7 Costly Facebook Ad Mistakes That Decrease Your Results

7 Costly Facebook Ad Mistakes That Decrease Your Results

Want to increase your Facebook ad effectiveness?

Are seeing the results you want from your campaigns?

In this article, you’ll discover the 7 Facebook ad mistakes that are reducing the effectiveness of your campaigns, costing you the success you deserve, and how to fix them.

Facebook advertising is now more complex than ever

Facebook is home to over seven million marketers, each competing to show their ad to their target demographic. This has resulted in the demand for Facebook advertising has never been higher. In order to best serve an ever-growing range of businesses using the ad platform, Facebook continues to make changes by introducing new features which add to its complexity.

By having a more complex ad platform than ever before, with more objectives, audiences and pixel features results in advertisers being pushed off the platform due to build-up mistakes which reduce campaign effectiveness. This inevitably leads to the conclusion that Facebook ads don’t work for their business, and they give up.

However, these advertisers are missing out big-time. Facebook gives advertisers the potential to transform their business from the comfort of their kitchen table. Without ever leaving your house, you can seek out new customers, show them your products or services and have an exponentially increasing revenue… as long as you’re avoiding the mistakes outlined below.

Mistake #1 No Facebook ad strategy

The biggest Facebook ad mistake new advertisers will commonly make on the platform is to launch their ad campaigns without formulating any strategy prior to doing so. This is frequently done because Facebook has no barrier to entry, meaning literally anyone with a Facebook ad account can launch a campaign in a few guided steps.

However, without having any proper developed Facebook ad strategy, which takes into account the marketing assets you have available to you in your business, you’ll potentially waste a lot of money implementing campaigns that aren’t structured to deliver the best results for you and your business, in the fastest time.

Having a plan of action ready and waiting to implement is key to seeing success from your campaigns. You want to implement a Facebook advertising strategy that moves someone from a complete stranger, with no idea as to who you or your business is, all the way to being a paying customer. You can achieve this through a series of ad campaigns otherwise known as a Facebook ad funnel.

There are three stages to a successful Facebook ad funnel. They are Awareness, Level 1 Remarketing (also known as Engagement remarketing) and Level 2 Remarketing (also called Website remarketing).

The three stages of a successful ad funnel strategy are Awareness, Engagement remarketing and Website remarketing Facebook ad mistakes

The top of the ad funnel is where you have the Awareness stage, with the goal of generating awareness for your business. In doing so, you are also building recognition in the Newsfeed, which is important for later in the funnel, as well as for helping to establish credibility and authority for your business.

By positioning educational or entertaining content-based ads to cold audiences, you are effectively “warming them up”. Video content works extremely well, enabling you to pull those highly engaged video viewers into a new video custom audience and move them to the next stage in the ad funnel.

The second stage is Engagement remarketing. Here we want to build consideration of your products or services in the minds of your target audience. This can be done by driving people from Facebook or Instagram to your website where they can find out more and move towards converting to a paying customer.

Offering a promotion is the best way to do this in today’s marketing world, such as a discount for eCommerce or a trial/complementary offering if you are a software or service-based business. Missing out on using an irresistible offer is a Facebook ad mistake I see all too often and will be hugely detrimental to your bottom line.

At this stage, you want to target the video custom audience containing people who previously engaged with your video content from the Awareness stage.

The third stage is Website remarketing. Here the goal is to drive sales and leads by engaging people who have visited your website.

By targeting people who have previously browsed through your catalogue of your products or services, you see a much higher engagement and conversion rates from your ad campaigns.

To avoid this Facebook ad mistake, make sure to reiterate the offer you made during the Engagement remarketing stage, whilst at this stage ensuring you include social proof as well, such as testimonials. Alternatively, you can create urgency in the form of reminders ads.

Mistake #2 No campaign management

The second biggest Facebook ad mistake that I see advertisers make, other than not having a strategy in the first place, is not managing campaigns after they have been set live.

By having the ‘set it and forget mindset’ whereby you set up a campaign and let it run on its own, you’ll no doubt see a decrease in effectiveness over time due to what is known as Facebook ad fatigue.

Ad fatigue is an issue that will affect even the most successful Facebook ad campaigns.

It usually is seen in campaigns when the frequency gets too high, which causes your target audiences to see the same ads again and again and therefore become less responsive to them. This results in your Return on Ad Spend decreasing, generating less revenue due to a higher cost per acquisition.

In order to develop sustainable results from Facebook advertising, you want to make sure you’re analysing your campaigns on an on-going basis. First, take a look at your Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) which will allow you to identify which campaigns are below your minimum viable ROAS and then, at the ad level of those low ROAS campaigns, look at the CRFC metrics which are your cost per result, relevance (which is now three new metrics, quality ranking, conversion ranking and landing page ranking), frequency and CPM.

Based on the findings of your analysis, you can then make the appropriate and necessary adjustments to different elements of your campaign such as ad creative, ad copy, your campaign objective, your offer and your audience targeting.

With the two biggest mistakes covered, the following set of 5 mistakes are tactical ones, meaning that they relate to a specific feature or ad type you might not be using but should be to deliver better results.

Mistake #3 No use of reminder ad campaigns

If you have Website remarketing audiences but aren’t running reminder ads to them then you are no doubt leaving a large sum of money on the table.

One of the most effective ways to re-engage people who have visited your website and to avoid this Facebook ad mistake is through running a reminder-based ad campaign.

The always-on, always-connected nature of social media means that vying for people’s attention is getting harder by the day since attention spans are decreasing as people get distracted easily. With that being said, reminder-based ad campaigns are a great way to bring people back to finish a particular action, such as a purchase or sign up.

Here the goal is fairly simple: to remind the people in your website custom audience that they showed interest in your business by having looked at a certain product or service on your website and that the offer you showed them at the Engagement remarketing stage or that you display on your website, is still available for them to take you up on.

The key to avoiding this Facebook ad mistake to reach success with this type of Website remarketing campaign comes down to the audience. A small audience duration is what you want to use here in your website custom audience, as that contains the most relevant and responsive people.

I suggest using a 3-day duration and the engagement condition of all traffic, excluding purchases. This is the audience duration and engagement condition that we’ve found here at the agency to be most effective.

TIP: For this to work and to limit the impact of ad fatigue, you need to have at least 1500 people in your audience size, which means an average of 500 people per day visiting your website.

With a smaller number of website visitors, under 500 per day, it’s a good idea to use a longer website custom audience duration up to 10-days. If you still don’t have 1500 people in your audience for a 10-day audience duration, increase the duration to 30 days and use the Conversion objective as opposed to the Reach objective.

Mistake #4 No use of testimonial ads

Are you using your customer reviews or testimonials in your ads? If not, then this Facebook ad mistake is causing you to miss out on a huge opportunity to increase your conversions, with testimonial ad types being one of the highest converting ad types available.

From my experience of working here at the agency, I’ve seen testimonial ad types work best at the Level 2 Website remarketing stage because your website visitors are already in the buying decision process. When you use testimonials directly in your ad copy, you create social proof that helps build the confidence and the sense of trust your target audiences need to convert into new customers.

The structure of your ad should go as follows: position a single testimonial at the start of your ad and followed with a reminder of an offer for your product or service that’s relevant to the pages of your website they’ve previously visited. You also want to add in any additional social proof to your ad copy such as your score from review aggregator sites like Trustpilot and Feefo.

TIP: If you have video testimonials these can also be extremely effective. When using video testimonials, make sure you don’t repeat the testimonial in the ad copy as the diminishes the impact the testimonial itself has. Instead, you simply want to reiterate the offer and add in any additional social proof.

Mistake #5 Too long Newsfeed link description or carousel cards

One common Facebook ad mistake that people make is that their Newsfeed link description or their carousel card description is too long. Since the majority of users of Facebook are on mobile, this further increases the number of people who view this ad whilst seeing a Newsfeed link description that it cut off. When you do this, you are reducing the impact of your ad, are leaving free real estate and overall making your ad look less professional as you have incomplete sentences that your target audience can’t properly understand.

The main reason this happens is because you don’t specifically edit your Newsfeed link description or carousel card because it is automatically pulled from the link destination you set when creating your ad.

The fix here is super simple. You want to purposefully write your Newsfeed link descriptions and carousel card headline and descriptions, making sure to keep them short so they don’t get cut off. The best way to determine whether they will get cut off is to use the mobile Newsfeed preview of the ad to see how it is displayed.

Mistake #6 Using the wrong Lookalike audiences

Facebook ad mistake number 6 is not using Lookalike audiences or using the wrong Lookalike audiences.

If you aren’t using Lookalike audiences, you’re doing yourself and your business a massive disservice! They are the most advanced audience type you have access to on Facebook and allow you to find new potential customers that are similar and a source audience that you control, such as a customer list, website traffic or other engaged audiences.

Even if you are already using Lookalike audiences in your marketing strategy, you might be using the wrong ones. It is easy to get confused when building Lookalikes as you can build them from any one of the ten custom audiences, and the differences and use for each may not always be clear.

You want to use the highest quality source audience first. Use the source audience selection process outlined below,  to discover which Lookalike audience you can create first to deliver the best results in the fastest time.

Your customers are your most valuable Lookalike source audience, so starting with either pixeled purchase event actions using a website custom audience or your customer database via a customer file custom audience is a great place to begin.

Tip: when creating Lookalike audiences for customers, ideally you want at least 1000 people in your source audience.

If you don’t have enough people to meet this recommendation quota, then move one step down the customer value matrix and use your website traffic, then page engagers, video viewers and finally page likes.

Keep repeating this process until you find the Lookalike source audience option that fits the existing audiences you have in your business.

For a full step by step walk-through of the SAS Process here.

Mistake #7 No advanced pixel settings

The final Facebook ad mistake is failing to set up your pixel correctly. Setting up and installing your Facebook pixel is one of the most important actions you take before you launch any ad campaigns. Facebook themselves do a great job of providing you with excellent resources detailing how best to install and set up your events, based on the platform on which your website is built, however, they don’t have detailed instructions on the advanced settings.

The last Facebook ad mistake is a small one but shouldn’t be underestimated in its impact. By having the wrong pixel settings, you really could miss out on a large amount of incredibly valuable data that you could have used for Lookalikes or retargeting purposes. There are two features that could be set up wrong, they are your Cookie type and Advanced matching.

First, let’s go over Cookie settings. With Browsers like Google Chrome removing Third-party cookies later this year and competitors like Safari said to follow suit, it is even more important that your pixel cookie settings are First-party and not Third party.

To check this and change it if it is set to Third-party, navigate to your events manager and from the drop-down icon list select Settings.

The first setting will be your Cookie settings if it is set to Third-party change it to First-party. By doing this, your pixel will be implemented on your website and read by browsers as the main code, not third party so won’t be excluded from your site.

At the same time, you can also check that auto Advanced matching is turned on. This is the second part of this pixel settings mistake.

Without auto Advanced matching on, you won’t be tracking additional pixel data known as microdata and therefore will see a lower attribution and match rate for event actions and website custom audience sizes.

Scroll down in the pixel settings and turn on auto Advanced matching, this improves your match rate and attribution of actions to your ad campaigns.


There you have it, 7 mistakes that ruin your chances of Facebook advertising success. They cover broad overarching mistakes in the form of no strategy or campaign management and then dive into specific tactical mistakes such as not using certain ad types, the highest quality Lookalike audiences or the correct advanced pixel settings.

What do you think?

What Ad mistakes have you made?

Let us know below!

About Charlie Lawrance

Charlie is an advertising strategist, writer, speaker, and agency owner. He’s the Founder and CEO of Gecko Squared, a Facebook and Instagram advertising agency that specialises in working with high growth clients from around the world including eCommerce, software and professional service businesses. He’s been planning and buying digital media for over 9 years since he started his first business aged just 18. Stay in touch by liking his Facebook Page (Charlie Lawrance).

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