If you have any experience with Facebook Ads, you surely know how tricky it can be to set the right parameters and then confidently invest money into your set of marketing choices. With the Facebook algorithm constantly evolving, the process of setting the right ad criteria is more often becoming a gamble rather than a targeted ad campaign.
Since we can’t really be sure of what will work every time, in any set of circumstances, we decided to put together a list of what we notice doesn’t work when making a Facebook ad campaign. In this blog post we share a list of common mistakes that we noticed new marketers make when they start learning and using Facebook ads and creating their own campaigns. While the list is not complete, we have tried to cover the main directions and possible obstacles that each of us can encounter.
Based on our experience, we define five main categories where it’s easy to make an error:
- Objective settings
- Product selections
- Audience definition
- Creatives design and
- Conducting Analysis
We will try to cover the most common mistakes in each one of these categories and we hope that by the end of reading this article you would have gained useful insights to help you improve your future campaigns. As we learn more interesting cases from our readers, we will update this list so that we have a better understanding of what might not work for our ads.
Let’s take a look!
As Facebook says: “Objectives are actions you want people to take when they see your ad. You need to specify your chosen objective during campaign creation. Explicitly setting the objective has the following benefits: You get correct tracking, optimization, and bidding options for your ad and you can view unique UI and analytics dashboards for each objective”
So the most common errors we noticed here are:
Selecting wrong objectives (client actions).
Choose the right action, that makes most sense to your business goals, that will ultimately convert most. For eCommerce we noticed that Conversion is the most common one, but also there are other options like Awareness and Consideration, which need to be well assessed and considered, as explained in detail in this article, which boils down how they differ from one another.
Pushing the Boost Button.
Thinking that the Boost button is an easy fix which will work magic for your ad is not the best approach. Targeting and tracking your Facebook ads is an important part of the process which will help you make sure you are reaching the right audience and that your ad is meeting your goals. Spend every dollar on testing and make sure to explore with your products, audience, or visuals in line with your objectives.
After setting the objective, you need to define the product or product catalog that you want to promote. There are various important questions here, such as: How to bundle products? Are these products relevant? Is there a demand for them? These are all important questions which need to have answers or at least some vague hypotheses.
Some of the common errors we noticed at product selection are:
Selecting Wrong Products
One very common error is to target the products which are not convertible, relevant or not in season. There are many analytical platforms, the most used one being Google Analytics, which can give you insights about the performance of your products, as well as other alternatives you can consider. We advise you to look deeper and start experimenting with ABC analysis, which helps you categorize your items so you can understand which ones you should focus on. Also, if you want to identify products with high demand for the current season and measure the variability of their demand – XYZ analysis are a great tool you can use for that, where you can combine different metrics like revenue, volume, profit and make cross-matrixes.
The selected product is not able to cover the demand
When selecting your products, you should always check the in stock volume of the products first and make sure that they can cover the future demand. To put this simply, you need to promote products which you have in stock, use any previous data to predict the possible demand and add plus 10-20% backup stock in order to meet the expectations.
Using one common product catalog
Our advice is to use analytics and define various product catalogs which are going to be relevant to your various audiences. For example: men buy completely different products from women. The recommendation we have here is to export all of your sales data broken down by products per order and use pivoting in excel in order to identify similarities. Feel free to contact us if you would like guidance on how to do this or if you are interested to see an instructional video in the future made by us.
Now let’s talk about how to define the audience for the ads or campaigns and how to approach them.
Audience and Offer Mismatch
Selecting the product or group of products for a campaign, is tightly related to the audience that is targeted by the ads. That is why it’s very important to select products and target audiences simultaneously. What we think works best is to use historical data and analyze the customer behavior on your website, use questionnaires, or analyze customer demographics in order to detect patterns and use them for selecting products and audiences.
Targeting the wrong audience.
Have you pinned down who is your customer persona?
This is a very important question and the answer is not always so easy, especially if you rely on existing analytical tools like Google Analytics. The common approach is to test with various audiences and see which one of them converts, based on Facebook ads.
Unfortunately, many businesses start with the wrong audience. The result is that these ads do not bring the expected outcome and they start to check other options. Some consultants are advising to use Facebook ads success stories to get audiences similar to your business and needs.
Over-relying on interest targeting
Another very common mistake for a new marketer is that a particular product can be consumed by the audience which they “believe” can have an interest in the product, without relying on data-based evidence. They start to browse and assign such profiles, but our experience shows that we need to be very cautious when using them.
The audience is large or too general, or the audience group may be very competitive
Focusing on large audiences is a good approach if your main purpose is to reach customers on the top of the funnel. The Facebook model will adapt and start converting better and better, but normally this consumes time and money. So if you are a beginner and want to experiment with small bids, be careful, monitor results, and react.
Targeting all users the same way along all stages of the funnel, especially in the later phases.
Customers behave differently along the sales funnel, so every marketer needs to tailor her messages based on the targeting objective and expected audience, by using creative ads.
Using a lookalike audience without well-defined customer personas
The lookalike is a great feature to use when working with a broader audience. It means that you are increasing your scope and targeting even broader, which is why lookalike is advisable to be used when you narrow down the segments and you have confidence in who your customer persona is.
Once you are confident with the choice of product you are going to promote and what the right audience is, you need to think about how to combine all this together. The next step is selecting the right message, visuals, media etc. The most common mistakes in this respect are:
Irrelevant content – low conversion content.
This is a very common issue, so here we advise to start experimenting with different styles of your message. Try to be bold, funny, social, compact and whatever you think is going to make your message more compelling to your audience. Try different ads and compare their performance in order to choose the most convertible one.
Creating overly busy advertisements
The more the merrier doesn’t perform well in Facebook advertising campaigns. The problem is that too many creatives and messages compete with each other and can have a confusing effect on your audience. Try to think of a way they can identify what you are selling by a single glance, because otherwise they are likely to skip your ad and move to another, less busy one.
Missing the link to your website
This is a common error, so test each time and create a procedure to follow.
Leaving a hyperlink to your website
It is mandatory to include a link to your website in your Facebook ads, but you shouldn’t just paste the raw hyperlink in the text. Doing so can come off as both unprofessional and unnecessary.
Failing to use compelling images
Test with various photos until you find the right content, topic, or scene.
Reacting on negative feedback on your facebook page
Running big campaigns sometimes generates tons of comments and discussions, so monitor the negative ones and react respectively in order to improve them because this can turn into an avalanche and can ruin the whole effort around that campaign, even if the product and the complete delivery cycle are by the book.
You’ve been targeted by trolls on Facebook
Such is life. It sometimes happens that we have fierce competitors willing to use various techniques which can have a negative effect on our brand, so our advice is to stay calm, monitor and answer all questions in a polite and professional manner. The audience can easily identify that these are trolls, if the communication with them is transparent and clear.
As being a Facebook ads marketer, we believe that one of the main skills to have is a good analytical understanding of how to test and validate various hypotheses. There are many approaches like A/B testing, split testing and others, so try to be flexible and always try to experiment. On our end we identified some main issues here like:
Not able to track and measure the impact of ad campaigns.
It is a common mistake, so we can advise you to spend some time and learn more about it. You can start with this one.
Failing to Conduct A/B Testing.
Marketers love the term “A/B testing”. This means that you run two ads at once and track their performance to see which ad performs better, then run that ad against a new ad and measure the performances again. In that way you can identify which ad works the best and help you get more profit for your investment, so try to follow this logic. A more advanced form of A/B testing is the multi-armed bandit.
Not doing split testing
Marketers prefer A/B testing once you get the concept and feeling that you are doing it right. You can also try some others like split testing, for example here is a good video to watch on that topic
Not Understanding Facebook’s Rules
A functionality of Facebook Ads which is a must is understanding the rules by which Facebook works, so allocate some time and research it. It gives you some automation to make and the ability to manage more campaigns once you find some patterns. A good starting point for this can be this video.
You’re not using the right platforms for the right ad types
You need to test from which platform and position your campaign is delivering the best results and adapt your future ads to the most convertible one.
Not Dedicating Enough Time and effort
If you are not able to dig into details and spend time and money while working with Facebook Ads, probably the best approach for you is to use a marketing agency or stop doing it.
Facebook advertising takes time. You need to research, compare, track, and improve your ads constantly. You cannot simply create and post an ad or use boost message only, as ultimately, this will not get you the results you want.
Track your competitors
It is important to monitor trends on the market and make your campaigns relevant to the customers’ needs and interests. Sometimes your competitors spend tons of dollars to identify new trends, products, visuals, so instead of reinventing the wheel you can easily embrace that idea and start earning. The only thing you need to do is spend some time on research.
This brings us to the end of our list and now you’ve read through our insights about the main problems, mistakes, and issues all of us had during the process of learning Facebook Ads..
We hope that this list can be a good starting point for young and motivated facebook ads marketers and we wish you good luck and strong motivation in your journey of Facebook marketing!
We invite you to share your story in the comments below, let us know if you found this article helpful, and hint us on topics you would like to see covered in our future articles.