6 Facebook Paid Ads Mistakes That You Should Not Make

January 30, 2019 Andy Beohar

Facebook ads may be PPC like AdWords, but have a slightly different dynamic. A common mistake that many marketers make is applying the same strategies to Facebook campaigns that were successful in Adwords. If your Facebook ads have been underperforming even if you did well with other PPC campaigns, here's some of the most common mistakes made with Facebook campaigns.

Facebook Paid Ad Mistake #1 - Don't Target the Same Audiences Simultaneously for Different Ad Sets or Campaigns.

The chief reason why the same strategy you used with AdWords doesn't translate well to social PPC is because the former is based on specific searches while Facebook ads target users' interests. For instance, someone searching for "men's basketball shoes" could have absolutely no mention of basketball in their Facebook profile or activity. AdWords functions on intent while Facebook ads center around raising brand awareness. Targeting on Facebook can be extremely high or fairly loose and without the same level of competition and high CPC as SEM ads.

This causes marketers to inadvertently bid against themselves when trying multiple ads with the same audience.

You only pay on Facebook when someone interacts with your ad or otherwise completes the event you laid out (which you can now track offiste with Facebook Attribution.) While you'd compete with any number of players on Google, targeting the same audience more than once with multiple campaigns and/or ad sets within the same timeframe causes you to compete with yourself. You're not getting more views than a competitor's ad placement, your own campaigns will work against each other. Subsequently, the campaign performs poorly and ROI leaves much to be desired. If you placed a bid cap on the ads as well, it can cause the ads to have zero traction.

To prevent this from happening, space out the timing of your campaigns or ad sets that target the same audiences. If you're running this second campaign for a specific purpose such as selling a product with seasonal availability, the Facebook custom audience tool can exclude segments of your target audience based on how often they engage with your Facebook ads and other activity.

1 - Don t target the same audiences simultaneously for different ad sets or campaigns

Video ad campaigns can be a major help with creating sales funnels for specific audiences because Facebook can segment the audience by videos they've viewed. Currently, there is no segmentation for previously-viewed ads and posts.

Facebook Paid Ad Mistake #2 - Performance is Lagging Because The Bid Cap is Too Low.

At first glance, bid caps function similarly to setting ad budgets in AdWords. But they actually work a little differently even though the concept is similar: you set the maximum you're willing to pay to reach your goal, expressed in clicks, impressions, or other types of engagement. The mistake most often made is that the value of this bid is set too low and the ads either don't convert or don't create enough impressions.

2 - Performance is lagging because the bid cap is too low 1

Increase or remove the bid cap even though it seems like a gamble. While your spend will accelerate and it eats away at your daily or lifetime budget faster, it will also produce better results. If your overall campaign budget is very low and you have an equally low bid cap, it's likely that you won't see any traction at all.

Facebook Paid Ad Mistake #3 - Your Ad Budget is Being Uniformly Split Across Ad Sets Opposed to The Ads That Perform Best.

The default setting for campaign budgets in Facebook is to allocate it equally among several ad sets. While this strategy could prove to be worthwhile if this is your first Facebook campaign and you're unsure which ads will perform best, once you have an idea of what's happening then you need to reset and optimize the campaign budget.

3 - Your ad budget is being uniformly split across ad sets opposed to the ads that perform best

Under this default, Facebook continues this budget split regardless of ad set performance. By setting up campaign budget optimization, your ad spend will be reallocated based on performance so the high-performing ads get a bigger portion. In order to do this, all ad sets need to have the same delivery (e.g. landing pages) and all you need to do is check the appropriate box on the "Campaign Details" page.

Facebook Paid Ad Mistake #4 - Insufficient Conversions Aren't Examined or Handled Appropriately.

Facebook requires 50 conversions per week to continue delivering your ads if you're running a campaign that has conversion events such as purchases and links to click. This can become a circular problem if you're not reaching the target audience, not enough users are interested, or the ad set is performing poorly for other reasons. If conversion rates are low, Facebook will throttle ad delivery while it seems unclear why conversions aren't taking place.

4 - Insufficient conversions aren t examined or handled appropriately

The campaign itself should be examined to ensure that the ad content is relevant to your target audience and is compelling enough to click on. Get feedback on whether it's visually appealing or needs changes. Next, delivery can be stabilized with target cost bidding instead of lowest cost. The latter is the default method, but target cost bids can help stabilize your delivery by instructing Facebook to bid an approximate amount throughout the campaign. While not the same as a bid cap, it helps keep costs predictable and can help conversion rates by keeping delivery consistent so that it's not immediately shut out by lower bids caused by lower engagement.

Facebook Paid Ad Mistake #5 - Cost Per Click is Being Prioritized Over Cost per Acquisition.

In comparison to AdWords and other SEM, CPC is drastically lower on Facebook. For highly competitive and more vague, general keywords, top advertisers will pay well over $100 per click. The same keywords can targeted for as little as $0.25 or even less on Facebook.

5 - Cost per click is being prioritized over cost per acquisition

However, the challenge still lies in the intent. Anyone can use a search engine and doesn't need a social media account to do so, and has that sense of urgency makes them more likely to click on an ad. Facebook has lower CPC but it could have a higher cost per acquisition because it's not reaching as many people and/or it turns out your target audience doesn't engage as much on Facebook as they do on other platforms.

If your budget is centered around CPC, pay closer attention to CPA and how different platforms perform.

Facebook Paid Ad Mistake #6 - Your Target Audience is Overwhelmed by Ad Fatigue.

Unlike with search ads where you want to be visible as much as possible, social ads are a delicate balancing act where you want the ad to be seen but also not seen too much. If your ad is seen too often, it causes ad fatigue. Users are more likely to scroll past it and consistently ignore the same ad and start hiding it. Once too many users have hidden the ad, campaign costs increase and relevane scores fall. 

This is especially common with ads that are shown for an incredibly long time, as social media is more flash-in-the-pan and not as amenable to the same ads being consistently shown as other mediums like TV. Ads with small audiences are also more prone to ad fatigue simply because there's fewer users for it to go around.

The best ways to combat ad fatigue include setting frequency caps. Depending on the campaign objective, you may have reach and frequency buying options and if so, you can limit how many times users view your ad set within a certain timeframe. This needs to account for the total number of ads within the ad set, so the minimum frequency cap would be 5 for an ad set with five ads.

6.2 - Your target audience is overwhelmed by ad fatigue

Similarly to avoiding bidding against yourself when two or more campaigns target the dame audience, audiences can also be excluded if you set up sales funnel ads with custom audiences. If people already interacted with your ads or posts, you can set a sales funnel ad to exclude audiences who are already somewhere in that sales funnel based on prior Facebook interactions. This keeps the ad visible purely for brand awareness purposes; this audience is already aware to some degree.

Ad frequency can be automated with the frequency limit rule in the Ads Manager. Campaigns can be automatically turned on and off based on a frequency limit that you define. If this prospect makes you nervous, you can also receive email notifications that frequency has gone above a certain level so you can decide if you'd like to curtail the campaign manually or keep it running.

Facebook can be an incredibly robust tool for marketing your business. However, it's important to bear in mind that social ads function differently than search ads even if they share a lot of the same terminology and processes when it comes to setting up ad units and running campaigns. Facebook users don't have the same intent as someone interacting with a PPC ad through a search engine and are more susceptible to ad fatigue as a result. Ad units may need to be updated and rotated more to determine why they are or are not getting the desired engagement and conversions, the latter which is necessary to keep the ads being delivered consistently.

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