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In today's article, I present the 9 most common mistakes made by Facebook advertisers that I have increasingly noticed during my daily account management in recent months. Avoiding these mistakes allows advertisers to optimize their campaigns in a targeted manner.

1. selection of the wrong campaign target

A Facebook advertising campaign is made up of three components -

the Campaignthe Ad group and the Advertisement.

At campaign level, we define the respective Campaign goal.

There are basically three different marketing objectives that can be pursued with the help of Facebook advertising campaigns:

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Conversion

As the following illustration shows, each marketing objective has several different characteristics.

Facebook marketing goalsThe marketing objective "consideration" includes the generation of website visitors, the playback of videos and the installation of mobile apps.

A strikingly common mistake is selecting the wrong target.

For example, I often notice that online retailers in particular make the mistake of defining the campaign objective "traffic" with the aim of selling products. Instead, it is more appropriate to choose "conversion" or "catalog sales".

The selection of a suitable campaign objective has a decisive impact on the performance of the advertising campaign. This means that the Facebook algorithm can optimize the campaigns to attract as many visitors as possible by selecting the campaign objective "Traffic".

In order to optimize your own campaigns specifically for sales, you should therefore select the campaign objective "Conversion" or "Catalogue sales".

2. no customization of the ads based on the respective placements

When placing advertising campaigns via the Facebook Ads Manager, ads can be placed on a total of four different platforms. Platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network and Messenger). Each platform also has a large number of different placements, as can be seen below:

FB placements

Each platform has different ad formats. For example, an ad within the Instagram feed differs from an ad in the Facebook newsfeed in terms of how the respective title is displayed.

If an ad is now created for all placements, this ultimately means that part of the ad cannot be displayed optimally and important text passages are not displayed.

The display of advertisements in the Facebook newsfeed also differs  depending on whether these are Mobile newsfeed or Desktop newsfeed are displayed. While in the desktop newsfeed the ad component "Description of the news feed link" is displayed, it does not appear in the mobile newsfeed. This in turn leads to different display options for the ad.

To avoid unwanted display problems with Facebook ads, the ads should be checked using the ad preview. Otherwise, we recommend creating separate ad groups for the respective placements so that the ads are displayed as desired.

3. lack of conversion tracking (Facebook pixel & Facebook SDK)

The implementation of Facebook tracking technology (Facebook Pixel or Facebook SDK) is required so that campaign goals such as conversion, app installations or catalog sales can be recorded by Facebook.

Through the implementation of the Facebook pixel, activities such as the completion of a purchase can be  can be measured on a website. If the campaign goal is to generate app installs, it requires the implementation of the Facebook SDK.

Without the necessary integrations of the two tracking technologies, some campaigns can be  are not activated (e.g. app installations). Likewise, campaigns cannot be optimized without Facebook's performance measurement.

This is because Facebook can only optimize campaigns using Facebook if it receives information about which people have made the desired conversion via which ads.

4.  No use of UTM parameters

With the help of UTM parameters, campaign-specific tracking can be guaranteed in Google Analytics. If you want to promote a post using two different Facebook ads, I use the following UTM parameters:

  1. Display

utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=socialpaid&utm_campaign=fb_missingr&utm_content=first_ad

2. display

utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=socialpaid&utm_campaign=fb_missingr&utm_content=second_display

Google Analytics can now be used to analyze exactly how many visitors were gained via the respective ad. These values can ultimately be used to measure success so that the right measures can be derived.

In campaign audits, I see time and again that the use of UTM parameters is neglected. This ultimately leads to inaccurate evaluations regarding  Campaigns and ads and their intentions compared with the real results. In particular, when looking at the Facebook pixel since the start of the GDPR, which  often only fired after the user has opted in, the use of UTM parameters for analysis via Google Analytics has become even more crucial.

5. neglect of the frequency factor

The frequency factor is an ad KPI that indicates the average interest of the Facebook user in the ad. This value can be found for each ad separately at ad level next to the relevance ratings.

Here you will find a representation of the frequency:

frequency facebook advertisingWhy should the frequency be taken into account?

So that the audience does not feel annoyed by the ads, the constant display of the same ads should be avoided. On the one hand, this can lead to poor campaign performance, but in the worst case it can also cause the target group to dislike the advertised company.

With the  Different time periods should be taken into account when evaluating and assessing the frequency. It may well be that the frequency is appropriate in the "last 7 days" period, but is no longer appropriate in the "last 14 days" or "last 30 days" evaluation.

6. bids too low

In the Optimization and delivery section at ad group level, maximum bids can be set for the respective campaign target.

  maximum bid facebook

By specifying a maximum bid, Facebook receives information about how much a desired action/conversion may cost on the part of the advertiser.

Mentioning the maximum bid entices inexperienced advertisers in particular to set the maximum bid at an unattainably low level.

I recently saw the following setting during an account audit:

Campaign goalConversion (sale of a product)

Maximum bid: 3€

Selling price of the product: 30€

CPM: 12€

The advertiser wanted to spend a maximum of €3 per sale of the €30 product. With a CPM (cost per mille) of €12, €3 of advertising would reach 250 people.

If we now assume an average click-through rate of 3%, 7.5 people would click on the ad. Based on the people who clicked on this ad, on average at least one person would have to purchase the advertised product. This corresponds to an average conversion rate of 13.33% (1:7.5).

These values are certainly not scalable for upper-funnel marketing activities.

This is more possible with lower-funnel marketing activities, such as retargeting campaigns on product detail views.

In addition, if the maximum bid is too low, this limits the possible reach. As the Facebook auction process takes into account not only the relevance of the ad but also the amount of the bids, a bid that is too low means that only a fraction of the auctions can be won.

As a result, too low maximum bids often lead to insufficient impressions, which are necessary to achieve the minimum conversion (25 per week) so that the campaign optimization can also be carried out by Facebook.

7. too imprecise & too specific targeting

To name targeting as probably the most decisive factor for the success of an advertising campaign, I have presented this aspect here, among others.

Probably the most  The most common "mistake" I notice in advertising campaigns is the inaccurate definition of the target group.

First, some demographic adjustments are made (e.g. age, gender), then the ads are displayed. This inaccurate targeting means that the advantages of the sophisticated Targeting-Facebook options not supported. This ultimately leads to a large number of wastage and an undesirably low interaction rate.

The specified target group should therefore be well thought out and optimized using A/B testing.

However, targeting should not be too specific, as this drastically reduces the potential target group to be addressed. I notice this particularly often when placing regional advertising campaigns or when placing advertisements to attract applicants. Often you want a specific placement of the advertising campaign in such a way that the audience to be reached does not even correspond to 1000 people.

It should also be noted that overly specific targeting in turn leads to higher CPMs compared to somewhat looser targeting. Thus, some tax losses should not be considered tragic, as the given CPM is lower than with very specific targeting.

Example: What is too specific targeting?

A company wants to attract applicants and therefore decides to run advertising campaigns.

1. target group: students of business administration, economics or marketing at the University of Aachen:

→ Too specific:  The group of people to be reached does not comprise 1000 people

Targeting2. target group: students at the University of Aachen with an interest in marketing:

→ Target group size is perfect: 15,000 people

error facebook advertising

8. no A/B testing of target groups and advertisements

I am often asked what the perfect target group or ad looks like in order to use Facebook advertising campaigns as effectively as possible. There is no general answer to this question, apart from "It needs to be tested". Every target group and every industry is so different that there are often no correlations to be found. For this reason, it is essential to test as many different target groups and ad formats (image, video) as possible, as well as campaign objectives, in order to be able to evaluate the results and determine the appropriate campaign structure.

Ideas for A/B tests:

1. A/B testing of campaign goals:

Facebook lead ads vs. website conversion leads

2. A/B testing of targeting options:

Friends of people who have a birthday in 0-7 days vs. Friends of people who have a birthday in 7 - 30 days

3. A/B testing of advertising placements:

Facebook feed vs. Instagram feed

9. too aggressive scaling of the Facebook campaign

After the appropriate ad and target group have been determined using A/B testing,  the focus is now naturally on generating more sales and leads. For this reason, the daily budget is regularly increased drastically.

This ultimately leads to  that the good performance of the Facebook campaign goes down the drain! To avoid this failure, the advertising budget for Facebook campaigns should be gradually increased. With reference to this, I have written a separate blog post on the subject of "Scaling Facebook campaigns" wrote. In most cases, Facebook performance is destroyed by a sudden increase in the daily budget. Instead of doubling the daily budget overnight, the advertising budget should be increased in a few small steps so that the Facebook algorithm is not overwhelmed.

Conclusion: The most common mistakes when running Facebook advertising campaigns

In addition to the 9 mistakes mentioned here, there are certainly countless other reasons why your Facebook campaign is not performing optimally. I will of course also list other mistakes that I recognize in the future here!

Tobias Dziuba

My name is Tobias and I am the founder and managing director of the Amazon agency Adsmasters GmbH based in Düsseldorf.

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