Facebook ads – why use them and how to avoid common mistakes
Nowadays, Facebook is one of the best platforms for publishing your ads. However, if you make too many mistakes in your ads, then Facebook itself benefits more than your company.
In the following article, we’ll go over a few ways to maximize the effect of Facebook ads and how to avoid mistakes your ads may have.
Why should you use Facebook for marketing?
Facebook is an excellent platform for your marketing campaigns. But why? There are several reasons. Nearly 3 billion users currently use Facebook, and you’ll rarely meet someone who says they don’t have Facebook or rarely use it. Let’s take a look at the main benefits of using Facebook for marketing.
Reach wide audience
In July 2022, Facebook had 2.934 billion users. That’s significantly more than any other social media platform (YouTube, for example, has “only” 2.1 billion users). The audience you can reach on Facebook is not only large in number but also diverse in demographics.
Regardless of who your business caters to, you should be able to find the profile of your desired audience on Facebook. Although Facebook skews toward younger users – 62% of users fall into the 18 to 34 age category – it attracts users of all generations, with 38% of users falling into the 35 to 65+ age category. Older demographics are the fastest-growing segment of Facebook users.
Great for both B2B and B2C
Have you heard that Facebook advertising is only for B2C businesses? Prepare to be surprised that B2B businesses can run successful campaigns on Facebook too.
Business decision makers spend 74% more time on Facebook than other people. The B2B space is competitive, which means B2B marketers need to be nimble when using Facebook. But with the right targeting, ad format, messaging and user experience outside of Facebook on your site, there is an opportunity for success.
Remarketing on Facebook is the least B2B marketers should consider. We often forget how anyone who is a B2B target audience doesn’t stop being one after they leave the office or are online in between work commitments. They’re still the same people. Facebook remarketing is a surefire way for them to stay in their crosshairs.
Transparency of the audience
While some programmatic networks offer similar audience targeting options, Facebook’s audience reach is very transparent. With the audience targeting that you choose, your business has a high level of control and transparency over your target audience.
While other platforms automatically optimize your placements, segmenting your Facebook campaign based on these known audience clusters allows you to gain valuable insights.
On Facebook, however, you’ll be able to see which segment(s) performed best, leading you to create hypotheses with the ability to further test and refine strategies.
Targetting based on interests
Facebook’s targeting capabilities go way beyond demographics. Increasingly, demographics alone are poor predictors of lifestyle or shopping needs. For example, not all millennials have high college debt or lead lifestyles that could be associated with low disposable income.
Facebook’s targeting capabilities allow targeting by a wide range of lifestyle characteristics such as interests, life events, behaviours, or hobbies. This not only allows for more precise targeting but also aligns digital strategy with offline tactics, ensuring the same behavioural criteria are used across the marketing channel mix.
Targeting your competitors
Facebook doesn’t exactly let you target fans of other brands, but there are still ways to see which people like a brand. And those are the people you can include in your target audience.
This figure is based on self-reported data and may not be up-to-date as it depends on when the user last updated their settings. Still, especially when used extensively, it can be an effective strategy for finding well-qualified users.
By creating custom audiences of users interested in more than 20 well-known brands, thousands of users can be quickly acquired, all without paying the fees for these audience profiles that may be necessary with other channels.
Different types of ads
Facebook offers a wealth of options when it comes to advertising and promoting your posts. Each of these can attract new fans to your page and customers to your brand.
As well to a large number of ads (for example, on your timeline, in videos or on Stories), you can also contribute to your regular posts. These feel casual, garner a natural response, and can help build your brand’s reputation.
Sponsored posts are one very useful ad format. It is especially useful if you want your fans and others to interact with you. I recommend using sponsored posts if you want to alert your audience to, for example, ongoing competition for valuable prizes or services.
Boosting a user-generated post on your feed is fantastic to attract more audience to a post that has already been successful with your fans. The chances are if your fans like it, the audience will too.
Strong user-generated content often outperforms purpose-built ads because they are more easily identifiable than purpose-built messages. In contrast, user-generated content is organic and people are less likely to resist seeing it.
What are the most common mistakes when making Facebook ads?
If you don’t like to throw money out of the window, so to speak, then you’ll want your ads to make as much money as possible using as little money as possible. Poorly designed Facebook ad campaigns can take an unnecessary bite out of your allotted budget. Together, let’s go over the 8 most common mistakes that can cost you dearly.
Testing multiple interests in one set of Facebook ads
Has it ever happened to you that a Facebook ad produced amazing results for a few days, but stopped working soon after? Or have you created an ad that worked well without having any idea how to replicate that success? These are the types of problems you usually encounter when you’re in the process of putting information together.
To put it in perspective, in the early stages of ad testing, many marketers who want to run a Facebook ad for a new audience spend time researching relevant interests they can use to target. They then run a set of ads with all of those interests in one set of ads.
Using interests is a great way to find new audiences, but this approach makes it impossible to know which specific interest was most effective or to find other interests similar to the interest that brought the sale. And it makes scaling the ad impossible.
Instead, create a list of all the interests you want to target and group the interests into several categories. Then create several ad sets and target each one to one group of interests. That way you’ll know which audiences are best, how big each audience is, and how to find other interests to test.
Too many Facebook ads with too little budget
Most often I encounter overly complex Facebook ad accounts: too many campaigns, too many ad sets, and too many ads. This leads to confusion, lack of efficiency, high costs and ultimately poor results.
Merge audiences into ad sets with bigger budgets. This will allow you to provide Facebook with more data, achieve your desired CPA faster, and then scale faster. Combine the 1% lookalike of all 365 audience buyers and the lookalike of people who landed on your sales page in the last 30 days into one ad set in one combined audience – a sort of super lookalike. In the same way, place all your digital marketing people, small business owners, and Facebook page admin audience into one combined ad set.
Once you’ve combined your best audiences into just 2-3 ad sets, it’s time to drop your top 3-6 ads into each ad set. Test new ad copy and creatives (both images and videos) with true split testing in separate campaigns.
Focus on cost per lead over earnings per lead
There are two main mistakes people make in Facebook advertising. The first is that they don’t test campaign elements organically before running an ad campaign. This applies to everything from the micro element of the ad to the macro elements of the sales process.
If an organic post on your Facebook page isn’t generating any clicks, shares, or sales, amplifying the post with an ad probably won’t solve the problem. Advertising will only amplify what is already broken in your message and sales process.
To get the data you need to make decisions, you pay in one of two ways – data like CTR, cost per link click, landing page conversion, sales conversion, earnings per lead, cost per lead, lifetime customer value, customer acquisition cost, etc. You’ll either pay to get this data (to see where your stuff is broken) quickly through ads, or you’ll pay with your time and organic posting to make your ads work from scratch.
The mistake people make is focusing on the wrong number when evaluating Facebook ads. They focus on cost per lead rather than earnings per lead.
Cost per lead is a finite number that can only be reduced to a certain point and is subjective to your earnings per lead. Earnings per lead are how much you make on each person that comes through your sales process.
Setting the wrong campaign objective
The big mistake I see is that people use Facebook ads to sell too fast. They create an ad that pushes cold audiences directly to a sales page to sell something right away.
It’s too fast and completely inappropriate, and it violates one of the golden rules of social media advertising: you have to give before you ask.
To generate leads, you need an intermediate step in which you provide something of value upfront. It’s the beginning of a conversation that you can use to build a relationship that you can nurture. Then, when people are ready to buy, they’re more likely to do so with you.
This leads to the second mistake, which is choosing the wrong goal in your campaign structure. Many people looking for leads choose lead ads, engagement or click-throughs when they should choose conversions and optimize for leads.
Running ads on Facebook with zero follow-up management
The biggest mistake I see with Facebook advertisers is that they don’t manage campaigns after they are active. If you set up a campaign and let it run on its own, its effectiveness will decrease over time due to Facebook ad fatigue. Ad fatigue is something to avoid before you antagonize your audience. Fortunately, it is a well-mapped phenomenon that you can easily solve.
The key to developing sustainable Facebook advertising results is to analyze your campaigns on an ongoing basis. Look at the return on ad spend and the metrics of cost, relevance, frequency and CPM, and then make adjustments to the creative and ad copy, as well as goals and targeting.
Creating new ads instead of maintaining successful ads
Facebook’s optimization algorithm needs at least 50 conversions per ad set per week to work. So if you have a dozen ad sets or campaigns that only have a few conversions each, you’re wasting your audience and not allowing the system to optimize.
Related to creating too many campaigns is not continuing to put more money into your “greatest ad hits.” Many Facebook advertisers have a publisher mentality where they feel the need to create a steady stream of content – X posts per day and Y ads per day. However, you are not a newspaper that needs to have fresh news every day.
Instead of spawning more campaigns, put more money into your proven winners. We have campaigns where winning ads have been running for years. Instead of putting tens of dollars into each new campaign, go back to the analytics and tweak the winners before they die.
Creating ads without understanding the entire campaign setup
Really common mistake business owners make is running ads without understanding the implications of the settings they choose in Facebook Ads Manager, or even when boosting posts. The wrong settings or choices can cause them to waste money on poor ad placement, poor optimization, or poor targeting.
Many business owners don’t understand that the auto-placement option places their ads not only on Facebook but also on Instagram and the entire Audience Network (non-Facebook pages).
Others optimize for Inbound Generation (which happens through a Facebook form) when they want Conversions (which happen on their website), or choose Brand Awareness when they’re all about Traffic.
Facebook ads work for a wide range of businesses. Successful results are usually a matter of proper testing and the right ad setup. If you’re not familiar with setting up Facebook ads, investing in training for you or someone on your team will help you avoid wasting money or concluding that Facebook ads don’t work.
Excessive reliance on automatic ad placement on Facebook
Selecting automatic placement for Facebook ads is easy, can speed up ad creation, and can prevent you from selecting the wrong ad placement, such as selecting a video placement even if there is no video in the ad. Yet ad placement directly affects the cost and performance of ad sets and campaigns.
On the other pole, Instagram placements are usually more expensive, but if your audience is on Instagram and you can connect with them through these ads, your spending on this platform can pay off.
The key to making sure your placements aren’t wasted resources is to think carefully about what you want from your ads and which placements will deliver that result. Think about the strategy behind your ads before you accept the default setting.
Good strategies to ensure the reach of Facebook ads
I mentioned above that Facebook offers a large number of post types that can be used to promote your page or company. In my opinion, great advertising vehicles are those that don’t feel forced at first glance. Let’s take a look at them a bit more closely.
- Polls. Facebook allows you to respond to a post in a few simple ways. The days when there was only Like are long gone. Polls are great in that they are simple and don’t require too much time on the user’s part. Apple or pear? Red dress or blue? Which football club will win the Champions League? Another great thing about polls is that people like to be heard and like to “argue” with each other in the comments. Both the responses and the comments then help your posts to be seen.
- Viral videos. We live in a time that is characterised by its speed. The social network TikTok, for example, has played no small part in popularising this trend. Have you ever watched a funny video, only to find out after a while that you were actually watching an ad? Try advertising your product non-violently, in a way that gets the audience’s attention first, and then their interest in the product.
- Spare the text. For image ads and posts, it’s better to let the image do the talking. Try to make the text that accompanies the image as concise as possible. But also don’t write too much text in the image, this can also put off the audience. Try to think of the most concise ways to say what you have to say.
- Carousels. In addition to a post with one photo, Facebook also allows you to publish a post with multiple photos arranged in a carousel. If the photo is interesting, the person will probably want to see what else you have “up your sleeve”. While a post with one photo may quickly get overlooked, a carousel can get their attention for longer.
- Ads in Stories. Stories ads are a bit specific in that they are portrait – as opposed to the standard square or widescreen format. A person watching Stories wants to know what their friends are doing right now, but your ad might just pop up as they’re clicking through. An interesting strategy I’ve noticed is doing ads in Stories unobtrusively. That brief moment of “who is that?” can be enough to make me think “wow, that’s interesting”.
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