8 Biggest Facebook Ads Mistakes (And What To Do Instead)

With over 91% of Aussies on Facebook, it’s pretty clear that the platform is a must-have for businesses.

But while Facebook can be a leader in sales for brands, there are so many more drawbacks than success storeys. Many companies try their hand at Facebook advertising, and pull the plug quickly because it just doesn’t work.

And in fact, 61% of all SMBs say their ad campaign doesn’t work out well.

First off, the good news here. If you’re advertising on the world’s largest social media site, creating a mean return on ad spending (ROAS) is ENTIRELY possible.

It’s not that easy though as clicking “Boost Update” and seeing the revenue roll in. You have to be careful and use Facebook’s power for your company if you want to.

In this post, we’re dishing the dirt on the most common Facebook Ad mistakes businesses make. Then, we’ll give the inside scoop on what you can do instead to get more bang for your marketing buck.

Let’s get started.

Facebook Ads Mistake #1: Pulling the plug too soon

Like any digital marketing campaign, it takes time to create and optimize a Facebook Ads campaign. But more often than not, advertisers fall into the trap of wanting instant gratification.

We do. We do. You’ve put in important marketing budget. You want to push the traffic and raise awareness about the brand. You want outcomes. You are continuously checking to see if you pull in more clicks and revenue from your ad. And if after a few hours or days it doesn’t deliver, then it’s tempting to pull the plug and call it a day.

However, the truth is that optimising your campaign takes time — even if you’ve already jumped in the hot seat before.

In fact, Facebook itself has said that it takes time for the platform to rack up enough data to optimise your campaign for results. That doesn’t even take into account the optimisation and testing you can do on your own, to make sure the creative, audience targeting and timing is all on point.

What to do instead

Wait. It generally takes Facebook at least 24-72 hours to optimise your campaign. Just take a look at this graph below, which shows when cost per click and click-through rates peak:

Then, and only then, can you start to draw conclusions around how your campaign is performing. If it’s still not working, it might be worth tweaking your ad copy, creative or audience targeting. Then, wait another 24-48 hours before drawing conclusions.

The same holds true once a campaign is complete. If you haven’t got the results you wanted, that doesn’t mean you should all chuck in the towel on Facebook Ads. Tweak, refine, and retry. It can take up to three months, from our experience, before your campaigns begin to hit the sweet spot when it comes to ROAS.

Facebook Ads Mistake #2: Too many ads or ad types, too little budget

It’s easy to get excited with Facebook Ads and spread yourself too thin. With all the audience targeting options out there, many advertisers get carried away. Simply put: they run too many campaigns, with too many ads or ad types.

And in most cases these ads all have little budget behind them — which means it’s hard to optimise existing campaigns, or scale up when something is working.

At the end of the day, this leads to inefficient ad spend, lacklustre results, and a pretty dismal ROAS.

What to do instead
Consolidate your ads into larger sets with larger budgets. While the idea of trying to hit a niche target audience with a highly personalised message is good in theory, it doesn’t play out quite as well in practice.

Try to cut the ads within each package to 2-3 ad sets of 3-6 ad forms. Focus on creating people targeting based on a few customers and merge all lookalikes into one package. You thus feed enough data into Facebook to maximise your cost per press, cost per purchase, and eventually get better returns.

If you do want to test different creatives or messaging, or target different people don’t create separate campaigns. Use Facebook’s handy split testing tool to run A/B tests and see what works.

Facebook Ads Mistake #3: Focusing only on cost

It’s easy for advertisers (or their CFO) to look at Facebook Ads from the perspective of cost. A lot of marketers limit themselves by thinking about the budget required to run an ad campaign.

There are two potential mistakes that can come a cost-focused mentality:

  1. You can’t get the results you want
  2. You get good results, but can’t scale up

In the first case, you don’t have enough investment behind your campaigns. As we mentioned earlier, optimising campaigns takes time. You have to be in it for the long game. If you sporadically boost a post by $20 every now and then, you won’t see results. It’s as simple as that.

At the same time, if you DO get good returns, focusing on cost means you can’t scale up. You’re capping your revenue potential — and you might be investing more on other platforms that aren’t giving you the same kind of gains.

What to do instead
Focus on returns. Instead of looking on how much it costs your business, focus on how much it’s bringing in.

To fully take advantage of Facebook Ads’ optimisation algorithm, you need to have at least 50 conversions in one ad set per week.

This means if your mission objective is to have a ROAS of $6 per lead, you need to have a budget of at least $45 per day per ad set. Any less than that, and your campaign won’t be able to work the way YOU want it to.

Facebook Ads Mistake #4: Setting and forgetting campaigns

One of the biggest mistakes brands make is thinking that Facebook Ads run in the background and require no optimisation. It’s easy to set up your account, let it run for a few weeks, and forget about it — especially when you have a lot on your plate.

But if you’re using Facebook Ads, you should focus on doing it right. Simply setting and forgetting ads is a prime recipe for wasted time and budget.

What to do instead
Check in on your Facebook Ads Manager every day. Look at the key performance metrics, including:

  • Ad frequency
  • Relevance score
  • Conversion rate (both on Facebook and your website)
  • Clicks and cost per click
  • Leads generated

If after a few days your ad isn’t working, tweak and optimise. And, when you see your ad volume climbing, it may be time to turn the creative on and make sure your audience doesn’t get bored of advertising.

It’s not always easy to find the time to check in every day on Facebook, to say the truth. Another option if you don’t have the time is to get a social media marketing firm on board

Facebook Ads Mistake #5: Always focusing on launching new campaigns

Got a new marketing campaign or product? That means creating a new ad campaign on Facebook with a new audience…right?

Not quite actually. See, it’s easy to lose track of what works if you’re still concentrating on developing new campaigns. You have to give Facebook the necessary time to optimise the advertisement every time you create a new ad. And you have to tweak it differently — even though you know what works ALREADY. It’s all down the drain of time and sales.

At the same time, this sets you up to fall into one of the other common mistakes: too many ads. Every time you create a new campaign, you’re adding more confusion into the mix. Plus, it’s much harder to go back and pinpoint what worked for the future.

What to do instead

Rather than thinking of Facebook Ads from a publisher mindset where the focus is on publishing new content on a regular basis, think of it more from a Google Ads mindset.

Put money into a few ad sets in a few campaigns, and focus on optimising your greatest hits. Adjust the creative and the copy as needed, and let it run. Some of the best Facebook Ads campaigns are ones that have been running for months, or even YEARS.

Facebook Ads Mistake #6: Not making the most of features

The beauty of Facebook is that it’s PACKED with features. These features are a treasure trove. You can target people at different times of day, play with placements, target lookalike audiences, use a video ad…and the list goes on, and on, and on. In fact, Facebook is one of THE most comprehensive advertising platforms out there

However, it’s easy to get hit with the paradox of choice here. Unless you understand the value of the different features, or test them, it can quickly get overwhelming.

What to do instead

Ad Placements

It’s not all the sponsorship of a post on the newsfeed on Facebook. You can position your ad on your desktop on the right-hand side, post an ad on Instagram and slot in an in-stream video. Think of your campaign’s end target, and the ad placement that will help you achieve that target.

For example, if you’re a plumber, Instagram ads probably won’t work as effectively as a sponsored post. But if you’re a cafe, you’re missing out on an opportunity to convert your audience if you’re not on Instagram.

Ad Frequency Metrics

Nobody wants to see the same ad over and over again. Facebook’s Ad Frequency metric shows you how many times an audience has seen your ad. The higher it is, the higher the chance that your audience gets annoyed with your ad. But at the same time, if they only see it once, they might just forget and move on.

Facebook Ads Mistake #7: Focusing on vanity metrics

It’s nice to see your impressions shoot up, or your follower numbers grow. But at the end of the day, while these are important, there’s one goal that all businesses have.


Many advertisers (and agencies) get caught up in looking at vanity metrics, such as the number of followers a facebook page has or the number of likes on a post. However, if your ads aren’t bringing in revenue, you’re not getting the most out of Facebook Ads.

What to do instead
Track conversions and return on ad spend.

The first step to do this is to install Facebook Pixel on your website. This allows you to look at your audience’s behaviour once they’ve clicked on your ad from Facebook. At the same time, remember to add the conversion tracking code. You’ll get a much more holistic view of your campaign performance, and understand the TRUE value of your ads.

Facebook Ads Mistake #8: Overlooking the buyer journey

While Facebook Ads are housed on Facebook, this doesn’t mean that your audience’s journey stops there. Even if your Facebook Ad is a star performer, you won’t get the returns you deserve if your landing page is dragging it down.

Most ads have a call to action that will eventually lead Facebook users off the social media platform — and on to your website. Once they’re here, it’s up to you to engineer the perfect journey that drives them to convert.

What to do instead
Map out the entire customer journey for your audience, and design your landing page accordingly to funnel them further along it. On top of this, remember to match your landing page to your ad type.

This is a great example of a Facebook ad that considers the buyer journey, and optimises the Facebook Ad AND the landing page for said journey.

Lastly, don’t forget to keep mobile in mind when designing your landing page. Facebook earns more than 80% of revenue from mobile advertising. If your landing page is optimised for desktop, or delivers a poor mobile experience, your ROAS is going to suffer. A lot.

Putting it all together
Facebook advertising can deliver insane returns. But it requires planning, time and optimisation. By avoiding these mistakes and taking advantage of Facebook’s awesome suite of advertising features, you’ll be well on your way to maximising your ROAS.

We know navigating the world of Facebook Ads can be tough. That’s why we’re here: to help you supercharge your ad campaigns and boost your revenue into the stratosphere.

If you’re able to get more out of Facebook, the first move is to assert the $2,000 worth of your FREE digital audit and game plan. We’ll look at your social media ads, tell you what works and find any errors. Then we’ll offer a six-month strategy to increase the sales from the largest social media network in the world.

8 Biggest Facebook Ads Mistakes (And What To Do Instead)