Top 5 Facebook advertising mistakes and how to fix them

Top 5 Facebook advertising mistakes and how to fix them

Are you advertising your business on Facebook?

If you aren’t seeing the results you expected then it could be down to one of these 5 simple mistakes.

In this article you’ll learn the 5 Facebook advertising mistakes that are killing your chances of campaign success and how to fix them.

These are by far the most common Facebook advertising mistakes I hear from the hundreds of business owners I speak to every month.

Mistake #1 – Not using the full Ads Manager

Facebook advertising mistakes 1

What do I mean by not using the full Ads Manager?

I mean that you’re only boosting your posts, straight from your Facebook page.

Or as we like to call it participating in Facebook’s easy money grab, where you can spend the same amount of money but get less functionality and therefore see worse results.

Boosting posts is just 1 of the 12 advertising objectives at your disposal but you wouldn’t know that if you just looked at your Facebook page and not specifically within the Ads Manager.

The best results from Facebook advertising campaigns come from using the full Ads Manager. Period.

When you use the Ads Manger your campaigns have a proper structure (Campaign, Ad Set, Ad) and at each level you have more functionality.

For example, at the Ad Set level, you have greater placement options and you also have access to the detailed targeting feature which allows you to refine your audience targeting by including “and” interests as well as adding exclusions (more on targeting later).

The Fix

This is by far the most common mistake I hear from business owners and it’s the easiest to fix. Don’t just boost your posts, create proper advertising campaigns in the Ads Manager using the most effective objective for your desired end result.

Mistake #2 – Choosing the wrong advertising objective

Facebook advertising mistakes 2

When you use the Ads Manager, the first thing you have to do when you create a new campaign is decided what advertising objective to use.

This is crucial because if you choose the wrong one, your campaign is setup to fail even before it launches.

The best way is to choose the right advertising objective is to work backwards from your desired end result.

For example, if you want to run an ad campaign that will help build your email list, your end result is email sign ups, therefore you’ll want to run a conversion campaign as users are taking a specific action that you can optimise for.

The Fix

Know your advertising objectives. For a full breakdown of the different advertising objectives and when best to use them click here.

Mistake #3 – Not refining your audience targeting enough

Facebook advertising mistakes 3

At the Ad Set level of a campaign you choose your audience targeting amongst other things like campaign schedule and ad placement.

Your targeting is the most important element of your ad campaign and it can either make it or break it.

It’s a simple question:

Who’s your target audience?

Don’t just say: “well everyone really”

The more specific you can get with your targeting when running Facebook ad campaigns the better results you’ll see.

The Fix

When it comes to targeting your ideal customer think about their:

  • Location
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Interests (e.g types of people they follow as well as tools they use)
  • Income & Affluence
  • Behaviours (e.g small business owners)

Go one step further than just adding a list of interests. Use the detailed targeting feature to include “and” based interests, so someone has to match both x and x to be in your audience. In addition, use the “exclude” targeting to refine your audience and reduce audience overlap.

Mistake #4 – Not installing conversion tracking

All the work you do researching and setting up a new Facebook ad campaign can be worthless if you aren’t tracking the results and then optimising the campaign.

If you don’t install the correct tracking then you’re flying blind. You won’t know if your campaign is delivering the desired results and you won’t be able to track your ROI down to the penny.

Campaign tracking on Facebook comes from your Facebook Pixel. This is a piece of code that you install on every page of your website.

Facebook advertising mistakes 4

Then, when someone then visits your site, (from any source: search, social media, email etc) they get tagged by the pixel, matched on Facebook and you can then start building up custom audiences of people who have visited your site.

That’s the basic Pixel.

In order to track conversions you have to add some conversion code to the Pixel which will record specific actions such as: registrations, content views, leads, and all ecommerce actions from add to cart, through to checkout and final purchase.

This conversion code is called Standard Event Code, and you can find out more about it here.

The Fix

Simple. Make sure you install the Facebook Pixel, and where necessary install the conversion code so you can track the specific action you want someone to take.

IMPORTANT: Don’t install the conversion code on the landing page people visit to take your desired action, such as the landing page for an ebook giveaway. Make sure you install the conversion code on the thank you or confirmation page that someone sees after they opt-in for example.


Mistake #5 – Not enough patience

Facebook advertising mistakes 5

The final mistake comes down to a lack of patience. People make the mistake of not running a campaign for long enough, especially when targeting cold traffic.

The rule of thumb that we use here at the agency is to run a campaign to at least 100 clicks or spend double the amount you’d be willing to pay for an opt-in.

The Fix

Have more patience. Particularly if you have campaigns on low daily budgets like £5 and £10 you’ll need to wait up to a week before you can gather any statically significant data to make proper informed decisions.


All of the mistakes mentioned above are easy to make but have very simple fixes.

To recap then the most common Facebook advertising mistakes are:

  • Mistake 1 – Not using the full Ads Manager
  • Mistake 2 – Not choosing the right advertising objective
  • Mistake 1 – Not refining your audience targeting enough
  • Mistake 4 – Not installing conversion tracking
  • Mistake 5 – Not enough patience

By making these mistakes you waste not only your time but your hard earned money. Bookmark this article and revisit it every time you create a new Facebook ad campaign to make sure you aren’t making any simple mistakes that could ruin your chances of success.

Have you made any of these mistakes?

Leave a comment below or tweet me @charlielawrance.

About Charlie Lawrance

Charlie Lawrance is the Founder and CEO of Gecko Squared, a digital marketing agency that specialises in Facebook advertising. His clients include eCommerce companies, professional service businesses and best-selling authors. Stay in touch by liking his Facebook Page (Charlie Lawrance).

2 Responses to Top 5 Facebook advertising mistakes and how to fix them

  1. I dont understand this quote:

    ” Don’t install the conversion code on the landing page people visit to take your desired action, such as the landing page for an ebook giveaway. Make sure you install the conversion code on the thank you or confirmation page that someone sees after they opt-in for example.”

    do you mean to unstall the pixel only on the thank-you page and not in the optin page ?! how can i know how many people cliked on the optin page ?

    thanks for your answer,

    • Hi Dany,

      You install the base pixel on all pages on your website, but you only add the conversion event to the end of the base pixel on the confirmation page that someone gets redirected to when they take an action you want to track.

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