What Most Companies Get Wrong With Paid Facebook Ads

Facebook advertising represents a fantastic opportunity for marketers. In September 2016, the total number of Facebook advertisers had reached 4 million — this figure was 3 million only six months before!
Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg, attributes this growth to the continued mass adoption of mobile internet access across the world. Mobile advertising made up 84% of the company’s total sales in the second quarter of 2016.

Despite the fact that marketers are flocking to Facebook to launch new campaigns every day, not every campaign is successful (as General Motors found out several years ago). As with any advertising medium, there are nuances to observe and pitfalls to avoid.

Let’s review the most common mistakes I’ve seen companies make when it comes to paid Facebook ads. It’s much better to learn from someone else’s mistakes than make them yourself!

Targeting the Wrong Audience

Before you even think about running an advertising campaign, you need to clearly define your target audience. Although it sounds counterintuitive, marketing to a wider, generalized audience is not conducive to great results.

The more specific you can be with your targeting, the more likely it is that people will resonate with your adverts.

I suggest you write up a profile of your ideal customer. You should include demographic information such as age, gender, income, and marital status, and also psychographic information, such as their interests, pain points, and values.

Once you have a specific individual in mind (you may wish to name your customer and even give them a photo), you’ll find it much easier to craft an advert which appeals to them.

Poor Image Choice

Finding the appropriate images for your ads is crucial. Research shows that Facebook posts with images receive 2.3x more engagement than those without. While choosing the right image can often be a case of trial and error (split testing is always advised), there are some common themes which tend to work.

Remember that your advert will show up in a person’s News Feed, so fit in by choosing for example, an organic looking photo of people using your product (versus a professional e-commerce shot). High-resolution images are essential. You may wish to include a border around your ad to make it stand out.

Don’t neglect seasonal themes and current affairs. Christmas trees and Easter eggs can be great to include in your images if the date is appropriate.

If your first campaign is unsuccessful, don’t get disheartened. Oftentimes, the image which resonates with people the most is not the one you would have anticipated, so keep testing!

A Weak Headline

In the age of information, people have incredibly short attention spans. If your headline doesn’t captivate someone’s attention after seeing your image, they’ll simply scroll past your ad and get back to watching pet videos on their News Feed.

Being too witty or humorous can also be detrimental. It’s more effective to succinctly state how your product or service will benefit your customer. Benefits with specific numbers and a reasonable time frame work best.

This advert by NatureBox provides an excellent example of an effective headline. It tells you exactly what their product is, for what price, and provides a great incentive for people to click through to the landing page and sign up.

No Call-to-Action

There always needs to be a reason for the person viewing your ad to take action immediately (not at a later date). Whether you want the person to sign up to your mailing list, purchase a product, or download your free e-book, make sure to tell them specifically what to do right now.

Describing an awesome benefit which pertains to your ideal customer, and then integrating a sense of urgency/scarcity can be a great way to encourage action. Likewise, many people are motivated by moving away from pain rather than towards pleasure, so don’t be afraid to use negativity as a motivating force.

If you can provide something of high value as a free offer, this is often greatly effective. Think of how many marketers offer free guides or e-books in exchange for your email address (so they can market to you at a later date).

A Poorly Crafted Landing Page

Crafting a compelling ad that people are prepared to click is only half the battle. After your prospect has clicked through to your site, they should be taken to a landing page specifically designed for the Facebook ad campaign, so they can smoothly move through your marketing funnel.

This should all feel like a continuous, logical process for the customer. However, many companies drop the ball once the prospect has arrived at their site from Facebook. Common landing page mistakes include:

  • Sending prospects to your homepage instead of a specific landing page which pertains to the offer they viewed on Facebook.
  • A poor design/layout or a stylistically incongruent page from what they would expect based on your ad.
  • Too many distractions without one clear call-to-action.
  • No privacy policy or terms and conditions link.
  • No testimonials or proof elements.

Neglecting Conversion Tracking

While tracking your conversions sounds like an obvious step in assessing the efficacy of your campaigns, it’s amazing how both new and veteran advertisers neglect this.

Being able to track your results with complete accuracy is only possible with Facebook Pixel — a piece of code that needs to be installed on your website. Once installed, you can track visitors from Facebook to your site and use this information to build custom audiences for your ad campaigns.

In order to track conversions, you must also install the standard event code. To get started with standard events, click here.

Not Replying to Comments

In addition to the quantitative feedback you get by tracking conversions, the feedback you receive in the comments of your ads may provide excellent qualitative insights.

If criticisms and question occur, it’s always wise to answer them in order to alleviate fears and build trust. Oftentimes, the comments which occur provide great inspiration for what to include on your FAQ page, which you can link prospects.

Unfortunately, not all criticisms are legitimate or constructive. If you do encounter hostile responses, you may wish to hide the comments so that only the poster can see them. Getting into lengthy arguments with someone who doesn’t want to see reason will do more harm than good!

From a brand-building perspective, responding to comments helps to inject some humanity into your brand and creates a relationship with your audience. Oftentimes, the company who is the most helpful and communicative is the one who wins in the long term.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about these mistakes so you can avoid making them yourself. Can you think of any other common Facebook advertising mistakes? Please let me know on social media.

Image Credits

Featured Image: DepositPhotos
Screenshots taken by Matt Orlic, January 2017