Facebook advertising is an important marketing tool that will allow you to highly target your preferred audience, significantly increasing your odds of reaching individuals who need your goods or services. With more than two billion worldwide users accessing Facebook each month, the social media company remains the top choice of many advertisers.
Unfortunately, if you’re not correctly advertising on Facebook, your ad campaigns may fail. Marketers tell you what you should do, but not many tell you what you shouldn’t. There are more than a handful of common mistakes you should avoid.
1. Changing Ads Too Quickly
Yes, you need to regularly change a few elements of your ads to combat the dreaded ad fatigue, which causes your ROIs to plummet, but you also need to let your ad campaigns run long enough to allow Facebook’s system to optimize them. An active campaign will enter what Facebook calls the “learning phase,” a time when the system shows your ads to different users to learn how to best optimize them for the results you want. The learning phase requires at least 50 conversions to complete, and during this time, you may find your ad campaigns to fluctuate in results.
Because the learning phase takes time to gather the data needed to improve your campaign performance, it is vital that you don’t make changes to ad elements at the ad set or campaign level, such as targeting, objectives, or budget; otherwise, the learning phase will restart, and you will have to wait for another 50 conversions before seeing your campaigns optimized. Patience is a virtue. Rather than micromanaging your ads, take the time to see what they can do.
2. Expecting Quick Results
Many Facebook advertising novices wrongly believe that running ads on the platform will reap instant results. Facebook isn’t some sort of money-making machine that generates millions in a mere few days. On the contrary, it takes time and experimentation to obtain your coveted ROIs. The learning phase isn’t the only reason you need to wait patiently to get the results you want. There is also the buyer’s journey, through which you need to push your customers, and that takes time. There is also split testing to see which ads will perform well.
Have patience and let Facebook’s system finish the learning phase uninterrupted. Closely monitor your results, scaling the campaigns that are performing well and pausing those that are not.
3. Not Knowing Your Target Audience
Facebook ads allow for more targeting than almost any type of advertising. If you don’t know who to target, however, you will reap unsatisfactory results, serving ads to an audience that is unlikely to respond to your offer. Not only that, if you don’t know your target audience, you won’t provide the kind of quality content your prospective customers are looking for.
When you start your campaigns, make sure to set your detailed targeting according to your buyer persona, a representation of your ideal customers, whose identity you will define, including their interests, income, location, age, and gender.
When you know your target audience, you know how to craft your copy, creatives, and strategy in a way that will appeal to them. For example, an Aerie ad speaking against body shaming won’t resonate with middle-aged men, as the brand specializes in intimate wear for female teens. Similarly, an ad for a steakhouse won’t be well-received among vegans or members of PETA.
Knowing your audience is also important for determining what type of ad to use. Different demographics engage with ads differently, even if the creatives and marketing are the same. For example, older women might respond better to Facebook Messenger ads, while younger women may remember the same brand better If you don’t know your audience, you won’t know how to speak to them.
4. Neglecting to Scale Ads
As a business owner, you are likely eager to increase sales using Facebook ads. To increase sales, you can do two things: target current customers or target new customers. Doing the former method is usually the cheaper and easier option: Customers who have purchased from you in the past, who have grown to trust your brand, are more likely to purchase from you again compared to potential customers who have never before interacted with your business. Thus, you will likely target loyal customers ad infinitum, encouraged by the constant positive results your campaigns reap.
However, as your business grows, so should your marketing budget. If you want to increase your customer list, for example, you need to target people who aren’t your current customers. To grow your business, you may also need to increase your ads’ reach or bid higher to earn a better spot on users’ feeds. Doing all of this, scaling, requires an increase in ad spend. If you don’t scale, you will let slip the countless opportunities to reach new customers, watching your business remain stagnant. Of course, you don’t need to scale all of your ads every time. Only do so when your campaigns are performing well. Before you scale, make sure your CPA is under your target goal and your ROAS at a high number.
5. Failing to Replace Ad Creatives
If you constantly use the same image, video, or ad copy, your target audience may experience ad fatigue in as little as a week. As a result, click-through rates drop, and fewer users will see your ads. Even if users do see them, they may feel so apathetic that they will choose to ignore the ads or, worse, hide them. Refreshing your ads will keep your audience interested.
To avoid ad fatigue, create multiple ad visuals for one offer. For example, if you’re promoting your social media management services, reuse the same message but change the accompanying image or video in the ad. Better yet, change both the visuals and the copies. If you don’t have the time or resources to get more creatives, you can reuse them more effectively by using a different ad format. For example, you can combine multiple images into a Facebook carousel ad.
6. Advertising without a Strategy or Objective
Before you run your campaigns, you first need to know exactly what you want your ads to accomplish. Think about the part of the sales funnel—top, middle, or bottom—you should optimize for. Think about the business goal—increasing sales, brand awareness, or store visits— you want to achieve. Before creating your ad, know what you want it to achieve. Clearly define your objective and set a realistic goal that you can measure.
If you look at Google ads vs. Facebook ads, Facebook provides a variety of ad objectives that you can use. These objectives are important because the results your ads will reap depends on the objective you choose. If, for example, you wanted to send more customers to your brick-and-mortar store, choosing the store visits objective would be the prudent choice rather than the brand awareness objective.
7. Choosing the Wrong Image
Yes, there is such as thing as choosing the wrong image for your ad. Choosing the right image is much more complicated than uploading a high-quality photo rather than a low-quality photo. In fact, it can get as granular as choosing an object as the subject of the image rather than a person.
In 2017, Keywee, a digital marketing agency, published a study on creating Facebook posts that convert. In the study, researchers found that ads with images featuring identifiable people or objects performed better than ads with generic people or objects. When running ads for Fortune, researchers at Keywee found that the ad with an image of Beyonce outperformed the ad with the image of an unknown woman.
In the same study, researchers found that ads with images relevant to its target audience outperformed ads with irrelevant images. In a campaign for Where Traveler, an ad featuring the Hollywood sign targeting Los Angelinos performed better than an ad featuring an unidentifiable city.
Images capture your audience long before your words. When running ads, split test different ads with different images to see which performs the best. As the researchers at Keywee demonstrated, the right image can increase the performance of your campaign.
8. Neglecting to Install the Facebook Pixel
The Facebook Pixel is a code, installed on your website, that tracks site visitors. When those visitors return to Facebook, you can target them with ads that will increase the likelihood of conversions. Without the Facebook Pixel, you won’t be able to retarget customers, an important part of digital advertising. Often, customers deliberate before making a purchase. It takes several ads to appear to their feeds before they convert. If you can’t retarget customers, you can’t properly push them through the sales funnel.
The importance of the pixel extends beyond retargeting. The pixel also allows you to exclude specific audiences, such as customers who already clicked on your ad to purchase your product, submitted answers to your lead form, or downloaded your content. Exclusion at first glance may not seem like an effective strategy when, in fact, it spares you the expense of courting customers who already converted through your ad.
9. Choosing Too Narrow an Audience
Yes, you want a highly targeted audience that will allow you to increase the return on your ad spend. At the same time, however, you want to be sure that your audience isn’t too narrow. If it’s too narrow, the system can’t get enough data to learn what works, which can make it difficult for you to shape future ads. Again, the system needs at least 50 conversions to optimize the delivery of your ads.
Not only that, too narrow an audience could lead to two disastrous results: Facebook won’t let you run your ads or your cost will increase. To ensure your target audience isn’t too narrow, don’t be so overzealous with the detailed targeting tool and check your audience meter, making sure the hand lands on the green part of the scale, not the red.
10. Expecting More for Less
Yes, Facebook is an inexpensive option for increasing your reach and, therefore, increasing interest in your business. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can drop your advertising budget substantially and expect to get the same results. If you want to increase conversions, you need to pay for them. The same goes for the amount of effort you put into your ads. If you decide to invest in cheap creatives, lackluster copy, a hideous website, and below-average products, then don’t expect to generate thousands out of Facebook ads. You reap what you sow. You get what you pay for.
11. Advertising with a Bad Website
Facebook ads are a great way to reach a wide, varied audience. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can run ads without considering your existing website. You need to consider the state of your site—completeness, traffic, effectiveness of landing page—before you send customers there. If your website doesn’t convert now, adding extra ad spend isn’t going to change it. Instead, make sure that your website works first, then use advertisements to direct customers to your landing page.
Setting up a Facebook ad is simple. Setting up a good Facebook ad, on the other hand, takes a little more effort. By avoiding these key problems, however, you can design more effective ads that will drive traffic to your website, increase conversions, and ultimately lead to happier, more satisfied customers.
By Anne Felicitas, editor