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8 Facebook Advertising Mistakes & How To Avoid Them

Once upon a time, Facebook was a platform filled with funny memes and complimentary comments from your Auntie on your latest photo upload. Now, it’s arguably the hottest marketing and advertising platform there is. It boasts 2.27 billion monthly active users, offering businesses and brands an engaged audience to broadcast their message to. For a price, of course. And while Facebook advertising has a proven track record of success, there are plenty of pitfalls and traps that people that can fall in to when they don’t fully know what they’re doing. Here are the 8 most common mistakes and, more importantly, how to avoid them.

Relying Too Heavily on Interest Targeting

It’s common sense that when placing an advert, you ideally want it to be shown to those people who are likely to be interested, right? Well, to get in front of those people, you will probably need to use the interest targeting function.

This means to select their industry, job title, age or pages that they’ve liked in order to try and get your ad in front of the right audience. So, for example, you could add two pages into the interest section that is similar to yours (let’s say McDonald’s and KFC). The mistake a lot of people make though is to leave it there.

The default setting will be to select people who like either one of these, which doesn’t necessarily show a pattern of behaviour. Be sure to swap the setting to ‘all of these’ to get a more refined audience and ones who are more likely to genuinely have the interests you’re hoping for.

There’s An Audience/Offer Mismatch

A hard truth that you probably don’t want to face up to is that the reason you’re making advertising mistakes is because you don’t understand your audience. Marketing is as much about psychology and human behaviour as it is anything else, and so you need to get in to the mindset of your intended viewer and understand what they want from your advert.

Consider the sales pipeline and how far along it they are. New customers who have never seen your website, page or brand before would be scared off by a big ‘buy it now’ in emblazoned red letters (and it would be totally inappropriate). With this kind of audience, you either need to hook them in with a deal or offer, or entice them with high quality content like blog posts and articles. But someone who’s been to your website before or has even bought from you before? They’re prepped and ready for the ‘buy it now’ messages. It’s all about offering the right person the right thing.

Audience Size

When selecting the number of people to send your advert out to, it’s very easy to get it wrong one way or the other. A large, spanning audience is likely to result in wasted budget on promoting your ad to people who aren’t genuine prospects. While a niche, over-focused audience will end up with not enough people seeing it.

You need to aim for that Goldilocks middle ground. Aim for somewhere between 500,000 and 2 million (depending on your budget). You can watch this number get higher or lower by adding more interests, or exclusions but be sure to play around with it until you have the optimum number where Facebook can then optimise and do the rest for you.

Advert Type

As well as who it’s going to, you need to think about what it is you’re sending out. There are a number of different advert types (image, video, carousel, to name a few) and it’s very easy to use the wrong one in the wrong situation.

Firstly you need to consider where it’s going (desktop, mobile, right hand sidebar) and then you need to consider your objective. Do you simply want page link clicks (for some written content, for example), do you want users to perform a certain action when they land on your page (like shopping or signing up) or do you just want to boost engagement on your Facebook page/post? All of these things should be taken in to consideration when selecting your advert type.

Boring Content

It’s been 22 years since Bill gates declared “CONTENT IS KING” and yet it’s no less true today than it was in 1996. What you put in your adverts matters! It’s not enough to simply stick a stock image in and be done with it, relying on your paid boost and interest targeting to do the rest. Sure, those things will put it in front of your audience, but it’s your content that will make them click on it.

Try and select images or videos that are eye catching, high quality, emotive and relevant to what you’re trying to say. In a world bursting at the seams with content, you need to prioritise getting yours seen among the masses.

Too Much Text

There’s a very simple rule when it comes to text in Facebook adverts; no more than 20%. The rule used to be automatically enforced and even though it no longer is, you should still adhere to it. People simply don’t want to read an advert overflowing with words, only to look underneath and discover yet another yawn-worthy paragraph.

There’s a saying that goes ‘if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough’. Work out what your real key message is, keep it concise and punchy and you’re almost guaranteed to see better results than with a lengthy description.

Not Retargeting

You can pump all the money like in to Facebook but if you don’t check your analytics on what’s working (and more importantly, what isn’t) then the whole thing is a waste.

Check and see what people clicked on, how they interacted with your ad and if you lost them, then where was it? If they bounced from your home page then retarget with a free promotion to entice them back. But if someone abandoned a shopping basket full of products then you’ve almost got them; retarget with a sales-y message to get them to complete that purchase. Once again, it’s all about understanding your audience and ensuring the message you send is the right one.

Optimising in The Wrong Way

In order to get the best results from your Facebook adverts, you need to optimise them in the right way. It’s no good putting an advert out if you don’t tell Facebook what you want from it.

For example, if you say you want your advert to go out to everyone interested in dogs, then Facebook will show it to everyone interested in dogs. The vast majority of these probably enjoy watching dog videos and seeing cute pictures, but they’ve never used Facebook to buy anything before. So if the end result you wanted was purchases rather than clicks, then you’ve wasted your budget on showing it to invalid prospects.

Be sure to hone in on what you’re hoping to get out of your advert and work backwards, rather than starting at the beginning and hoping for a miracle.

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