Picture this: you’ve just checked on your Facebook advertising campaign insights to see how it’s performing and…nothing. Nada. Zip-a-dee-doo-dah. You rethink the hours you spent agonizing over the right imagery, copy, and audience targeting. Where did you go wrong? If you’ve found yourself in this position, you’re not alone. Facebook ad campaigns seem to include more hoops than a dog show. Lucky for you, we’ve trialed and errored this process for years and are dishing on five common mistakes to avoid.
Building a Facebook Advertising Campaign Takes A Lot of Skill And a Little Luck
Yes, we said it. A little luck is definitely needed when clicking publish on your Facebook advertising campaign. Because in the Wild Wild Web, things (read: algorithms and people’s attitudes) are ever-changing. Despite this, best practices can still help your brand get clicks and conversions.
For those not yet advertising on Facebook (or needing a refresher), you might wonder what the benefits are. To start, the platform has 2.93 billion (yes, with a B) active users each month (as of Q2 2022). And when considering the Metaverse — Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp — this increases to 3.59 billion people using one or more platforms daily.
As a brand, you have immense opportunities to find and convert your audience from this pool of people. In addition, for any given Facebook advertising campaign, you can tailor it to your brand’s goals, use advanced targeting, test creative options, set budgets as low as a dollar a day, and scale up or down as needed. At this point, if your brand isn’t attempting a presence on the platform, you’re missing out.
For sanity’s sake, we’ll cover the skill bit in this blog. The luck is up to you. Here are the top five pitfalls and how to avoid them.
Mistake 1: Keeping Your Target Audience Too Narrow or Too Wide
When choosing options from a group of nearly three billion people, it can be easy to over- or under-correct your choices. It’s true that you don’t want to create an ad that targets the entirety of the U.S. without any thought to segmented demographics. If you do that, you’re shooting in the dark and any targets you hit will be pure chance. But on the flip side, you also don’t want to limit your audience and, by extension, how many new potential customers the algorithm can reach.
The key to finding that sweet spot is fully understanding and defining your target audience. Ask yourself these questions: Where do my customers live? Where can we ship our products? How old are our customers? Are they married and/or have children? What are their interests? And also, what are their social media behaviors?
Facebook breaks down audiences for their campaigns into the following types:
- Core Audiences: These audiences can be narrowed or broadened by demographics, interests, and behaviors. Once you answer the above questions for your brand, you can build your Core Audiences in FB Ads Manager.
- Custom Audiences: These audiences require some prior information as they allow you to connect with people who have previously shown interest in your brand (i.e., using your app or website).
- Lookalike Audiences: To build a Lookalike Audience, you can reach new people with interests “similar to those of your best customers” (your Core Audiences).
The Fix: Focus on finding the sweet spot for audience targeting and create ads based on this information, not wild guesses.
Mistake 2: Forgetting to Define Goals & KPIs
Just as in life, every brand action needs an objective. And for Facebook advertising campaigns, goal-setting and objective-making can turn an otherwise perfect campaign into a flop. Some common objectives include increased brand awareness, higher web traffic, more community engagement, and increased sales. The Ad Objective options on FB Ads Manager match those common goals with Awareness, Traffic, Engagement, Leads, App Promotion, and Sales options.
Since we love concrete examples, here’s ours. Let’s say you own a gym and want to start recruiting new members in the community. You have a fairly loyal local fan base, but your sales have stalled, and you need to raise awareness. You’ve decided to do this by creating a new app through your gym that allows members to log their fitness, nutrition, and connect with other members with similar goals. At first glance, you might think a Brand Awareness campaign is best, but you’ve also set a KPI (key performance indicator) at 100 new app downloads. So, you choose the App Promotion objective.
Often, the Facebook advertising objectives crossover with your brand goals. But if your goals are loosely defined, your campaign can quickly fall apart.
The Fix: Choose a Facebook ad objective matching your brand goals and specific KPIs.
Mistake 3: Being Married to the Creative
Have you ever written some piece of copy or reworked some imagery for your brand that you thought was sure to go viral only to have it fall flat with your audience? Love it or hate it, creative work is subjective. To really connect with your content, your creative needs two things behind it: strategy and testing. As we said in the beginning, the social media landscape is ever-changing. Algorithms and people’s attitudes dictate what content is seen and shared daily, which means you need to do your homework.
The answer? Testing, testing, one, two, three. A/B testing a Facebook advertising campaign is like studying before an exam: it helps you with what to expect and puts you in better control of the outcome. This feature in FB ads allows branders to send different variations of an ad to a subset of your audience and show the ads with the best engagement to the majority of your target. By getting real-world data on which ads performed best, you can make future content that lands better in the first place.
Let’s go back to your gym brand again. After you’ve set your App Promotion campaign, you find out that 85% of your audience is female. However, your ads have mostly featured stock imagery of buff men in cut-offs. The next campaign you have, you keep the same copy, but you test one ad with men working out and another with women. Resoundingly, the ad with the female gym-goers performs better. Now, you know what to continue to test for future ads.
The Fix: Be open to changing your ad imagery and content based on A/B test results and overall ad impressions.
Mistake 4: Budgeting Too Little (Or Too Much)
One of the beauties of Facebook advertising is budget versatility. At the high level, Facebook charges by impressions (CPM), conversions (CPA), or clicks (CPC). However, when creating a campaign, you can set it by daily or lifetime budget. The former refers to the amount you’re willing to spend every day, and the latter refers to the entire campaign run. To top it off, you can also choose Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO), which is at the campaign level instead of the ad set level and allows for more versatility.
As with your target audience, there’s a sweet spot here. Budget too little, and the data will likely be too low to give you any insights on audience or ad placement (which hurts you in the future). Budget too much, and you risk spending your entire marketing allowance without the results to match. The answer will make us sound like a broken record: test your ads. Playing with daily budgets allows you to collect data and then take a leap based on facts, not faith.
The Fix: Start with small daily budgets to test which campaigns are hitting the mark and expand from there. Bigger isn’t always better.
Mistake 5: Setting and Forgetting
Lastly, we know the world of automation has ruined us for this but do not set and forget your ads. Things change quickly in marketing, and an ad performing well yesterday could die out in a few days. Ideally, you (or your marketing agency) would monitor your ads daily and look for ad frequency, click-through rate, leads generated, and performance by type and placement.
This is not to say that you should start from scratch every time there’s a dip in engagement, but the more you monitor your ads, the more you can discern trends and make smart changes in creative and budget. Our last gym brand reference: get in those reps.
The Fix: Stay on top of your ads and be open to changing them as needed based on audience interests, brand goals, and pop-culture needs growing and altering.
Savy’s Got Your Next Facebook Advertising Campaign Covered
Creating a Facebook advertising campaign is a many-headed beast that takes strategic decision-making and constant monitoring. At Savy, we create and manage marketing campaigns for large and small brands and their ever-changing goals. Instead of going it alone, let our team take point and get you results. Put us to work.