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30 Facebook Ad Mistakes
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Editor’s Note: This post has been updated with new links and fresh mistakes. 😉
Original Publication Date: March 6, 2017

Facebook ad mistakes are like mines in the Minesweeper game.

If you lose focus and hit the wrong square, you’re out.

minesweeper

Kids with iPhones have no idea how important this game was to an entire generation. – image source

Of course, a wrong move in your Facebook ad campaigns doesn’t mean “Game Over.” It might cost you more advertising dollars, but there are always ways to fix a struggling campaign.

We’ve looked at Facebook ad examples and Facebook ad tips in previous blog posts, so this article will tackle 30 common Facebook ad mistakes and provide antidotes to get your campaign results back on track.

If you’re not aware, Facebook is moving towards their Power5 blueprint and we have been having tremendous success with it.

Want to see how it can benefit you? Grab a free proposal from us and we can show you.

Here they come: the 30 serious mistakes haunting even the best Facebook ad campaigns.

30 Common Facebook Ad Mistakes

  1. Making A Targeting Mistake
  2. Low Audience and Offer Match
  3. Targeting Audiences That Are Too Broad
  4. Not Leveraging Custom Audiences
  5. Not Excluding Past Converters
  6. Using The Wrong Ad Type
  7. Ads That Fail To Draw Attention
  8. Too Much Text On The Ad Image
  9. Headlines Without The Right Hook
  10. Careless Copywriting
  11. Missing A Clear Value Offer
  12. Stuffing Ads With Too Much Text
  13. Forgetting To Caption Video Ads
  14. Bad Choice Of Ad Placement
  15. The 24/7 Ad Delivery
  16. Amateur Ad Bidding
  17. Slow Campaign Take-Off
  18. Leaving Facebook No Time For Optimization
  19. Guessing, Not Testing
  20. A/B Testing The Wrong Elements
  21. Testing Too Many Things At Once
  22. Low Landing Page And Facebook Ad Match
  23. Poor Landing Page UX
  24. Neglecting Conversion Tracking
  25. Losing Sight Of The Real Goal
  26. Leaving Ads Unattended
  27. Neglecting The Ad Frequency
  28. Not Using Auto-Optimization
  29. Not Incorporating Video
  30. Missing Out On The Conclusions

1) Making a Targeting Mistake

No matter how good your Facebook ad copy, design or ad placement, if it’s seen by an indifferent audience, there won’t be many results.

When analyzing the 2016 Q3 Facebook ads statistics, AdEspresso found that there could be over a 1000% difference in the ads’ cost-per-click, depending on the audience you’re targeting.

For example, the cost-per-click for some age groups is higher than others.

2016 Q3 CPC Facebook Ad Cost ages 1024x874

AdEspresso explored the differences in Facebook ad costs – image source

It could be a smart move to start your Facebook ad campaigns with customer research to make sure you are targeting the right audience.

Moz — a leading SEO company — was able to make $1 million thanks to the process of interviewing their customers and improving their product accordingly.

3 Tips To Avoid Targeting The Wrong Facebook Audience

1) Do customer research on demographics: Go over your customer base and find out the prevalent audience demographics: age, gender, location, job seniority, purchase behaviors, lifestyle, education, etc. Then, target these demographic groups on Facebook.

We’ve seen again and again that geographic specificity in ads and on landing pages contribute to better campaign performance. For instance, Engine Ready showed us that conversion rates are often higher when businesses use local numbers instead of toll-free 800 numbers.

how to target demographics on facebook

Location-specific ads return better results – image source

2) Analyze interests: Use Facebook Audience Insights to grasp who your target audience is. This tool by Facebook surfaces aggregated information people have already expressed on Facebook, along with information from trusted third-party partners.

Once you’ve learned about your potential audience’s interests, it will also be easier to create relevant ad messages and create a winning ad design.

3) Target niche interests: Instead of targeting broad interests that describe hundreds of thousands of people, narrow down your target audiences. You can add several layers of interests so that the audience members must match at least one interest on each targeting level.

Facebook recommends niche audience targeting for advertisers aiming to reach a very specific audience, e.g. people in a certain location or with specialized interests.

narrow down facebook audiences

Narrow down your Facebook audiences

2) Low Audience and Offer Match

When creating ad messages, you should consider the fact that not everyone seeing your ad knows about your brand.

While some audience members are already familiar with your product and its benefits, there’s a good chance that many ad viewers haven’t heard of you before. Which might leave them wondering, “Why am I seeing this ad?”

In most PPC campaigns, the target audience can be categorized into three different groups.

3 Types Of PPC Audience Traffic

  1. Ice cubes: people who have never heard of you and haven’t visited your site or landing page before. In the Facebook advertising land, ice cubes are usually the people you’re targeting with a Saved Audience.
  2. Lukewarm audience: people who know who you are, but don’t know for sure what you do.
  3. Volcano lava traffic: People who have bought something from you before or are way down the conversion funnel, on the path to becoming a customer.

Each of these temperature levels needs a dedicated Facebook ad campaign if you’re going to reach them effectively.

ppc expert 600x338

There’s a right offer for every PPC channel temperature.

If your Facebook ad jumps straight to the “Click Here To Buy Now!” stage, people might consider it irrelevant, spammy, or even threatening.

For example, this ad by Celebrity Cruises promotes a discount offer without explaining why anyone should want it.

This kind of ad makes sense if the ad viewer had purchased from the company before and knew the benefits. However, when seen by a cold audience, this ad would make a lot less sense.

facebook ad example

Celebrity Cruises’ Facebook ad has a fairly cryptic offer.

A simple way to evaluate your audience match is to check your Facebook ad’s Relevance Score.

Relevance Score is a calculated metric that helps to understand how your audience is reacting to a particular ad.

When analyzing 104,256 Facebook ads, AdEspresso discovered that Facebook campaigns’ Relevance Score helps to predict both the cost-per-click and click-through rate.

CPC CTR Relevance Score

Relevance Score affects the CPC – image source

The higher your ad relevancy, the less you’ll pay for clicks and conversions.

You can see your ads’ relevance score when breaking down your Facebook reports by Performance.

facebook ad relevance score

See your ads’ Relevance Score

3) Targeting Audiences That Are Too Broad

We’ve seen Facebook ad campaigns targeting over 20 million people in the U.S. alone. However, unless you’re a household brand, your offer and ad copy might not be relevant to such a broad set of people.

The main threat of targeting too broad of an audience is that your offer might not reach the people with the highest purchasing potential due to a limited ad budget.

Here’s an example of a Facebook campaign that reached 234,000 people. However, the total potential audience size for all ad groups was over 1.1 million people. This means that more than 850,000 people didn’t see the ad due to budget limits.

facebook campaign example

Avoid targeting too broad audiences

How To Tell When Your Ad Audience Is Too Broad

Start with cold hard numbers: If your audience is millions of people, ask this: “Are there truly millions of people potentially interested in buying my product?” If the answer is “No”, narrow down your audience with demographic or interest-based targeting.

Facebook’s projected ad reach: Another way to tell whether your audience is too broad is to compare Facebook’s projected ad reach and the total audience size.

For example, if Facebook’s campaign setup interface shows that for the budget of $2,000 you can reach 250,000 people out of 2 million, you might want to consider downsizing your audience a bit.

optimized for conversions

This campaign will reach 10% of the audience daily

If your audience is too broad, you can restrict it by excluding people by interests, behaviors, and demographics. You can also select custom age ranges and genders.

narrow target audiences

Exclude people based on their interests, demographics & behaviors.

4) Not Leveraging Custom Audiences

Creating Custom Audiences is one of the best ways to win at Facebook advertising.

Remember when we talked about PPC channel temperature and lava-hot audiences? By using Facebook Custom Audiences, you’ll be able to reach the audience on the warmer side of the scale.

SaaS company Scoro ran a Facebook remarketing campaign using Facebook Custom Audiences that resulted in six times more conversions at the same ad budget.

If you’re not using Facebook Custom Audiences yet, there’s a lot of Facebook advertising potential waiting to be tapped.

Facebook audiences

You can create Custom, Lookalike, and Saved audiences.

How To Leverage Facebook Custom Audiences

Create a remarketing campaign for collecting leads: Target past blog readers and offer them an eBook in exchange for their email address. By asking only for a small commitment of people familiar with your brand, they might be more willing to share their contact details with you.

For this purpose, create a Facebook Lead ads campaign to collect contact information in exchange for an eBook or other high-value content.

Marketo facebook ad example

Marketo’s ad is a Facebook Lead Ad

Remarket to landing page visitors: People who have visited your landing pages, are interested in a particular product you offer, meaning that you can create landing-page-specific Facebook ads that match your audience’s interests.

project management retargeting campaign

Scoro’s Facebook ad retargets landing page visitors

According to eMarketer, nearly three out of five U.S. online buyers say they notice ads for products they’ve previously looked up on other sites.

Remarket to past purchasers: Set up a Custom Audience of people who have visited your thank-you or checkout pages and use this audience for a retargeting campaign for upselling.

Amazon facebook ad

Amazon’s Facebook ad would make a good upselling campaign

To get a complete overview of all Custom Audience types and smart Facebook remarketing tactics, see our Custom Audiences guide.

5) Not Excluding Past Converters

When starting out with Facebook advertising, people often make the mistake of forgetting to exclude people who have already clicked on the ad and converted.

Leaving past converters included in your audience may be a bad idea for three reasons:

  1. You’re wasting your ad budget on people who have already converted.
  2. Your ads are no longer relevant to those already converted.
  3. If the person keeps seeing your ads even after making a purchase, they might get annoyed.

Forgetting to exclude people can also contribute to higher ad frequency, which means that the same people see your ads over and over again. As a result, you may eventually suffer from ad fatigue and audience decay.

Facebook Ad Fatigue

Since the same people see the same ad over multiple days, their engagement with that ad is likely to drop, leading to higher costs for the advertiser.

Facebook Audience Decay

When you’re targeting the same people over time, their interest in your message usually decreases.

Ad fatigue example

Look out for high ad frequency!

To exclude past converters from your Facebook audience, create new Custom Audiences of people who have visited specific web pages (e.g. your thank you page).

Next, use the EXCLUDE feature in your ad campaign to stop targeting past purchasers or people who have already been to a specific landing page.

exclude custom audiences

Exclude past converters

6) Using the Wrong Ad Type

Facebook allows advertisers to experiment with many different ad types.

While Newsfeed Ads are one of the easiest ad types to create, you shouldn’t overlook the growing list of other options, which includes Video Ads, Lead Ads, Stories Ads and more.

coca cola ad example

Coca-Cola is experimenting with Facebook video posts – image source

Just to give you a quick overview of the possibilities, here’s a list of Facebook ad types:

Newsfeed Ad

Newsfeed ads are usually the first choice of Facebook ad beginners — they’re simple to create and set up.

Right Column Ad

This is one of the most basic and first types of Facebook ads with a headline, description, and single image. You can see these ads on your Desktop newsfeed.

Lead Ads

Facebook Lead Ads give people a quick way to opt into things like eBooks, newsletters, quotes, and offers straight from their mobile devices. You can usually recognize a lead ad by the “Download” call-to-action button.

LinkedIn lead ad example

Even LinkedIn collects leads with Facebook Lead Ads – image source

Carousel ads

Also known as Multi-Product Ads, this ad type allows to showcase up to ten images and links in a single ad.

Dynamic Product Ads (DPA)

These remarketing ads target users based on their past actions on your site.

Page Like Ads

This Facebook ad type’s goal is to get more likes to your brand’s Facebook Page.

Canvas Ads

Mobile-optimized and animated ads that help to tell your brand’s story.

canvas ad fb

Facebook Canvas ads are animated.

Event Ads

Event ads help to promote specific events and get more people informed and attending.

Mobile App Install Ads

This ad type helps to promote your app and have people install it on mobile.

GIF Ads

A few weeks ago, Facebook announced that advertisers can now add GIFs to video ads. Why not give it a try?

Buffer facebook ad example

Test GIFs like Buffer does

7) Ads That Fail to Draw Attention

Even if you’re targeting a niche Custom Audience and have a brilliant ad message that’s relevant to this audience, there’s a chance that they won’t read your ad copy.

Advertising legend David Ogilvy commissioned research into the use of images and discovered that first, people look at the image. Then, they scan the headline.

If your ad image and headline fail to catch attention in the Facebook newsfeed, many people will skip over your ad.

Ad images that fail to draw attention might be guilty of one of these mistakes:

  • Featured photo resembles amateur photography shared in the newsfeed
  • Ad doesn’t use bright colors, which might reduce its viewability
  • Ad image contains confusing elements and doesn’t match the offer

If you compare these two ads by 17hats and GetResponse, which one gets your attention first?

facebook ad comparison

Which one of these ads caught your attention first?

Research has found that people make up their minds within 90 seconds of their initial interactions with either people or products. About 62‐90% of their assessment is based on colors alone.

Creating more colorful ad images might help to get more people to notice your ad, read it, and take your preferred action.

If you aren’t convinced that your Facebook ad image is important, read this:

Consumer Acquisition found that images are incredibly important — they’re responsible for 75%-90% of ad performance.

Soylent facebook ad example 1

Using custom images like Soylent does is a good idea

Tip: Make sure that your Facebook ad design is at least 1200 x 628 pixels wide (it’s the standard), and that the colors look good on every screen.

For more Facebook ad design inspiration see our lineup of 32 awe-inspiring Facebook ad examples.

8) Too Much Text on the Ad Image

Do you remember the 20% Rule of Facebook ads that implied that only 20% of the ad image may contain text? Otherwise, Facebook could refuse to distribute your ad.

Well, the times, they’ve changed. Facebook isn’t as strict about text rules these days.

Instead of getting a “Yes” or “No” from Facebook, your ad’s text density will fit into one of the four classifications:

  • Ok
  • Low
  • Medium
  • High

You can test your ad’s classification by using Facebook’s Text Overlay Tool.

We ran a test with this ad by Unbounce.

Unbounce remarketing ad

This ad by Unbounce seems to be quite text-heavy

Facebook told us that the ad’s image concentration is high, explaining:

You may not reach your audience because there’s too much text in the ad image. Facebook prefers ad images with little or no text.

Unless you qualify for an exception, change your image before placing your order.

text overlay tool results

This Facebook ad had a high text/image rate

High text density on your ad images doesn’t mean that Facebook won’t deliver it, but it will deliver it to fewer audience members.

The good thing is that Facebook notifies advertisers by email, guiding their attention to text-heavy ads.

facebook text warning

Facebook will notify you of text-heavy ad images

If you want to be 100% sure that your ad image’s text won’t mess with your ad results, keep the text density low or use no text on the ad image.

9) Headlines Without the Right Hook

According to a study by computer scientists at Columbia University and the French National Institute, 59% of people don’t read more than the headline of a Facebook post before sharing or liking it.

If you also take into account that, on average, we’re bombarded with 5,000 ads and/or branded messages per day, it’s no big surprise we’ve grown immune to ads.

If your Facebook ad headline fails to catch attention, people might not continue to read the ad copy.

In this ad by PPI Check Me, the headline reads “Ac. Claim: £2,750 (BBC)”. The lack of context may confuse the reader (it certainly confused me) or fail to provide enough information to warrant engagement.

ppi check me facebook ad

PPI Check Me’s ad headline seems a little confusing

In contrast, this example from Scoro has a clear and actionable headline that explains the benefit of the product.

scoro facebook ad example

Scoro’s ad headline presents a clear benefit

How To Write Better Headlines For Your Facebook Ads

Emphasize the benefits: Use your ad headline to communicate your product’s benefits. By explaining to your audience what’s in it for them, they may be more interested in learning about your offer.

Keep your ad headlines short and clear: Jeff Bullas measured the engagement rate of Facebook posts, and discovered that the ultra-short 40-character posts received 86% higher engagement than others.

Use numbers in headlines: A study by Conductor showed that by starting your headline with a number, you’re 36% more likely to have people click on your ads.

10) Careless Copywriting

When creating a Facebook campaign, you can write custom copy for every part of your ads.

That’s a huge responsibility, as one wrong line of text could potentially extinguish the spark of interest in your readers.

FB copy fields

You can customize every text box of a Facebook ad

One of the rookie Facebook ad mistakes is not taking the time needed to craft high-quality ad copy. To analyze whether your campaigns underperform due to poorly-written texts or some other missing ad elements, you can set up a split test and experiment with multiple ad copies.

For example, DaPulse has experimented with different ad copies while maintaining the initial ad design:

dapulse facebook ad 2

DaPulse tests different Facebook ad copies

Dapulse Facebook ad

How to Write Good Facebook Ad Copy

Facebook ad copywriting starts by defining your goal.

As Joanna Wiebe from Copy Hackers explained:

“One of the most important principles to keep in mind when writing your Facebook ad body copy is this: give your body copy a single goal, and stick to it.”

Think about the goal of your ad campaign: is it to get people buy something from you, to collect new leads or create more brand awareness? Each sentence of your ad copy should support the goal, nudging the reader towards the right action.

Facebook recommends three copywriting best practices:

  1. Find the right tone of voice
  2. Stick to what’s important
  3. Write with the customer in mind

You could also try including testimonials from clients — an article by Econsultancy pointed out that when a website has customer reviews, 63% of visitors are more likely to buy something.

When writing Facebook ad copy, avoid sounding vague and cryptic as people might not understand your point. Focus on clear, trustworthy, and informative texts.

11) Missing a Clear Value Offer

Value offer is like your ad’s goal translated into the language of customers.

If your ad’s goal represents the key action you’d like a person to make, the value offer explains why they should take it.

Unique Value Proposition (UVP) is a clear statement that describes your product’s benefit to the customer while differentiating you from your competition.

To give you an example of a Facebook ad with a value offer that could be improved, here’s one by Freshdesk.

While this ad copy is okay (not bad, not perfect), it fails to differentiate the product from the competition and explain the final benefit of using the product. How would accessing the helpdesk from my phone help my company in the long term?

freshdesk ad example

Freshdesk’s Facebook ad is missing a clear UVP

As Peep Laja from ConversionXL put it:

“Value proposition is something real humans are supposed to understand. It’s for people to read.“

5 Tips For Defining Your Unique Value Proposition

  1. Your value proposition needs to be in the language of the customer — and you cannot guess what that language is.
  2. UVPs should be clear and easy to understand.
  3. Your UVP should show that your offer is different or better than the competitor’s offer.
  4. It should avoid hype (like ‘never-before-seen amazing miracle product’).
  5. It should be easily read and understood in about 5 seconds.

If you get these five things right, you’re much more likely to have a value offer that your audience will respond to.

Place your UVP in the headline or on the image of your ad, where it’s most visible to viewers. That’s a good way to deliver your most important ad message at first sight of your ad.

For example, LinkedIn’s ad headline reads: “Reach 433m+ professionals with LinkedIn Sponsored Content.”

It states the benefit, explains how the product works, and differentiates LinkedIn from other PPC channels by mentioning the 433m+ professionals using the platform.

LinkedIn value offer

LinkedIn’s ad has an awesome value offer.

12) Stuffing Ads with Too Much Text

Less is often more when it comes to Facebook ads.

When explaining how to improve landing page UX, Peep from ConversionXL said:

“The more visual inputs and action options your visitors have to process, the less likely they are to make a conversion decision.”

Most of the time, the same rule applies to Facebook ads. Having fewer distractions in your ad copy might help get more people to convert.

When analyzing the perfect length of Facebook posts, Sprout Social discovered that brief Facebook posts saw the highest engagement.

facebook statistic 3

Facebook post length vs. engagement – image source

Another study by BlitzLocal analyzed 11,000 Facebook pages and found that engagement increased as posts got shorter.

On average, page posts are 157.7 characters, user posts are 121.5 characters, and mobile posts are 104.9 characters. Posts between 140 and 159 characters long are, on average, 13.3% less engaging than posts between 120 and 139 characters.

facebook post length

Shorter posts get higher engagement – image source

Why do shorter Facebook posts work better? One of the reasons might be that they’re more concise and deliver the key message more quickly.

This Facebook ad example by Target is minimalistic regarding both the ad image and copywriting. People could potentially like this ad more as it doesn’t require a big effort to read.

target facebook ad example

Target’s Facebook ad is clear as day

However, if you’re creating a blog article promotion campaign, having more introductory copy might make sense.

In this example from Clanbeat, the longer ad text helps to catch the reader’s attention and spark curiosity so that they will want to read more.

Clanbeat ad

Clanbeat’s Facebook ad promotes a blog article

13) Forgetting to Caption Video Ads

When creating your first Facebook Video Ads campaign, you might forget this single important fact: all the videos in the newsfeed are soundless by default.

According to Facebook, captioned video ads increase video view time by an average of 12%. In another study of Facebook video ads, 41% of videos were basically meaningless without sound.

Moreover, Facebook’s research shows that:

“In mobile-feed environments, people prefer having the choice to opt in to sound. When feed-based mobile video ads play loudly when people aren’t expecting it, 80% react negatively, both toward the platform and the advertiser.”

adespresso video ad example

AdEspresso has captioned their video ad

As you forget to caption your video ads, chances are that people won’t click on the “Play” button and watch the entire thing. That’s because they won’t be able to see what your ad is about, only a video without sound or text.

You might also want to avoid these video ad mistakes that Social Media Examiner says results in low video engagement:

  1. Including an intro
  2. Using logos or credits at the beginning of video
  3. Trying to tell too much in a single video
  4. Having a person talking to the camera without sufficient context

As making a video can take multiple hours (or days), it’s a smart idea to think it through before getting to work.

14) Bad Choice of Ad Placement

In a Facebook experiment, marketers at Scoro discovered that Desktop ads had a 534% higher cost-per-click than ads placed on Mobile + Audience Network.

They also discovered, however, that Desktop ads performed a lot better in terms of conversions.

Mobile vs desktop feed

Desktop ads outperformed Mobile ads – image source

The choice of ad placement plays an important role in your Facebook ad results.

Facebook’s Ad Placements Include:

  • News feeds (mobile and desktop)
  • Facebook right-hand column
  • Instagram
  • Audience Network
  • Instant Articles
  • In-stream Video

One of the main reasons why you might make a mistake when choosing your ad placements is the offer and placement mismatch.

For example, if you’d like people to create a free trial for your business software, Instagram ads might not be the best option. People aren’t usually in the mood to deal with business while browsing images posted by their friends.

The best way to find out which ad placements result in the highest return on investment is to test multiple ad placements and analyze the results.

In the Facebook Ads Manager, you can break down Facebook Ads reports by ad placement and see which ones had the lowest cost-per-click and a high conversion rate.

facebook ad placement report

Break down your ad results by placement

If you’re unsure which ad placements to start with, here’s what Facebook suggests:

  • Brand awareness: Facebook and Instagram
  • Engagement: Facebook and Instagram
  • Video views: Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network
  • App installs: Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network
  • Traffic for website clicks and app engagement: Facebook and Audience Network
  • Product catalog sales: Facebook and Audience Network
  • Conversions: Facebook and Audience Network

15) The 24/7 Ad Delivery

Is your Facebook offer relevant to your target audience 24/7, including nights and weekends? If so, having your ads run on a regular schedule makes sense.

There are several arguments against running your ads at all times of the day, however:

  • According to AdEspresso, people will get tired of seeing your ad more quickly.
  • You’re spending parts of the budget on low-traffic hours with fewer conversions.

You can avoid Facebook ad fatigue and keep your ad frequency under control with a custom schedule. Scheduling ads for specific times of the day or week will give you more control over your ad spend.

Ad scheduling

Set up a custom ad schedule

If you’re worried about Facebook delivering your ads to the same person too many times per day, you can use frequency capping a la Facebook’s Daily Unique Reach option.

daily unique reach

Deliver ads one per day with Daily Unique Reach

16) Amateur Ad Bidding

Facebook operates on an auction-type bidding system, just like Google Ads.

Today, PPC bidding is almost scientific, and applying the right components could give your ad campaigns a real boost.

To customize and view your bidding options in Facebook’s Ads Manager, go to the “Budget and Schedule” section.

facebook ad bidding

Set up your ad budget and schedule

4 Different Bidding Options In Facebook Ads

1) Conversions: Facebook will do its best to deliver your ads to people who are most likely to convert. This bidding method is a good place to start as Facebook will optimize the ads for you.

2) Link Clicks: Facebook focuses on getting users to click on your ad to follow the link. If your goal is to get a lot of users to your landing page or to view an on-Facebook page, this could be a good option.

3) Impressions: Facebook optimizes your ads with the goal of being seen by as many people as possible. This is a good option for businesses looking to build brand awareness or sharing highly engaging content (e.g. blog articles).

4) Daily Unique Reach: Facebook optimizes for showing your ads to people up to once a day. This method is great for retargeting, ensuring that people will see your ads only once every day and (hopefully) preventing ad fatigue.

According to AdEspresso, there are three factors that contribute to your ad cost: your bid, ad relevancy, and estimated action rates calculated by Facebook’s algorithms.

There is no 100% right or wrong bidding method for any ad type — you can find the best ad bidding methods through trial and error.

To get some insight into Facebook ad costs by ad placement, have a look at this chart by AdEspresso:

facebook ad placement cost

Placement has a huge impact on ad cost – image source

17) Slow Campaign Take-Off

Sometimes, Facebook ad campaign timelines look like this:

giphy 4

The face of disappointment – image source

Sorry, my bad. What I actually meant was this:

Ad campaign performane graph

This campaign failed to take off for ten days – image source

For almost two weeks, this campaign failed to start delivering results.

Every time your Facebook campaign fails to take off, it might be due to one of these five reasons:

  1. You’ve created too many ad groups of A/B test variations with low budgets
  2. You ad images fail to catch people’s attention
  3. Low relevance of ads (might indicate a bad audience targeting)
  4. Using the wrong bidding options
  5. Being impatient and making rapid changes

So, what’s the cure?

Scoro’s digital marketing manager (and occasional KlientBoost guest blogger) Karola Karlson provided a formula on AdEspresso called Fast Take-Off (FTO) to get your campaigns back on their feet.

How The FTO Method Works

Assign Lifetime budgets that cross your planned budget. When starting a new campaign, you’ll need about 10,000 impressions to evaluate which ads work and which don’t.

If you want Facebook to use more resources at the beginning of the campaign, for example, use a $2,000 budget instead of the planned $400 to get things rolling.

According to Karola, here’s why it might just work:

“Facebook rarely uses the total daily budget. Unless your ads are super relevant to your target audience, Facebook shows the ads less often than you’d like. To serve your ads to more people at the beginning of the campaign, increase your initial budget and expand the audience size for a week.”

18) Leaving Facebook No Time for Optimization

Another rookie Facebook ad mistake is expecting instant gratification. Lots of first-timers expect their new Facebook campaign to deliver amazing results in the first few hours or minutes.

After holding your breath for two or three hours and not getting results, it might feel like your campaign is a failure. Facebook needs at least 24 hours to optimize your campaign, however, and you’re better off waiting for about 48 hours before you make changes.

According to Facebook:

“When we start delivering your ad set, whether at the start of a campaign or after you edit it, we don’t have all the data necessary to deliver it as stably as possible. To get that data, we have to show ads to different types of people to learn who is most likely to get you optimization events. This process is called the ‘learning phase.’“

Every time you make substantial changes to your campaigns, wait at least 24-48 hours before drawing any conclusions.

Take a look at a campaign results graph below. The campaign was set live on February 12, and it took Facebook almost 48 hours to gather data and start delivering ads on full steam.

new campaign take off

It takes up to 48 hours for Facebook to optimize your ads.

19) Guessing, Not Testing

Which one of these ads by Shopify works best, do you think?

spotify ad examples

Shopify is testing multiple ad images – image source

While we don’t have access to Shopify’s Ads Manager to uncover the test results, we can guess that Shopify was running an A/B test to discover the best-performing ad image.

If they had picked just one image for the ad, Shopify’s team would never know if it really was the best option for driving conversions.

A study of 37,259 Facebook ads found that “most companies only have 1 ad, but the best had 100’s”.

SaaS startup Scoro went as far as to test over ten different ad images when starting with Facebook advertising.

Scoro ads

Scoro tested over ten Facebook ad images

Whenever you’re unsure which target audience, ad copy, or ad image to use, test multiple variations and track the results. When you have enough results to see which version is performing best, use that ad and discard the rest.

20) A/B Testing The Wrong Elements

Not all your split testing ideas are gold. And since your marketing budget isn’t unlimited, your A/B testing capacity is probably restricted to a few tests per month.

As Hotwire’s site optimization lead product manager Pauline Marol put it:

“If you come to me with an idea and it’s not live in two weeks, it’s not because it’s a bad idea — it’s because I have better things to test.”

I’ve written about simple A/B test prioritization methods in a prior post, and as I explained there, you should start closest to where your money is.

Optimizely put together an absolutely incredible chart to help non-seasoned (and seasoned) A/B testers to prioritize like a pro.

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Make your own prioritization rules just like Optimizely – image source

You can also check out ConversionXL‘s PXL prioritization framework, which provides specific questions about the impact of your ad on user behavior.

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ConversionXL created their own prioritization spreadsheet – image source

AdEspresso studied data from over $3 million in Facebook Ad spend experiments to create a list of A/B test elements that provided the biggest gains:

  1. Countries
  2. Precise interests
  3. Mobile OS
  4. Age ranges
  5. Genders
  6. Ad images
  7. Titles
  8. Relationship status
  9. Landing page
  10. Interested in

As you can see, many of these elements are related to your target audience. Once again, it’s super important to refine your targeting to reach high-intent customers who are likely to convert.

21) Testing Too Many Things at Once

It’s easy to get carried away with all those amazing A/B testing ideas.

If you aren’t careful, however, your Facebook split testing campaign might end up looking like this:

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5 ad variations might turn into 625 ads – image source

Facebook Ad guru Mike Murphy explained to ConversionXL that too much unfocused testing can make it tough to track results, even successful ones:

“Many folks will take their research from step one, gather their interests and then lump them all into one big list on the Facebook Ads Manager in hopes of reaching a large target audience. This is a grave mistake that will cost you far more in ad spend. And while you might get results, you’ll have no idea which interest brought the best results.”

Putting all your eggs in one basket isn’t the smartest way to do Facebook A/B testing.

With every experiment you run, you’ll need to ensure that you have enough data for your results to be statistically significant.

Just like with website testing, you should aim to collect at least 500 conversions before making any conclusions. If you’re testing more than two variations, you’ll need even more ad impressions and conversions to determine the winning option.

22) Low Landing Page and Facebook Ad Match

Imagine you clicked on this ad by Fiverr promoting videos, and ended up on a landing page for custom logos instead.

That would be quite confusing, right?

fiverr ad example

Fiverr’s Facebook ad promoting explainer videos

Luckily, Fiverr’s landing page presents the same product as their ad:

fiverr landing page

Fiverr’s landing page matches their Facebook ad

Unfortunately, too many Facebook ads lead back to the company’s home page or irrelevant landing pages.

Promising one thing in your Facebook ads and then failing to keep the message consistent throughout your sales funnel can be a costly mistake. A person interested in a specific product who fails to find it on your landing page will probably leave without coming back.

To keep your Facebook ad’s and landing page’s value propositions aligned, use the same messaging throughout your sales funnel.

Also, avoid targeting everyone at once. Instead, address niche audiences with highly targeted ad campaigns like FreshBooks.

freshbooks facebook ad example

FreshBooks’ Facebook ad has a clear target audience

23) Poor Landing Page UX

Even if you have rockstar Facebook ads that people can’t help but click, you may still lose all the conversions due to silly landing page mistakes.

In fact, there are so many common landing page mistakes that we published a massive guide to help you avoid them.

When developing Facebook ads, you should also consider the ad’s placement when building a landing page.

If you’re targeting a mobile audience, for example, your landing page should be optimized for mobile instead of desktop.

This Lost Password mobile landing page by Slack is a great example of straightforward, mobile-first design:

slack mobile ux 240x426 1

Slack’s landing page is designed for mobile

In fact, “Creating a responsive design and calling your landing page or site ‘optimized for mobile’ is a cop-out,” according to ConversionXL’s Shanelle Mullin.

According to the latest reports, Facebook earns nearly 80% of its revenue from mobile advertising. It’s increasingly important to keep your mobile landing page UX top-notch.

mobile usage 1

Mobile keeps growing – image source

24) Neglecting Conversion Tracking

While it’s tempting to neglect conversion tracking in favor of getting your Facebook campaigns up and running ASAP, it’s not sustainable in the long term.

Without proper conversion tracking, you’ll have no way of analyzing your ad results.

While you can see your ad’s click-through rate and some other ad metrics without any tracking adjustments, there is no means for tracking off-site conversions.

Facebook tracks off-platform conversions via Facebook Pixel, which you’ll need to install on your website.

How To Set Up The Basic Facebook Pixel Code

  1. Go to the Pixels Page in Ads Manager
  2. Click Actions > View Code
  3. Copy the code and paste it between the <head> tags on each web page, or in your website template to install it on your entire website.
facebook website custom audiences 7

Here’s what Facebook Pixel code looks like – image source

Each ad account gets only one Pixel code. Use the Pixel code on every page of your website (or websites). You can also use Google Tag Manager to track and understand conversions, site analytics, and other metrics.

If you want to track specific conversions such as purchases or lead generation, you’ll also need to add conversion tracking code.

Facebook Upgraded Pixel Structure

Add the conversion tracking code inside the base Pixel code – image source

You can track nine different custom events with Facebook Pixel:

Facebook Pixel events

Use custom conversion tracking for more insight.

To add the Facebook Pixel to your website, these implementation guidelines will help you with the necessary steps.

Setting up Facebook ad conversion tracking is a must-have for anyone looking to discover new advertising goldmines and conduct successful A/B tests.

25) Losing Sight of the Real Goal

Vanity metrics can make you feel like you’ve just won an Oscar for your phenomenal work.

grace kelly gif

Vanity metrics make us feel like Grace Kelly. – image source

When you log in to the Facebook Ads Manager, you’ll get a chance to binge on all sorts of vanity metrics: impressions, click-through rate, cost-per-click…

None of these metrics matters, however, if they don’t contribute to your ultimate goal – sales.

On the first look — which one of these ad keywords is performing better?

tips for ppc 600x338

It’s the first one, right?

But what if you take into account the click to conversion to sales rates? The story takes an unexpected turn.

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The second keyword actually outperforms the first

Always, and I mean ALWAYS, focus on your end goal when analyzing Facebook campaign results.

26) Leaving Ads Unattended

Ads are like pets. If you leave them on their own, they get naughty and start making trouble.

staff portrait tanner

Except Tanner, the KlientBoost mascot who never misbehaves 😉

AdEspresso learned this lesson the hard way. They set up well-crafted ad campaigns and left them running for several months.

facebook ads performance loss

Don’t worry, this’ll never happen to KlientBoost’s clients – image source

In five months, the average cost-per-conversion for the campaign climbed more than 1,050%, from $3.33 to $38.47.

Here’s what AdEspresso’s CEO Massimo Chieruzzi had to say:

“Our cost per conversion had increased ten times in just a few months! While, through split testing, I had found a great design and an audience that loved our product… it was a very small audience! Throwing a lot of money at this small audience, we soon saturated it after only two months, wasting a load of money in the process.

To keep your Facebook ad campaigns under control, conduct weekly checkups. It might be worth reviewing your ad campaigns even more often after the initial setup.

Further, AdEspresso suggests that you keep track of these eight Facebook ad metrics to make sure your campaigns don’t go off the rails:

  1. Ad frequency
  2. Relevance score
  3. Click-through-rate vs. conversion rate
  4. Number of leads
  5. Facebook Ads customer churn
  6. Ad performance by placement
  7. Clicks by interests
  8. Ad engagement rate

27) Neglecting Ad Frequency

Ad frequency is a Facebook metric that shows how many times people have seen your ad on average.

As you might have guessed, the higher your ad frequency, the more likely it is that people get annoyed seeing your same ad over and over again.

AdEspresso analyzed how ad frequency affects the click-through rate, cost-per-click, and cost-per-conversion of ad campaigns. Here are their findings:

Facebook ad frequency 2

Ad frequency affects the CPC and CTR – image source

When people saw the same ads twice, the click-through-rate decreased by 8.91%. But when shown repetitive ads for 5 times, the cost-per-click was 98.51% higher than the first ad delivery.

The general rule is to keep your ad frequency between 3-5 points.

There are exceptions, however. For example, some Facebook remarketing campaigns have shown good results even when the ad frequency was well over 10 ad views.

Here’s a results chart of a Facebook remarketing campaign run by Scoro:

cpc of remarketing campaign

Scoro got good results even with ad frequency of 15

As you can see, the cost-per-click only increased at the very end of the campaign, when the ad frequency reached 15 points.

Ad fatigue example 1

High ad frequency should raise a red flag

Don’t make the mistake of neglecting high ad frequency. Use it as an indicator that your campaigns might need some tweaking. Check other metrics to confirm the need for updates.

28) Not Using Auto-Optimization

If you’re afraid of high ad frequency and diminishing campaign results — not to mention spending hours on checking your Facebook ad reports — there’s a way to escape this burden.

It’s called Facebook Automated Rules.

Automated rules help to keep your Facebook ad campaigns under control. When your rule conditions are met, four different events can be triggered automatically:

  1. Turn off (campaign, ad set or ad)
  2. Send notification to the ad manager (you)
  3. Adjust budget (increase/decrease daily/lifetime budget by…)
  4. Adjust manual bid (increase/decrease bid by…)
facebook create a rule

Create a Facebook Automated Rule

You can apply the rules to specific campaigns, ad sets, or ads that you’ve selected, or all active campaigns, ad sets or ads.

Automated Conditions For Facebook Campaigns

According to a swell Facebook Automated Rules guide by Jon Loomer, the currently available conditions include:

  • Cost per Result
  • Cost per Add Payment Info (Facebook Pixel)
  • Daily Spend
  • Cost per Click (Link)
  • Cost per App Install
  • Frequency
  • Cost per Add to Cart (Facebook Pixel)
  • Cost per Initiate Checkout (Facebook Pixel)
  • Impressions
  • Cost per Purchase (Facebook Pixel)
  • Cost per Lead (Facebook Pixel)
  • Lifetime Spent
  • Cost per Complete Registration (Facebook Pixel)
  • CPM (Cost per 1,000 impressions)
  • Reach
  • Results

To create a new Facebook ad rule, select one or multiple campaigns, ad sets, or ads, and click on Create Rule.

facebook automated rules 1

Select one of multiple campaigns – image source

After you’ve selected the campaigns or ads, you can create custom combinations of conditions that will trigger an action.

For example, you can ask Facebook to automatically turn off all active ads in the campaign with frequencies above four.

turn off high frequency ads

Customize your Facebook Automated Rule – image source

Automated Rules can go to great lengths on notifying you when a campaign starts to get lower results and helping you to keep ad costs under control.

29) Not Incorporating Video

Facebook’s own data shows that as many as 15,000 pieces of content can appear each time you log onto your feed.

With so much out there, it’s no surprise that engagement has declined across multiple types of posts. There just isn’t enough time to absorb all of the content available.

Although interactions with image and link-based posts have declined, BuzzSumo found that that’s not true for video posts. Engagement actually increased by 10 percent year-over-year for video-based posts.

Perhaps because the barrier to high-quality production is so high, video posts still don’t have prominence in comparison to other kinds of Facebook content. But basically, if you’re not capitalizing on video-based ads, you’re missing out.

30) Missing Out on the Conclusions

Some marketers run tons of Facebook campaigns, but make the same mistakes time and time again.

This could be avoided by keeping a diary.

No, not a fluffy pink soft-covered princess-style diary (although that could work fine, we’re not judging), but a general spreadsheet where you note all of the key takeaways from each Facebook campaign.

Before you send an old Facebook campaign to the PPC cemetery, take a few minutes to examine what worked and what didn’t.

There will always be takeaways from your ad experiences, and if you keep doubling down on the ideas that work, success will find you.

Final Words on Facebook Ad Mistakes

Facebook ad mistakes aren’t reserved for beginners. We’re all human, and we all run the risk of committing a thoughtless blunder at some point.

By the way, do you know what the alternative of ad mistakes is? Best practices.

We’ve done some digging and collected 84 awesome takeaways into an article packed with stellar Facebook ad examples.

Finally, we’d love to hear about your biggest Facebook ad failures — the crazier, the better. Tell your story in the comments section.

Klientboost Blog Author <br>Johnathan Dane


Johnathan Dane

Founder/CEO

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