Even in 2022, Facebook hosts 1.6 billion daily users with a 6.89% increase year-over-year. They’re still the undisputed kings of social media, and they have one of the most sophisticated ad management systems to boot. 

Running Facebook Ads is great for two reasons: they’re laser targeted for custom audiences, and they tend to be cheaper than other ad types. 

In short, if Facebook campaigns don’t account for at least some of your ad spend, they definitely should.

Yet, you’ll need to watch out for some pitfalls, especially if you’re a beginner. 

The Facebook Ad Manager is user-friendly for the most part, but there are some simple mistakes you can make that will cost you money. In fact, 62% of small business owners say their Facebook ad campaigns never work out well. 

Why is that?

It’s usually due to missing an important detail that makes a big difference in their campaign, such as catering to the wrong audience without even knowing it. 

In this article, I’m going to show you how to avoid the most common Facebook ad mistakes so you can stop wasting your online marketing budget. Use this post as a skeleton outline for your next Facebook ad campaign as a rule of thumb. 

Mistake #1: Not Using a CTA in the Ad Copy 

As digital marketers, we know the tremendous value of the call to action (CTA). These brief sentences can make or break the sale depending on their quality. After all, your CTA lets your customers know how to take the next step in purchasing your product or service. 

For a Facebook ad, the CTA is what makes a prospect want to click on your ad to learn more. It’s Marketing 101 to include a CTA in any ad, and not including one is like forgetting to sign your name on a term paper. 

Yet, after auditing hundreds of Facebook ads over the past 6+ years, I continue to see business after business fail to include a CTA in the copy. 

Even if you pay for the ad, you still need to let visitors know what action you want them to take with a clear CTA. Otherwise, you’re paying Facebook for ad views, not clicks, traffic, or conversions. 

That’s made an even more significant problem when you discover how Facebook charges you for ads. There’s no cost-per-click (CPC) like PPC ads with Facebook. Instead, you’re charged based on impressions – which is the number of people that view your ad in their feed. 

So if your ads don’t have a CTA, that’s a sure-fire way to flush a chunk of your marketing budget down the toilet. 

We did a little digging through the Facebook Ads Library and found three examples of ads without a CTA in the copy. 

A bridal business that didn't use a CTA in their Facebook ad.

A dentist office that didn't use a CTA in their Facebook ad.

A construction company that didn't use a CTA in their Facebook ad.

As you can see, each of these ads is visually appealing and written well. Yet, they aren’t directing Facebook users toward taking the next step, so they’re far less powerful. 

Correcting the mistake

Do your Facebook ads look like the examples shown above? If so, don’t panic, as this problem is straightforward to fix. 

First, take stock of all your current Facebook ads to identify those without CTAs. Ideally, it would be best to have a CTA in the ad copy AND the headline. 

Why the headline too?

It’s so that there’s no missing the CTA. If your prospects don’t catch it in the copy, they’re sure to see it in the headline. When writing a CTA, you want to layout the next step for your customers in plain English. Don’t worry about seeming too transparent here (it’s an ad, not a blog post), as your goal is to acquire customers above all else. 

Let’s take a look at an effective Facebook ad in action. 

The anatomy of an effective Facebook ad.

Here’s an example of a Facebook ad we wrote at The HOTH. It has all the necessary components of a successful ad, including an offer and CTA (20% off when you test services). It also contains the offer and CTA in the headline (get 20% off, don’t miss out). 

To sum it up, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel with your ad copy. Keep it concise, focus on action, and bring it home with a convincing CTA. 

Mistake #2: Neglecting to Track Results 

If you aren’t tracking your ad performance, you’ll never know if you’re wasting money or not. As such, you should keep a close eye on your analytics and KPIs. Your analytics will also let you know if you’re reaching your target audience with your Facebook marketing. 

Google Analytics is an excellent tool to use, especially for tracking conversions, so make sure that it’s connected to your website. Beyond that, you’ll definitely want to set up the Facebook Pixel – as it will provide you with the most valuable metrics for your success. 

You can track, measure, and optimize your ad campaigns with it. You can even tweak your audience targeting if you feel you aren’t reaching the right crowd. 

Using Facebook Pixel 

The Pixel is a few lines of code that you add to the header section of your website. Once you’ve installed it, Pixel will track the actions users take on your website after clicking on your ad. That way, you can ensure that your ads are performing the way you want. 

Tracking your ad performance is critical. Analytics can show you if the ad is effective or needs to be revised to reach your target audience. You’ll also want to verify that you’re getting your money’s worth.

Most digital advertising platforms include a tracking tool. You probably already have Google Analytics connected to your website, but you’ll also need to set up the Facebook Pixel if you’re using Facebook ads.

There are many robust advertising features contained in Facebook Pixel, including:

  • Lookalike audiences
  • Facebook Retargeting
  • Ad optimization for conversions
  • Many more

You can also use A/B testing with Pixel to experiment with variations of a few different ads. It’s yet another way you can use the tool to refine your ad format. 

Correcting the mistake 

You’re in luck – installing Facebook Pixel only takes a few minutes at most. As previously stated, the installation consists of a simple copy and paste of a line of code, and you’re all set. So if you’ve never used it before, there’s no need to be intimidated. 

First things first, you’ll want to make sure that you don’t have Pixel running already. You’ll also need to know if it’s installed properly. You can use a free plugin called Facebook Pixel Helper to do so. 

Knowing if a Facebook pixel was installed correctly.

If it detects the presence of a Pixel, the plugin will begin to light up. Clicking on the plugin will also provide details about the Pixel, such as if it’s installed correctly. 

Once you’re done, you’ll finally be able to visit your website’s conversion pages to see what’s active. In the example you see below, there’s the promise of new leads coming from the conversions. 

Confirming your conversions in the Facebook Pixel Helper.

Pixel is an excellent tool for auditing each campaign objective to ensure everything is perfect before going live. You can also audit your teams and use Pixel to open up conversations with potential customers. Moreover, you’ll be able to measure the success of your campaigns to avoid wasting large amounts of money. 

Mistake #3: Targeting the Wrong Audience 

Mastering audience targeting is a core component of any ad campaign, whether you’re using Facebook or not. 

You need to clearly understand who your audience is, what makes them tick, and what they want/need the most. That will help you develop the most attractive value proposition for your products and services. 

A big mistake I see businesses making with their Facebook audience is going too broad or too narrow. 

The good news is Facebook Ads Manager has a tool designed specifically for this reason. It’s the ‘Audience Size’ tool, and you should use it to your advantage. It will appear in the top-right corner of the screen and let you know if you’re going too broad or too narrow. 

Learning the Audience Builder

Take a look at the screenshot you see below. 

The basic demographic data within Facebook Ads Manager.

Notice anything strange?

The default settings in the Audience Builder don’t show options for interests and behaviors – only basic demographic information like age, location, and gender. 

As you can imagine, interests and behaviors are a massive component of Facebook’s algorithm for matching ads with the right audience. That’s why you’ll want to discover your audience’s behaviors and interests so you can use them in your ad. 

Many people don’t know that you can’t go beyond the default settings by selecting Show More Options. There, you’ll be able to see far more insights about your target audience that you can use for your Facebook advertising. The platform compiles a TON of data on its users, so use it all to your advantage. 

If you aren’t optimizing your ads for your target audience, you could be burning through thousands of ad dollars. 

Correcting the Mistake 

Have you ever checked your audience settings in the Facebook Ads Manager? Did you not even know you could? If so, now is the time to check it out to review your target audiences. 

Make sure that you’re using a mix of demographics, behaviors, and interests. If you’re focusing solely on demographic information, you’re leaving a lot on the table. The more refined you can be with your audience, the more success you’ll have with social media marketing – not just Facebook. 

Advanced audience information in the Facebook Ads Manager.

While you’re at it, take the time to add new interests or behaviors you discovered about your audience through research. You can also clear outdated information (such as an interest that’s fallen out of style). 

Also, make sure the expansion to see interests and behaviors is turned on, and don’t forget about the Show More Options section. 

Mistake #4: Not Optimizing Your Ads 

A Facebook ad campaign is similar to an SEO strategy or PPC campaign in that it requires regular optimization. 

So if you set your ads and forget about them, you’re making one of the most common Facebook ad mistakes. 

Your target audience is constantly changing and evolving, so your ads should reflect that. Just as you would optimize and update an old blog post, you should do the same for your outdated Facebook ads. 

Too many businesses waste ad costs by not optimizing their ads or doing them incorrectly. 

When optimizing, it’s best to focus on generating traffic and converting customers. I’ll focus on traffic for this article, but you can schedule a call with my team to talk about conversions. 

Pro tip: Get into the habit of checking on your ad campaigns every day. That is, at least, until they start performing the way you want by producing calls, leads, or sales. 

Why bother with daily checkups?

It’s because if you aren’t seeing results after two weeks, you probably have a traffic problem. It’s best to realize this sooner than later so you don’t waste too much money. Also, you won’t see any conversions until you fix your traffic issue. 

Correcting the mistake 

These are the most crucial metrics for ad optimization:

  • Click-through rate (CTR)
  • Conversions 
  • View time for video ads 

These KPIs will let you know which ad sets are performing the best. A stellar ad will have an excellent CTR, high conversion rate, and long view time for a video ad. 

In a nutshell, the simplest way to optimize your Facebook ads is to turn off the ads that aren’t performing. I’ll go into more detail on this in a moment in the section ‘Split Testing.’ 

You’ll be able to tell if a campaign converts within the very first week. 

If you’re getting less than 50 clicks on your ad, try looking at your destination first. As far as lead generation goes, you need to optimize your landing pages. If you run an eCommerce store, you’ll want to optimize your product pages more than others. 

Pro tip: NEVER drive traffic to your homepage from a Facebook ad. That’s because your homepage is there to drive brand awareness, not convert customers. Your ads should exclusively link to landing pages and product pages.

Mistake #5: Not Using Split Testing 

A big Facebook ad mistake is only running one version of your ads. Advertisements tend to be unpredictable – as sometimes picture-perfect ads seem to fall flat for no reason at all. 

That’s why we encourage the use of ‘split testing (also called A/B testing) at The HOTH. That’s where we create a few versions of the same ad to see which one performs best. Each ad needs to have something that makes it unique from the others. 

Correcting the mistake 

You can try different copy, images, CTAs, or even add a video for split testing. 

You’ll want to run a limited campaign for each ad and then check out the data. From there, it’s pretty simple – all you have to do is select the ad that performed the best and create a more extensive campaign around it. 

We’re always running ad campaigns on Facebook and other platforms, and split testing is a huge secret weapon for us. As an example, check out how we swapped ad copy for this advertisement:

An example of how we do split testing at The HOTH.

Based on the results, we turned off our non-performers to save money. 

Mistake #6: Not Using Remarketing 

At HOTH PPC, we’re harping on all the time about the benefits of remarketing – but it also works for Facebook ads. 

A chart showing how some of our most successful campaigns have been remarketing.

What’s remarketing?

It’s an ad strategy where you create specific ads targeted at people who visited your site but didn’t convert. 

For these scenarios, the chances are high that they looked at specific products and may have even left something in the cart. 

You can use that to grab their attention again with a remarketing campaign

Correcting the mistake 

While it may sound intrusive, the evidence says otherwise. In fact, 25% of online shoppers said they liked being targeted again. A majority claimed they were neutral about remarketing campaigns. 

It makes sense if you think about it. The customer already expressed interest in your product or service by clicking on your ad. That’s even more true if they put something in the cart but didn’t check out. Maybe they realized they didn’t have the funds at the time, which is where a remarketing campaign shines. 

By retargeting them, you might reach them at a time when they do have the funds, leading to a conversion. It’s also a great way to personalize the customer experience, which reflects well on your brand. 

Mistake #7: Lacking Patience 

Patience is a virtue – and that’s certainly the case when running a Facebook ad campaign. Businesses will often set up a new campaign but won’t give it enough time to perform. 

A huge benefit of advertising on Facebook is you get instant analytics. The day after going live with your campaign, Facebook Ads Manager will report on your impressions, clicks, and engagement. 

Correcting the mistake

Yet, that doesn’t mean you should start tweaking your ad strategy within a day or two. Instead, stay passive for at least two weeks. That will give your ads ample time to show their actual effectiveness. 

It’s hard for businesses to wait because they want to see that they’re getting the bang for their buck – but waiting two weeks is necessary. It’s our golden standard at The HOTH, and it’s served us very well. 

Tracking analytics is essential, but changing things up too quickly can do more harm than good.

Concluding Thoughts: Common Facebook Ad Mistakes 

Advertising on the largest social media platform globally should be a no-brainer – but Facebook Ads aren’t a guarantee of success. 

Instead, you’ll need to actively avoid these common blunders to ensure your Facebook ad campaigns achieve your desired results. 

Need help creating Facebook ads for your business? Feel free to reach out to our paid advertising team, and we’ll provide you with our expertise and fleet of secret weapons. 

Also, The HOTH is developing a new Facebook Advertising tool for our clients, but we need your help. Take our survey so we can learn which services you need to find the most success.