Are you hurting your own advertising budget in easily-preventable ways? If you’re not paying attention to the pitfalls of Facebook advertising, you might be. Facebook advertising is one of the best ways for you to bring attention to your business. At the moment, Facebook holds more than one in five digital advertising dollars in the…

Are you hurting your own advertising budget in easily-preventable ways?

If you’re not paying attention to the pitfalls of Facebook advertising, you might be.

Facebook advertising is one of the best ways for you to bring attention to your business. At the moment, Facebook holds more than one in five digital advertising dollars in the United States.

It’s a massive platform with great targeting and wide reach. Its dashboard is extensive and easy to use - there’s no reason not to use it. But if you’re not using it effectively, you might be worse off than not using it at all.

Here’s where you might be going wrong, and how you can fix it:

1. Too Broad of an Audience

If your audience is too broad, you’re spending money you shouldn’t have to.

When you serve ads to an audience that’s too broad, you’re making it harder for the people that actually have an interest in what you’re selling to see it. You’re spreading your money too thin — trying to touch way too many users instead of focusing on the ones that are really interested.

The solution for this is pretty simple - narrow down your audience.

Use more specific targeting, perhaps leaning on geographic or interest-based targeting to make your group smaller. “Know your audience” is even more important now than it’s been before.

2. The Wrong Target Audience

You could have up to a 1,000 percent difference in an ad’s cost per click, depending on what audience you’re going after. It’s a massive swing in the money you spend.

If you’re targeting the wrong demographic, you can shoot yourself in the foot twice - by not getting your message to the audience you’re trying to reach, while spending more money to do it. This is a huge problem, but fortunately, the fix isn’t difficult — it’s pretty similar to what you do if your audience is too broad.

Go over your internal statistics and demographics and find out who your customer base is, then target your ads more specifically. Try going more specific with your geographic or interest profiling. The more fine-grained you can get, the more likely you’re actually hitting the audience that you want.

3. The Wrong Budget

Especially if you’re first starting out with Facebook advertising, it can be difficult to figure out how much you should use to set your budget.

If you’re not paying attention to your campaigns, it’s pretty easy to either rapidly use up your budget, or bid too low to actually get your ads seen. In a landscape as competitive as Facebook advertising is today, this is one of the biggest keys to your effectiveness.

The fix for this is simple - cut it back. Start low, then see how it does. Change it by increments, and once you start to see your cost per click get unsustainably high, dial it back.

4. Bad Creative

No matter how good your targeting is, if your ad doesn’t grab attention, it’s not going to do you any good. This usually means visual attention. Facebook has specific parameters about the amount of text you can show in an ad - the infamous 20% rule has caused headaches for advertisers for years now.

You can’t show much text, so what you show has to have a very specific call to action and value proposition, communicated in very few words.

If your ad doesn’t grab people's eyeballs when they’re scrolling through their News Feeds, you’re missing out. One of the most common things that trips up companies which are new to Facebook advertising is ads that look too “advertise-y”. Text and images have to blend together seamlessly.

There are some easy guides that can help you get your ad right if you’re having trouble. If you get your creative right, you’ll see a bump in your performance that will help you make the most of your targeting.

5. Not Excluding Past Converters

This one’s pretty common with new advertisers.

You’ve gotten someone’s attention, and brought them to the point where they want to click on your ad. They went to your site and converted - they downloaded your e-book, joined your mailing list, bought your product. Great.

Now what do you think happens if the same ad campaign follows them around more?

Ad fatigue and decay are real factors that can hurt you - people can get annoyed by seeing the same ad over and over, and you’ll be wasting money on someone that’s already converted.

It’s not relevant. Make sure you drop these people from your targeted audience once they’ve converted. Use Custom Audiences to exclude people who’ve visited a specific web page - one they can only get to by converting.

6. Not Taking Notes

You’ve probably heard the phrase “What gets measured gets managed.”

There’s a lot of truth to that saying. If you’re not tracking how your campaigns go, what you’ve used before, the relative performance of different creative and targeting strategies - what are you doing?

Effective advertising isn’t throwing darts in the dark. It’s a process. Every bit of data you get makes your advertising better - that is, if you’re keeping track of it.

It sounds simple. It is simple. But too many people, especially small businesses, don’t invest the time to do it. Don’t be one of them.

Facebook advertising has plenty of pitfalls to avoid, but if you’re aware, you can skip over all of them and drive traffic to your business. Use these tips to make your Facebook advertising as effective as possible in 2019.

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