Most Common Facebook Ad Mistakes To Avoid – Part 1

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Whether you’re a beginner or an advertising pro, there are many Facebook Ad mistakes you can make when creating or managing your campaigns. The key is to know which of these mistakes may be hurting your performance and how to resolve them as quickly as possible. 

So in this blog post, we’re breaking down the most common Facebook ad mistakes and how to successfully avoid them. Let’s dive in!

1. Using the wrong campaign objective

When creating a Facebook Ad campaign, you’ll always need to start by choosing the right campaign objective.

The campaign objective essentially refers to your business goal, meaning what you’d like to achieve by advertising on Facebook. Are you looking to increase sales, or maybe collect leads for your next webinar?

You’ll notice that Facebook breaks down 3 main categories for you, each with different campaign objectives to choose from.

facebook ads campaign objective - conversions
Source: Facebook, Business Help Center

When creating a Facebook Ad campaign, you should always optimize for conversions as you ultimately want people to convert (purchase) on your website.

We often see advertisers choosing the Traffic objective over Conversions, but here’s why we don’t recommend doing so.

Choosing Traffic over Conversions would only result in Facebook finding you a lower quality audience that is just going to browse through your website, but not necessarily convert. Generally, with Facebook Ads, you always get what you ask for.

So by optimizing for Traffic, Facebook is only going to focus on driving “cheap” traffic to your website, instead of finding users that are most likely to convert. 

The bottom line is that you should always choose the campaign objective according to the action you want people to take after they see your ads.

2. Using the wrong conversion event

Using the wrong Facebook Ad conversion event can massively impact the success of your campaigns.

When optimizing your campaigns for conversions, you also need to tell Facebook which type of conversion event to optimize your campaigns for. ⁠

A lot of advertisers think the best conversion event to choose would be the one that occurs more frequently, such as “Add To Cart” or “Initiate Checkout”. 

But why is this wrong?

When you set “Add To Cart” as your conversion event, Facebook focuses on finding a subset of people that are most likely to complete that step – add an item to the cart.⁠

While you may get a lot more conversion actions when optimizing for this conversion event, you’re less likely to get a higher-quality audience and generate more purchases.

So if your goal is to find users who will complete the last step in your funnel and purchase, you should always set “Purchase” as your conversion event.⁠

3. Using the wrong ad set optimization

Another common Facebook Ad mistake we see a lot of advertisers make is choosing the wrong ad set optimization.

After setting your campaign objective and conversion event, you mustn’t forget about your ad set optimization. The ad set optimization that you choose will affect who sees your ads, and generally, how Facebook optimizes your ads.

So for example, if you choose to optimize for link clicks, Facebook will show your ad to people that are most likely to click on your ad.

On the flip side, if you would optimize for conversions, Facebook would show your ads to people most likely to convert (purchase).

So always make sure to match the ad delivery/ad set optimization to your campaign objective. 

4. Poor targeting

Ever been recommended to stack multiple lookalikes and interests into one ad set?

Well, we hope not, and here’s why.

First of all, the more you narrow your Facebook Ads targeting, the higher the advertising price (CPM) is going to be.

But more importantly, when you stack multiple audiences into one ad set, you won’t be able to properly test all the lookalikes and interests. Meaning, pinpointing which interest or lookalike has generated most of the conversions is basically going to be impossible. 

Additionally, you could have a great interest stacked with a low-performing one that is then affecting your ad performance and overall results.

In terms of the best targeting strategy, we found that going broad is most beneficial.

Facebook has become really good at knowing who will convert, and where – on which placement. 

Lookalikes may have been the best performers a couple of years ago,  but Facebook is constantly changing and improving, and so should your strategy. 

5. Not separating your prospecting and retargeting audiences

Facebook Ad campaigns should always be separated based on your prospecting and retargeting audience.
 
  • PROSPECTING = Cold audience = Top of the funnel traffic
These are people who haven’t purchased from you, haven’t been to your website, haven’t engaged with your Facebook account before, etc.
 
  • RETARGETING = Warm audience = Lower funnel traffic
These are people who haven’t purchased from you but have previously visited your website, or engaged with your Instagram/Facebook page.
 

Why is important to separate these two audiences?

If you’re not excluding any past visitors, customers, and re-engagement audiences from your prospecting campaign, you’re not going to be able to accurately measure the performance of your campaigns, and thus, you’re probably going to make wrong assumptions or conclusions regarding your acquisition/retargeting strategies.

 

Additionally, it’s extremely important to target these audiences with different creatives and copy since they have completely different characteristics and therefore, react differently to a certain ad. 

6. Not splitting your budget properly

Now let’s talk about your ad budget. We often see businesses investing too much in their retargeting campaigns, and too little in their prospecting campaigns. 

We usually like to recommend the 80/20 rule. Meaning, putting around 80% of your budget on prospecting campaigns and 20% on retargeting campaigns.

You may think you’re investing too little for retargeting, but remember, this audience already knows about your brand and you don’t want to have a budget that will get you a higher frequency in just a couple of days. 

Plus, it’s extremely important to work on your prospecting campaign so you can later on also retarget those people and improve your retargeting efforts.

7. Not utilizing the whole anatomy of an ad

Another simple, yet common Facebook ad mistake you may make is not utilizing the whole anatomy of an ad.

Every Facebook ad is composed of five different elements:

  • primary ad text,
  • visual,
  • call to action button (CTA),
  • headline,
  • description.

Some advertisers might choose to not utilize a call to action button (CTA) or to leave the headline and description empty, but we’ve found that by utilizing all the available elements of an ad you’ll get the best results.

8. Using video ads

Even though a lot of advertisers still use videos for their ad creative, we’d highly suggest you to avoid them. 

We know, we know – videos are way more fun and engaging than static images, but when it comes to the actual results, in 90% percent of time static images outperform videos.

Analyzing an a/b test we ran, we can see that when using static images, results were better across all four metrics.

In some cases, we’ve seen a better CR on video ads, but the CPM was way higher.

Content

CAC

CR

CPC

CPM

Static image

$96

1.95%

$1.88

$13

Video

$354

0.70%

$2.51

$19

Also, out of 10 top stores that are using our app, 9 of them aren’t using video ads. So this just proves that you can achieve the same or even better performance without using video ads. 

9. Too long ad copy

If your ad has large chunks of text, nobody’s going to notice it or even read it. 

Remember, on Facebook, it’s all about grabbing users’ attention as quickly as you can. And apart from a stunning visual, short and engaging ad copy is definitely going to help you achieve that.

In fact, after analyzing 37,259 Facebook ads, AdEspresso found that the ideal length for a headline is 5 words14 words for the main text, and 18 words for the description.

And as of recently, you may have noticed that Facebook introduced a new feature that has to do with the length of your ad copy.

If your primary text is longer than 280 characters, you’ll receive an alert that suggests shortening the ad copy. We wouldn’t say going above these 280 characters would result in fewer conversions, but it’s definitely worth testing it and let the performance decide.

facebook ads copy

10. Not using emojis

When talking about the ad creative and ad copy, we can’t forget about emojis. 

Emojis can definitely make your ad seem more friendly and engaging, and less like you’re trying to sell something. And we all know that the more organic your ad looks, the better.

We actually decided to test three completely identical ads by just changing the ad description.

The first ad had no description at all, the second one had the five-star emoji (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐) and the third one mentioned “free shipping”.

Even though the CTR has been mostly the same on all three versions, the CR and ROAS on the ad with the 5-star emojis have been the highest.

facebook ads emojis

So if you’re still not using emojis in your ads, we’d definitely encourage you to test it out. 

The easiest way of adding emojis to your ads is through sites like Emojipedia. You can literally find any emoji you can think of, and simply copy and paste them into your ads.

Also, don’t just add emojis that don’t resonate with your product or ad copy. The purpose is to elevate your ad copy, so if you feel like emojis don’t fit in with your brand, use them a little bit or don’t use them at all. 

11. Using manual placements

Another common Facebook Ad mistake that we often see advertisers make is using manual placements. You might have a fantastic ad setup and creative, but if you limit your ads to a couple of different placements, chances are that you’re going to lose a lot of potential conversions.

We tested automatic placements vs. manual to see which one would perform best and the results came as no surprise. 

 

Manual placements

Automatic placements

DIFFERENCE

CAC

$21

$14

50%

CPC

$1.77

$0.7

153%

When using automatic placements, both the customer acquisition cost and cost per click were significantly lower. 

So this just proves that Facebook indeed does a great job at testing all the available placements and pushing the best-performers to give you the best possible results.

For all of you that may not be familiar with Facebook ad placement options and the best practices, we have a full guide that covers everything you need to know. 

12. Not using the best performing call to action (CTA) button

At first, you might not think about it, but the CTA you choose also impacts your ad performance. Facebook gives you several CTA options to choose from, but in reality, you should always only choose one.

We see a lot of e-commerce businesses promoting their products, but then using the “Learn More” button. We tested this multiple times on over 400 ad accounts, and “Shop Now” always outperformed any other call to action.

Your Turn

Now that you know what some of the most common Facebook Ad mistakes are and how to avoid them it’s time to start optimizing. Make sure to go through your campaigns to see whether you’re making any of these mistakes. 

If you have any questions or need help with your Facebook or Google Ads, feel free to drop us a line at [email protected] or check out our Shopify app.

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