September 26, 2018 Edgar Guillen

15 Common Facebook Ad Mistakes You Need to Avoid


So, you’ve decided to start advertising on Facebook: you set up a few campaigns and start them running. You’re seeing some results, but they’re not what you expected. You think to yourself, “Facebook advertising doesn’t seem that complicated, so what am I doing wrong?”’

There are a few rookie mistakes when using Facebook ads; it’s important to understand that finding the best way to promote your brand on Facebook- whether for driving brand awareness, selling your product,  or another different goal- includes a process of trial and error, and a learning curve.

We’d like to help keep that learning curve as smooth as possible! Here are some common mistakes you need to avoid:

1. Not defining your business goals from the start

Defining your goals is the first thing to do, before even creating a campaign. Facebook offers eleven different campaign objectives that may sound appealing to many advertisers and make them jump quickly into campaigns before creating a strategy and defining what they want to achieve first.

Do you want to send people to your store? Do you want to build brand awareness? Or do you merely want to drive traffic to your new website? Setting a clear strategy and identifying your business goals is essential to create fantastic ad campaigns.

2. Not installing the Facebook Pixel for conversion tracking

This is a big no-no. The Facebook Pixel allows you to monitor how effective your Facebook ads actually are and target your ideal audience based on website traffic and interactions- which helps you to avoid wasting your advertising budget. To learn the reasons why- and how- to install and use Facebook Pixel, read our post on this powerful new tool.

3. Not split testing

A surprisingly common mistake is to start running campaigns without testing first. Split testing or A/B testing allows you to simultaneously test different versions of your ads so you can see what works best, and thereby understand how different strategies will impact your ad performance.

You can test four different variables: audience, placement, ad delivery and, creative. You may probably have an idea of who your audience is or an image that your audience will like and will click on, but creating campaigns based on assumptions is a bad idea, and in the long run, you’ll lose money. You don’t want to put the right ad in front of the wrong people- or vice versa.

Test, learn and keep testing. Always remember that this is a continuous process- especially with image content.

Learn all the fundamentals of How To Rock Split Testing On Facebook Ads. Time spent understanding these principles now will save you a LOT of time (and money) later.

4. Not isolating what you want to test

It’s not only important to test your ads but test them right. If you test different audiences with different creatives, you’ll never know whether the audience or the creative made the difference. You can only learn if you test one variable at a time.

An essential best practice in split testing is to isolate one factor you want to test: for example, if the variable you are testing is the image, leave the ad copy and the image copy exactly the same for the different ads, and only change the background image. Measure one thing at a time, and you’ll know your data is relevant and valuable.

5. The audience is too broad or too small

The size of your ad’s audience should depend on the stage of the funnel your campaign is. If you’re creating a top of the funnel campaign targeted to a cold audience based on interests, you should aim for a broad audience of around  1 million: you need a big enough number for Facebook’s algorithms to optimize the campaign automatically, and with small audiences, it just can’t.

On the other hand, if you are creating a middle or bottom of the funnel campaign, and this time you are retargeting a specific audience that already interacted with your website or Facebook Page, then, it is normal to have a smaller audience. But remember, you won’t be able to see anything worthwhile with audiences of fewer than 1,000.

If you haven’t already reviewed it above, our guide on Facebook Pixel includes useful hints on how to build the right audience for your content. Check it out.

6. Only focusing on interest targeting

When you want to reach new people in a top of the funnel campaign, it’s normal to target based on interests, but it’s important to start building custom audiences as soon as possible since they tend to convert the most.  It’s easier to sell a product to people that have already shown an interest in your brand- reconnecting with them may give them the push they need to convert, don’t you think?

7. Too many ads in the same ad set

It’s a common mistake to use too many ads in the same ad set. During a campaign, Facebook’s algorithm often chooses the best-performing ad from a set and prioritizes it- too many in the set, and some of them may get little or no exposure, which will deny you the data you urgently need on their effectiveness.

The solution here is simple: it’s recommended to not use more than three ads per ad set.

8. Using the wrong ad format for your business goals

When advertising on Facebook, selecting the correct ad format is a must. There are six different ad formats: single video, single image, collection, carousel, slideshow and, canvas, each of which is best for specific campaign objectives.

For example, if your business goal is to sell your clothing brand, you should take advantage of the Facebook collection or carousel ad formats. It’s also important to know that some ad formats are mobile exclusive, like collection and canvas. You’ll need to consider which platform your audience is most likely to use when viewing your ad, and choose accordingly.

Read this useful blog post on selecting the correct ad format for your campaign goals.

9. Too many words in the ad creative

In this case, we can definitely say that ‘less is more.’  Although Facebook removed its 20% text rule, Facebook still recommends keeping a smaller proportion of text to image- if you don’t, the ads may not reach their full audience.


Image from Facebook

You can still check the percentage of text with Facebook’s overlay tool, and we recommend doing so- it’s a good guideline.

10. The ad creative is not eye-catching enough

Nowadays, with millions of ads targeting the over 2 billion monthly active users on Facebook (source: Sprout Social), grabbing the attention of someone isn’t an easy task.

Your ad image has to accomplish two objectives: it has to catch the eye of your audience, but at the same time communicating what the ad is about without having to read the ad copy. As we mentioned above, you could be reaching the right people but with the wrong ad.

Some useful tips are to use an image with a focal point, use different visual elements, and use little or no image text if possible.

11. The ad copy is too long or confusing

A common mistake when writing the copy of a Facebook ad is to assume that people will read the entire thing. They will probably read the first line, and if it’s not interesting enough or to the point, they will continue scrolling down through their Facebook’s feed. In the copy, it’s important to write only the most essential information, compellingly enough to drive them to the landing page or website where you can explain the offer further.

12. Falling into ad fatigue

It’s completely normal that after a few weeks, or even days, your best-performing ads will start declining. The same ads will keep appearing to the same audience all over again, especially if the audience size is small, and you will fall into what it’s called ad fatigue.

Don’t freak out; just start tweaking your winning ads from time to time. Minor changes are enough to freshen the experience for the viewer: slightly different copy or an adjusted image. And remember: never get complacent with a successful campaign. Always look for optimization.

13. Same ads for everyone

Very. Bad. Idea. This is one of the rookie mistakes advertisers make on Facebook. You can’t target a new audience that has never heard of you with the same ad you’re targeting for repeat business from people who have already bought your product.

Your message should always be tailored for the stage of the funnel it represents. An audience at the top of the funnel, and in the awareness stage, will respond to an exciting video about the brand; audiences you want to retarget will respond better to a promotional offer. There are different strategies to message your target, but the important thing is that your message cannot be the same for all of them.

14. Not using optimization rules

This is a little tricky, as it’s not a well-known feature of Facebook ads, but it’s worth learning since it can save you time and money. The optimization rules are a powerful feature, and it’s an all-too-common mistake not to use them.

Facebook allows you to set up campaign rules to automatically adjust bids down when you reach cost limits or adjust bids up to take immediate advantage of low cost per results. You can also create other rules, like turning campaigns off when CPR increases.


Image from Facebook

15. Not using all available insights

In the Ads Manager, there are a lot of key performance indicators that can give you great insights, but most advertisers only use the few that appear on the dashboard. If you click on  “Performance,” then “Customize Columns,” you are able to choose from many other indicators like Frequency, Cost per Click, Website Conversions, and much more. These can give you many additional insights to help you optimize your campaigns.

Facebook advertising may not be as simple as it seems, but it’s definitely a powerful tool to promote brands, which makes it worth to invest time in learning about it.

So, it’s now your time to avoid making these mistakes and create amazing Facebook ad campaigns!

We hope this overview was helpful and gets you on your way, but it might seem overwhelming, not your strong suit, or very time-consuming in the face of your other business priorities. If you’re not sure you want to be your own advertiser- or maybe you just want some assistance in producing winning content to use in your own awesome campaigns- get in touch with us. We’re passionate about great advertising, creative content, fun design, and helping people succeed at telling their brand’s story.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *