The 7 Biggest Facebook Advertising Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them)

Facebook ads are all the rage right now.

Every brand is throwing money at them and every marketer thinks they're a Facebook ads expert.

But here's the harsh reality...

Very few people are actually running effective Facebook ads.

In order for someone to leverage the massive potential of Facebook ads, they need to avoid the biggest mistakes. And that's exactly what we're getting into here.

First, let's talk about how important Facebook ads are...

Facebook advertising is a must for any online advertising campaign!

Facebook isn’t simply a social media site where people keep in touch with long-lost relatives or their old high school friends. It is so much more—at least to the online marketer.

There is A LOT of opportunity. But only for those who can see it.

When it comes to marketing, what do we look for? The best scenario is a large, targeted audience. Facebook provides both of these.

Facebook has over 1.8 billion users. Think about that. That is a quarter of the Earth’s entire population!

If Facebook were a country, it would be the largest country in the world!

Not only that, but Facebook has over 2 million active advertisers. That’s a lot of advertisers. Why? Because Facebook is advertising gold.

Why Facebook Ads are Great

There is no equal to Facebook advertising. The advantages are enormous.

It is possible to reach every niche imaginable. With 1.8 billion users, people are going to be talking about anything and everything. From what they had for breakfast to their new car to where they went on vacation. EVERYTHING.

And in talking about everything, people spend a lot of time on Facebook. The average Facebook user spends nearly an hour every day on Facebook.

That might not sound like a lot. But think about this. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that the only leisure activity that beats Facebook use is watching television. For the record, TV is watched an average of 2.8 hours per day.

With 1.8 billion people using Facebook for close to an hour a day, the opportunities are virtually endless.

Ads also have viral potential, because people can comment on and share ads. And they do! Especially if it’s a memorable ad.

Fortunately, Facebook advertising is easy to use. Being technically savvy is not required. Facebook has it all laid out. It only takes a few mouse clicks and some clever copy to launch an ad.

Plus, it is inexpensive to start a Facebook advertising campaign. For as little as $5, an ad can be up and running and getting massive clicks.

This all sounds really great. But I haven’t even talked about the absolute BEST advantage to Facebook advertising.

Facebook ads are highly targeted!

This means that brands can run ads to the exact customers they want to reach.

Facebook has so much data. And this is data that people voluntarily provide. This data is provided through:

  • User profiles
  • Comments
  • Likes
  • Shares
  • Photos
  • Groups
  • Pages liked
  • Events
  • And more…

This all sounds completely amazing. A Facebook advertising campaign clearly has to be part of any online marketing presence.

But many people make some big mistakes when it comes to Facebook advertising…

The 7 Biggest Facebook Advertising Mistakes

While it's pretty simple to put up a Facebook ad, there are still some ins and outs that marketers must learn. These are all critical aspects of a successful Facebook advertising campaign.

And they are all areas in which so many people make serious mistakes.

These mistakes can cost marketers their campaign. The 7 biggest Facebook advertising mistakes are:

  1. Not Being Compliant
  2. Not Measuring ROI
  3. Ineffective Targeting
  4. Boring Copy
  5. Uninteresting Images
  6. No Funnel Clarity
  7. Not Retargeting

Let’s explore each of these mistakes one-by-one…

1. Not Being Compliant

Compliance simply means following Facebook’s advertising policies.

Yes, Facebook has advertising policies and they are strict. Complying with these policies is important. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Facebook’s advertising policies affect all facets of an advertising campaign, including cost, reach, and even the opportunity to advertise on Facebook.

It is vital to be familiar with Facebooks advertising policies.

It is also important to review them regularly because Facebook’s rules are always changing. When in doubt about an aspect of advertising, look it up on Facebook’s official resource.

Essentially, Facebook’s advertising policies are put into place to protect its users. User experience is the #1 priority for Facebook. And that means user experience must be the #1 priority for any Facebook advertiser.

Facebooks allows users to give feedback on ads. And it is very clear that users don’t like salesy or spammy ads.

For this reason, it is critical to create ads with compliance in mind. But this isn’t as difficult as it might seem. It’s possible to create highly effective ads that are 100% compliant. To do this, there are a few things to avoid…

5 Big Facebook Ad No-Nos

When creating a Facebook ad, there are 5 BIG no-nos. These five things must be avoided at all costs:

1. Hype/Claims

Avoid spreading hype or making outrageous claims, such as:

Lose 30 pounds in one week with this simple tip.”

This claim is unrealistic. Even if a person could lose 30 pounds in a week, it wouldn’t be healthy.

So, be sure to keep any claims both realistic and achievable. If the majority of the people reading the ad can achieve it, then it’s good.

2. “You” and “Your”

Do NOT use the words “you” and “your.” Facebook does not want advertisers speaking directly to people like that. On those rare occasions when “you” and “your” are used, the ad should not relate directly to any personal attributes.

For example, it is NOT okay to say, “This Product is for Busy Moms Like You.”

But this is acceptable, “New Product that Makes It Easier to Clean Your Oven.”

In the first example, “busy moms” are targeted. That’s getting personal. But in the second example, there is no reference to personal attributes. It simply references a person’s oven.

This is a very slippery slope. For this reason, the best approach is to stay away from the words “you” and “your” completely.

3. Calling Out the Negative

Stay away from focusing on the negative to grab people’s attention. An example of a negative ad could be, “Suffering from anxiety?” This puts their problem in a negative light.

Instead, this could be written like this, “Start Your Day on a Positive Note with These Affirmations.”

Again, this is all about the user experience. Framing the problem in a positive way will help uplift people. And it will help an ad get accepted.

4. Spammy or Banned Content

No one wants to see or receive spam. Period. Stay away from anything that seems spammy. This includes using spammy words, such as “guaranteed” or “make money.” It also includes typing words in all CAPITAL letters.

Also, no Facebook ad will be accepted if is promoting banned content. Banned content includes things like gambling, weapons, tobacco and pornography.

This includes any images that are questionable. Avoid images that show before and after images, are overly sexual, are violent or scary, or infringes on anyone’s rights.

5. Money

Facebook does NOT like specific money references or dollar amounts. So, avoid saying things like, “Earn $10,000 a week!” Actually, this one might violate Facebook’s money and false claim policies.

2. Not Measuring ROI

Posting Facebook ads is actually a lot of fun! It’s fun to create the ads and it is even more fun to watch the response. Most people have so much fun, they blindly throw money into their ads, then wait for the leads or sales to roll in.

But remember that these ads are being posted because this is a business.

And successful businesses track return on investment—ROI. The goal is to earn more in sales than is spent on the ads. For this reason, it is absolutely vital that all expenses and revenue be carefully tracked.

Facebook makes this easy to do. When creating an ad, the objective of the ad can be selected. And Facebook Ad Manager makes it possible to track how an ad is performing, based on the chosen objectives.

When ads are carefully tested, it is possible to see when an ad isn’t performing well. These ads can be changed and retested or scrapped and replaced with a better ad. Testing also makes it easy to scale spending and earn more money.

3. Ineffective Targeting

The ability to target advertising to any great degree was never an option with direct marketing. Instead, it required a shotgun approach to ensure the largest number of people were exposed to the ads.

However, targeting is the key to online marketing. Today, it is so easy to narrow down the market to make sure that only the people interested in the niche see the ads.

And Facebook’s targeting capabilities are truly amazing.

Yet, so many marketers don’t use the tools Facebook offers as effectively as they could. The first thing every marketer should do is conduct market research on their chosen niche. It is critical to understand the niche and the target audience.

Facebook offers the ideal tool to conduct this research—Facebook Audience Insights. Audience Insights will provide solid information on the following:

  • Demographics
  • Location and Language
  • Page likes
  • Purchasing activity
  • Facebook usage

And this information can be determined for three different types of audience:

  • Anyone on Facebook
  • The people connected to a specific Facebook page or event
  • People in a Custom Audience

Once this research is done, targeting is so much easier. The next step is to use Facebook’s targeting options, which include:

  • Demographics—Language, Location, Education, Gender, Age, Income, etc.
  • Interests—Business & Industry, Entertainment, Hobbies, Health & Fitness, etc.
  • Behaviors—Digital Activity, Purchasing History, Charitable Donations, etc.
  • Connections—Likes, Friends, Shares, Events

These targeting options are unbelievable. They are based solely on what Facebook users do every time they use Facebook. Every post, every interaction, every Like is fed into Facebook’s data pool.

And this is a true goldmine for interactive marketers.

The key here is to target specific pages and likes.

Here’s one thing a lot of people do wrong. They target “niche celebrities” which is actually not the best targeting strategy. For example, not everyone who likes Tiger Woods is going to be a golf fan. So to target avid golf fans, it would be better to target a golf figure who is less of a general celebrity.

The goal with Facebook targeting is to put the right ad in front of the right people. Facebook allows you to do this on an epic scale.

4. Boring Copy

What is the point of writing ad copy that no one wants to read? That won’t grab someone’s attention?

But this is what happens all the time! Most online marketers have dull copy that people don’t even look at.

The goal of ad copy is to grab people’s attention.

I’ll repeat that…

The goal of ad copy is to grab people’s attention.

This is absolutely critical. If the copy doesn’t grab the target audience’s attention, it’s completely useless. And so is any other copy associated with it, such as the copy on the opt-in page.

The copy must hook the audience and get them to click through. To accomplish this, make the headline stand out! There are three solid ways to do this:

  • Pose a question
  • Start a conversation
  • Use shock and awe

These methods will get people thinking. But more than that, it makes them curious. It excites them enough that they absolutely MUST click so they can see where that headline is going.

What is the answer to the question? Where is this conversation going? How on Earth can that be possible? People need to know! And if they are intrigued enough, they will click.

Here are a couple of additional tips when it comes to writing Facebook ad copy:

  • If using longer copy, the first sentence is the hook that entices people to read further.
  • If you really want to write great copy, find related products and see what kind of benefits they offer. Or look at related book reviews on Amazon. Then tailor the copy based on that.

Again, the one and only goal behind any Facebook ad is to entice people to read and then click the link.

And this goal is made easier when avoiding…

5. Uninteresting Images

Images can do so much good for a Facebook ad—or they can kill it.

Just as with the copy, the image cannot be boring. Instead, it needs to capture the audience’s attention and get them to read and click.

More than that, the image often jumps out at a person before the headline does. The image is what gets people to stop scrolling!

It is possible to test an image while choosing one for the ad. Look at the prospective images. Which ones jump out the most? Which ones are the most attention-grabbing?

Choose the best two of these and create ads with each of them. Then split-test the ads to determine which is the most effective.

And remember, this applies to pictures and thumbnail images for videos. In fact, people love pictures. For eCommerce ads, a picture of the product is ideal.

But be sure to follow Facebook’s policy for image text. The image cannot be more than 20% text. However, as long as it is compliant, the text in the image can act as a headline. Just make sure it functions as such. Make it intriguing. Ask a question. Say something shocking.

Get people to click!

6. No Funnel Clarity

There are two distinct mistakes people make with funnel clarity:

  • Trying to sell to cold traffic
  • Having no clear funnel

Most people fall into one or the other of these categories.

Let’s start with trying to sell to cold traffic…

Face it. People won’t buy a product if they see a mediocre ad. This is especially true if it’s their first exposure to a brand.

Selling immediately to cold traffic is like proposing to someone you see in a coffee shop. It doesn’t work.

The key is to warm people up first. Generate leads. Build an email list. Warm them up before trying to sell them. And for this to be accomplished, be sure to guide prospects in the right direction. Another cool thing about Facebook is that much of the “warming” process can be done on Facebook itself. We’ll get into that soon.

It is also common for Facebook marketers to throw up an ad with no clear sequence for prospects to go through. But prospects need to be guided through the sales funnel. Here is an example:

Facebook ad > opt-in page to collect email addresses > build a relationship through email > sell an online course

Not having funnel clarity isn’t the only funnel-related mistake. The other is…

7. Not Retargeting

For those who don’t know what retargeting is…

Retargeting, also known as remarketing, is a form of online advertising that can help you keep your brand in front of bounced traffic after they leave your website. For most websites, only 2% of web traffic converts on the first visit. Retargeting is a tool designed to help companies reach the 98% of users who don’t convert right away.” (

Retargeting keeps a brand in front of the people who interact with it. And retargeting is incredibly important. In fact, it might be the most important part of the entire advertising campaign.

Retargeting makes it possible to reach the 98% of people who don’t convert right away. Why? Because most people who don’t buy think “not now,” as opposed to a straight “no.”

In other words, retargeting allows a brand to reach out to the people who are already familiar with it. These are the people who are more likely to take action.

The ultimate goal of retargeting is to warm people up from cold traffic to hot traffic.

And Facebook makes is possible to send retargeting ads to the people who make it part way through the sales funnel, but don’t go all the way.

The key is to use the Facebook Pixel and Custom Audiences together for effective retargeting. The Facebook Pixel is a piece of code that allows the tracking of people who visit certain pages, such as a landing page, an opt-in page, or a blog post.

Custom Audiences is a feature that allows the creation of customized audiences based on behavior gathered from Facebook Pixel.

For example, say a prospect makes it as far as the opt-in page, but doesn’t leave their email address. Facebook Pixel identifies everyone who hit that opt-in page, including that prospect. It will show that the prospect did not opt in.

Custom Audiences makes it possible to add that prospect to custom database of people who didn’t opt in. Then another Facebook Ad can be created specifically for that Custom Audience. And since they already visited the page, they’ll be more likely to take action.

It really is that simple.

But it’s also critical to the success of any online business. Retargeting results in massive success and profits.

And not retargeting is like leaving free money on the table.

Avoid Even More Mistakes

I hope it is obvious by now how awesome Facebook advertising is. This is truly the secret to a wildly successful online marketing campaign.

Facebook advertising make it possible to send out highly targeted ads to a large pool of prospective customers. It is easy and inexpensive and incredibly effective.

But most Facebook marketers make some serious mistakes. The 7 biggest mistakes in Facebook advertising are:

  1. Not Being Compliant
  2. Not Measuring ROI
  3. Ineffective Targeting
  4. Boring Copy
  5. Uninteresting Images
  6. No Funnel Clarity
  7. Not Retargeting

No one aiming for a successful advertising campaign wants to make these mistakes. And no one has to make these mistakes.

We can help with that!

Our free Facebook Ads Bootcamp is a detailed walk through of Facebook advertising. That’s right, we will be offering FREE Facebook ad training—and more!

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