For success on Facebook, advertising marketers must follow a rigorous and consistent process when managing their campaigns. Random shots in the dark are a sure-fire way to waste money on Facebook advertising. Often, marketers are too impatient to collect the mass of data needed to make well-informed decisions, and they make changes on a whim. This haphazard approach to managing Facebook campaigns causes unpredictable results and leads to ineffective ad spend.
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Tim Parkin, president of Parkin Consulting, said that retargeting can be one of the most effective Facebook campaigns but that many marketers do not make use of sequenced retargeting ads. This involves creating custom audiences to show different ads to visitors over a period of time (i.e., showing a discount ad for three days before publishing a social proof video ad for the following three days).
“Not making use of sequencing in retargeting ads leads to high frequency, negative feedback, and wasted ad spend,” he said.
Additionally, simultaneously running too many ad variations for the same audience can lead to poor performance and wasted ad spend.
“Testing different ad variations is best practice, but they must be tested in a careful and valid way,” Parkin added. “Marketers often try to test too many variables at once in the hopes of expediting the process of discovering the optimal variation, but proper testing takes time.”
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Ollie Smith, CEO of ExpertSure, sees numerous Facebook campaign mistakes that lead to wasted money.
“One of the ways marketers chiefly waste money on Facebook is through running endless adverts. Some marketers are unaware of how frequently their ad has been shown to their target demographic, and they fail to manage the lifespan of the advert in the Ads Manager,” he said. “The net result of this is an increasingly ineffective advert costing lots of money.”
Smith has seen marketers waste quite a bit of money through text-heavy images, which are more expensive and not necessarily guaranteed to reach a greater audience.
“A select few marketers have in the past opted for the text heavy approach over with no obvious benefits gained,” he noted.
You also need to be mindful of audience overlap. While running multiple adsets on Facebook, sometimes marketers tend to create adsets with competing audiences. If the overlap is over 20%, you may end up showing the ad to the same people. This wastes a lot of money that could be spent elsewhere. Check for overlap to avoid this scenario.
Daniel Cheung, SFO specialist with Prosperity Media, said that not having a pixel installed on a site is the biggest mistake any campaign can have.
“Also, using the wrong event code to measure tangible conversions is another way to throw marketing spend away,” he said. “This is usually due to a poor understanding of the buyer’s journey and failing to use appropriate metrics to gauge the effectiveness of an ad or ad set (e.g., view content versus add-to-basket versus checkout). For brands with existing email lists, many fail to create lookalike audiences in order to achieve highly targeted reach.”
Justin Kerby, founder of Something Great, said that one of the ways he see marketers waste money on Facebook is by using the social media platform’s default audience settings.
“If you’re boosting a post, Facebook automatically opts advertisers into running ads on Instagram along with Facebook,” he said. “If your ads perform better on desktop, or your target demographic isn’t suited to Instagram, you could be throwing away up to half of your budget. Always double check to make sure you’re advertising on the platforms that get the best bang for your buck.”
Jason Scott, a freelance digital marketing specialist at JCS Digital, said that one of the biggest mistakes he sees marketers make on Facebook campaigns is simply boosting posts at random.
“Quite often, the posts that are boosted will have no commercial goal and no call-to-action,” he said. “Whilst boosting posts may be a good way to get eyes on your content, I believe your money is much better spent on an ad campaign that has a legitimate business goal. This could be to drive visitors to your Facebook page in a hope to increase your audience size/engagement, or driving visitors to your website in a hope to generate sales and revenue.”
Either option, he added, will provide greater long-term ROI than a random boosted post.
Josh Reyes, marketing manager for SmarterMail, noted that the easiest way to waste money on Facebook is to use the wrong bidding strategies for a campaign goal, as all too often, marketers make a choice that’s nowhere close to the correct match – along with tracking metrics that won’t impact business goals.
“If your goal is to get some brand recognition among potential customers that haven’t heard of you, then optimizing for impressions would be a good strategy,” he said. “But if you’re running a campaign re-targeting site visitors who are close to making their next purchase but not over the line yet, it would be a massive waste of money if you weren’t optimizing for conversions.”