6 Fatal Mistakes You’re Making with Your Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads, in general, can be overwhelmingly effective in brand awareness and can yield extremely high ROIs. Thanks to the user-friendly interface, it’s not hard to create a campaign. It is, however, much more difficult to create a successful campaign that will perform well.

While the interface is simple, Facebook Ads themselves are much more complicated with tons of options to choose from. As a result, tons of brands end up making small errors that kill an otherwise great campaign. And believe it or not, most brands make the same 6 mistakes with their Facebook Ads over and over again. In this post, we’re going to look at all 6 and how to fix them.

1. You Only Focus on One General Audience

This is the most common mistake we see happening with brands relatively new to Facebook; they target one really general audience, setting only a very broad geographic location and an age range of 18-65. Sometimes this can be good for cold traffic, but sometimes that’s not even the best strategy to connect with new users. This is what’s sometimes referred to as “Superbowl syndrome,” and while it may work for TV commercials, it’s not effective for Facebook Ads.

Having an incredible generic audience may mean a big reach, but it will be much more difficult to create relevant, targeted messages they’ll respond to.

Connecting with your target audience will make or break your Facebook Ads. This means you need to create specific buyer personas based off different niches of your target audience, create ads around them, and target appropriately. This is true for both new users and those who are already customers; everyone is at a different point in the sales funnel and has different pain points, and catering ads to those differences will benefit your campaigns.

This audience will have a smaller reach than the one above, but you’ll be able to create ads that are more relevant to those who see them, increasing your results.

Added tip: by using lookalike audiences off a high-value custom audience when in search of cold traffic, you’ll be more likely to find a more relevant audience off the bat.

2. You’re Trying to Sell to a Cold Audience

As a customer, are you likely to buy something immediately from a brand the first time you see it? Unless you were in the market for it, probably not. And the more high-value the price of the item you’re showing, the less likely you’ll be to purchase.

Attempting to sell to a cold audience is a strategy that will shoot an otherwise great campaign right in the foot. Users new to your brand should be shown ads designed to build brand recognition or generate leads; show them your content instead of your products, for example. ThirdLove ran an ad with a review of why it was the “new Victoria’s Secret;” plenty of brands use free ebooks or a free trial as lead magnets.

Offering a free trial or linking to a resource with more information about your business can build brand awareness.

Selling through Facebook Ads should be kept strictly to users who are already familiar with your brand. Custom audiences (including custom audiences from a website) are fantastic for this; you can section off your audience based on where they are in the buying cycle to show them the most relevant products that they’ll be most likely to convert on.

3. You’re Showing the Wrong Products to the Wrong People

This, once again, all comes down to targeting. Imagine a local jewelry store running a generic campaign sent out to all of their customers featuring a $26,000 custom-made ring. While this might resonate with their top-spenders, it’s not relevant users that prefer to keep things in the $200 budget.

If you want to get conversions in the form of sales, sectioning off your audience is everything—even if your products or services don’t have a price range of $200-$26,000+. Using buyer personas and custom audiences based off past purchases will allow you to show users items that are most relevant and interesting to them.

You can create custom and lookalike audiences right from the ads manager.

Best buy, for example, wouldn’t do great to show users an ad with a Kitchenaid mixer if they’d already bought one; instead, showing them a carousel ad featuring different Kitchenaid mixer attachments could be a home run. This same ad, however, might not be effective at all if showed to users who only go to best buy for video games and sound-proof headphones.

In general, show lower-cost, mass-appeal items to your newest customers. Once they’re familiar with your products and your brand, they’ll be willing to spend more.

4. You’re Not Monitoring the Right Metrics

This is a big one.

Both my cofounder Peter and I strongly believe that data is everything when you want your marketing to be successful; it’s one of the central beliefs that Abacus was built on. Unfortunately, one of the biggest mistakes we see clients making across the board is monitoring the wrong metrics.

Monitoring the right metrics will immediately give you an edge on your competition.

While every metric Facebook gives us about our ads can give us some insight into performance, some matter more than others. The metrics that we need to watch most carefully—and value the most—include:

  • Click-through rates (CTR). Your click-through rates tell you how often users are clicking on your ad and moving to the next page. This number will tell you how interested users are in your ad, which tells you how relevant your ad was to them. Ads with the highest amount of clicks typically have the lowest CPC, and will perform best at the bottom of the digital sales funnel.
  • Measurable conversions. Or, more specifically, measurable conversions that can be tied to revenue. These conversions can include leads obtained, email collection, downloads, and sales. If you’re able to tie the conversions to revenue, you’ll better be able to determine which campaigns are actually driving growth.

Relevance score. Your relevance score is self-explanatory, telling marketers how relevant their ad is to the users they’ve targeted. It’s a strong indicator for the quality of your ads and the landing pages they’re linked to. Higher scores will be more likely to win the Facebook ads auction, and can even lower the cost of your ads. If your score is low, something needs to be changed, and fast.

Your relevance score carries an enormous amount of weight, and can directly affect the cost of your ads.

Other metrics matter too; watching your frequency can help you ensure that you’re not wasting CPM spend on the same users who aren’t converting, for example; your cost per action/click/etc. is also good to watch, because it determines how much you’re paying for whatever you’ve chosen to optimize for. Nothing should be ignored, but closely monitoring the most important metrics gives you the best insight into how your ads are actually performing.

5. You Have Too Much Text in Images

This is a simple one to fix, but making this mistake can destroy your ads before they even start running.

The 20% text rule has technically been done away with, but it’s still wreaking havoc on the ads of those who don’t know better. This rule previously stated that no more than 20% of the your image could be covered by text, or the ad would be rejected. Now that’s been repealed, but Facebook will still penalize users who have a lot of text in their images—and they’ll do so in the form of limited reach.

All text that shows up on images should be kept simple, and don’t forget, your branding counts as text, too.

Keep the text on your images minimal so you can maximize your reach and have stronger-performing ads.

6. You’re Not Split Testing

And at last, we’ve arrived at Facebook Ads fatal flaw #6: not split testing your campaigns.

If you’re not split testing (also referred to as “A/B testing”), you could potentially unravel the success of not only one particular ad campaign, but all of your ad campaigns. Brands of all shapes and sizes need to be aggressively split testing all parts of their ads to continue to capture user interest and boost success.

You should regularly be split testing:

  • Images
  • Text
  • Offers
  • Ad formats

Split testing all aspects of your ads will give you valuable insight into what your users are most receptive to; it will also keep your ads interesting, keeping engagement up.

Based on years of experience, Peter and I both know that the companies that experiment the most are the ones that will ultimately win, gaining the most growth and profit from their ad campaigns.

You don’t need to know all the latest buzzwords and marketing hot topics to run successful Facebook Ads campaigns; knowing which mistakes to avoid, however, is a great first step to creating ads that will drive leads, growth, and profit. When you combine that with Abacus’s scientific and data-driven approach to marketing, you’ll be reeling in the benefits before you know it.

Want to increase the success of your Facebook Ads? We can help! Contact us here.

Jeff Goldenberg
Jeff Goldenberg

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