3 Mistakes you’re making with your Facebook ads

Guest post from Colm Baker of Whabang.ie

In the social media world, it’s easy to become downbeat and disheartened because we are constantly bombarded with the highlights of people’s lives. Typically, it’s only the best bits, the trips abroad, the new jobs, the moments of success that people share and it certainly does not reflect life’s realities. When you become involved in online business communities, particularly the online marketing sphere, this effect is magnified exponentially. Everyone displays their “unparalleled expertise”, everyone’s a “social media expert”, everyone’s an “online marketing guru” but yet few people show evidence or offer real help to businesses without an expensive subscription!

I’m no expert, but I have immersed myself in Facebook advertising for the last couple of years. As part of this, I have offered free Facebook Advertising reviews to many business owners. By doing so, I get to dive inside their Facebook advertising campaigns, analyse their methods, strategies and see what’s working well, and what’s costing them time and money. It seems that regardless of the budget, the business model or the experience, most business owners are making the same few mistakes that are costing them a small fortune.

In this post, I will discuss the 3 most common mistakes that business owners are making with Facebook Ads.

1 – A lack of retargeting strategies

Have you ever noticed that after you have been browsing an online shop, maybe viewing a pair of new shoes, that these shoes seem to follow you all over the internet after you’ve left the company’s website? The shoes appear on news websites, blog articles, in your Facebook feed, on your Instagram and pretty much everywhere you go. Well, that’s what retargeting is!

Retargeting is the most cost-effective strategy available to Facebook advertisers. It has consistently been shown to lower advertising costs, and improve the performance of advertising campaigns. Retargeting is a targeting tactic that involves specifically advertising directly to people who have previously engaged with your brand i.e. a warm audience. This is opposed to your standard “cold audience” targeting which focuses on advertising to people who you think may be interested in your brand due to their respective demographics, interests and/or behaviours. Typically retargeting involves advertising directly and specifically to website visitors, email subscribers, leads, and previous customers. These people have engaged with your brand, have shown an interest in your products and services, and therefore, it obviously makes sense to advertise them.

Most people don’t purchase from companies on their first encounter. In fact, it has been shown to typically take seven encounters with a brand before someone makes a purchase. So, retargeting doesn’t just make sense, it’s imperative to your advertising success. Facebook’s advancements mean that we don’t even need a website to start retargeting interested parties. Facebook allows us to retarget our Page followers, people who have viewed our videos, who have messaged our page, and even people who have engaged with our posts and adverts.


Still not sold? Check out a real life case study from one of my client’s accounts.

2 – No strategy to convert your target audience into customers

Most businesses, even the big spenders, often have gaping holes in their Facebook advertising strategy. The biggest mistake you can make, from a strategic point of view, is to just sell, sell, sell. Let’s remember that it typically takes seven interactions to convert a person into a customer. If the majority of your adverts are sales pitches people will end up spamming your content before they reach the purchasing phase. Yes, you will get some sales from people who have a pre-existing intent to buy or who have a burning need for your product. However, the sales will be few and far between and what’s worse is that you will alienate potential customers.

Sell, sell, sell is a short-term strategy. All effective strategies involve the same core phases. You need to build an audience, generate leads, convert customers and optimise the cycle. The link between the phases is providing value to your audience. This can be done in the form of content and engagement. The key to success is the structure of the content that you provide.

3 – FOMO targeting

You’ve probably heard of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)

FOMO is “a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent”. Although you might have heard of FOMO when it comes to being unable to attend a party with friends or a concert, most business owners suffer from a specific type of FOMO – a fear of missing out on sales.

Business owners think everyone should buy their amazing product or service. Their cold audience targeting on the Facebook advertising platform is often far too generalised. Usually when I ask business owners why is your targeting so broad the response is that “some of them might buy and I don’t want to miss out on them…….”.

This kind of approach is a waste of your advertising budget. You can connect with a specific audience much better because you can align your tone, personality, voice, copy and content to engage their interest. With FOMO targeting, you can’t specifically address your audience and must revert to a generalised message.

FOMO Targeting: Buy the new BMW. It’s the best performing car we have ever built! Buy now for €80,000.

Specific Targeting (male, entrepreneurs aged 30-35): Do you crave the feeling of success? Do you want to be admired? Do you have the ambition to be the greatest? The new BMW can put you in the driving seat to achieve all that you desire. You will have the power to drive your career to new heights. Once you reach thirty, it’s time to start stamping your authority on this world. You are a wolf. You are a lion. It’s time to drive like one. You are BMW. You need BMW.

See what I mean?

The FOMO message is product focused and general because it has to be. The specific targeting allows us to advertise as if we are speaking directly to one person and pinpoint their needs, wants and desires. We talk about ambition, success, admiration and attaining greatness. We personalise the car and show that it can be the difference that they desire. It becomes much more than a car.

These are the three most common and costly mistakes that I see most businesses make with Facebook ads. Don’t fall into the traps. You need to remain focused, disciplined and persist with your strategy. So, what’s next? Here’s three things you should do next…

  1. Get the Facebook Pixel installed on your website to allow you to start retargeting.
  2. Design your Facebook advertising strategy
  3. Pinpoint your ideal customer

If you need help or want to learn more about Facebook Advertising join my private group where I give daily tips, tricks and tactics.

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