6 Costly Facebook Ad Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Want better results from your Facebook ad campaigns? Are you making one of these six mistakes that could reduce your Facebook ad results? In this article, you’ll discover six Facebook advertising mistakes and how to fix them.

Want better results from your Facebook ad campaigns? Are you making one of these six mistakes that could reduce your Facebook ad results?

In this article, you’ll discover six Facebook advertising mistakes and how to fix them.

#1: Mistake: Facebook Ads Aren’t Aligned With a Funnel

The biggest mistake that Facebook advertisers make on the platform is they launch ad campaigns without a strategy. This usually happens because there’s no barrier to entry—anyone with a Facebook ad account can launch a campaign in a few guided steps.

However, without a properly developed Facebook ad strategy based on your marketing assets, you can waste money implementing campaigns that aren’t structured to deliver the best results in the fastest time.

You need a plan of action that when implemented correctly delivers your desired result. Develop a Facebook advertising strategy that moves someone from being a stranger to becoming a paying customer through a series of ad campaigns otherwise known as a Facebook ad funnel.

There are three stages to a successful Facebook ad funnel: awareness, level 1 remarketing (also known as engagement remarketing), and level 2 remarketing (also called website remarketing).


At the top of the ad funnel is the awareness stage. Here, the goal is to generate awareness for your business. In doing so, you’re also building recognition in the Facebook news feed, which is important later in the funnel and for developing credibility and authority for your business.

At this stage, position educational or entertaining content-based ads to warm up your cold audiences. Video content works extremely well, allowing you to pull those engaged video viewers into a new video custom audience and move them to the next stage in the ad funnel.

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Engagement Remarketing

The second stage is engagement remarketing. The goal is to build consideration of your products or services in the minds of your target audience. You’re driving people from Facebook or Instagram to your website to find out more and purchase.

The best way to do this is through some kind of promotion such as a discount for eCommerce or a trial/complimentary offer if you’re a software or service-based business.

At this stage, target the video custom audiences of people who previously engaged with your video content from the awareness stage.

Website Remarketing

The third stage is website remarketing. The goal here is to drive sales and leads by engaging people who have visited your website. By targeting people who have already browsed your products or services, you’ll see much higher engagement and conversion rates from your ad campaigns.

At this stage, you want to reiterate the offer you made during the engagement remarketing stage, but this time, add social proof such as testimonials or create urgency in the form of reminder ads like the one shown below.

#2: Mistake: Running Facebook Ad Campaigns With a “Set It and Forget It” Mindset

The second biggest mistake that I see advertisers make (other than not having a strategy in the first place) is not managing campaigns after they’ve gone live.

If you set up a campaign and let it run on its own, it will decrease in effectiveness over time due to what’s known as Facebook ad fatigue. Ad fatigue is an issue that will affect even the most successful Facebook ad campaigns.

It occurs when your campaign frequency gets too high. Your target audiences see the same ads repeatedly and they become less responsive. This results in a decrease in your return on ad spend (ROAS), generating less revenue due to a higher cost per acquisition.

The key to developing sustainable results from Facebook advertising is to analyze your campaigns on an ongoing basis.

First, look at your ROAS to identify which campaigns are below your minimum acceptable return. Then, at the ad level of those low ROAS campaigns, look at what I call the CRFC metrics: cost per result, relevance (which is now three new metrics—quality ranking, conversion ranking, and landing page ranking), frequency, and CPM.

Based on the findings of your analysis, you then make adjustments to different elements of your campaign such as ad creative, ad copy, your campaign objective, your offer, and your audience targeting.

With the two biggest mistakes covered, the following mistakes are tactical ones, meaning they relate to a specific feature or ad type you should be using to deliver better results.

#3: Mistake: Underutilizing Facebook Remarketing Ads

If you have website remarketing audiences but aren’t running reminder or testimonial ads to them, you’re leaving money on the table.

Reminder Ads

The always-on, always-connected nature of social media means that attention spans are decreasing as people get distracted easier. So reminder-based ad campaigns are a great way to re-engage people who have visited your website and bring them back to finish a particular action such as a purchase or signup.

The goal is simply to remind the people in your website custom audience that they’ve looked at a certain product or service on your website and that the offer they received at the engagement remarketing stage or saw on your website is still available.

The key to success with this type of website remarketing campaign comes down to the audience. You want to use a small audience duration in your website custom audience because that contains the most relevant and responsive people.

I suggest using a 3-day duration and the engagement condition of All Website Visitors, excluding purchases. This is the audience duration and engagement condition that we’ve found to be most effective.

Pro Tip: For this to work and to avoid ad fatigue, you need to have at least 1,500 people in your audience, which means an average of 500 people per day visiting your website.

If you have fewer than 500 website visitors per day, you want to use a longer website custom audience duration of up to 10 days. If you still don’t have 1,500 people in your audience for a 10-day audience duration, increase the duration to 30 days and use the Conversions objective as opposed to the Reach objective.

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Testimonial Ads

If you aren’t using customer reviews or testimonials in your ads, you’re not taking advantage of one of the highest-converting ad types.

Testimonials work best at the website remarketing stage because your website visitors are already in the buying decision process. When you use testimonials directly in your ad copy, as in the example below, you create social proof that builds the confidence and trust that your target audiences need to convert into new customers.

You want to position a single testimonial at the start of your ad and follow it with a reminder of an offer for your product or service that’s relevant to the pages of your website they’ve visited. Also add in any other social proof to your ad copy such as your score from review aggregator sites like Trustpilot and Feefo.

Pro Tip: If you have video testimonials, they can also be extremely effective. When using them, don’t repeat the testimonial in the ad copy. Simply reiterate the offer and provide any additional social proof.

#4: Mistake: Running Facebook Ads With Truncated Descriptions

One of the most common Facebook ad mistakes that people make is that their news feed link description or their carousel card description is too long and therefore it gets cut off by Facebook. This results in incomplete sentences that your target audience can’t properly understand, reducing the impact of your ad and making it look less professional.

The main reason this happens is that you don’t specifically edit your news feed link description or carousel card because it’s automatically pulled from the link destination you set when creating your ad.

The fix here is super-simple: Purposefully write your news feed link descriptions and carousel card headline and descriptions, and keep them short so they don’t get cut off. The best way to determine whether they’ll get cut off is to use the mobile news feed preview of the ad to see how it’s displayed.

#5: Mistake: Using Poorly Matched Facebook Lookalike Audiences

Mistake #5 is not using lookalike audiences or using the wrong lookalike audiences.

If you aren’t using lookalike audiences, you should be. They’re the most advanced audience type on Facebook. They allow you to find new potential customers similar to a source audience that you control such as a customer list, website traffic, or other engaged audiences.

If you’re already using lookalike audiences, you might be using the wrong ones. It’s easy to get confused when building lookalikes because you can build them from any of 10 custom audiences.

You want to use the highest-quality source audience first. Then follow the source audience selection process outlined below to discover which lookalike audience you can create first to deliver the best results in the fastest time.

Your customers are your most valuable lookalike source audience. So start with either pixeled purchase event actions using a website custom audience or your customer database via a customer file custom audience.

Pro Tip: When creating lookalike audiences from customers, you ideally want at least 1,000 people in your source audience.

If you don’t have enough people, move one step down the customer value matrix and use your website traffic, then page engagers, video viewers, and finally page likes. Keep repeating this process until you find the lookalike source audience option that fits the existing audiences you have in your business.

For a full step-by-step walkthrough of the source audience selection process, click here.

#6: Mistake: Ignoring Advanced Facebook Pixel Settings

Setting up and installing your Facebook pixel is one of the most important actions you take before you launch any ad campaigns. Facebook provides excellent resources for installing and setting up your events based on the platform on which your website is built; however, they don’t have detailed instructions on the advanced settings.

This final Facebook ad mistake, having the wrong pixel settings, is a small one but it can have a big impact. Two features could be set up wrong: your cookie type and advanced matching.

First, let’s cover cookie settings. With browsers like Google Chrome removing third-party cookies later this year and competitors like Safari to follow suit, it’s even more important that your pixel cookie settings are first-party, not third-party.

To check this setting and change it if it’s set to third-party, navigate to your Events Manager and from the drop-down icon list, select Settings.

The first setting is cookie usage. If it’s set to third-party, change it to first-party. By doing this, your pixel will be implemented on your website and read by browsers as main code, not third-party, so it won’t be excluded from your site.

Also check that Automatic Advanced Matching is turned on. This is the second part of this pixel settings mistake.

Without Automatic Advanced Matching on, you won’t be tracking additional pixel data known as microdata, and will therefore see a lower attribution and match rate for event actions and website custom audience sizes. Turning on Automatic Advanced Matching will improve your match rate and attribution of actions to your ad campaigns.


With more than 7 million advertisers, the demand for Facebook advertising has never been higher. To best serve an increasingly wider range of businesses using the ad platform, Facebook continues to make changes and introduce new features, which add to its complexity.

More objectives, audiences, and pixel features than ever before means that advertisers are being pushed off the platform because of mistakes that reduce campaign effectiveness and ultimately lead to the conclusion that Facebook ads don’t work for their business.

When you avoid the mistakes outlined above, Facebook advertising has the potential to transform your business, adding new customers and increasing revenue exponentially. These mistakes range from broad overarching mistakes like no strategy or campaign management to specific tactical mistakes such as not using certain ad types, the highest-quality lookalike audiences, or the correct advanced pixel settings.

What do you think? Are you making any of these Facebook ad mistakes? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

More articles on Facebook ads:

Why You Should Be Buying Facebook Ads Now

Take advantage of lower costs and seize market share. Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now! Will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy Image credit: NurPhoto | Getty Images Nick Wolny Guest Writer Director of Content, Super Connector Media March 13, 2020 6 min read Opinions…

Nick Wolny

Guest Writer

Director of Content, Super Connector Media

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

We’re currently in an unusual landscape for social media ads: Events are being cancelled or postponed worldwide, companies have re-assessed their marketing budgets, and in the United States two billionaire politicians just ended their presidential campaigns (But not before together spending over $780 million on ads).

When advertising on Facebook, a more crowded queue of ads means less people see each ad, and our advertising dollars don’t stretch as far. Retailers and e-commerce advertisers know this well, as CPMs (“Cost per mille”, or the cost to reach 1,000 users) skyrocket during the holiday selling season.

That’s why a drop in demand can be good for brand visibility. Your advertising spend is likely to reach more users for the same price, and as businesses axe promotion to recoup cash, there is less competition for ad units, leaving you an opportunity to step in and capture a larger slice of market share.

Cooped up at home, consumers are spending more time at home and on their devices. Social media browsing is likely on the rise, and when it comes to time on platform, Facebook remains at the top of the mountain.

Here are 3 ways to adjust or step up your Facebook advertising as others pull back.

Related: Facebook Ads: The Complete Guide to Getting Started with …

Explore the “Reach” campaign objective.

Nestled in the “Awareness” campaign category is the option to optimize an ad campaign for reach. The campaign isn’t explicitly conversion-driven, but when ad units are less expensive, it’s a good time to widen your net and bring more people in at the top of the funnel.

If you use a video as your creative, a Reach campaign actually can be conversion-driven, because you’ll grow your audience of video viewers (users who watch a video for three seconds or more) and be able to run retargeting campaigns just to those who are interested.

Video viewers are a custom audience in the Facebook Business Manager, and custom audiences are what make Facebook ads so effective (and Facebook so lucrative as a company). These audiences’ behavior has proven that they’re interested, and remarketing to them can help you take some of the guesswork out of your efforts.

Other Facebook custom audiences include:

  • Lookalike audiences. These are the holy grail of custom audiences, in my opinion. These users are new to your business, but based on the 52,000 data points Facebook has, have historically behaved similarly to another audience you identify (users who like your page, for example, or past buyers).
  • Engagements. Users who have reacted with, commented on, or swiped through an ad (if using an image carousel or other multimedia placement) can be retargeted.
  • Website traffic. If users visit your business website and you have installed the Facebook pixel into your header code (there are loads of tutorials on this), you can get back in front of them through retargeting.
  • Email list uploads. You can upload a list of subscribers to Facebook for retargeting purposes. Facebook attempts to match email addresses to users. The success rate is wide here, ranging from 40 to 80%, but may be a smart strategy for you.

Use reach campaigns to maximize the number of users reached per dollar and take the time now to build up your custom audiences.

Related: Here’s How to Master Facebook Advertising and Why You Must

Test out new ads or variations in copy.

Can you beat your control? There’s no better time to try than now.

A/B testing is a critical step in advertising optimization. As David Ogilvy once said, “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent 80 cents out of your dollar.”

For all you know, you could be getting leads for half the price with better copy or a more engaging image or video. But until you test it, you’ll never know whether your control really is the absolute best.

Use this less competitive time to experiment with different headline copy, images, videos, and even new ad formats, such as Stories ad placements or Canvas ad formats.

Use slower times to crank out content

According to Demand Metric, 60 percent of consumers are inspired to seek out a product or service after consuming content about it.

If you’re wearing many hats in your business, though, it can be a challenge to stay consistent and continually produce new posts and articles for your audience.

Take advantage of quieter times by hunkering down and creating more “evergreen” content that applies to your business. Evergreen material can be used over and over again, and the benefits of content marketing build over time like a flywheel.

Projects to consider tackling could include

  • Cornerstone content. Also known as pillar content, this content is core to your business website, and is indicated as such when you publish, allowing search engines to more accurately crawl and recommend you. Take the time to create this detailed and informative content, then consider running ads to it to wow your audience.
  • A video series. It’s no secret that video marketing is on the rise. Video has multiple components though, from scripting to lighting to post-production. Consider batching some video production during a slow time, then slice out snippets to use for future advertising creative and content marketing.
  • More customization. Customization is again the hottest marketing trend of the year. Could you add in a retargeting ad after someone buys your product that just says, “Thank you?” Or give a shoutout to a local sports team or school that recently had a big achievement? Get specific and creative in your ads to ramp up brand affinity.

Advertising slots are precious real estate for building market share. Take advantage of newly freed-up inventory and you’ll develop a powerful asset for future revenue and business.

Related: A Small-Business Guide to Facebook Advertising (Infographic)