5 Facebook Advertising Mistakes Far Too Many Brands Make

Opinion: Before you can improve, you have to isolate the problems you’re dealing with

While there are arguably more cost-effective social media advertising platforms than Facebook, few feature such powerful audience segmenting opportunities. Unfortunately, a lot of brands squander the opportunity to generate a return by making common yet avoidable mistakes.

Before unpacking some common Facebook advertising mistakes that big brands make far too frequently, let’s discuss a point that, while cliché, is important: the idea that practice makes perfect. Specifically, it’s wise to understand that practice can help you overcome many mistakes that are otherwise enough to derail even the savviest of strategies.

Meet Tom Hess. He’s one of the leading guitar instructors in the music industry. He’s also considered a transformative teacher when it comes to helping students overcome mistakes that hold them back. His theory is that in order to overcome a mistake, you have to isolate the problem and then magnify it until you master the fundamentals and see tangible improvement.

While Hess is specifically referring to guitar playing and picking patterns, his theory can be applied to any number of other personal or professional endeavors—Facebook advertising included. Before you can improve, you have to isolate the problems you’re dealing with and then magnify them in order to improve.

Since the first step in overcoming mistakes is to isolate the underlying problems, it’ll be helpful for us to take a look at some of the top Facebook advertising mistakes brands make.

Poor image selection

Visuals are everything in Facebook advertising. While you get the chance to integrate some copy into the ad (more on that in the next section), your image should be strong enough that it could stand alone. The problem is that a lot of advertisers hastily choose low-quality images and then paste them into ads without giving it any thought.

Image creation and selection should represent 60 percent to 90 percent of the time it takes to create a given ad. It’s the single most important aspect, and it is what will catch your audience’s eye when they’re scrolling through their feeds. Here are a few tips to consider.

Confusing ad copy

Ad copy should be clear and succinct. Too much text will distract your audience, while copy that’s too vague will leave people wondering about the purpose of the ad.

Specifically, you want to pay attention to the headline of your Facebook ad. This part of the copy is most visible and will often determine whether or not your audience reads the remaining text. You should only use one call to action, and it must be closely tied to the image you choose.

Not enough ads

One extremely common mistake—especially among advertisers that are new to Facebook—is to create just one ad and then step away. As they say, 20 percent of your ads generate 80 percent of the value. If you’re only creating one ad, you stand very little chance of finding a version that works.

As a rule of thumb, consider creating a minimum of five versions of each ad. If you have the time and resources, it’s better to go with 10 to 12. This gives you the chance to test different headlines, images, calls to action, placement, etc.

Failure to test targeting

As mentioned, the audience segmenting opportunities available within the Facebook ad platform are incredibly advanced. The problem is that many brands create one target audience and that’s it. As a result, they leave value on the table.

When testing the different variations of your ad, create three or four different audiences and see how they perform across the board. You may find that an ad that performs poorly with one audience excels with another.

Poor landing page design

Some advertisers have no trouble creating strong Facebook ads. They understand how to choose magnetic images, craft compelling copy and test different variations with different audiences. The problem is that many fail when it comes to designing the landing page/squeeze page that users are sent to.

Never underestimate the value of a good landing page. Once you engage a user enough to convince them to click on your ad, the last thing you want is to have them bounce from your site. Once again, the key is to focus on simplicity. Present a consistent message that builds on the momentum your ad created.

Isolate, magnify, master: It’s not always easy to come face to face with your mistakes and tackle them in a head-on manner. For the most part, it’s human nature to want to avoid mistakes and focus on more positive things. But if you want to master Facebook advertising, you have to follow the advice of Tom Hess: Isolate the problem and then magnify it in order to master the fundamentals.

If you can do that, you’ll forever be one step ahead of the competition.

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Image courtesy of stock_colors/iStock.