6 Huge Mistakes You’re Making With Facebook Ads – And How To Fix Them

Are Your Facebook Ads Working?

(UPDATED SEPTEMBER 2016)

Have you tried Facebook Ads? More and more small business owners are taking advantage of advertising on the world’s largest social network, but in many cases they’re losing out by making basic errors.  In this article I’ll take a look at the common errors businesses make when setting up Facebook Ads – and how to avoid them!

FB ads mistakes


Mistake No. 1 – Boring Images

The image is arguably the most important part of an ad. You have just a couple of seconds to catch people’s attention as they scroll through their Facebook newsfeed so if your image doesn’t stand out, your opportunity has gone.  Remember, people don’t come to Facebook to buy – they come to interact with friends and family.  Your job is to interrupt what they’re doing, and for that, your image had better be eye-catching!   It has been proven repeatedly that an image of a smiling woman gets more click-throughs than anything else.  However, this may not always be appropriate, so here are some others to consider:

  • Cute pictures of kids (especially babies) or pets
  • Close-ups of faces (are you brave enough?!)
  • Bright colours –  never use images that are predominantly blue, they’ll blend in with Facebook’s branding.  Red or green are good options.
  • Surprising images –  i.e. images that apparently have nothing to do with the ad content, but are very eye-catching nonetheless.
  • Text overlays – it can be useful to remind people what the ad’s about, but remember that Facebook frowns on ads with a lot of text and such ads are far less likely to be shown.  Although the “20% rule” no longer applies, it can still be worth checking your image before uploading using Facebook’s Grid Tool

Mistake No. 2 – Not Planning Ahead

Do you set up your ads “on the fly” and then wonder why they don’t perform?  Plan ahead!  Decide what you want the ad to achieve –  which ad type will you use (there are 13 in total)? Create your copy – it needs to be compelling, making it very clear what you are offering and how viewers will benefit.  Include a clear Call to Action (CTA) and ensure this is near the start of the copy so viewers don’t have to click “read more” to see it.  (You can repeat the CTA at the end of your copy).

Prepare your image – if you’re running a “clicks to website” or “website conversions” ad, the correct dimensions are 1200 x 628 pixels.  I use Canva to create my images –  it has an FB ad template which makes things really easy.  Remember to limit any text you add to the image. (see Error No. 1 above)

Mistake No. 3 – Not Knowing Your Audience

You can’t  market to everybody.  Trying to target the whole of the UK with your ad just won’t work and you’ll end up seriously annoying lots of people!  Think about the type of clients you enjoy working with and get great results for, the ones who really love your products or services and come back to buy from you time after time.  Those are your ideal clients – narrow it down as far as possible.

Know your target audience –  age, gender, location, interests.  Be ready with all the necessary information so you don’t waste hours choosing appropriate targeting options within the Facebook Ad dashboard.  Tip:  Use popular Facebook pages in your Interests targeting. This can be very worthwhile, so take some time to research pages liked by your ideal clients.

Mistake No. 4  –  Selling Directly To A “Cold” Audience

I’ve often had people tell me their Facebook ads don’t work.  On further investigation, this is nearly always because they are trying to sell directly from an ad, to an audience they’ve had no previous interaction with.  People don’t come to Facebook to be sold to – they come to interact with family and friends.  Our ads need to interrupt what they’re doing and this generally works far better with a non-aggressive offer,  for example a free download.  It goes without saying that your copy and image have to be compelling in order to engage viewers.   Yes, direct selling CAN work, but generally, “softer” offers work a lot better.  Food for thought!

Mistake No. 5 – Sending Viewers To Your Homepage

When you run a “clicks to website” or “website conversions” ad, you should specify a landing page as the destination URL.  The landing page should have one objective –  to get visitors to take a specific action.  This could be to download a free eBook, watch a video, or purchase a product.  There should be no other distractions such as navigation menus, sidebars, headers or footers.  Your goal is to get people to do what you want – and of course give you their email address as part of the process.  Therefore a prominent call to action (preferably repeated at least twice) is required as part of the landing page copy.

Mistake No. 6 –  Being Unaware of Facebook’s Ad Guidelines

This is a biggie! It’s advisable to read the Ad Guidelines before setting up your first ad.  Facebook is very strict on what is and is not permitted in terms of copy and images.  For example, if you’re in the weight loss niche, you can’t use “before and after” images.  In the health and wellness niche, you can’t make unsubstantiated claims about your products.  Whatever your business, you can’t use language that refers to physical or mental conditions.  And don’t even think about promoting your “business opportunity” with claims of high earnings!   If you disregard these guidelines, you ads will be disapproved.  Having ads disapproved multiple times is very likely to lead to your account being closed.  I’ve heard of this happening several times and it can take many weeks for the account to be approved again –  if at all.  So do take some time to study the guidelines.

Your Turn

Have you had problems with Facebook ads?  What other mistakes would you add to the list? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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I love helping businesses to get the best from Facebook Ads. Please contact me if you need further advice on planning and setting up campaigns. Why not say hello on my Facebook page or take a look at my Facebook Ads support and training services? 

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