Alternatively, you can lower your daily budget to better align with the size of your target audience. This can help ensure that your ad spend is used effectively and that your ads are reaching the right people.
It’s important to remember that finding the right balance between audience size and budget is key to maximizing your ad’s performance. By identifying the optimal audience size and setting an appropriate budget, you can ensure that your ads are spending your entire budget and delivering the best results possible. So, always consider your audience size when setting your ad budget and be willing to make adjustments as needed to optimize your ad’s delivery.
Step 4: Check Your Spend Limits
Another reason why your Facebook ads may not be spending your entire budget is that you’ve set ad set spend limits, particularly if you’re using Advantage Campaign Budget (formerly known as Campaign Budget Optimization). With this feature, you have the option to set a minimum or maximum spend limit for each ad set. While this may seem like a useful tool to control your ad spend, it can actually lead to delivery issues.
When you set ad set spend limits, you’re attempting to restrict Facebook’s algorithm, which can negatively impact the delivery of your ads. The algorithm is designed to optimize your ad delivery and find the best audience for your ads. By setting limits, you’re preventing it from doing its job effectively.
If you’re going to use Advantage Campaign Budget, it’s recommended that you refrain from setting ad set spend limits unless it’s an extreme situation. Instead, allow Facebook’s algorithm to optimize your ad delivery and allocate your budget based on performance. This can help ensure that your ads are reaching the right audience and spending your entire budget effectively.
Step 5: Check Your Optimization Event
When it comes to Facebook advertising, the optimization event you choose can have a significant impact on the delivery of your ads. Facebook’s algorithm is designed to optimize your ad delivery based on the optimization event you choose, whether that’s clicks, impressions, or conversions. Meta recommends setting a budget high enough to get at least 10 optimized actions per day, which can help the algorithm learn more about your audience and optimize your ad delivery accordingly. To calculate this, multiply the expected cost per optimized action by 10.
Similarly, to exit the Learning Phase and reach full optimization potential, Facebook recommends generating up to 50 optimized actions per week per ad set. If you’re unable to set a budget that is high enough to accomplish these goals, you may find yourself in Learning Limited, which often results in restricted delivery. This means that your ad set has reached its learning phase limit, and Facebook’s algorithm has determined that it has learned as much as it can about your ad’s performance.
If you’re experiencing this issue, consider switching to an optimization event that will result in more daily volume. For example, if you’re optimizing for purchases and not getting enough volume to exit the Learning Phase, you can consider optimizing for add-to-cart or link clicks instead. This can help increase the volume of daily actions and improve your ad’s delivery.
Step 6: Check Your Manual Bidding
Another potential issue that could be causing your Facebook ads to not spend their entire budget is related to manual bidding. By default, Facebook’s algorithm will attempt to get you the highest volume of optimized actions at the lowest cost. However, you can choose to override this and enter a Cost Per Result Goal or Bid Control.
When you do this, you’re restricting the Cost Per Result or bid based on your goals. It’s important to note that setting an unrealistic Cost Per Result Goal or bid in an attempt to lowball the algorithm can have negative consequences. The result will almost never be magical results. Instead, expect to get under-delivery, as Facebook’s algorithm may struggle to deliver your ads at the cost or bid you’ve set.
If you’re going to use these manual bidding options, it’s crucial to set reasonable cost and bid controls. Make sure to do your research and have a clear understanding of what a realistic cost or bid would be for your desired results. By doing so, you can help ensure that your ads are spending your entire budget and reaching the right audience effectively.
Step 7: Check Your Automated Rules
Another potential reason why your Facebook ads may not be spending their entire budget is related to automated rules. It’s possible that changes are being made automatically based on rules that you set up, and you may have completely forgotten about them. These rules may pause your ads based on performance or automatically adjust your bid, which could impact your ad’s delivery.
To ensure that your automated rules aren’t impacting your active campaigns, it’s important to regularly check to see if you have any automated rules running. You can do this by going to the Automated Rules section of Ads Manager and reviewing any rules that are currently active. If you find that a rule is impacting your ad’s delivery, you can adjust or delete the rule to prevent further issues.
To recap, there are several potential reasons why your Facebook ads may not be spending their entire budget, including issues related to ad fatigue, learning limited, small audience size, ad set spend limits, unrealistic optimization goals, and automated rules. It’s essential to regularly check your Delivery column and Activity History to identify any changes that could impact your ad’s delivery. Additionally, choosing a realistic optimization event and avoiding unrealistic cost or bid controls can help ensure that your ads are reaching their full potential. By following these steps and regularly reviewing your campaigns, you can help ensure that your ads are spending their entire budget and delivering the best results possible.
P.S. I prompted Bing’s AI Image Generator powered by Dall-E to create an image “of a robot delivering the mail” and this is what it came up with. Because this post is about delivery. See what I did there?