Facebook Ads: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

by | Oct 1, 2019 | Facebook, Social Media

There is good, bad and ugly when it comes to Facebook ads. First, let’s talk about the why behind Facebook ads. It’s not enough to just tell you that you need to be doing them. Let’s really take a closer look at why Facebook ads are a good idea. 

Why Facebook Ads?

Your customers are on Facebook. That’s where everybody is. There are millions of people that log in every day so it’s almost impossible to get away from having some sort of business presence on Facebook. It’s like trying to have a business without having a website these days. You can’t avoid it. It’s where all the people hang out so your customers are there. 

Another reason is that it’s one of the most targeted forms of advertising. Google and Facebook are different. Google Adwords and Google Ads focus on the products people are looking for while Facebook focuses on the person, your ideal customer avatar. Who is your ideal customer? Are they Hispanic? Do they have a college education? Where do they live? Male? Female? What magazines do they read? It’s more about the client and less about the product. You can even target people who have previously visited your Facebook page, even if they didn’t “like” the page.

One really cool thing Facebook does is allow you to load a client list, then it creates a lookalike list to target based on users that are similar to the people who are already your clients. How cool is that? It allows you to get in front of brand new people who are potentially a great fit for your business.  

Facebook ads are one of the cheapest and most effective forms of advertising. It’s very difficult to find a cost per click as low. You can get as low as a penny per click. Now you can spend a dollar but even at a dollar that’s still lower than many traditional forms of advertising. 

It’s also fast. You can make edits instantly to an ad. You can turn it off. You can turn it on. It’s super quick because it’s real-time. It increases brand awareness. It increases website traffic. It can increase your revenue and sales and leads because it drives that traffic. 

Facebook ads are also easily measurable. You can look at an ad and see you spent $100. You had 50 people go to your website. Then you look at the website and maybe you had 10 people sign up. It tells you immediately. Also, if 200 people saw it and only 2 people clicked on it, you know something is wrong. So you know instantly and can fix it. Sometimes it’s a guess and you have to try different things and because Facebook is in the moment and instant, it allows you to make those edits and see what’s working. It’s the cheapest so it lowers your cost per acquisition. It’s very difficult to get a new client for $1 on any other platform. 

It helps to engage your website visitors. It can help you build your email list. It’s critical, really. You can run a great ad and build your email list. It helps you grow your blog traffic. You can send people back to the blog. You get exposure for your blog. It increases your SEO because it’s sending people back to your website. 

It can help you break into new markets. For instance, if you normally sell homes to first time home buyers in the Birmingham area but you want to start selling vacation rental homes in Panama City, you can totally do that with Facebook Ads. 

Facebook is also where your competitors are. You can bet on that. Since Facebook is connected to Instagram and these are your 2 best forms of social media marketing, it just makes sense to be there. 

Facebook allows you to advertise mobile and most traffic today is mobile. It’s getting rarer for someone to click through from a laptop or desktop. It’s much more likely that they’re going to find you on their phone. If you doubt this, look around the next time you’re at the doctor’s office or coffee shop or anywhere where people have to wait more than 30 seconds. Everyone will be on their phones. You have these capabilities with Facebook advertising like Geofencing, where if you’re a Mexican restaurant and I’m looking for a Mexican restaurant and type it in on my phone, those ads can be targeted based on where I am. So if I’m close to one of your locations, you can ping me for being nearby. 

Common Mistakes

Now that you know you need to do them, let’s focus on some of the most common mistakes people make with Facebook ads. 

Making the Wrong Offer

The first mistake is making the wrong offer. This can kill you. Your offer has to fit your audience. It needs to be effective for what you’re trying to promote. If you’re a tech company and you want to offer an iPad, that’s great. If an iPad has nothing to do with what you offer, don’t do it that way. I’m not saying you can’t do a giveaway or offer that’s a little bit unrelated to what you do, but it still needs to fit your brand. Sometimes the offer is wrong simply because of the phrasing. For instance, you may say 50% off buy your particular audience responds better to Buy One Get One Free. 

Targeting the Wrong Audience

Another big mistake people make is selecting the wrong audience. Audience selection will make you or break you. It’s how people find out where you are. It’s how you make sure you are reaching your best potential client. So if you’re a local photographer or bakery in Birmingham running an ad, you don’t need to advertise in Texas. It’s important to make sure your audience fits the ad. Be careful also about selecting a job title instead of an interest. For instance, if you are a wedding planner, make sure you select people who are interested in wedding planning and not people who list their job title as wedding planning. You don’t want to just run an ad to other people in your industry. 

Using Bad Graphics

Bad graphics are another way to ruin your Facebook ad. Bad graphics make puppies cry. They’re just horrible. If you have a bad graphic, it doesn’t matter how great the offer is, people aren’t going to click on it. If it’s too wordy, if it’s obnoxious, or if it has too much going on, it won’t work. More is not better. More is more. Make sure your graphic represents you well and makes sense for the ad. If you have a graphic that doesn’t tell the right story, most people will never get to the caption. They will keep scrolling. Say you’re a bakery and the ad is a picture of your building, who cares? No one wants to see your building. They’re not eating the building. They want to see the cupcakes or your specialty s’mores. Focus on the right thing so you don’t lose your audience before you even get started.

Choosing the Wrong Audience Size

Audience size is another place where people make mistakes. If your audience size is too big or too small it can drive your price up. If you’re selling a piece of audio equipment that costs $5,000 and you pay $1 per hit, that’s reasonable. However, if you’re selling a pencil that’s 50 cents and you’re paying $1 per hit, you’re not going to make it. You need to make sure your audience size fits so that your advertising budget is right where it needs to be. 

Picking the Wrong Ad Type

Some people mess up by using the wrong type of ad. Some people get very excited to hit that “boost” button. It’s super easy. The button is right there and they click it and they’re done. Don’t get me wrong. There are situations where a boost can work. They are primarily for events, sale, or special. They can work but it depends on your overall objective. The problem is that most of the time unless you’ve gone in previously and saved your custom audience, a boost is just a way of paying for likes. You don’t want to do that. So be careful when selecting what kind of ad you want to use. 

Too Much or Too Little Content

Another mistake is having too much or too little content. You can overdo it and you can underdo it, and sometimes it can be hard to know where the line is. Facebook tends to change the rules about every 15 minutes (ok, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration) about ads and their different limitations and rules and regulations you have to follow. If you go on and on forever in your text, most people aren’t going to read it. So many times people feel compelled to get every bit of the information into an ad and you don’t have to do that. It’s like the cover of a book. It should get them interested without having to tell the whole story. Let people know what you’re doing and send them to the landing page that has all the information. The objective is to get the click-through so that you can target them again later or get their email or whatever it is you’re trying to get. The objective isn’t to put all the information on the cover. It’s to get them to open the book. You do have to put enough information so that people can tell what you’re offering so make sure you are putting enough. People should have an idea of what they’re going to get if they click on your ad.

Not Having a Destination

Another big mistake is not having a destination. Let me start off by saying events are different. If you have an event and you click on the ad it should take you back to the event so you can register for it. However, if you’re going to run an ad and it’s just an image with no URL, there’s no point of destination. Where are you sending them? You’ve spent all of this energy, time, and money creating this ad to get them there but there’s nowhere for them to go. That is super frustrating. If you’re going to take the time to have an ad, it needs to go somewhere. If you’re doing an event promotion, it needs to go to an event page on Facebook so they can RSVP. If you’re going to do an open house, set up an Eventbrite page so people can RSVP. People are much more likely to attend a free event if they commit to it. 

Reusing the Same Ad Repeatedly

Finally, the last big mistake we see is people using the same ad over and over. If it worked before they reason it will work again. You can wear your audience out reusing the same ad repeatedly, especially when you are targeting the same pool of people. If you use the same graphic and the same messaging over and over, people are going to tune you out. People out there with kids know exactly what I’m talking about. There comes a point in time where you stop hearing or seeing something because it’s become so commonplace for you. Change up your graphic and content every so often so people are seeing something different. 

Now You Know

Now that you know why you need to be using Facebook ads and what the common mistakes are, you can set up a great Facebook ad for your business. It’s a great, inexpensive way to target your ideal client. Use these tips to make Facebook ads work for you.


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