6 Common Mistakes With Facebook Advertising

According to research compiled by Hubspot, Facebook ad revenue grew from just under $2 billion in 2010 to $12.5 billion, with ads on the popular social platform accounting for “more than 9% of total digital ad spending and 18.4% of global mobile digital advertising.”

The platform’s success is due, in large part, to its unparalleled targeting capabilities. Currently, there are no other paid advertising opportunities that allow you to target messages to such specific demographics as 35-year-old women who live in Dallas and like the band Slipknot.

Of course, with great targeting power comes great responsibility. Facebook ads are far from beginner-friendly, and the huge range of ad options make it tough for newbies to get started. To some extent, you just have to dive in and get your feet wet. But as you’re learning what works and what doesn’t, steer clear of these 6 common beginner mistakes.


1) You don’t have any goals

We can’t emphasize this enough: if you want to know whether or not Facebook ads are working for your brand, you have to know what metrics you’re holding them accountable to.

In the case of Facebook ads ROI, you could track a number of different actions:

  • New page “Likes”
  • Post-level engagement
  • Email opt-ins
  • Website click-throughs
  • On-site sales or lead generations

3) You’re using the wrong ad format

This typically happens for two reasons: either you’re new to Facebook ads and don’t know how to choose the right ad format for your specific campaign, or you’ve had your ads running for a while and haven’t stopped to analyze whether or not you’re still using the right formats.

Facebook rolls out new ad formats all the time, one of its most recent being the Canvas ad type that enables in-page launching of full-screen rich media assets. Study the platform’s ad types carefully, choose the one you think will best suit your audience and goals, and iterate as needed, based on your campaign performance.

4) Your targeting is too broad

Remember those targeting features I mentioned earlier? Using them appropriately can mean the difference between an ad that hits audience members who are primed to respond positively, and tarnishing your brand image by displaying your messages to Facebook users who don’t care.

In fact, this is one of the places I recommend starting if you’re seeing low engagement with your campaigns. Try adding further targeting criteria one at a time to increase your accuracy.

5) Your images aren’t eye-catching

At the same time, consider not just the size of your image, but its ability to attract eyeballs. We’re guessing you’ve seen ads that feature distorted images or images that are intentionally unrelated to the product being advertised.

Advertisers do that because they know eye-catching graphics get clicks. And while you don’t need to be manipulative, you should follow best practices to capture attention. Wishpond’s blog, for instance, recommends running ads featuring reds, oranges and greens to naturally contrast with Facebook’s white and blue color scheme.

6) You’re saturating your audience

Finally, although you’re undoubtedly excited to get started with Facebook ads, remember that it’s possible to saturate your audience with too many messages.

Users browse Facebook as a social experience; for relaxation. They aren’t there to see ads, and if they start to see yours too many times, they’ll start tuning you out (or worse, start thinking negatively about your brand).

It’s tough to determine when and if you’re hitting that saturation threshold, but one warning sign is diminishing engagement that doesn’t change when you narrow down your targeting criteria. If you suspect saturation, pause your campaigns for a bit and come back only when you have something truly valuable to offer your audience.

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