4 mistakes you’re making with Facebook advertising

Confused by Facebook Ads or finding they’re not as effective as you might like? It could be down to Facebook’s tricks to make you spend more on advertising. 

Facebook advertising is enormously effective for all kinds of businesses, big and small, when used in the right way. Whether you’re new to Facebook advertising, or have a little bit of experience, this blog will help you avoid common mistakes.

Before we begin, I’ll get something off my chest - Facebook Ads Manager is terribly designed. Only by using it a lot (and a bit of tearing my hair out) have I mastered it and figured out why so many ads are ineffective. It’s a big system, with so many options and configurations. Importantly, it’s also designed to make you spend more money.

Along the way, I’ve spotted little quirks in the system that means you might spend more money on ads, bill to the wrong account or find that your ads are less effective than you thought. Here’s four things to look out for when you’re advertising on Facebook.

Running ads with automatic audience network selection

Facebook will automatically show your ad on all its networks unless you ‘edit placements’ and deselect what you don’t need. This might sound alright, but are you sure your ad looks OK on Instagram and Messenger? Do you want it to be on their audience network? Your ads could be showing on any number of random websites that may be completely at odds with your brand.

Automatic placements vs custom placements on Facebook Ads.PNG

If you want to run ads on these platforms then create a separate campaign with text and images optimised for these places. This is particularly important for Instagram! Images should be square, and the aesthetic and messaging on Instagram is usually very different to Facebook.

Billing to the wrong account

This is a bug to watch out for if you manage several ad accounts, which we do as an agency.

Facebook has a habit of applying the wrong one when you are boosting a post. For example, it will often default to our Sookio ad account when we are in fact boosting a post for a client on their ad account. We’ve seen people caught out by this before.

4 mistakes you're making on Facebook Ads.png

People often use their personal advertising account to boost posts, usually for their side-business or to help a family member out, usually at around £10 a time. At work, you may be advertising for your company and spending five times that on a boosted post. Check which account you’re using so you don’t end up with a big bill to your own card!

Using promoted post previews for ads

As a page admin, are you plagued by these on Facebook? These previews encourage people to impulse buy advertising in order to boost reach. They’re a bit like junk food, a quick fix that won’t fill you up in the long term. Yes, you’ll get some extra reach in the short term but they’re unlikely to bring you any extra business.

It’s best to plan posts that will work when promoted, and before that, you should think about what you want to get from Facebook. Think about your KPIs and who you want to reach, then create a Saved Audience on Ads Manager to use for boosted posts. Better still, create a proper Facebook advertising campaign instead.

Bonus tip: if you use Facebook Business Manager then you won’t have these previews cluttering your feed anymore!

Assuming post clicks mean link clicks

Post clicks include link clicks but also any click on the post – like, share, comment, clicking on your profile picture. This can be confusing, and many take post clicks to mean someone went through to their website – meaning you risk over-reporting your success. Look for link clicks instead, this will give you a better idea of how many people your ad sent to your site.

Related to this, Facebook often over-report the number of links clicks you might receive. It’s best to cross-reference the link clicks reported by Facebook to the stats your Google Analytics or web analytics show you.

Taking a smarter approach to Facebook ads

These four things are the main issues I’ve found lately, and as you can see they are really easy to overcome.

Facebook campaigns only work if you have the right knowledge. That starts with knowing your customer and your business goals and then that transfers over to being able to use the Ads Manager platform. Once you’re up and running and you’ve set up a few campaigns it will be like riding a bike.

Need to improve your campaigns? Take a look at my 5 expert tips to boost advertising ROI.

Talk to Sookio

We’ve been running Facebook Advertising campaigns for many years, helping our clients reach more customers. Get in touch to chat with us about social media advertising campaigns that work.