I’ve seen new entrepreneurs (or entrepreneurs new to Facebook Ads) say it many times: “Facebook Ads are a scam!”

They poured money into it. They spent time on it. So they should get money back from it, right? But they don’t. Therefore, scam.

But the reality is that, while it presents a massive marketing opportunity, the Facebook Ads platform is complex. It’s very hard for a newbie to just come in and see success. It happens, but it’s mostly a matter of luck when it does.

So entrepreneurs new to the platform are presented with three options: learn the hard way, learn the easy way, or give up.

Naturally, we would all rather learn the easy way, which is by listening to others who have been there and have learned the hard way. So here’s an opportunity to do that! If you’ve tried Facebook Ads and it didn’t work for you, one or more of the following reasons may apply:

You’re just pointing traffic to your website.

This is the #1 rookie mistake. You need a website, but that’s not where you want to point paid traffic. Whenever you run an ad, that ad should be attached to some specific offer. When people click through, they should be taken to a sales funnel or landing page that is designed specifically for that offer. Otherwise, you are just paying for people to come to your website, look at a couple of things, and never come back.

You don’t have a proven sales process.

At one point, we were managing ads for a number of orthodontist practices.

Client A was a chain of 14 orthodontic offices throughout a large metro area.

Client B was a single orthodontic office run part-time by an orthodontist who also worked at other offices.

We generated about $1 million in sales in less than a year for Client A – or $60,000 to $70,000 per office. This was in our first year of doing it and with a relatively low advertising budget.

Client B’s revenue from our sources was a fraction of that.

And the thing is…we were generating appointments for Client B about twice as efficiently as we were for Client A!

What was the difference?

In the orthodontic business, people don’t buy online. They set appointments, and when they come in, you sell them.

Client A had an office dedicated to making calls to follow up with appointments to make sure they would show, and their orthodontic staff was well trained in closing on the deal.

Client B had no system set up for following up on appointments, so many of the people never showed, and when they didn’t, he would angrily say that they were not really interested, and he would never reach out to them again.

Your ads only constitute one part of your sales process. If you aren’t following up or upselling, you are never going to receive the full value of the conversions generated.

You don’t have a back-end.

Once people have engaged with you and have become leads, you need to follow up with emails, chatbots, phone calls, etc., to actually get them into a position where you can make a sale. Bringing someone to your website or funnel once isn’t enough. Adding another name to your list of contacts isn’t enough. Even for low-end offers, people rarely purchase in the first interaction. You need a system that automatically continues to nurture contacts so that, once you have a real interaction with them, you can make the most of it.

You’re targeting the wrong demographic.

The whole strength of the Facebook Ads platform, aside from the sheer number of people using Facebook frequently, lies in its amazingly detailed ability to target specific groups of people.

However, this strength can easily become a weakness if you target a demographic that is antithetical or irrelevant to your offer. Before you create your ad campaigns, reach a clear understanding of who your buyers are, and structure your ad audiences around that.

You’re targeting an interest salad.

When we say “interest salad”, we are referring to Facebook Ads campaigns that target a whole collection of interest groups. The main problem with this kind of campaign is that it is not scientific: you have no way of knowing which interest groups are responding and which are not.

Long-term success requires continual management to increase efficiency, and if we have no way of knowing what is working and what is not working, we have no way of increasing efficiency.

(Note: Interest salad is okay when you’re doing an initial video views campaign to build an audience. Keep reading.)

You’re not using your Facebook Pixel.

One of the ways in which Facebook helps you to target specific people is by allowing you to put a pixel in your website and landing pages.

This pixel allows you to retarget your ads for people who have been to your website or who have progressed to a particular point in your sales funnel (i.e. conversions).

If you aren’t using the Facebook Pixel, you aren’t taking advantage of one of the most relevant and powerful targeting tools at your disposal.

Your business objectives and campaign objectives don’t align.

Facebook allows you to optimize your campaign for various objectives, such as reach, video views, clicks, engagement, and conversions.

The total newbie will often run a campaign optimized for something like clicks. The problem with this is that Facebook’s algorithm will do exactly what you are telling it to do: it will get you clicks. So it will figure out the kind of people who have a high tendency to click and display your ad for them. When those clicks don’t lead to conversions, though, it’s not Facebook’s fault, because you didn’t ask Facebook for conversions.

The more educated newbie will realize the folly of this approach and optimize for conversions. Because conversions are what we want, so why optimize for anything else? This makes sense, but it still isn’t the most efficient approach. See the next item…

You’re using the wrong strategy.

One of the most valuable things that the Facebook Ads platform can do for you is build a warm and relevant audience.

The best strategies build a valuable audience and then fully utilize that audience. This of course requires an investment of time and money, but it pays off. Once you have built an audience, any ads you run to it are going to perform very well.

One way we build and utilize audiences for our clients is by first running a video views campaign and then, once we have reached a certain number of views, running a conversion campaign targeting those people who viewed the video.

You’re not building trust.

People don’t buy from you because they need what you offer. People don’t buy from you because you know who they are and what they want. People don’t buy from you because they engage with you. People don’t buy from you because they know who you are.

People buy from you because they trust you.

For everyone – from the homeless guy to the middle-class mom working part-time to the Fortune 500 CEO – the decision to purchase is an emotional decision. When people give you their money, it is because, on an emotional level, they connect with you, and they trust you to give them what they desire.

As you build a following and gain visibility, remember that attention is not enough. People don’t just need to know who you are. People don’t just need to like you. They need to trust in your integrity and your competence. If they do, they will buy from you.

You have the wrong ad copy.

Your ad copy and headline should be written with the campaign objective in mind. When we say campaign objective, we don’t mean your ultimate business objective: we mean the objective that you have put in the Facebook Ads platform.

If you are running a video views campaign, your ad copy should be written with the intent of getting people to watch your video. You may include a link pointing to an offer, but your copy should be written with the intent of getting people to watch the video, and not click through to the offer.

You have the wrong ad creative.

The creative aspect of any Facebook ad is highly important. That’s what catches people’s attention. That’s what compels people to take action.

Compelling images and videos are distinct, involve people, and relate to your call to action. We find that the best videos usually run for 2 to 3 minutes.

You’re going crazy with split testing for your creative.

Testing and analysis are vital to Facebook Ads. Only by testing and analyzing can you scientifically approach your ad campaigns to see what works and what doesn’t.

However, we find that many people focus too much on testing different images and videos in their ad campaigns.

Many gurus will tell you to test at least five different images. We almost never do that. Instead, we apply tried and true best practices to select just one image, and then we focus our testing on different audiences.

For advertisers with deep pockets, it may be beneficial to heavily test different creative options. If you run a small business, though, trying to run five different versions of the same ad just so you can test different images is not a smart use of resources.

You give up too quickly.

Some entrepreneurs – particularly those who are familiar with PPC campaigns in Google, Bing, Baidu, etc. – approach Facebook Ads with the feeling that there should be a high CTR and sales immediately. If that’s not happening, they freak out and want to move on to something else.

Whatever your campaign objective is, Facebook’s efficiency will improve over time. Once you have told Facebook the objective that you want, the platform will continually gather data on user behaviors such that it is able to improve efficiency.

Also, as noted previously, one of the advantages of Facebook Ads is that the platform allows you to build a highly relevant audience and then target that audience. That takes time. Generally speaking, we want to be able to target an audience of at least 5,000 people with our conversion campaigns. It takes time to build up that audience with a video views campaign, etc. Once you have it, though, your conversions can come for ridiculously cheap.

We find that, comparing Facebook to Google, Google will often give you a lower cost per conversion over a short period (though not necessarily) compared to a Facebook conversion campaign to a cold audience, while Facebook will usually give you a better cost per conversion over a long period so long as you use the right strategy. So don’t give up so quickly!

You don’t have a long-term strategy in place.

Even if you are committed to make the necessary investment into Facebook Ads, commitment doesn’t necessarily translate to success. Long-term success requires a long-term strategy. This means building an audience, retargeting that audience, doing it again, constructing a complete sales funnel that pulls people up a complete value ladder, and building a complete back-end with email follow-up and chatbots.

Sorry, but your offer is wrong.

The best Facebook Ads consultant in the world can’t help you if your offer is no good.

This is one of the most painful things to admit in business: there just isn’t a market for what you’re offering.

Maybe people want it, but they simply aren’t willing to pay what you need to charge. And maybe they just don’t want it.

It could be that you can use the same expertise and resources to offer something slightly different. For example, game developer RedOctane started out trying to develop a game to teach people to play the piano. But when they realized there wasn’t a market for that, they repositioned their offer and created Guitar Hero., which went on to become one of the most successful game franchises ever.

This shouldn’t be your first assumption, but if you have eliminated all of the other possibilities, this is probably what you’re looking at. If that’s where you are right now, you may need to reconsider your offer and restructure it to create something that people actually are willing to pay for.