7 Common Facebook Ad Mistakes You’re Likely Making

Facebook’s global advertising revenue has skyrocketed since its introduction in 2009. What started as a seemingly outlandish idea to market to social media users has turned into one of today’s basic marketing strategies.

Businesses now see the power in meeting their consumers where they gather. In fact, Facebook is today’s most popular platform to advertise on, with 91 percent of individuals surveyed choosing it as the primary option. Why wouldn’t they when it’s the third most visited site on the globe?

Because users flock to Facebook multiple times a day, it gives businesses plenty of opportunities to make sure their ads are seen. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel as long as your ads are done right.

The problem is that Facebook ad mistakes are all too common, especially for new users.

In our blog, we cover all the “don’ts” of constructing a Facebook ad for your business so you can avoid the most common culprits for failed campaigns.

Facebook Ad Mistakes That Will Kill Your Marketing

Below are seven common mistakes businesses and even marketing agencies often make, which sink their ads’ performance.

1. Treat Facebook Advertising the Same as AdWords

There is more that separates Facebook from Google than just their backend for paid marketing. These two powerful vehicles offer very different landscapes for advertising. If you simply replicate your ads from Adwords into Facebook, your campaign will fail before it ever gets off the ground.

Just like any ad, you have to think about the audience and placement – and craft your message appropriately. Adwords campaigns are specifically designed to get your business, service, or product discovered by users typing in related searches in Google.

Facebook, however, is an entirely different beast. Most users aren’t on Facebook because they are searching for what you have to offer. It’s a place for social interaction and entertainment.

Because of this, you need to gear your advertisements toward offering the user value instead of hard selling your product.

Selling a Service vs. Converting with Value

So what does this difference look like, exactly?

We’ll use an air conditioning company as an example. Let’s call them Breeze Easy.

Breeze Easy is advertising on both Adwords and Facebook, but they create two very different campaigns. Because they’re targeting users searching “AC repair,” their message on Adwords is straightforward: “Call for a Free Service Quote.”

However, on Facebook, they take a more subtle approach.

Breeze Easy uses an image of a couple stressing over bills with the question, “Is Your AC Eating into Your Electric Bill?” The image and button both link to a quiz on their site that ends with a service offer.

Creating Value In Ads
By leading with a question that draws the user’s curiosity, they acquire a click. Immediately, they capture the user through Facebook’s pixel for retargeting, as well as get them to engage through a free quiz determining if their AC unit is running overtime.

If they score a “yes,” the quiz ends with a call-to-action to schedule a discounted maintenance call. If it’s a no, it says so and encourages the user to sign-up for a free newsletter.

Their Facebook approach is powerful, yet it isn’t hard advertising. The quiz is free to the user, offering them value without making them feel caught in the web of a sales pitch.

2. Never Defining Your Target Beyond General Interests

Facebook’s advertising platform offers the ability to cater your advertisements to very specific audiences. You aren’t just targeting by interest or demographic. There is a very rich selection of options available to help you narrow down who sees your ad, where, and when.

This improves your odds of conversion, but it also requires a more in-depth approach to crafting your audience parameters. On Facebook, you can start with interest-based targeting – but never stop there. Use it to narrow down your audience.

The platform offers metrics that can help you get to know your followers better and build on your retargeting options. This especially becomes relevant as you work your way from brand awareness and into conversion.

Use video ads to gauge interest through your viewers. Apply the Facebook pixel to follow-up with your web visitors. Build a custom audience from your existing CRM.

By going beyond interest-based targeting and tapping into those users who are engaging with your brand already, you raise your odds of conversion. Also, because these individuals are more likely to convert, you lower your advertising costs by raising your cost-per-conversion.

It’s a smaller audience with higher conversions.

3. Fail to Pair the Right Audience with the Right Ad Objective

Just like your ad creative and your audience needs to adapt to Facebook’s platform, so does your objective. Your call-to-action shouldn’t be the same across the board. You have to think critically about how your audience will respond to what your ad is asking them to do.

As you craft your message, think about where it fits in the three stages of the PPC sales funnel. Are you generating new interest, creating engagement, or converting existing leads?

Generating Interest through Brand Awareness

This is your initial introduction; the first exposure users have with you and your brand. Because of this, you won’t want your call-to-action to be too demanding or scare them off. Instead, offer value.

Give them the chance to get acquainted with you and your brand. This can be a coupon, a free checklist, a toolkit, a blog or infographic with intriguing information, or something else that offers value without pressure.

Facebook Ad MistakesCreating Engagement with an Existing Audience

If your ad is targeting users who are already familiar with your brand, then you can start tempting them into growing curious about your product or service.

This is a great time to include a call-to-action that creates engagement, such as a contest, free webinars, an ebook, invitations to a live demo, and more.

Converting Leads from an Engaged Audience

When you’re ready to turn engaging leads into buyers, your call-to-action can be more upfront. Go for the gold with invitations to book a consultation, get a quote, or buy now.

4. Not Knowing the Sweet Spot for Audience Size

Create The Perfect Audience

“This audience is too big.”

“This audience is too small.”

Facebook advertising can often feel like flashbacks to Goldilocks and the Three Bears with its constant need to find an audience that is “just right.” But there is a good reason for being picky.

An audience that is too big is, more often than not, too broad. Sure, you reach more people, but they are less likely to be the right people. Because of this, you end up spending more on a campaign, reducing your profit.

At the same time, you can also narrow your audience down too much. If you refine your audience to the point where you’re advertising to less than 1,000 people, you’re really not getting far.

The key is to capture a large, relevant audience that will buy into your campaign’s objective. Think about your budget and what stage of the sales funnel your campaign is in. If you’re just building awareness, an audience in the millions makes sense.

But if you’re trying to pin conversions, trim the fat. Use the tools we’ve mentioned previously to capture your target consumer who is already engaged in your brand and has shown interest in what you have to offer.

5. Not Matching Your Ad Objective with the Right Ad Type

Facebook offers a wealth of different ad types to help you optimize your advertising campaign. This includes:

  • Photo Ads
  • Carousel Ads
  • Video Ads
  • Slideshow Ads
  • Canvas Ads
  • Product Collection Ads

Think hard about your message and what you’re bringing to the table. Each of these ad types offers a different presentation and ways to engage.

For example, a carousel ad is a great way to showcase several new or on-sale items, while a video ad is great for brand awareness and for showcasing a narrative.

You also get to choose your ad placement, whether it’s directly in the user’s news feed, on the sidebar, or even on Instagram. Consider user behavior when you sort through these options – and align them appropriately.

6. Your Ad Creative Lacks Creativity

Never rush your ad creative in order to kick off a campaign. Advertisements that use poor imagery, have a muddled call-to-action, or boring ad copy will bleed money.

Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience and think about what will capture their attention and pique their curiosity. Bright colors, captivating imagery, and even humor are great ways to make a scrolling user pause.

Make your media speak volumes, be clear in your call-to-action, and make sure your headline and blurbs draw the viewer to it.

7. Your Advertisement’s Message Is Too Long

To Long Didn't ReadHave you heard the phrase, “TL;DR”? It means “Too long; Didn’t read,” and it’s used often across the worldwide web.

Your audience’s attention span is short. Play by the sage wisdom “less is more” and minimize your copy to short, compelling headlines and blurbs.

If you’re overlaying words across an image, keep it as short as possible. Five words are more than enough.

Hit hard with a brief message and try to evoke an emotional response.

Talk to the Experts

Ultimately, Facebook ad mistakes stem from inexperience. There is a reason digital advertising professionals go to great length to learn and stay on top of today’s trends. In this industry, the platforms, the strategies, and the way consumers convert are all constantly evolving.

If you’re looking to boost your business with Facebook advertising, let’s talk. Our staff is well-versed in how to turn an ROI on this platform, and we aim to exceed your expectations.

Reach out to book a consultation, and let’s discuss your business goals.

Together, we can make them happen.


Jason George
Jason George
Jason George is an athlete, outdoorsman & marketing expert. He is the CMO at Sunbay Marketing with 19+ years of marketing experience. Additionally, he has a black belt in brazilian jiu-jitsu and teaches MMA in his spare time.

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