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11 Facebook Ad Mistakes Every Marketer Makes (And How to Avoid Them)

Justine Timoteo

Account Supervisor, Host of Creator's Block Podcast, 10+ Years of Project Management Experience

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11 Facebook Ad Mistakes Every Marketer Makes (And How to Avoid Them) Blog Feature

Published on June 15th, 2017

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Facebook advertising is one of the most popular advertising platforms available today with 92% of social marketers using it, but are all of those people using the platform correctly?

Not even close.

Like all aspects of digital marketing, the target for successful Facebook advertising is ever moving. No marketer is immune to making mistakes, let alone in an area so new and dynamic.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at the top 11 Facebook ad mistakes you could be making and how you can avoid doing so in the future.


1. Not Understanding Your Ad Objective

Setting your marketing objective is the very first step when creating a Facebook Ad. With so many different options to choose from, how can you be sure you select the right one?

Consider your end-goal. What do you want the Facebook user to do? Learn more about your brand, visit your website, convert on an offer? Determining what you want the end-goal for the ad to be will help you choose which ad objective you need.

Choosing the wrong objective will not only send you down the wrong path in the Ad Manager but ultimately result in you spending money on something you didn’t really want.


2. Targeting the Wrong Audience

This one seems like a no-brainer, but we can’t go any further without mentioning it.

Facebook advertising has one of the most robust targeting abilities in the digital world (which makes it so powerful and effective), yet, so many of us are consistently focusing on the wrong audience.

AdEspresso noted there can be a 1000% difference in cost per click due to the target audience alone. So, how can you be sure you’re targeting the right individuals?

  • Conduct a customer survey: Find out your current customers’ basic demographics like age, location, gender, purchasing behaviors, lifestyle, job function, etc. This will enable you to get a better glimpse of who your buyers are and also filter through on the Facebook Ad Manager.
  • Utilize Audience Insights: Go above your Page insights and start taking advantage of what Audience Insights has to offer. Here, you can include interests you believe your target audience has to see what other kinds of demographics they then have in common, like education level, pages they “like,” frequency of their Facebook activity, and more.

3. Targeting Audiences Too Broad (or Too Narrow)

When creating your ad, be sure to look at the audience size to see if you are targeting too many -- or too few -- people. To do so look at your potential reach.

If the ad is set to reach hundreds of thousands or even millions of people, ask yourself if there are realistically that many people out there who would be highly interested in purchasing your offer at that very moment. Is the answer no? Then narrow down your audience by selecting additional demographics or interests.

On the flip side, you don’t want to cut down your audience so much that it is too small for Facebook to deliver your ad.

You will need to play around with your targeting to get the fit that is just right.

Luckily, Facebook includes a little dial that shows you when you’re in a safe zone of audience size.


4. Forgetting to Exclude Those Who Have Already Converted

This mistake is something that happens all too often. Look at the offer you are about to promote in your ad and see if you can exclude individuals who may have already converted on it.

The easiest way to do this is to create a list of those that have visited the offer’s Thank You Page (which shouldn’t be indexed).

Use the Custom Audience option to exclude these individuals from seeing your ad. This way, you’re not wasting dollar spend or annoying your leads.


5. Disregarding the Importance of Images

Considering that images are responsible for 75%-90% of ad performance, it’s time to pay closer attention to what visual you’re using in your Facebook ads.

Facebook offers several different ad formats and most have the option to include at least one image. In fact, if you choose a carousel or slideshow ad format, you can include several images to help capture the user’s attention and increase your chance of a click-through or conversion.

Research by David Ogilvy concluded images are viewed and absorbed first before any text is read. Not too surprising since images are a great way to catch a reader’s eye as she or he is scrolling through the newsfeed.

-- But how do you choose the right image?

Remember to always think back to your ad’s offer or purpose. The image should have a clear connection to the offer, product, or service you are promoting. Selecting a random stock photo that doesn’t provide value to the offer is not going to help the delivery of your message, even if it does grab eyes.

The image you choose should also be clean with minimal text as to not distract (like Soylent's below).

Try using a free service, like Canva, to customize your ad images to get better engagement.


6. Missing the Mark with Headlines

Many people think headlines are the easiest part of the ad. You simply state what your offer is, right? Wrong.

Your headline should explain the benefit behind your product or service so they are more interested in learning about your offer.

Plus, don’t forget: shorter is better. Jeff Bullas notes very concise headlines -- those that are 40 characters in length or shorter -- receive nearly 86% more engagement.

Check out the headline from a recent DaPulse ad, “Less Chaos. Happier Clients. Higher Profit.” It’s only 43 characters long and succinctly explains the benefit behind its product for ad agencies.


7. Having No Clear Value Proposition

Peep Laja from ConversionXL explains what Unique Value Proposition is and why it’s so important saying it is ”the number one thing that determines whether people will bother reading more about your product or hit the back button.”

Though some Facebook ads may be small, they still need to have a true value proposition. If your offer cannot be read or understood in five seconds and easily capture how it's better than the competition, then you should not use it.

To ensure your ad has a value proposition, focus on making the content:

  • Clear and easy to understand
  • Communicate results the user will get from purchasing your product or service
  • Avoid cliche copy like superlatives and business jargon
  • Explain how it’s different or better than the competitions

8. Forgetting to Use Facebook Pixels

We love proving ROI when it comes to digital marketing -- but it’s not always easy to do.

Fortunately, Facebook Ad pixels are an AMAZING way to measure your results on your website, EventBrite and more. From the data, you collect you can learn how the audience engages with you off of the Facebook platform only to better deliver ads and continue to sell to them on the platform.

Simply follow the prompts to create a pixel when setting up an ad and then add the code to your site pages where conversions happen. The pixel can be used for three main functions:

  • Build custom audiences from your website so you can re-market to them
  • Optimize your ads for conversions
  • Track conversion on your website or event page and attribute them to your ads

If you aren’t using the Facebook pixel yet, start now! You could be missing out on targeting ads to people who have been to your website or have already visited the offer landing page but didn’t convert.

These users are highly engaged and already familiar with your brand -- an ad targeted to them will only increase your chance for conversions.


9. Not Adding Captions to Video Ads

Have you noticed how videos start to auto-play, without sound, as you pause or hover over it when scrolling through your Facebook feed?

That’s because Facebook concluded last year that 80% of people react negatively to both the platform and advertiser when a video automatically plays with sound. More so, Facebook found that 41% of videos were essentially meaningless without sound, rendering the time, effort, and cost you put into creating the video a huge waste.

Instead, you need to design for sound off and caption it! Typography and captioning your video ads increases view time by an average of 12%.

10. Delivering Your Ad When No One is Online

Does your offer make sense to deliver to your target audience at all times of the day, including nights and weekend? If not, consider adjusting the delivery time for your ad.

Go back to your Audience Insights and see when the majority of users are online. Then select “Run ads on a schedule” in the Ad Scheduling section. You can choose specific days and times to deliver your ad so you don’t waste part of your budget on low traffic times.

This step is extremely important in delivering your ad to the right people at the right time. No need to pummel your ad out at a time when no one qualified is looking.


11. Setting and Forgetting

I don’t think I’ve met a marketer who has not been guilty of this at one point or another.

Do not set up your Facebook ad and then walk away, only to check on it two weeks later. You should be analyzing its performance on a daily basis.

If you’ve set up a proper audience, you don’t want to saturate them with your ad and have it appear the exact same, every day, for months. This will only turn off your audience and increase your cost per conversion.

Instead, focus on regularly checking in on the following metrics to ensure your ad doesn’t get out of control or become stale:

  • Ad frequency
  • Relevance score
  • Click-through-rate vs. Conversion rate
  • Number of leads
  • Ad performance by placement
  • Clicks by interest

Avoid These Facebook Ad Mistakes

The intricacy and robust nature of Facebook ads can bring some of the strongest and lucrative results but there are plenty of chances for you to trip up along the way.

Use these tips to avoid making the same mistakes your fellow marketers have in the past.

Not confident in your social media marketing plan? Check out this anthology to get everything you need to know about social media marketing from basics and strategies to campaigns and contests.

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