As Facebook gets more and more competitive, your strategies need to get more and more sophisticated. Currently one of the best strategies we’re using right now is to create engaging content (typically a video) and share it on Facebook boosting i through to an audience that matches our target demographic. The whole purpose here is to simply get people to engage in the content long enough for us to build a remarketing list through Facebook.
Then we’re able to create very targeted offers with strong call to actions (such as optin or low priced purchase). By doing it as a 2 step process we’re able to reduce the cost of running ads to direct offers. It lowers increases conversion rate and lowers costs.
It’s tough to sum up Facebook marketing mistakes in a few paragraphs. When I made one of my clients $100k in 2 months on a single Facebook campaign, however, it changed my view on how to SET UP a campaign.
Most marketers view Facebook advertising as a tool to drive traffic and awareness to a single item—a call to action, a sale, a video, or a piece of content. That’s pretty typical.
I now, instead, use Facebook advertising for complete sales funnels and I set up evergreen campaigns that work in congruence with my funnels, instead of stand alone campaigns.
All-in-all, I would recommend Facebook marketers learn how to set up a funnel that acquires, converts and engages users online and to stop running a bunch of micro campaigns.
The biggest mistake I see people making with ads is creating the ads and hoping for the best. Facebook make it so easy to create ads but it’s very difficult to make money from Facebook Ads. That is because there is so much you can get wrong.
You might be targeting the wrong audience, have the wrong copy, have a landing page that doesn’t convert and much more. So, before you jump in you need to understand how ads work, have a good understanding of your audience and where they hang out and understand how to build an effective sales funnel. I told you it wasn’t easy!
Most ad campaigns fail for the wrong reasons. It’s not that they have not taken advantage of the laser focused targeting options but rather that they have failed to take two key factors into consideration: strategy & context.
Or rather a lack of. The relative ease of placing and targeting adverts now compared to traditional media has led to lazy advertising. Folks are considering the marketing basics. Who are your customers? Who are your ideal customers? What are their pains? What are their gains? What frustrates them? Some basic targeting and a solid value proposition will ensure when your ads are delivered they actually hit the spot.
With everyone telling you to start advertising on Facebook, (because just look at these amazing returns!); it’s easy to just dive straight on there and start plugging money in without actually understanding why or what you’re doing.
That means you don’t have a clear sense of what you want to achieve – your goal.
You’d be surprised how many people don’t identify their goal and then complain when they achieve nothing.
But how can you know if a campaign is successful if you don’t know what your goal is?
Before you even start looking at Facebook campaigns, decide what it is you want it to achieve. Is it conversions, awareness? Who are your customers and what’s the best way to reach them?
Then find out how you can use Facebook to do that – check out our list of resources at the the bottom of this post to find out how to do that.
All of these are things to consider that will not only help you on deciding your goal, but ultimately avoid many of the other mistakes on this list!
Mistake 2: Lack of Tracking
You’re not keeping track of what’s actually happening
I would say that one of the most common mistakes is not to use utm tags in the links to track effectiveness later in Google Analytics. It also could be not to use Facebook conversion pixel in the thank-you page.
How are you going to know if your ads are reaching your goal if you’re not tracking it correctly?
It’s such an important part in setting up Facebook campaigns but so many people miss it.
The first step you need to take is to set up a Facebook pixel on your site – you only need one and this will cover conversions, and audiences with one piece of code.
Previously you may have needed multiple pixels to track conversions and audiences, but they’ve recently condensed into one (with the conversion tracking pixel to be removed in early 2017).
To set it up, head to Ads Manager and click create a pixel. You’ll then be given instructions on how to install the code, which you can also modify to track different events and conversions.
As Gabriel recommends, it’s also worth using UTM tags so that you can track clicks from your Facebook ads in Google Analytics. I’d highly recommend using a tool like Effing Amazing UTM Builder Chrome extension to make it really easy to do.
Mistake 3: Poor Targeting
Not knowing who your customers are or just targeting the wrong ones altogether
The biggest mistake I see is that people don’t take advantage of the micro-targeting options. Facebook is always adding more and not taking that extra step can mean the difference between hitting the right audience and the wrong. It could be anything from selecting if people are in a specific city, traveling through or just visited. Another could be life events like recently engaged, etc… These provide amazing opportunities.
One of the biggest mistakes I see with Facebook ads involves building an audience that is relevant and large enough, before scaling the daily budget. For example, building a highly targeted audience of professionals who have a specific job title and also work in a specific industry often results in audiences of less than 1,000 people. Try building an audience of at least 500,000 and ensure niche is large enough under plan > audience insights. Start with a $5-$10 a day spend to see if your audience and corresponding ad works before scaling your daily budget.
When it comes to Facebook ads the biggest mistake we see is 1) placing ads without taking time to think about goals and then choosing the “right” audience that will help you meet them. Facebook ads are easy to create and place, and they’re relatively inexpensive, but you have to make sure you’re targeting the right audience or they won’t bring you the results you want.
The biggest and often first mistake people make with Facebook ads is the lack of or completely irrelevant targeting criteria. Time and again I hear the mentality of starting out with as wide a net as possible, but this is never a good idea because unless the marketing message will be so vanilla it won’t speak to anyone.
My advice is to do the exact opposite- start as narrow as possible using targeting criteria which reflects your existing customer base, and only when you found a successful control for your experiment can you scale up. Just last week I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and saw an ad for a restaurant 3 states away from me. I couldn’t help but comment that they needed to use geotargeting or they’re just wasting money.
Break down your audience into neat little sub segments so you can speak their language and figure out what they’ll respond to. If you try to be everything to everyone, you’ll end up being nothing to no one 🙂
Context is a huge one for Facebook. We have all sat there in that almost zombie like state opening the Facebook App and looking for something interesting. Something. Anything. Scroll down. Oh, little Timmy has had another lovely day. Whoopty doo! Most folks on their phones are bored so you have to provide something to grab their interest. Now… if you try to take your prospect from A to Z and sell them something they will skim over you faster than little Timmy!
Carefully consider what you can achieve here. You can raise awareness of your brand or service. You can engage a potential customer with your content. You can likely push them towards downloading a PDF guide, following your social account or some such. This is top of the marketing funnel stuff and as such it will likely deliver the best results when working as part of an integrated digital marketing campaign. Email nurturing campaigns, sales follow ups, further engagement with your content, remarketing on search engines, around the web and social media – you get the picture.
These people that see your ads are not even prospects at that point. They are more like suspects. You suspect they may be interested in what you offer. If you can aim to drive engagement with your ads you can qualify them and consider them suspects and try to move them further along your marketing funnel. Don’t try to move a suspect to a customer in one fell swoop and then wonder why your ad campaign did not deliver the goods.
Determine your overall strategy. Consider context. Aim to qualify prospects and then have a marketing system in place to move these folks further towards your big-picture campaign objectives.
I think that there is a huge misconception in online marketing where people believe that advertising on Facebook means boosting a post, trying to reach your audience and that’s it.
But it’s so much more! With Facebook you can target behavior. As an example you can target people that drive an Audi car and now there is a problem with Audi & VW, you can actually target those car owners. So it’s much more than just boosting a post, it’s advertising to a demographic. You can really go deep into your target audience and then get maximum out of it.
The biggest mistake I see most people (rookies and bloggers) make is to start boosting their posts without going to any detail segmentation whenever Facebook suggests them to do so.
You don’t need to boost every thing you are sharing on page. Your post/ad should serve a strong purpose for your business and must link back to your own website. Utilize facebook audience targeting and select the right segmentation to get most out of it.
When running Facebook ads, always keep following things in mind:
Run/manage ads through Facebook page editor
Always use Facebook Pixel for your ads
Keep analyze how ads performing
Facebook ads do not only allows you to get new page likes or increase your post reach. There are other useful Facebook ads options available that you should try.
Run multiple ad groups with different ads and segmentation.
The #1 mistake people make when doing Facebook ads is not putting time into knowing their customers. There’s so much you can do with segmenting your ads — by geography, demographics, interests, etc., and optimizing these can be the difference in getting 50% return or 5,000% return (yes, I have an ecommerce store currently getting 4,977% ROAS).
Facebook has one of the best ad platforms out there when it comes to targeting.
From age, gender and location, right down to whether they’re thinking about changing their car or booking a holiday – it’s scary how much data Facebook has on us. However, a lot of the experts I spoke to said that poor targeting is one of the biggest mistakes people make, despite it being such a critical part of your campaign.
A lot of people seem to just boost posts, and this doesn’t allow you to use one of the best features of Facebook’s ad platform.
If you’re already using the targeting features, choosing an audience that’s either too broad or even just plain wrong for your campaign can be even more costly mistake. It’s likely one of the reasons that many people see Facebook not working for them.
Making sure you know who your customer is will help you to create the right ads and get the right results. Think about what you want to achieve with this ad campaign and this will help you to build the right targets.
Think about your target audience’s demographic: what are their interests, where are they located, have they visited your site, have they converted? These are all questions that can help you build the right audience for your campaign.
Mistake 4: Not Retargeting
Not utilising the best audience you have – your existing one
Some common mistakes I see with Facebook ads are trying to go for a high friction conversion too soon and poor targeting. For example, re-targeting users that abandon your shopping cart generally will produce better results than trying to sell something to cold prospects that haven’t heard of you yet.
The #1 mistake people make with Facebook ads is that they start at the wrong end. Most people start targeting people by interest or location and that means you are targeting a wide spectrum of people, 90%+ of them probably not being your buying demographic. It’s hard to make a campaign successful that way.
The smarter way to do it is to put Facebook’s pixel on your site, start by running campaigns those who visited your site, then use the “lookalike audience” option crossed with interests and/or location to expand to cold audiences who are much more likely to be buyers.
A common mistake is to target people who are not already fans. If you’re looking to run an ad campaign that converts, preach to the already-converted. You’ll get a far higher conversion rate if you advertise to those who already like your page.
The biggest mistake marketers are making when using Facebook Ads is not focusing on the power of retargeting. Yes, Facebook is extremely effective for creating highly targeted campaigns and zoning in on your demographics audience, but if you aren’t using their retargeting features (custom audiences) you are missing out big time. With these ad features you can set up ad campaigns to display to your existing audience (email/site traffic) at a much lower ad price, while also see much higher conversions in the process. Implement this process into your existing ad campaigns and watch your numbers soar through the roof!
Part of the reason that people make poor decisions with their targeting is that they want to use Facebook to drive new traffic. But what many people forget is that one of the most powerful audiences you can target is the one you’ve already got.
Targeting people at the top of the funnel is always going to be expensive as they’ll have little to any idea of who you are and will need a little more pushing down the funnel.
Someone who’s already liked your page or visited your website however require a little less educating about your brand and product before you convince them to convert, thus costing you less money.
Or perhaps they’re already a customer, in which case you can create a campaign focusing on building customer retention by offering them a discount on their next purchase. They’re much more likely to convert than someone who’s never heard of you before.
Mistake 5: The Wrong Ad
Using the wrong copy, content and landing page for your ad
There are so many mistakes people make, and I have a post on my site about the 10 biggest ones I see regularly… but by far the biggest mistake people make is choosing the wrong ad type. The ad type is your objective, and it functions as a second level of targeting… so after you tell Facebook who to target, they further refine who within that target to show the ad to based on your ad objective.
If you boost a post, your ad is mainly going to be shown to people within your target who like, comment and share. But any clicks or leads or sales you get are going to be really expensive. Same with video views or website traffic ads- they generate very expensive traffic, leads and sales.
If you want leads or sales, you should go for Lead Ads or Website Conversion Ads. If you’re a retail store, there are 3 types of ads you could use. If you’re using video, there are 5 types of ads that you can use video with.
Simple, benefit-driven headlines work. Questions can be effective, as well as directive calls to action. So let’s take a look at what plainly doesn’t work…
(1) Don’t mislead users
Here is the problem with misleading ads — they’re a waste of your money! Even if your misleading Facebook ad headline gets clicked, now what?
The user will be taken to your landing page or sales page and presented with an offer that seems inconsistent with the ad they saw. In all probability, they will exit from your offer, and you will have paid Facebook for the click.
(2) Avoid confusion
You are only given 25 characters to compose to your Facebook ad headline… think about that carefully! The only thing those characters should be used for is telling me exactly why I should click.
It baffles me when I see marketers create headlines that tell me what a service or product is not.
Who cares? Tell me what it is!
(3) What’s in a name?
Perhaps the most absurd Facebook ad headlines I see are the ones that feature nothing but the name of the company.
Why not share with me a benefit to using your service? Or ask me what solution I am currently using? Better yet, why not leverage their widely known competitors to get my attention?
If you want to create killer Facebook ad headlines, focus on the basics:
Ask a question
State a benefit
Keep it simple
These methods repeatedly capture the most attention and generate the highest numbers of clicks.
For promoting products: Not making a Facebook specific landing page.
If you’re using Facebook ads to get leads for your products: sign ups, free trials, demo requests, or even outright ecommerce product purchases, sending people to a generic page like your homepage is killing your conversions. Time and time again we’ve done AB tests that have shown that adding elements of the source of your traffic helps conversions. For example adding testimonials from Facebook on your Facebook landing page or matching the landing page copy directly to the ad copy on Facebook can have dramatic effects on landing page conversion rate (we see +30%, +40% routinely)
For content, promoting just any content instead of the highest converting content.
There are certain pieces of content that attract a wide range of audiences, then there are others that attract your best customers with laser focus. Those pieces generally cover topics those prospects have right before they buy. Spend most of your money on the latter: content that converts. And make sure you have clear calls to action in those articles to try, start, or express interest in your service.
The biggest mistake I have seen people make when using Facebook Ads is promoting the content of someone else. Whether it is another business, website or individual, you should only pay to promote or advertise your own content– you (or your company) are the ones paying for the ad, so you ought to be reaping the benefits, even if the article or content is topical and relevant to your brand, you shouldn’t be paying to send traffic to someone else’s site. Luckily, this is an easy problem to fix– Simply generate your own content, share it, then promote it on Facebook. Original content is always the way to go on the Internet in general, it is no different for Facebook.
You might have the right audience, but the battle’s not won yet! There’s no use reaching the right people but showing them the wrong advert…
Take Harris Schachter’s earlier example – perhaps that business had had the right audience but they’d used the wrong ad and landing page for that geographic area – they might as well have thrown the money away…
For the most part, avoiding mistakes #1-4 should help you to avoid this one. If you have a clearer idea of what your goal is and who your target audience is, you’re less likely to create an ad that doesn’t work.
Your ad type, copy, and the landing page you send them to, should be created with two things in mind:
1) what kind of content appeals to your target audience (e.g. videos, list, eBooks)
2) what action you want to drive the audience to (e.g. make a purchase, sign up to a newsletter).
If you’re unsure about what ad type to use, Brian Carter created a free quiz that will help you determine the best ad campaign in just 8 questions (and it’s free!)
You should also check out the full post from Brent Jones on Facebook headlines, and you’ll see how easy it is to lose money with poor content.
Mistake 6: The Wrong Metrics
Using the wrong KPIs to understand how your campaign is doing
Not keeping a close eye on the right metrics is killer.
The problem is that Facebook throws a lot of metrics at you, in fact you can add 100 columns to your Ad Manager reports. Therefore, it’s no surprise that advertisers get stumped by the numbers or miss the right ones altogether.
You often read that ‘Relevancy’ is the most important metric, but people struggle to hit that magic 9-10 sweet spot.
So instead concentrate on the 3 metrics that hold the key to Facebook advertising success:
CPA (Cost per Acquisition)
Click-through Rate, or CTR for short
CPA is of course your target cost per action, be in a click to your site, an opt-in, purchase etc. That’s your foundation.
Click-through rate is there as your barometer, the higher the better because that tells you people prefer your ads to those around you. When you increase CTR you actually increase Relevancy and Facebook rewards you with lower costs per click!
Finally, frequency is really important for two reasons: firstly to preserve your CTR and secondly to avoid tiring people of your message. As soon as you start getting close to a frequency of 10, you run the risk of burning your audience and costs balloon.
It’s something we preach about a lot here at neatly, and it’s making sure you are tracking the right metrics.
Follow Ed’s advice and stick to tracking the above 3 metrics to identify whether your campaign is a success.
Though many people are of the opinion that you can simply set Facebook ads up and let them run, that’s not the case. These metrics will help you to keep track of how you’re doing and are essential when avoiding this next mistake….
Mistake 7: Not enough testing & optimizing
Just letting your campaigns run without tweaking and testing to get the best results
Facebook is a great social platform and one that could be used to reach people that share the same interest as you. As a marketer, you should know that marketing on Facebook could be very good, or just like anything else, could be very bad. Done properly it can do wonders for your ad campaigns.
With that said, I think that one of the biggest mistakes that a marketer faces when running ad campaigns on Facebook is not making use of Facebook’s fantastic targeting capabilities, in addition to not running test before launching a major campaign. When running a campaign, I found that the best way of seeing if it will work or not is to first run a test of a campaign. I would start with a low budget first (both CPC and Ad Impressions, for cost effectiveness), and run the same campaign in different variations. After that is complete I will analyze the data to see which one had more positve results from the objectives that I am interested in achieving. Once I figure out which campaign worked best, I will then run that campaign for about a week or so and then review the results.
Essentially what I am trying to say is that you have to monitor and test repeatedly your campaigns. What could work in the first week may not work the second, and so on. Make use of Facebooks targeting capabilities to pinpoint exactly your target audience. Run different variations of your campaigns using different images and text.
If you want the second biggest mistake people make… 🙂 it’s not testing enough ad sets (targets) or ads. You need to test 7-10 ad sets (targeting criteria audiences) and 4-5 ads in each one just to start. It’s like fishing- but you don’t know where in the lake the fish are that will bite, and you don’t know which kind of bait they’re going to bite on, so you have to put a lot of lines in the water in a lot of different places. If you test 50-100 ads in a smart way (not just multiplying out 150 random ads with 95 ads in one ad set), you will find a few that get leads or sales and give you a clue what ads to create for your second phase. If you don’t create enough, you might get zero results, and conclude Facebook ads don’t work, or won’t work for you- when in reality you just haven’t done the work required to discover who your customer is or what will move them to take action.
Have you tried Facebook Ads and think that they don’t work for you? You may not have done enough testing to be able to answer that question for sure. The biggest mistake I see most marketers make is they aren’t testing enough.
You may have heard the term Split Testing but not known exactly how to set it up. My advice is to test the demographics and interest targeting first. Use the exact same ad and see which demographic responds best. After you know which demographic performs best then you can test different things like images, text, or even the type of ad you use (Boosted Post, Website Conversions, Lead Generation etc.). You also want to consider testing different offers (an e-book vs a webinar for example) and see which one gets more conversions. Make sure you set up the Facebook pixel to track your conversions before starting your campaign.
The biggest mistake people make with Facebook Ads is not doing dimension-based optimization. I see many people launch a campaign, and don’t do any followup optimization. Anytime we launch, there will be ages, genders, interests, devices, audiences, ad types, bidding types, and so on – that do better or worse than the average. If you are only looking at averages, you’ll be taking both the best dimension of your campaigns and the worst dimension of your campaigns. By identifying the best areas, and allocating more budget to those best areas (and less to the weaker areas), then you will be able grow your Facebook Ads Campaign profitably.
I think the biggest mistake businesses do on Facebook, and they do that all the time, even the ones that are not rookies anymore, is to target mobile users with a landing page that is not designed for mobile phone, or wher the user experience is beyond poor. For exemple, I see a lot of ads for web apps in my mobile newsfeed and most of the time, it’s a huge pain to signup on my mobile, so I give up. Do not target mobile users unless what you’re taking them to is mobile optimized to death! Ideally, this should only be for mobile apps, content that’s easily read on a mobile screen (short, preferably) or lead gen ads where the content is sent to their email address.
Facebook ads’ ROI vary tremendously on targeting, make sure you A/B test all of them!
I basically double my ROI on every campaign I run by A/B testing all variables and shutting down the ones not performing.
“The single BIGGEST mistake Facebook advertisers make is the lack of iteration. Most people know how profitable Facebook can be but almost everyone underestimates the amount of time and effort required to make it work. See if this is true: most Consultants don’t actually look over your campaign until it’s time to prepare the next weekly or monthly report. Most in-house marketers and business owners who manage their own campaigns don’t even invest 1 quality hour a day to look at their campaign. The consequence is that many businesses end up with sub-par campaigns – campaigns that could work at least 2x better if they were properly tuned. So my advice would be: if you decide to spend money on Facebook, focus on one channel at a time to make it work. Take as many shots as you can instead of iterating once a week/month. Personally, I look over and iterate campaigns up to twice a day, but never less than once every 2 days.”
The biggest mistake most people make is not being patient. People would run an ad set (audience) for a day and spend something like $10, see no results, then proceed to turn off the ad set before immediately jumping onto the next one.
Sometimes an ad set will need a bit of time before catching its stride and turning it off before it has a few days to run is a huge mistake. I can’t tell you the amount of times I had an ad set that started off poorly in the first two days but quickly became the best performer just a few days later.
Try to give each ad set at least a few days to prove itself.
Back in the days before the internet when all advertisers dressed like Mad Men and planned strategies whilst drinking whisky, advertising was incredibly difficult to track. It was impossible to know whether someone converted as a result of your TV ad or your magazine ad or both!
Fast forward to the days of social media, the Kardashians and memes and we’re practically drowning in data. We can tell who’s viewed which page, how they converted and what they spent. But how many of us actually use this data to become more informed and improve our ads?
This is another mistake that many of us make with Facebook ads – not testing enough in order to optimize.
Mistake 8: Listening To Too Much Advice
Getting confused by too much advice, instead of listening to those around you & testing
I think people listen to too much advice from too many people. They read blogs, books, go on forums, Facebook groups, chats, Slacks, Twitter chats, etc. By the end you have 5-10 different nuggets of advice for one question. It is maddening!
I’ve been running Facebook ads for 7 years, and the basic principles really have not changed at all. There have been a few new ad types, more demographics, and maybe a few new tricks but the strategy has not changed at all.
It all comes down to targeting, writing good copy, and putting them both together. It takes a certain type of person to succeed with Facebook ads. Some people are just way too mathematically minded and just want to turn it into a formula. While there are some formulas involved, getting people to convert is more of an art for me. Getting inside of people’s heads takes a lot of practice, skill, and the right type of personality.
While Patrick’s suggestion might go a little bit against the rest of this post – the guy has a point. With so much information out there, it’s difficult to know who you should be listening to when it comes to advice on Facebook ads (or anything for that matter!)
If you have a friend or colleague who knows more on the subject, see what you can learn from them – that’s what Patrick did. Otherwise, just get out there with a small budget and try it – the best way to learn how something works is to do it.
The majority of these mistakes can be avoided by following the principles of setting up any campaign:
Identify your goal
Identify your audience
Structure your campaign to meet the needs of the audience and allow them to hit your goal
As Patrick states, there’s not much that has changed in Facebook advertising over the years, so it’s not specific features that are causing issues for marketers.
Instead it’s laziness. Facebook has made it so easy to promote a post, that too many people believe it’s simply a case of clicking ‘Boost Post’ and you’ll be onto a winner.
By being aware of, and knowing how to avoid, these 8 mistakes, you’ll put yourself on the path on the Facebook Ad success!
If you’re looking for more resources on Facebook Ads, the following come recommended by our experts: