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29 Facebook Ad Mistakes
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Facebook ad mistakes are like mines in the Minesweeper game. When creating your first Facebook advertising campaigns, your goal is to avoid making the rookie mistakes.
Once you lose focus and hit the wrong square, you’re out.


Be careful to avoid rookie Facebook ad mistakes. – image source

It’s a good thing that Facebook advertising doesn’t end with a wrong move. It might cost you more advertising dollars, but there’s always a way to fix a poorly performing campaign.
We’ve already covered Facebook ad examples and Facebook ad tips in previous blog post–so this article will tackle 29 popular Facebook ads mistakes and will offer the cures to get you closer to your dream campaign results.
Here they come: the 29 serious mistakes haunting even the best Facebook ad campaigns.

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.
How to avoid targeting a 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 higher conversion rates happen when local numbers are used 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:

  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 can’t tell for sure what it is that 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 PPC channel temperature levels needs a dedicated Facebook ad campaign.

ppc expert 600x338

There’s a right offer for every PPC channel temperature

If your Facebook ad jumps straight to the “Click here and buy now!” trail, people might consider it irrelevant 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 would make 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 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?
First, take a look at cold hard numbers – If your audience size reaches 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 you notice your audience is too broad, you can restrict it by excluding people by interests, behaviors and demographics or selecting between 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 huge Facebook advertising potential waiting to be untapped.

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 several 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 when setting up 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 all the other options such as Video Ads and Lead Ads.

coca cola ad example

Coca-Cola experiments with Facebook video posts

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

LinkedIn collects lead with Facebook Lead Ads

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.
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


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:

  • Ad 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 notice your ad, read it, and take your preferred action.
If you’re still doubting the importance of your Facebook ad image, 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 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.
Now, the times have changed and Facebook isn’t as strict about their text rules anymore.
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 actually never read more than the headline of a Facebook post before sharing or liking it.
If you take into account that, on average, we’re surrounded by 5,000 ads/branded messages per day, it’s no big surprise we’re grown immune to ads.
If your Facebook ad headline fails to catch attention, people might not continue to read the ad copy.
This ad example by PPI Check Me has the headline “Ac. Claim: £2,750 (BBC)” that may not be very informative (rather confusing) for the reader.

ppi check me facebook ad

PPI Check Me’s ad headline seems a little confusing

Here’s another example by Scoro with a clear and actionable headline explaining 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 Bullaz 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 distinguish the spark of interest in a reader.

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 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 in her article:
“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 to follow three copywriting best practices:

  • Find the right tone of voice
  • Stick to what’s important
  • 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.
UVP / Unique Value Proposition 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 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.“
Among other things, Peep suggests that:

  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. UVP should show it’s different or better than the competitor’s offer.
  4. It should avoid hype (like ‘never seen before amazing miracle product’).
  5. It should be easily read and understood in about 5 seconds.

If you get these five things right, you’re likely to have nailed a stellar value offer.
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

When it comes to Facebook ads, less is often more.
When explaining how to improve landing page UX, Peep from ConversionXL explained:
“The more visual inputs and action options your visitors has to process, the less likely they are to make a conversion decision.”
Most of the time, the same rule applies to Facebook ads as well. Having fewer distractions in your ad copy might help get more people to convert.
When analyzing the perfect length of Facebook posts, Track 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, while 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 a longer introductory ad copy might make more sense.
Here’s an example by Clanbeat, sharing one of their blog articles. The longer ad text helps to catch the reader’s attention and spark curiosity, so that they might be more interested in reading 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 fac t: 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 — according Social Media Examiner — result 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.
However, they also discovered 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:

  • Facebook 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 as people aren’t in the mood of dealing with business when browsing images by their friends.
The best way to find out which ad placements result in the highest return on investment, 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, even at night and on weekends? If so, having your ads run on a regular schedule makes sense.
However, there are several arguments against running your ads on full schedule:

  • 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.

To avoid Facebook ad fatigue and keep your ad frequency under control, set up a custom schedule and deliver your ads only on specific times of week.

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 the frequency capping a la Facebook: Daily Unique Reach.

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 AdWords.
PPC bidding is like a science that could potentially give your ad campaigns a real bump when applied skillfully.
To customize and view your bidding options in Facebook Ads Manager, go to the “Budget and Schedule” section.

facebook ad bidding

Set up your ad budget and schedule

Facebook ads have four different bidding options:
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.
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.
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).
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 may not get annoyed as quickly.
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:

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

So, what’s the cure?
Scoro’s digital marketing manager Karola Karlson introduced a secret formula on AdEspresso blog called FTO / Fast Take-Off.
Here’s 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. So, 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, just 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 freshman Facebook ad mistake is relying too much on instant gratification, expecting a new Facebook campaign to deliver amazing results in the first few hours.
After you’ve waited for 3 hours without any sight of results, it’s easy to write the campaign off as a failure. However, you should give Facebook at least 24 hours to optimize your campaigns, even better if you’re able to wait for 48h before making any changes.
According to Facebook:
“It takes our ad delivery system 24 hours to adjust the performance level for your ad. It can take longer when you edit your ad frequently. To fix it, let your ad run for at least 24 hours before you edit it again. “
Every time you make substantial changes to your campaigns, consider waiting for 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 48h for Facebook to optimize your ads


19) Guessing, Not Testing

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

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.
Had they settled with a single image, Shopify would’ve never known if it really was the best option.
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, experiment with both.

20) Doing the Wrong Kind of A/B Tests

Not all your split testing ideas are gold — and with limited ad budgets, your A/B testing capacity is restricted to a few tests per month.
As Pauline Marol, the site optimization lead product manager at Hotwire 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 blog post here on KlientBoost’s blog.
As I explained then, it makes sense to 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.

ab split test 595x600

Make your own prioritization rules just like Optimizely – image source

You should also check out the PXL prioritization framework developed by the folks at ConversionXL.

pxl 600x179 1

ConversionXL created their own prioritization spreadsheet – image source

AdEspresso studied data from over $3 millions in Facebook Ads experiments and listed 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, reminding once again how super important it is to figure out whom it is you’re targeting.

21) Testing Too Many Things at Once

It’s easy to get carried away with all those amazing A/B testing ideas. However, your Facebook split testing campaign might soon look like this:

image02 568x322 1

5 ad variations might turn into 625 ads – image source

As Mike Murphy from commented on ConversionXL:
“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 and valid.
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 were lead to a landing page offering custom logos instead.
That would be quite confusing, right?

fiverr ad example

Fiverr’s Facebook ad promoter explainer videos

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

fiverr landing page

Fiverr’s landing page matches with their Facebook ad

Unfortunately, there are also many Facebook ads that lead 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 could be a costly mistake. A person who’s interested in a specific product and fails to find it on your landing page might be inclined to leave the page.
To keep your Facebook ad’s and landing page’s value propositions aligned, use the same messaging throughout your sales funnel.
Avoid targeting everyone at once. Instead, address niche audiences with highly targeted ad campaigns like FreshBooks.

freshbooks facebook ad example

FreshBooks’s 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 landing page mistakes to be made that we published a massive guide to help you avoid these.
Regarding Facebook ads, you should also keep in mind the ad placement when building a landing page.
If you’re going to target a Mobile audience, make sure your landing page is optimized for mobile instead of desktop.
For example, here’s an extremely straightforward Lost Password mobile landing page by Slack:

slack mobile ux 240x426 1

Slack’s landing page is designed for mobile

As Shanelle Mullin from ConversionXL states: “Creating a responsive design and calling your landing page or site ‘optimized for mobile’ is a cop-out.”
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 the Conversion Tracking

While it’s tempting to neglect the conversion tracking and get 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 many other ad metrics without any tracking adjustments, there are no means to track off-site conversions.
Facebook tracks off-platform conversions via Facebook Pixel that you need to install to your website.
To set up the basic Facebook Pixel code, follow these guidelines:

  1. Go to the Pixels Page in Ads Manager
  2. Click Actions > View Code

Each ad account gets only one Pixel code. Use the Pixel code on every page of your website (or websites).

facebook website custom audiences 7

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

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 – you can also use Google Tag Manager.
If you want to track specific conversions such as purchases or lead conversions, you 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.

For an in-depth guide on installing Facebook Pixel to your website, view this: Facebook’s Pixel implementation guidelines.
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… they 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 vanity metrics: impressions, click-through rate, cost-per-click…
None of these metrics matters if they fail to 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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Truth is, the second keyword 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. Once you leave them on their own, they get naughty and start making trouble.

staff portrait tanner

Our KlientBoost mascot

AdEspresso learned this lesson the hard way. They set up well-performing 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 raised over 1050% 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.
AdEspresso suggests that you keep track of these eight Facebook ad metrics:

  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 the Ad Frequency

Ad frequency is a Facebook ad metric that shows how many times people have seen your ad on average.
As you might have guessed, the higher your ad frequency, the greater the likelihood that people are tired and bored of seeing the 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 already 98.51% higher compared to the first ad delivery.
The general rule is to keep your ad frequency between 3-5 points.
However, there are exceptions. For example, some Facebook remarketing campaigns have shown good results even while the ad frequency was well over ten ad views.
Here’s a results chart of a Facebook remarketing campaign run by SaaS startup 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 the red flag

Don’t make the mistake of neglecting high ad frequency — use it as an indicator that your campaigns might need an update (but also check for other metrics to confirm the fact).

28) Not Using Auto-Optimization

If you’re afraid of high ad frequency and diminishing campaign results, 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 and have four things happen automatically if the rule conditions are satisfied:

  • Turn off (campaign, ad set or ad)
  • Send notification to the ad manager (you)
  • Adjust budget (increase/decrease daily/lifetime budget by…)
  • Adjust manual bid (increase/decrease bid by…)

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

facebook create a rule

Create a Facebook Automated Rule

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)
  • Cost per Click (Link)
  • Cost per App Install
  • Cost per Add to Cart (Facebook Pixel)
  • Cost per Initiate Checkout (Facebook Pixel)
  • Cost per Purchase (Facebook Pixel)
  • Cost per Lead (Facebook Pixel)
  • Cost per Complete Registration (Facebook Pixel)
  • CPM (Cost per 1,000 impressions)
  • Daily Spent
  • Frequency
  • Impressions
  • Lifetime Spent
  • 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 ad frequency greater than 4.

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) Missing Out on the Conclusions

Some marketers run tens of Facebook campaigns, but make the same mistakes time and time again.
This could be avoided by keeping a diary.
No, not the fluffy pink soft-covered princess’ diary (although this could work as well), but a general spreadsheet where you note down all the key takeaways from each Facebook campaign.
Before you send an old Facebook campaign to the cemetery of forgotten PPC campaigns, take a few minutes to conclude what worked and what didn’t.
It’s always a good idea to double down on what works.

Final Words on Facebook Ad Mistakes

Facebook ad mistakes aren’t reserved for the beginners. Sometimes, we all run into the risk of committing a thoughtless blunder.
You know what’s the alternative of ad mistakes? — It’s the best practices. We’ve done some digging and collected 84 awesome key takeaways into an article packed with stellar Facebook ad examples.
We’d be fascinated 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


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