6 Common Facebook Ad Mistakes (And How to Fix Them)

An increasing amount of businesses are realizing the power of Facebook Advertising to grow their business. The growth in Facebook advertising spend from 1.974 billion in 2010 to 12.466 Billion in 2014, is a testament to the growing trend. It’s no surprise that 92% of marketers now use Facebook advertising.

While adoption rates are high, many businesses aren’t achieving the ROI they envisaged. Is this you?

The poor ROI often stems from issues with implementation as businesses make common mistakes when creating ads. In this post, we highlight 6 of the most common Facebook ad mistakes and provide solutions to fix them.

#1 Not Specifying an Advertising Objectives

There are universal marketing principles you should follow when creating an ad regardless if it’s for print or digital. Understanding your marketing objectives from the start is one such principle.

Unfortunately, many marketers select the wrong objectives, which leads to incorrect ad types, and wasted advertising spend.

So, when you create a Facebook ad be clear on your end goal. For example, do you want to drive traffic, increase brand awareness or propel your engagement? I recently created a landing page for a website and my end goal was to collect sign-ups. I achieved more sign-ups by creating an ad optimized for driving traffic to the landing page.

Facebook provides this feature as the first step of creating any ad.

#2 Targeting the Incorrect Audience

Facebook also has unique targeting features that allow you to create ads.

But, many choose the wrong audience.

How do you overcome this?

You learn as much as you can about your audience. What’s their age? What’s their gender? Where are they from? What language do they speak? Do they have specific qualifications? What are their interests?

Here are a few tools that’ll help you understand your audience:

  1. Facebook Audience Insights
  2. Google Analytics (GA)

I recently used GA to determine that the majority of traffic to a site I manage, was coming from Nigeria, Kenya, and the US. I altered my Facebook ad to reflect that.



Focus on an idea audience size. If your audience is too broad you may not reach those customers who have a high earnings potential.

Facebook has a nifty Facebook dial that will help you find the ideal audience size. It’s located in the right sidebar when selecting your target audience.

#3 Not Excluding Past Conversions

If you’ve created many Facebook campaigns, the chances are that you haven’t excluded those you’ve already converted.

Indeed, failing to exclude past conversions is a common Facebook ad mistake that can be costly. Not only are you delivering irrelevant messages to those you’ve converted – which is annoying for them – but you’re wasting money.

Fix the problem by creating a custom audience. The feature is available when you’re choosing your target audience.

The feature lets you create a list of people who have visited specific pages on your site and excludes those you’ve already converted.

#4 Ads That Don’t Capture Attention

Research conducted by Advertising great, David Ogilvy discovered that when people read an advertisement they view the image, then the headline, and finally the text.

If you choose the wrong image, readers won’t read the headline. If you’ve chosen the right image, but the headline is poor, they won’t read the text. If your headline and image is solid and your writing is poor, you’ve lost them once again.

It is these exact mistakes that many marketers make when constructing Facebook ads.

Here are tips so you don’t fall victim to these same mistakes.

Tips for Choosing the Right Image

  1. Create more colorful ad images to capture attention.
  2. Choose relevant ad images. If your advert is about writing, don’t have a picture of a fish (bad example, but you get the point).
  3. Choose high-quality images. Use free stock photo services such as Pexels which give you access to images for free. You can also use Fiverr for custom designs and feature images. The below feature image was created by a vendor on Fiverr for a guide I wrote about “How to Improve Your English Writing skills”.

Tips for Creating Headlines That Hit The Mark

  1. Customers aren’t interested in features, but rather benefits. Communicate those benefits in your headline.
  2. Keep headlines concise; the shorter the better.
  3. Use the CoSchedule Analyzer to write better headlines.

Tips for Refining Your Copy

  1. As with headlines keep your posts short. Jeff Bullas mentions that posts with 80 characters or less generate a 66% higher engagement.
  2. Ask a question to start a dialogue with customers.
  3. Make sure your ad copy well-written.

#5 Failing to Use Facebook Pixels

Many marketers also make the mistake of not setting up conversion tracking. By default, Facebook will track certain metrics such as click-through rates. Off-site conversions, however, aren’t tracked, unless enabled.

Enter Facebook Pixels.

Install Facebook Pixels on your website. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Go to your Ads Manager and click on Pixels in the top left dropdown menu.

Step 2: Click on Setup Pixel (Note: each account gets one code only)

Step 3: Choose how you want to install your pixel code, either manually or by integration:

Step 4: If you’re doing it manually, you need to install the pixel base code and the event code.

Install the base code on each page of your website in the <head> tags. It gives you a baseline of page view data for specific events.

Install the event code on select pages to track specifics like purchases and leads. Make sure you add the event code between <script> tags, below the <head> tag.

Read the Facebook Pixel Implementation Guide for more details.

#6 Too Little Experimentation

Does this sound like you? You run one ad, don’t see results, and tell everyone that Facebook advertising sucks. The reality is that to see results you should experiment with many different ads. As you experiment, change one variable at a time to analyze its effect.

For example, you could change the image, a targeting variable, the post caption, or even run the ad at different times. As you make tweaks over time you’ll find the specific ad that generates the results you want.

Wrapping it Up

Facebook advertising is here to stay. But, as is the case with anything new, it takes time to see results, and you will make mistakes. The important thing is that you’re aware of those mistakes and fix them. Over time as you experiment you’ll find that killer ad that generates the ROI you were always looking for. Just be patient.

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