Social Media

10 Clear Signs You Should Pause Your Facebook Campaign

Are your Facebook ads performing poorly? 35+ marketing experts help you determine when to pause a Facebook ad campaign.

Stefana Zaric Stefana Zaric on July 1, 2021 (last modified on July 7, 2021) • 20 minute read

To pause or not to pause?

Your latest Facebook ad campaign hasn’t lived up to your expectations – you’ve got lots of views, but no one really makes a purchase, or maybe even clicks.

Right now, you’re monitoring the analytics, but you’re still not sure about your next move.

Should you keep the campaign going anyway? Or should you pause it until you figure out what went wrong?

We get it. When you’re juggling between your budget, the results you wanted to achieve, and the metrics you’re getting, it’s not easy to make this decision.

But here’s what can help. If you’re unsure when to pause your Facebook ad campaign and readjust it for better performance, check out the advice from experienced marketing specialists. Find what applies to your campaign and fix the errors so you can achieve the goals you’ve set.

  1. How to Pause a Facebook Ad Campaign
  2. When Should You Pause a Facebook Ad Campaign: 10 Tips from Experts

How to Pause a Facebook Ad Campaign

If you’ve already decided that pausing your Facebook ad campaign is the best option at the moment, here’s how to do it the simplest way – using Ads Manager. Follow the steps below:

  1. Log in to your Facebook account and open your Facebook page.
  2. Open Ads Manager.
  3. Choose what you’d like to pause: Ads, Ad sets, or Campaigns.
Facebook ads manager dashboard
Image Source: Biteable.com

5. Click on the toggle next to the desired item to disable it. The toggle will now appear in grey.

Facebook ads manager account overview
Image Source: Disruptiveadvertising.com

In case you change your mind or you’re ready to resume the campaign, just follow the same steps and click the toggle again to turn it on. When you do so, the toggle will become blue.

When Should You Pause a Facebook Ad Campaign: 10 Tips from Experts

Almost 70% of participants in a Databox survey said they’d pause a Facebook ad campaign if the performance of their ads is low. That’s the most common reason why marketers snooze their Facebook ads.

The second most common reason for doing so are high costs of continuing to run the campaign – 14.6% of respondents will pause the ads in this case.

Less than 10% (9.8%) of marketers will take a break off season, while 4.9% of them pause ads related to limited offers. Around 2.4% of participants said they pause Facebook campaigns on different days of the week.

Common reasons for pausing a Facebook ads campaign

Can’t decide what you should do with your campaign? Take a look at these 10 signs that tell you it’s time to hit the pause button for your Facebook ads.

  1. The Ad Is Performing Poorly for a Few Days
  2. You Have a High Frequency Score
  3. You Have a Low Click-Through Rate
  4. Your ROAS Is Low and CPC Is High
  5. You Have an Overall Low Quality Score
  6. You Have a Low Engagement Rate
  7. Your Target Audiences Overlap
  8. You’ve Experienced Sudden Drops in Performance
  9. Your Daily Budget Isn’t Being Spent
  10. You’re Getting Negative Feedback from the Audience

1. The Ad Is Performing Poorly for a Few Days

Has the outcome of your campaign been unsatisfactory for a few days?

The good news is, you don’t have to cancel it altogether. It’s enough to hit pause before you figure out the cause of poor ad performance.

Vincent Bradley of Proper Wild says pausing is a good option if you don’t see any results for four or more days. “At the end of the day, Facebook Ads are about getting results, making this a clear sign that your ad is no longer performing the way it should, whether that’s due to decreased reach or seasonal shifts.”

“It’s high time to pause your Facebook Ad if you see that your Ad hasn’t had any outcomes for the past three days.” claims Eden Cheng of WeInvoice. Here’s what happened to Cheng and how the issue was solved.

“I had gone through that my Facebook Ads sometimes stopped performing, which could be a simple thing to evade. After three days, I didn’t see any growth!” explains Cheng. “So, I understood that I must stop spending over those Facebook ads and start troubleshooting the problem. I have used SEMrush to analyze my reach and also carry out a Facebook Ads performance test.” And while you’re troubleshooting the problem, it’s best to pause your ads to avoid unnecessary spends.

There are a few critical metrics to check on to learn what may be going wrong.

“It is really important to consider the Facebook Ads frequency because this could also be the reason for your campaign’s low performance. Additionally, it would be sensible to check the Click-through rates, frequency, and conversion rate. Therefore, if you feel your campaign is performing low, just go through these metrics, pause your Facebook Ad campaign and try optimizing it. Just checking the CPA on the dashboard multiple times is not the solution when your ad is not performing well”, advises Fay Hau of Cloom.

But how do you determine the ad performance is really poor?

Lily Ugbaja of Dollar Creed suggests to take a break and readjust your strategy in the following scenarios:

  • Your ad hasn’t gotten significant results in two days
  • Less than 1000 people have seen your ad
  • Your reach has been steadily declining

“It’s time to take a breather and restrategize”, says Ugbaja and names common mistakes people make in Facebook ad campaigns: “Poor performance of your ad can happen if your reach or ad spend is too low. Also, you might be targeting the wrong audience. Using your Google Analytics to filter through metrics like bounce rate, time spent on page, exit rate, etc will give you a clue to know if you are targeting the right audience.”

Joe Baker of Boots Empire says that three days can be alarming. “Your ads will occasionally stop operating as planned, which is easy to overlook. A three-day period with no results is a red flag. Analyze your reach and ad spend for the previous three days, as well as your Facebook Ads performance.”

Here are a few concrete tips from Joe Baker when it comes to potential causes of your campaign’s low performance.

  1. Reach and ad expenditure are minimal. In that case, go for a bigger audience – remove tight-targeting parameters to reach more people.
  2. Reach and ad expenditure are good, but there’s no user engagement. In that case, Baker recommends using Google Analytics: “Examine your audience’s activity, including data such as bounce rate, time on page, exit rate, and whether or not they are visiting other pages on your site. These measurements will show you whether or not you’re focusing on the right people.”
  3. Monitor your CTR to make sure your ad copy and design are creative and engaging enough.

For most marketers, three days is the threshold after which they’ll start looking into the performance of their ads to identify the cause of the lack of results. However, some experts are ready to give it some more time.

PAN Digital’s Greta Simeonova gives her ads a week to bounce back and then pauses the campaign to find what’s going wrong. “One sign that it’s time to make adjustments to your Facebook Ad campaign is if you notice that your cost per result has significantly increased over the past week. Although it’s normal to see some slight drops and rises in the cost per result, they shouldn’t happen in a short period of time. This usually means that you need to make some changes.” says Simeonova.

2. You Have a High Frequency Score

For many marketing specialists, the frequency score is one of the main indicators of a campaign’s performance. If it’s high, you should consider taking a break and readjusting the ad.

Courtney Wilkinson of Vine Street Digital has several ways to deal with a high frequency score.

For example, they sometimes expand their target audience because a high frequency score could indicate that they’ve exhausted the audience size. And here’s another tip: “If we don’t want to change the audience, we may need to reduce the budgets to reduce frequency. Or, we may want to refresh the ad copy to give the audience something fresh to look at.”

Barista Warrior’s Casey Allen says the highest frequency score you should allow is two. “Consider pausing all campaigns that cross a frequency of 1.75.” says Allen. “High frequency would mean that you’re spending too much money on the same potential customer. It can also make your brand image to be too spammy or ad-heavy.”

Jonathan Aufray of Growth Hackers Services agrees that seeing your ads too many times can result in the opposite of what you wanted to achieve. “If the same ads are shows to the same audience too many times, you will encounter ad fatigue and your engagement, clicks, conversions and RoaS will start to decrease. That’s why Facebook advertising is a never-ending process and you need to constantly check your ad fatigue, come up with new creatives, copies and targets”, advises Aufray.

And if you weren’t sure how to see your Facebook Ads frequency score, Olivia Tan of CocoFax reminds you where you should click. “Switch your column view in Ads Manager to Delivery to see the frequency of your ad. When the frequency of any material exceeds 2.0, you should turn it off as a general rule. This might happen in a matter of hours or weeks, depending on the size of your audience and your budget”.

Tan also explains how the size of your audience may affect your frequency score. “For example, if your fan base is merely 750, Facebook may quickly show your ad to all of those individuals, increasing your frequency. With bigger audiences, such as Lookalike Audiences, an ad might run for weeks without ever crossing 2.0.” says Tan and adds an important insight: “If your ad becomes too frequent, it will put off your audience and they might start leaving negative comments.”

3. You Have a Low Click-Through Rate

Imagine you have a shop and people are constantly coming in, looking at your products, but they’re never asking for prices or more details, and never actually buying anything.

Well, that can happen to your Facebook ad campaign too. Sometimes, you can have a lot of views, reach a lot of people, but your CTR is still low.

That can be a sign to pause your campaign, according to experts.

“One signal that you need to adjust your Facebook Ad campaign is if you are receiving a lot of views and no clicks.” says Peter Horvath of High times. “This is an obvious sign that your Ad is not effective and you need to adjust.”

Amber Reed-Johnson of Giraffe Social Media says “click-through rate (CTR) is one of the most important, if not the most, of your Facebook ads’ quality score (Relevance Score). One huge signal that it’s time to readjust your ads is if your CTR is consistently below 1%, as this indicates that your ad is not being shown to the right people. You may need to go in and adjust your audience targeting options, or create a new campaign with new options to compare.”

Mudassir Ahmed of Blogging Explained believes a low CTR is a good enough reason to immediately pause your campaign. “Let’s assume your ad’s objective is to achieve ‘app installs’ which you can set while creating the ad structure. As you analyze your campaign results, you learn that the CTR (Click Through Rate) is low although the impressions are high, meaning a large number of people are not paying attention to your ad. When you measure such a result, you immediately need to pause your campaign and tweak your ad.”

Ben Richardson of Development Academy has more ideas on how you can deal with low click-through rate, especially if it’s decreased over the past week. “A sharp decline in CTR is obviously a hint that your ads need to be fixed. The first step is to experiment with different creatives and images that will engage users.”

And how can you do that? Richardson continues: “When your creatives are good enough, but you expose them to the wrong individuals, it can be a waste of time. To get better results, try expanding or even completely changing your audience. Start with the basics: enable Expand targeting, add more locations, mention a country rather than a city, or remove some data (demography, interests, etc.). Another approach is to start using Facebook remarketing to target your adverts towards previous website visitors. Return to the research phase if these attempts don’t seem to be of much help: attempt to re-define your target market.”

Editor’s note: Want to track your CTR and all other relevant Facebook Ads metrics? Download this free Facebook Ads Campaign Performance Dashboard template for free and monitor your frequency, number of impressions, cost per click, and more.

 Facebook Ads Campaign Performance Dashboard template

4. Your ROAS Is Low and CPC Is High

Return on ad spend is one of the most logical aspects of your campaign to look at if you’re not satisfied with how your campaign is performing. You may want to pause your Facebook ads to optimize your ROAS by making a few tweaks and then continuing with the campaign.

Janice Wald of Mostly Blogging says you should rethink your strategy is your budget is melting away too fast. “If you set aside a given budget for a set amount of days for the campaign, and you start losing money quickly, it’s time to rethink your strategy. In my case, my demographic was too broad. You need to target a narrow demographic to have success with Facebook ad campaigns.”

Jared Zabaldo of USAMM agrees that you should pause the ads in this case. “If your Facebook ads are costing you more than the revenue that you receive from them, then it’s definitely time to pause them.”

Your campaign may need a few small tweaks in your target audience or creative. “Do a little brainstorming, take a hard look at your target audience, and then reassess your campaigns.” Zabaldo adds.

Daivat Dholakia claims that there’s a different “good“ CPC rate for each industry. You don’t need to aim at it precisely, but it can be a reference point for your ads. “Once you have that number in mind, you should pause ads that fall below it. Otherwise, you’ll end up paying more on the campaign than you’re bringing in from engagement. Using A/B testing can help you figure out what kind of ads tend to generate a good CPC.”

Dex Jones of Dexter Jones says he only looks at “cost per result”. And when that number isn’t within the set margin, a good idea is to look at your visuals or ad copy. “For our own business and websites, I’ve run thousands of Facebook Ad campaigns over the last ten years. The only metric that I look for is the ‘Cost Per Result’, whatever that may be – a sale, an add to cart, or a sign-up. ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) ROI and matter when you have a specific cost of product or customer lifetime value. However, in the new lead or customer acquisition part of any ad campaign all you need to care about is whether that cost of result is within your margin.”

Anil Ramsey of ChairsFX points out the importance of the low CPC and high CTR combination. It’s typically a red flag, and you may need to change your strategy completely: “If your ad has a low CPC and a high CTR, your ad is missing the mark to turn engagement into real conversions. Generally, this means your targeting approach is spot-on but your design may need some work. Pause your ad, rethink the design, and try it again. If you have low conversions and low engagement, scrap the ad altogether and start over with a different approach.”

Pro tip: Looking for an easy way to visualize ROAS from your Facebook ads campaign? Watch this video to learn how to set up and track your return on ad spend (ROAS) in Databox.

5. You Have Overall Low Quality Score

Diggity Marketing’s Matt Diggity, a multiple online business ventures owner, has a lot of experience with Facebook Ads and they’ve been vital for the growth of his businesses.

Diggity says that, “when deciding if an adset should be paused or to let it continue you should always look at key metrics such as revenue driven, return on ad spend (ROAS), but one metric that you should also look at is Facebook’s Ad Relevance Diagnostics. This tool provides businesses with data on the quality relevance of the ad, the engagement rate ranking of the ad, as well as a ranking of the conversion rate in percentile of other similar ads run by other businesses.”

For Diggity, the information he gets this way is important “as it can help you compare your ad with competitors but also will help you improve your ad to achieve better metrics. If your Ad Relevance score is in a low percentile, then it is definitely time to pause the ad and make some changes.” concludes Diggity.

Madhav Goenka of FrazileMedia says you should pause your campaign if you’re ranking below average when it comes to Ad quality.

There may be several reasons for this: “It means that either your creative is not good enough compared to your competitors or the audience you are targeting is not relevant enough. This is a signal that it’s time to pause your Facebook Ad campaign to test a different creative or a different audience.” says Goenka.

6. You Have a Low Engagement Rate

Cloom’s Abby Drow believes that engagement rate is a factor you should consider when deciding if your campaign needs a pause. “The result rate is crucial in determining an ad’s life because you can quickly see how your audience is consuming the content. You can see the activity and engagement of your campaign with this metric.” says Drow and adds what possible solutions may be:

“You can immediately get an idea if you should pause this ad and refresh your content. With more in-depth analysis, you can perhaps rephrase your copy or swap out the image with something else to make your consumers engage with the advertisement more.”

Andre Oentoro of Milkwhale says low engagement rate may also mean the ad simply isn’t interesting anymore so you may want to refresh it or create a new one. “When engagement decreases and people just scroll through your ad. This means that they’ve lost interest or you need to update your ad and readjust it.”

Editor’s note: Would you like to easily monitor your campaign reach and performance, along with your community engagement? Check out this free Facebook Pages & Facebook Ads: Engagement Summary template.

Facebook Pages & Facebook Ads: Engagement Summary template.

7. Your Target Audiences Overlap

Miranda Yan of Vinpit says tracking your audience’s behavior and their overlapping is critical. If your target audiences overlap, you’re practically competing with yourself.

“We track the audience’s behavior and their overlapping to keep the Facebook ad cost low. Excluding the audience who overlap helps us in preventing bidding against our own company. Since there are innumerable brands we are bidding against, it also helps us narrow our target audience and thus reduces the bidding competition for us.”

If you notice too much overlapping, pausing your campaign is a good idea, so you can revisit your audience and make necessary adjustments.

8. You’ve Experienced Sudden Drops in Performance

What happens if your ads’ performance suddenly drops? You were happy with your scores until two days ago, when your CPC and ad frequency increased and your CTR plummeted.

Everlasting Comfort’s Travis Killian says it’s a good reason to pause the campaign. After all, the ads can be pretty expensive and you’ve got no money to waste. “If your performance begins to dip, and you’re no longer seeing the conversions that you need to keep up your ROI, then it’s time to pause and make a pivot. And the sooner the better!”

Miguel González of Dealers League adds you should look into why the drop happened. “It’s time to pause your Facebook Ads campaign to readjust when you see a sudden drop in the results that you can’t really comprehend. My advice would be to pause it and see what happened to readjust.”

“The biggest signal we look at is big, sudden changes.” agrees Devin Ahern of Mid Florila Material Handling. “If we see impressions fall off a cliff, CPC jump really high up, etc, we’ll pause the campaign to try to determine what is causing the issue. Sometimes, it could just be Facebook algorithms – at that point, we have to make the decision to keep running the campaign at the ‘new normal’ or make changes.”

Rachel Jones of Hope Health says external factors may affect your campaign. But if you want to avoid losing money, you should pause the ads until it’s time to run them again.

“Many campaigns may only run for a particular holiday or season, when certain products are more useful or popular. Once the time has passed, then it’s important to have another campaign ready to go!” says Jones.

9. Your Daily Budget Isn’t Being Spent

It’s clear that spending too much on ads isn’t a good thing, but what about not spending your budget at all?

Divining Point’s Jordania Nelson says that “if most of your daily budget isn’t getting spent, your maximum performance potential is also not being met.”

Nelson explains: “Whether your Facebook ad has been running for a few days or a couple weeks, you know it’s time to optimize when only 70% or less of your daily budget is getting spent.” If you notice this in your campaign, it may indicate low engagement or conversion score, so your should look into it.

“These rankings tell Facebook which ads to prioritize, and if your ad is under-performing, it’s likely getting put on the back burner. Review your ads to find what can be optimized to boost rankings, leading to an increased overall performance.” adds Nelson.

10. You’re Getting Negative Feedback from the Audience

You probably have that one TV commercial you keep seeing all the time – even if it seemed great at the beginning, it may start irritating you because you see it so often. Or you find it offensive, irrelevant, unoriginal..

Jenna Carson of Music Grotto underlines the importance of the feedback you receive from your audience when it comes to your Facebook ad campaign. 

“An advert should be paused the moment that Facebook users start to write negative comments underneath the advert. This is a red flag that the content is being shown to the wrong audience and it can be extremely damaging to your reputation.”

Ad frequency is probably the most common reason for negative feedback so you should first check this metric in your Ads Manager. If it’s still low, check for other possible reasons why your audience may find your ad frustrating.

Making the Most Out of Your Facebook Ads Campaign

Ads aren’t inexpensive, but if you plan your strategy well, target your audience right, and nail down the creative, you can achieve amazing results and stay within your budget.

When monitoring your ads’ performance, there’s one thing to know: pausing the campaign is sometimes the best thing you can do for your ads. You’ll avoid spending money on ads that don’t work, and you’ll buy yourself time to figure out what needs to be fixed.

Have you ever been unsure if it’s time to hit that pause button? We’re sure these expert tips have given you a clear picture of when you can benefit from taking a break. And when you identify the culprit of your campaigns’ poor performance, you can sort it out and continue with your ads towards the outcome you desired.

About the author
Stefana Zaric
Stefana Zaric Stefana Zarić is a freelance writer and a teacher fluent in several languages. She has recently started her own business and educates future writers who want to build a career in marketing. When not working, Stefana loves to read books, play with her kid, and dance salsa.
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