Whether you’re in the advertising, digital or media industry (as I am) and running campaigns for clients, or you’re doing your own Facebook advertising; there are 11 common mistakes that can result in such a poor outcome from your campaign that you or your client could be put off advertising on Facebook ever again.
Although the likelihood is you are making most of the 11 following mistakes right now, the good news is it may not be too late to turn your campaign performance around.
Facebook rewards ads that perform well with a higher ad position and a lower cost, so putting these 11 tips into action as soon as you finish reading (or even while you read this if you’re anything like me), can immediately start saving you money and improve your results.
1 – DON’T leave your ads alone
Like babysitting a toddler, leaving your ads unattended could have dire consequences. Since the average Facebook ad reaches its peak Click Through Rate (CTR) in the first 3 days after going live, your campaign’s performance (or typically lack thereof) during this short time could harm the performance of the rest of your campaign.
Okay, so comparing an unattended Facebook ad to the life-threatening possibilities of leaving a toddler alone for 3 days may possibly be overstating the importance here of monitoring your ads. Obviously I take social media a little too seriously (and shouldn’t have children).
However the fact is you or your client will pay more and your ads will rank below other ads if you have a low or declining CTR – so it can turn out to be a costly mistake if you don’t monitor and change your ads during the critical first 3 days after your ad is approved.
This brings us to the 2nd tip:
2 – DO start with multiple ads and images
A best practice approach is to provide at least 4 ads and images to launch your campaign for a simple offer, more is better.
Skip to tips 8 and 9 for how to get the best results from your copy, and tip 10 for picking the highest-converting images (a very important step that’s often overlooked).
3 – DO change and test your ads
So what should you do during those first 3 days? Rotate the images and ad copy. That’s why you need to have a selection of both to choose from.
This is so you can find out which ads get the most traffic for the lowest CPC (cost per click), or gain the most impressions for the lowest CPM (cost per thousand impressions), depending on which one you chose.
I tend to choose CPC by the way, but there is merit in both (an article for another day).
Once you find out which images and copy combinations are your winners, for the remainder of the campaign, those best-performing images and copy should be rotated every 2 to 3 days.
BONUS TIP: Noticing your campaign’s performance is dropping? Even if it’s been more than 3 days, change the ad right now and you should be rewarded with an almost instant increase in CTR. Like Google Adwords, Facebook gives ad position priority to the ads that get the best results. Likewise, an ad in a higher position gets more views and clicks. So although that sounds like an excel error message about a circular reference, make sure to check performance daily and change those under-performing ads without delay. A change can be as simple as changing the title, image or body copy – but don’t change all 3 at once or you won’t know what made the difference.
4 – DO target by gender and age
In smaller countries or states, such as here in New Zealand, targeting is generally best done by gender and age, rather than by interests.
Yes, I know that goes against every article you’ve every read on better Facebook advertising, however with just over 2.2 million users on Facebook here, you can understand why. Sometimes the advice given by overseas social media blogs just doesn’t cut it at a local level.
This is because targeting by interests – although it does make for a more effective campaign – is made more difficult when not enough of the population use Facebook in a way that tells Facebook their interests.
Interest targeting could therefore exclude people who would otherwise be in your target market.
5 – DO test targeting by interest
Interest targeting should always be explored first however, as if it leaves a large enough audience, especially if clicks are more important than awareness, or if the brief or product is relevant only to a small audience, this can have a big impact on your results.
This of course depends on the nature of your offer.
If awareness is more important than clicks, so you’re after lots of impressions, then just targeting by age and gender is recommended for reaching more people.
If clicks are your goal, and I’d argue that they should be if you’re using Facebook advertising effectively, and you’re after quality over quantity – then age, gender and interest targeting can offer more value and better ROI for a vastly lower spend.
To determine what targeting is best for your client and campaign, your Facebook rep (if you have one) isn’t going to help you if you’re doing Marketplace ads instead of Premium ads.
Since Premium Facebook advertising requires a minimum $10,000 USD spend, I’m going to hazard a guess it’s Marketplace ads you’re interested in if you’re reading this article.
In saying that, even if you do have Facebook’s help or are running premium ads, the advice on ad copy, images and targeting is all still highly relevant – if not more so as you’ll need to guide your rep on exactly what you want to achieve.
So start with gender and age targeting, then try adding some interest targeting and keep an eye on how small your target audience becomes in order to make your decision.
6 – DO learn from others (even if it’s what not to do)
It’s well worth a sneak peak at what other brands are doing as even the most experienced Facebook advertiser will find inspiration. Yes, there will also be some perfect examples of what not to do. Pay attention to why you want to click some ads and not others and apply that learning to your images and copy.
BONUS TIP: Don’t just look at the ads being served to you as you browse Facebook. Click this Facebook behind-the-scenes link to see all the ads from all the companies targeting you right now: http://www.facebook.com/ads/adboard
7 – DO know your Facebook ad copy character count and use it wisely
You don’t have much space to grab someone’s attention with a Facebook ad. You have just 25 characters for the title and 90 characters for the body copy of your Facebook ad, including spaces and punctuation.
Don’t waste 3 characters with ‘and’ when you can use an ampersand (that’s one of these: &). Can you skip a full-stop at the end of your ad? Yes
However, unless it’s appropriate for your target audience (and even then I wouldn’t), avoid uncommon abbreviations and definitely don’t resort to ‘txt speak’ – I think just saying that showed my age 😉
BONUS TIP: The Facebook ad manager can be a test in patience. It tends to load slower than dial-up, so use www.fbadwriter.com to count your characters and try out different copy first. Once you’ve got it perfect you can simply copy & paste into the ad manager, or email it to yourself or your agency for later.
8 – DO write Facebook ad titles that get straight to the point
For your title, just state the obvious. This is not the place to be coy. Be bold, keep it simple and tell it like it is.
Running a competition? Try: WIN this (name of prize here). If your prize is a big-name brand, mention it in the title instead, or as well if your character count allows.
When I ran a campaign recently to launch a new page and build a local fanbase for a fashion-focused shopping centre, I told it like it was: ‘WIN Karen Walker’ (the popular brand of jewellery we were offering as the prize), not ‘WIN Jewellery’.
I used the images (more about that in tip 10) to show off the actual Karen Walker necklace and ring that could be won, saving me precious characters to tell my audience how they could win.
Launching a product or company? Name the biggest benefit, the end result, or the major problem it solves up front in the title.
For example: Get 3,000% more fans is a very powerful title that gets straight to the point. The campaign I mentioned above achieved more than a 3,000% increase in fans by the way. More about that in a future article.
Try a title all in CAPITALS as well as one using Title Case. Mix it up with the most attention-grabbing words in capitals – those are the one that answer ‘What’s in it for me?’ for your target audience (eg: Be in to WIN…)
9 – DON’T waste the click. Write Facebook ad body copy that converts
Like your title copy, stay away from ‘soft’ copywriting for your body copy also. Dangle the carrot, be transparent and end with a bang. A simple, successful formula I often use is: If you want A, do B, now.
Start by quickly connecting with your audience. Use your first few words to further pre-qualify your targeting and weed out time-wasters. After all, if they don’t want what you have to offer, you don’t want their click anyway.
There’s no point in hiding the fine print on the next page / website / app they end up landing on. Since you can run CPC (Cost Per Click) advertising on Facebook – meaning your ad appears for free and you only pay when it gets clicked – why not save your dollars for the best leads possible?
Finish your copy by explaining what they need to do – and I think being transparent here is very important, even at ad level, as there’s no point growing a massive audience who will never end up engaging with your content or converting into customers. Then simply ask them to hurry up and do it, now.
For example, a recent ad I ran that achieved over a 2% CTR was: Love fashion? Like (page name) & be in to WIN Karen Walker jewellery worth $500. Enter now
It seems so simple now but that took me ages to write at the time! I used ‘love fashion’ to weed out those in my target audience that were less likely to pay attention to fashion labels (so were less likely to end up being regular shoppers anyway for this fashion-focused retail shopping centre), while connecting instantly with those who would answer ‘yes’ to the question.
I stated what was required (liking the company’s page) then told them that was in it for them ‘WIN Karen Walker jewellery’. I chose a prize that was well-known and mass appeal for my target audience. Then I increased the value ‘worth $500’ and finished with a simple, strong call to action ‘enter now’.
Yes, a well written Facebook ad that gets results actually takes far longer to come up with than you’d think. Isn’t that always the way with short copy? You can take my rather long-winded blog articles as proof for how hard I find it! Yet another reason why you always launch with multiple versions of your copy.
At the end of the day, if you do it right your audience will vote with their clicks on what copy converts the best. The good news for perfectionists like me is that means there’s no need to agonise too much over getting it perfect (a rather tongue-in-cheek comment for those who know me).
10 – DO pick the right image
Given such a restrictive character limit for Facebook ads, your image is the icing on the cake, the first thing to catch your audience’s eye. With that in mind, here are a few tips to boost your campaign’s performance through smart image choices.
As you’ve probably read before, images with people in them convert well. Even better, pick an image where the person is smiling and attractive 😉 Images of women tend to convert better when targeting both men and women – but use a healthy dose of common sense and pick an image that relates to your ad’s message. Cute also works well. Think puppies, kittens and babies. Especially when targeting females (it pains me to be so cliché).
Don’t overlook season and occasion specific images as well if you can relate them to your ad. If it’s on people’s mind anyway, your ad will be more relevant. Whether it’s a warm fire in Winter, a Christmas tree in December or a white rabbit during Easter, think about how you can incorporate current events.
One of my favourite Facebook ad image tips seems so simple but is often overlooked – add copy in your images! Even a simple ‘WIN’ is better than the same image without text.
Another smart idea is to add a border to your image so it stands out from other ads. If your ad is for an offer, try a dashed line (like a coupon you cut out). I’ve found red dashed line borders have converted best for me in the past with offer ads.
Speaking of colour, take note of Facebook’s colours. White, blue, grey. Avoid images in those colours so your image doesn’t blend in to the rest of Facebook. If you can’t avoid an image with those colours, then remember to add a contrasting border.
Be wary of using your logo as the image unless you’re (very well) known and loved. Unless the goal of your campaigns is just ‘eyeballs’ and you’re not fussed about getting clicks and fans, your logo is best saved for your Facebook page, not your ad. Of course if you’re advertising an offer, then the logo of the prize (if you’ve chosen a great prize) can be a great choice.
I guess what my message for you is re: image choice, is even when you’re feeling uninspired with writing multiple variations of copy, it’s always better to overdo the images. The more you have ready to test the better, and keep testing them even after the first 3 days as you may get a surprise on what images turn out to perform best for you.
11 – Land your ads on Facebook
One of the key reasons the CTR (Click through Rate) for Facebook ads is so far below Google Adwords – a 1% CTR on Facebook ads is fantastic, but would be very poor for Google Adwords which should be as least twice this – is because you’re interrupting people. They did not come to Facebook looking for your products and services.
Therefore a simple thing to keep in mind is to cause minimal disruption to your audience’s Facebook experience by keeping them on Facebook to check out your products and services, enter your competition or redeem your offer.
So land your ads on a Facebook app instead of taking them away to your website. Apps, even custom Facebook apps, can be very affordably designed and built for you. For the campaign I ran recently I did the design and used Orchid for the build, but you should have lots of affordable suppliers in your region if you’re not in New Zealand (which is where Orchid is based).
There you have it (or rather, them). 11 very common, yet extremely easy-to-fix mistakes that you can put into action right now to immediately start improving your results. I hope you gained a lot of value from these free tips. In fact, if you did, please share it with your network now.