How to Troubleshoot Your Ad Campaign

You defined your audience. You created your ad, landing page, and lead magnet. But for some reason, your ad impressions just aren’t leading to conversions. Or your leads aren’t turning into customers.

If you aren’t seeing the click-through rate (CTR) you want, it doesn’t mean you have to go back to the drawing board and start all over. Optimization is a key part of every successful advertising campaign. So when you don’t get the results you want, it’s time to run some A/B tests and find out what’s hurting your CTR or hindering your conversion rate.

To help you identify the problem, here are five questions you should ask when troubleshooting an ad campaign.

Do you have the right audience?

One of the first things you should always confirm is if you’re talking to the right people. If your CTR is low, that could be a sign that your audience is too broad.

Suppose your offer is only relevant to church tech directors, but the audience you’re advertising to includes pastors, ministry directors, worship leaders, and church administrators. In that case, your offer may be irrelevant to the majority of the people who will see your ad—not because it’s a bad offer, but because you’re showing it to the wrong audience.

Alternatively, it’s also possible that your audience is too narrow. If you’re advertising on a site that gets 500,000 monthly visitors, but you’re only advertising to married women over 55 who have grandchildren, only a small cross section of that audience is going to see your ad. In general, the more detailed your targeting, the fewer impressions you’re going to get.

So who you’re targeting can have a big impact on the results you can expect to see.

Are you using the right lead magnet?

Let’s say most of the people in your target audience would benefit from your product or services. You’re confident these are the right people to talk to. If your CTR or conversions are still lower than expected, it could mean your offer isn’t relevant enough.

You don’t need a new lead magnet (or premium, as we often call them) for every ad campaign. But you should always make sure the one you choose is relevant to the broadest group within your target audience.

The only people your offer shouldn’t appeal to are the ones you don’t want to reach.

Is the messaging unclear?

If you have the right audience and the right offer, there are still some things to check. Namely, your messaging. You might be presenting the right offer, but if the way it’s worded is confusing, people aren’t going to click. Remember, unless you’re taking out a full page print ad, you don’t have people’s attention for long.

The first thing that’s got to go is jargon. Adopting your niche’s unique terminology signals that you know what you’re talking about . . . but it also alienates anyone who isn’t familiar with those terms. Clear, simple language will always be more effective than using precise technical terms you don’t have room to explain.

Additionally, some ads struggle because they’re trying to communicate too much information. Focus on one big idea. Subpoints are fine, but you shouldn’t try to address several complex ideas in one ad.

Does your ad align with your landing page?

Sometimes your CTR is fine, but your conversion rate is too low. Your ad is doing a good job driving people to your site, but they’re bailing before they convert. This could be an indicator that your landing page isn’t aligned with your ad. The offer might be worded too differently. Or the imagery doesn’t match up.

It’s important to think of your ad and your landing page as a cohesive unit. When someone clicks through your ad, your landing page should immediately communicate: “You’re in the right place.” Your headline, images, and CTA should all affirm and build on what your audience saw in the ad.

Are your leads not turning into customers?

Now let’s say your CTR and conversion rate are fine, but you have a different problem: your leads aren’t buying anything. That’s not necessarily a problem, because you’ve already confirmed these are the right people. But it does mean that you’ll need to nurture your leads (which you should be doing anyway) so that they can convert down the road—or connect you with someone who will become a customer.

Leads that don’t convert are still valuable. (Here’s why.)

Test until you find the problem

A/B testing is an ongoing process you should be doing all the time. It’s the key to optimizing your marketing assets. And it’s the first thing you should start doing if you don’t see the results you want.