Social Media Strategy,

Common Facebook Ads Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Terez Tocheva

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Facebook Ads are a powerful tool for reaching a broad audience and driving conversions. However, many businesses make common mistakes that hinder their campaign performance. Here are some of the most frequent Facebook Ads mistakes and how to fix them, along with relevant benchmarks to guide your efforts.

1. Poor Targeting


Not defining your audience correctly can lead to wasted ad spend on users who are not interested in your product or service. Poor targeting can manifest in several ways:

  • Too Broad: Targeting a very broad audience can lead to spending money on users who have little to no interest in your product or service. This dilutes your ad effectiveness and increases costs.
  • Too Narrow: Overly narrow targeting limits your reach and can result in higher ad costs and lower impressions. It can also miss out on potential customers who don’t fit your overly specific criteria but might still be interested.
  • Wrong Audience: Targeting the wrong demographic, interests, or behaviors can waste ad spend on people who are unlikely to convert.


  1. Define Your Audience:
    • Audience Insights: Use Facebook’s audience insights tool to gather detailed information about your existing customers. Understand their demographics, locations, interests, and online behaviors.
    • Segmentation: Segment your audience based on different criteria such as age, gender, location, interests, and behaviors to create more targeted ad sets.
  2. Use Custom Audiences:
    • Website Visitors: Create custom audiences from your website visitors by installing the Facebook Pixel. This allows you to retarget users who have shown interest in your products.
    • Email Subscribers: Upload your email list to Facebook to target existing customers or leads.
    • Engagement: Target users who have engaged with your content on Facebook or Instagram, such as likes, comments, or shares.
  3. Lookalike Audiences:
    • Creation: Create lookalike audiences based on your best existing customers. Facebook will find users similar to your custom audiences, increasing the chances of reaching potential customers.
    • Refinement: Adjust the size of your lookalike audience. Smaller percentages are more similar to your source audience, while larger percentages offer broader reach.

Identifying the Underlying Issue:

  • Analyze Performance Data: Use Facebook Ads Manager to review the performance of your ad sets. Look at metrics such as reach, impressions, click-through rates (CTR), and conversion rates.
  • Audience Overlap Tool: Use the audience overlap tool to check if your audiences are overlapping too much, which can indicate overly broad targeting.
  • A/B Testing: Conduct A/B tests with different audience segments to determine which audience performs best. Test variations in age, gender, interests, and behaviors.
  • Survey and Feedback: Collect feedback from your current customers through surveys to understand their preferences and behaviors better. This can help refine your targeting parameters.

2. Unengaging Ad Creative


Using low-quality images, poor design, or uninteresting copy can fail to capture the attention of your audience.


  1. High-Quality Visuals: Invest in high-quality images or videos that are visually appealing and relevant to your ad.
  2. Compelling Copy: Write clear, concise, and compelling ad copy. Highlight the benefits of your product or service and include a strong call-to-action (CTA).
  3. A/B Testing: Test different ad creatives to see which performs best. Experiment with various images, headlines, and CTAs.

Key Point:

  • Regularly update and rotate your ad creatives to keep them fresh and engaging.

3. Ignoring A/B Testing


Not testing different variations of your ads can lead to missed opportunities for optimization and improvement. Without A/B testing, you might never discover which elements of your ads resonate best with your audience.


  1. Create Variations:
    • Ad Elements: Develop multiple versions of your ad by changing one element at a time. Test different images, headlines, body text, call-to-actions (CTAs), and even target audiences.
    • Consistent Themes: Ensure that while one element varies, the rest of the ad remains consistent. This helps isolate which change impacts performance.
  2. Monitor Performance:
    • Set Clear Goals: Define what you want to measure before starting your test. This could be click-through rates (CTR), conversion rates, or engagement metrics.
    • Use Facebook’s Ad Manager: Track the performance of each ad variation through Facebook’s Ad Manager. Look at metrics such as CTR, cost per click (CPC), cost per conversion, and return on ad spend (ROAS).
  3. Optimize Based on Data:
    • Analyze Results: After the test period, analyze the performance data to determine which variation performed best.
    • Implement Changes: Apply the successful elements from your A/B tests to your main campaign.
    • Iterate Continuously: Regularly conduct A/B tests to keep optimizing your ads. Consumer preferences can change, so ongoing testing is crucial.

Recommendations for Running A/B Experiments:

  1. Start Small: Begin with two to three variations to keep the tests manageable and straightforward.
  2. Test One Element at a Time: Only change one element (e.g., headline, image, CTA) per test. This helps you identify what specifically is driving performance differences.
  3. Define a Test Duration: Run your tests for at least one week to gather sufficient data. Facebook recommends running tests for 7-14 days to account for daily fluctuations and to reach statistical significance.
  4. Ensure Adequate Sample Size: Make sure your test reaches enough people to produce reliable results. Facebook provides tools to estimate required audience sizes for statistically significant results.
  5. Monitor and Adapt: Keep an eye on your test’s performance. If one variation is significantly underperforming, consider pausing it to avoid wasting budget.

4. Inadequate Budget Management


Mismanaging your ad budget can lead to overspending or underspending, both of which can negatively impact your campaign’s effectiveness. Overspending can drain your resources without guaranteeing results, while underspending can limit your campaign’s reach and effectiveness.


  1. Set a Realistic Budget: Determine a budget that aligns with your campaign goals, whether they are brand awareness, lead generation, or conversions. Research the average costs for your industry on Facebook to set realistic expectations. Consider factors such as cost per click (CPC) and cost per acquisition (CPA).
  2. Use Budget Optimization: Take advantage of Facebook’s budget optimization tools, such as daily or lifetime budget settings. Utilize Facebook’s automatic bidding strategies to optimize for specific outcomes like conversions or clicks. This helps manage your spending efficiently.
  3. Monitor and Adjust: Regularly check your ad spend and performance metrics in Facebook Ads Manager. This helps ensure your budget is being used effectively. Be ready to adjust your budget based on performance data. Increase spending on high-performing ads and decrease or pause spending on underperforming ones.

Minimum Recommended Budget:

  • Per Day: Facebook recommends a minimum daily budget of $5 for low-cost objectives like engagement or awareness. For conversion-focused campaigns, a minimum daily budget of $20 is often suggested to gather sufficient data for optimization.
  • Per Campaign: While there’s no strict minimum for total campaign budget, a good starting point is at least $100-$200 to gather enough data to make informed decisions. For more competitive industries, consider starting with a higher budget to achieve meaningful results.

5. Neglecting Ad Frequency


Showing the same ad too frequently can lead to ad fatigue, where users become annoyed and start ignoring your ads.


  1. Monitor Frequency: Keep an eye on your ad frequency metric in Facebook Ads Manager. Aim to keep your ad frequency below 3.0 to prevent ad fatigue.
  2. Rotate Ads: Regularly update and rotate your ad creatives to keep them fresh and engaging.
  3. Use Frequency Caps: Set frequency caps to limit the number of times your ad is shown to the same user within a certain period.

6. Not Leveraging Retargeting


Failing to retarget users who have previously interacted with your brand can result in lost conversion opportunities. Retargeting allows you to re-engage potential customers who have shown interest but have not yet converted.


  1. Set Up Retargeting Campaigns: Use Facebook’s retargeting options to reach users who have visited your website, engaged with your posts, or interacted with your Facebook page. Install the Facebook Pixel on your website to track user interactions and build custom audiences for retargeting. Create custom audiences based on users who have engaged with your Facebook or Instagram posts, videos, or events. Retarget users who have visited specific pages on your website, such as product pages or the checkout page.
  2. Personalize Retargeting Ads: Create personalized retargeting ads that address the specific actions users took, such as viewing a product or abandoning a cart. Use Facebook’s dynamic ads to automatically show the most relevant products to each user based on their previous interactions with your website. Tailor your ad copy and visuals to reflect the specific actions users took, such as viewing a product or abandoning a cart.
  3. Offer Incentives: Encourage conversions by offering discounts, free shipping, or limited-time promotions in your retargeting ads. Use scarcity and urgency tactics, such as “Limited Stock” or “Offer Ends Soon,” to motivate users to take action.

Good Retargeting Campaigns to Start With:

  1. Cart Abandonment Campaign: Target users who added products to their cart but did not complete the purchase. Remind them of the items left in their cart and offer an incentive, such as a discount or free shipping, to encourage them to complete the purchase.
  2. Product View Retargeting: Target users who viewed specific product pages but did not add the items to their cart. Showcase the products they viewed with compelling visuals and product benefits. Include reviews or testimonials to build trust.
  3. Content Engagement Retargeting: Target users who engaged with your content, such as blog posts, videos, or social media posts. Offer related products or services, or invite them to a webinar or event to further engage them with your brand.
  4. Post-Purchase Upsell/Cross-Sell: Target users who recently made a purchase. Recommend complementary products or services to enhance their recent purchase.
  5. Event-Based Retargeting: Target users who showed interest in an event but did not register or attend. Remind them of the upcoming event and highlight key benefits or speakers to encourage registration.
  6. Website Visitors Retargeting: Target users who visited your website but did not take a specific action (e.g., sign up for a newsletter or make a purchase). Encourage them to take the next step, whether it’s signing up for your newsletter, downloading a free resource, or making a purchase.

Additional Tips for Retargeting Campaigns:

  • Frequency Capping: Set frequency caps to avoid overloading users with too many ads, which can lead to ad fatigue.
  • Segmentation: Segment your retargeting audiences based on specific behaviors and interactions for more personalized and relevant ads.
  • A/B Testing: Continuously test different ad creatives, offers, and messages to find what resonates best with your retargeting audiences.

By leveraging these retargeting campaigns, you can effectively re-engage potential customers, increase conversions, and maximize the ROI of your Facebook ad spend.

7. Ignoring Mobile Optimization


With a significant portion of Facebook users accessing the platform via mobile devices, not optimizing your ads for mobile can limit your reach and effectiveness.


  1. Design for Mobile First: Ensure your ad creatives and landing pages are mobile-friendly. Use vertical or square images and videos for better visibility on mobile devices.
  2. Test on Mobile Devices: Preview and test your ads on different mobile devices to ensure they display correctly and provide a good user experience.
  3. Optimize Load Times: Make sure your landing pages load quickly on mobile devices to prevent users from bouncing.

8. Lack of Clear Objectives


Running ads without a clear objective can lead to unfocused campaigns that do not achieve desired results.


  1. Define Your Goals: Clearly define what you want to achieve with your Facebook Ads, whether it’s brand awareness, lead generation, or sales.
  2. Choose the Right Campaign Objective: Select the appropriate campaign objective in Facebook Ads Manager that aligns with your goals.
  3. Track Key Metrics: Monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) related to your objective, such as click-through rate (CTR), conversion rate, and return on ad spend (ROAS).

9. Ignoring Analytics and Insights


Not analyzing the performance data of your ads can prevent you from making informed decisions to improve your campaigns.


  1. Regularly Review Metrics: Use Facebook Ads Manager to regularly review metrics such as reach, engagement, CTR, and conversions.
  2. Identify Trends: Look for trends and patterns in your data to understand what is working and what is not.
  3. Make Data-Driven Decisions: Use the insights gained from your data analysis to make informed decisions and optimize your ads for better performance.

By avoiding these common Facebook Ads mistakes and implementing the recommended fixes, you can create more effective and profitable ad campaigns. Remember, continuous testing, optimization, and analysis are key to achieving success with Facebook Ads.

If you need professional assistance in improving your Facebook Ads performance, book a discovery call with us here. Our experts can help you develop and execute a winning strategy tailored to your business goals.

Terez Tocheva
Terez Tocheva

Chief Marketing Officer

I help my clients achieve better business results by improving the way they think, act and communicate online.

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