Facebook ads seem like a sure-fire way to attract a host of new leads and give your sales figures a boost. Yet too many businesses sink hard-earned revenue into their advertising campaigns, only to find that their efforts have been wasted.
This can be tremendously disheartening, and even baffling in some cases. After all, your concept is great and your ads have been well-funded, carefully crafted, and you’re all over your retargeting strategy.
If this sounds familiar — all is not lost — and you may still be able to salvage your ad campaign if you pivot fast. Turn the ads off, regroup, and come back smarter.
The following mistakes are easy to make, but can seriously impact the success of your marketing. Find out if any of these apply to you, and what you can do to get the most out of your Facebook ads.
Recommended reading: Social Media Marketing 101 for Small Businesses
1. Poor Targeting & Segmentation
One of the first pitfalls facing many marketers on Facebook is that their target market is poorly defined. It may be ineffectively segmented, too diverse, or simply too large.
This makes it far more difficult to create content that really speaks to the individual, meaning that it’s difficult to sell the value of your online business to specific users.
Narrow down your audience by investigating which demographics are most likely to engage with your brand. From there, you can effectively segment your audience, targeting each sub-group with expertly tailored ad content, based on buyer personas you construct from your customer data.
While narrowing your field does mean you will lose some of your audience, the ones you retain will be those whom you have the greatest chance of converting.
Furthermore, the ability to focus your efforts means that you can create highly relevant, useful content, centered on the needs of the demographics that remain. This enables you to manage resources more efficiently, and increase the likelihood of conversion once customers reach your website.
Targeting also helps you pick up on any existing conversations, retarget cart abandoners, and just generally speak more directly to your customer community, all of which are vital to tools in the growth of your online business.
2. Not Using Split Testing
Split testing — also sometimes called an A/B test — could not be more important when it comes to effective Facebook advertising! Split testing means setting up two almost-identical ads, but changing one variable in the campaign to understand which ad has the most impact.
This could be:
- Changing the headline copy
- Using a different image
- Altering your targeting
- Slightly changing your landing page copy
The ultimate purpose of split testing is to isolate one variable and pinpoint exactly how much positive impact it has on your campaign goals, so you can replicate the results.
The beauty of split testing is that it enables you to run multiple variants of the same ad simultaneously, providing you with valuable comparison data that can inform your future design decisions.
Accurately measuring the success of any individual ad component is difficult, as there are so many factors that can influence traffic and engagement at any given time.
Make sure that you don’t vary your ads too much and that you keep your tests as clear as possible. Vary the copy, then the header image, then the CTA — one at a time. If you change too many variables at once, you have no way of knowing which change was responsible for the campaign outcome.
Split testing is also a great way to evaluate consumer leanings, and even to compare habits and preferences between marketing channels.
Facebook includes a built-in split testing feature, to make optimizing your content as straightforward as possible, so it is definitely worth taking the time to experiment with ways to improve your content.
3. Not Telling a Story
Brand narratives sell, and using your ads to tell a story is a brilliant way to inspire your audience and make them feel invested in your brand.
In a study conducted by Adaptly, it was found that audiences exposed to a sequenced ad campaign yielded:
Online commerce is a ferociously competitive business and it’s no longer enough to roll out hackneyed phrasing and empty sales copy, nor to do this through advertising alone. Millennial buyers especially want authenticity, and you must make your online business the reality that they seek.
This makes it of the highest importance that you have a website that allows you to write your story clearly and in as many ways as possible. There is nothing worse than going from a great Facebook ad to a poorly designed website.
Remember, ads do not only need to sell a particular product or service; they are selling your brand as a whole. Use the space to tell your audience a bit about who you are and what you do. By revealing the personality, values, and aspirations behind your brand, you invite your audience to become part of the story by engaging directly with your narrative.
4. Using Ads Without Exploring Other Channels
Sometimes the problem isn’t the ads themselves, but simply the fact that your efforts could be better spent elsewhere. After all, even the greatest Facebook ad campaign will get you nowhere if the bulk of your target audience is on Twitter.
Take the time to conduct research into where, when, and how your audience consumes content. You may find that Facebook is not the best channel for your content.
Once you know where to focus your efforts, you will be able to target your content far more effectively, and secure a greater ROI from your Facebook campaigns.
5. Neglecting Visuals and Video Content
There is significant opportunity for visual marketing when working with Facebook ads. Whether you simply upload product pictures or you boost your ad’s visibility by including a video, the use of visual marketing solutions is incredibly important for defining, adjusting and growing your online business.
Video content accounts for a significant percentage of all web traffic, with more than 50 percent of people claiming to watch online videos every day. This easy-to-consume, on-the-go content can boost engagement.
Tools such as PowToon allow you to create your own animated video content, while other services, such as Canva are great for generating custom infographics to spice up your adverts.
However, you don’t just have to create your own content. There are occasions when it’s right, proper, and just plain business savvy to use content curation. And if you do it right, then you can use it to create viral Facebook content and really get your brand’s name out there.
A picture isn’t always worth a 1000 words, but the right videos and visuals will have a huge impact on ad click-throughs and engagement levels. Go with bold, branded imagery that will stop people in their tracks while they’re busy scrolling down their feed.
Not every ad will reach its full potential, and there will always be factors beyond your control that will influence the success of your marketing endeavors.
Nevertheless, if you take care to avoid the mistakes above, and pay close attention to what works well, and what doesn’t perform as expected, you will soon get to know what your audience is looking for.
Moreover, as time goes on, and you refine the style and content of your advertisements, you will develop a definitive formula and tone for your ad content. Not only will this make it easier to produce effective content in the future, but it will also help you to reaffirm your brand identity, as customers become familiar with your ads and learn to recognize your brand on sight.
Kayleigh Alexandra is a content writer for Micro Startups — a site dedicated to spreading the word about small-scale business. Visit the community for the latest marketing insights from top experts and inspiring entrepreneurial stories. Follow us on Twitter @getmicrostarted.