10 Facebook Ad Mistakes That are Killing Your Budget

How much are you wasting on Facebook ads? How would you know? 

There are over 2 billion active Facebook users, making Facebook a hugely influential advertising platform that can work as an effective tool to drive brand awareness, nab new leads, and convert those leads into customers. 

However, that’s not always what happens. 

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Facebook’s ad manager, while deceptively simple, carries many potential pitfalls that could end up costing you valuable ad dollars—ad dollars that you could be spending more effectively. To learn how to better optimize that ad spend, take a look at these top 10 Facebook ad mistakes that are draining your budget: 

1. Don’t Come on Too Strong 

You wouldn’t go up to a stranger in a coffee shop and say “Hey, do you want to go grab dinner with me?” That would be more than a little off-putting, and it’s unlikely to get you what you want. Instead, you’d have more luck gently introducing yourself, chatting for a bit, and asking for a phone number first. 

It’s the same with Facebook ads. 

If this is your first introduction to your audience, you want to offer something that requires a relatively low level of commitment—like a helpful blog post. Asking them immediately to buy an expensive service, on the other hand, is something you save for the “third date.” 

Once you’ve reached a good level of brand awareness with that audience, you can try offering a slightly higher commitment offer—like a trial or consultation. Then, finally, you’ll be ready to “pop the question” (i.e. asking them for a buy-in). 

2. Don’t Expect to Convert Without Offering Value 

What action do you want the customer to take, and what’s the best way to incentivize that action? 

People aren’t going to make a purchase just because you ask nicely. They want to know what’s in it for them. This is you unique value proposition (UVP). It concisely tells consumers the benefit of your product or service and what makes you different from the competition. 

Find a way to convey exactly what your audience needs to hear in just one simple sentence. Avoid clichés (e.g. “save time and money!”), and provide copy that’s clear and simple to understand. 

3. Don’t Go Too Broad (or Too Narrow) 

How many people are going to be seeing your ad, and more importantly, how many of them are realistically going to be interested in converting?  

Your projected audience size will help you to determine if you’re setting your sights to broad or too narrow. In fact, there’s a helpful little dial to let you know when you’re in the safe zone. 

If you find yourself outside of that safe zone and targeting to many people, ask yourself this: “Do you think each one of them will be highly motivated to click on your offer?” If the answer is no, you’ll want to narrow down your audience. Filter out unlikely conversions by selecting new interests or demographics. 

On the other hand, if your audience size is too small, you’ll run into trouble actually getting Facebook to deliver your ad since you actually need a certain number of people for Facebook to tweak and optimize its approach. 

So, when you’re looking at audience size, take a cue from Goldilocks—not to broad, not too narrow, just right. 

4. Don’t Retread the Same Ground 

If someone has already acted on your offer, it’s not going to be a good use of your ad spend to show them that same offer again and again. To avoid this, you can use an email list of people who have signed on for your offer or completed a purchase and create a custom audience to exclude those individuals from viewing your ad. 

You can always use this list again to remarket to these leads if they haven’t interacted with your brand in a while, but most of the time, you’re going to want to avoid preaching to the already converted.  

5. Don’t Lose Sight of the Objective 

Facebook ads use your choice of objective to guide its strategy for placing your ad, so choosing the wrong objective can seriously hinder its performance. 

A common mistake is for an advertiser to set their objective for maximizing engagement or raising brand awareness when what they’re really looking for is getting more leads. Picking the right objective does actually make a significant difference in Facebook’s ad placement strategy, so selecting the wrong one can seriously hinder your campaigns performance. 

So, before you get to work creating your ad, consider exactly what it is you want and who you want to target. Set tangible KPIs that you can measure and work to improve over time. If you don’t, you’re going to spend a lot of money advertising to the wrong people with the wrong message. 

6. Don’t Give Up on Struggling Campaigns 

If you’re looking for instant gratification, you likely won’t find it with your Facebook ads. 

Many FB advertisers expect to see instant results within the hour of running a new campaign, but the truth is that it takes 1 to 2 days until Facebook is able to optimize that campaign’s delivery. That’s why you might see a period of disappointing results before your campaign actually takes off. 

Even if those 48 hours pass and you still aren’t seeing results, resist the urge to scrap the whole ad. If you focus on making small changes over time, you can figure out what works and gradually optimize your ad, learning more about your audience in the process. However, if you just keep creating new ads for each one that fails, just randomly throwing darts at the board hoping to hit the bullseye, you’re not going to develop a good understanding of what works and what doesn’t.  

7. Don’t Compete with Yourself 

Don’t waste money competing with your own campaigns. 

This happens more often than you’d think when you’re running multiple campaigns at once with similar audiences. Obviously, the ads within your ad sets will naturally be competing against each other since your goal is to show a variety of ads with the same general goal and message to the same audience. The problem, however, comes when you start competing against yourself across different campaigns. 

When there’s an audience overlap across a single advertisers’ various campaigns, they may end up in the same auction (meaning they’re targeting similar audiences). Facebook then enters the one with the best performance history and prevents the others from competing to be displayed in order to avoid driving up the campaigns’ costs. This can lead to poor delivery of your ad. 

To check if your audience is overlapping, go to your Audiences, check the boxes next to the audiences you want to compare (up to 5), and click “Actions”> “Show Overlap.” 

8. Don’t Be Too Chatty 

Have you ever tried having a conversation with someone who will just not stop talking? That’s what it’s like when your headline is too long-winded. 

Your goal is to get in and get out quickly and effectively. Grab their attention with a headline that clearly stats an enticing benefit, but don’t cram it with more information than is strictly necessary. The description field gives you an additional 125 characters to add context, but again, don’t overstay your welcome. 

Your message should be precise and highly focused in order to cut through the noise of the Facebook feed. 

9. Don’t Play the Guessing Game 

How do you know what kind of ad will strike a chord with your audience? Are you wasting money playing the guessing game?  

One major problem that some Facebook advertisers make is creating an ad from scratch without running the campaign elements organically first to see how well they perform. If your post isn’t getting clicks, will your ad do any better? 

Probably not. 

So, before you ever even open your ads manager, you’re going to want to first generate a few high-quality posts to gauge interest in what you’re saying. Take a deep dive into your sales conversions, CTR, potential cost per lead, and so on. Only with that data will you be able to create an ad that works. 

Otherwise, you’re going to spend a lot of money learning these things the hard way. 

And, even when you’re ready to start running your ads, you can’t afford to stop testing and refining your message. Try running some A/B tests on various aspects of your ad (e.g. copy, creative, call to action, etc.) to ensure that it’s fully optimized to each person you’re trying to reach. 

10. Don’t Set It and Forget It  

The longer you run ads, the worse they perform and the more expensive they get. It’s known as “Facebook ad fatigue,” and it happens when your target audience begins to see the same ads repeatedly and stops paying attention to them. 

As a result, your ad gets fewer clicks, which then decreases your ad’s relevance score. This raises your CPM and ultimately decreases your return on that ad spend. Basically, it’s a slippery slope toward paying more for worse results. 

That’s why, as your campaigns run, you need to be monitoring your key metrics and making constant adjustments. Tweak your copy and creative to avoid annoying your audience by consistently showing them the same ad over and over again, or set different goals for objective and targeting to reach a different segment of your audience. 

Mike Speer Administrator
Chief Marketing Officer Michaels WIlder

Opinions are my own and not the views of my employer.

Chief Marketing Officer at Michaels Wilder and an entrepreneur since before the average person knew what that even meant, Mike has helped countless businesses build effective sales and marketing strategies. His philosophy is, “If you’re not thinking 10 years ahead, you’re already behind.” Mike’s content has appeared in Forbes Magazine, Inc. and Apple News. He has also been featured numerous times as a “Top 10 Writer” worldwide on the Q&A content site, Quora.

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Mike Speer Administrator
Chief Marketing Officer Michaels WIlder

Opinions are my own and not the views of my employer.

Chief Marketing Officer at Michaels Wilder and an entrepreneur since before the average person knew what that even meant, Mike has helped countless businesses build effective sales and marketing strategies. His philosophy is, “If you’re not thinking 10 years ahead, you’re already behind.” Mike’s content has appeared in Forbes Magazine, Inc. and Apple News. He has also been featured numerous times as a “Top 10 Writer” worldwide on the Q&A content site, Quora.

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