7 Facebook Ad Mistakes You Can’t Afford To Make


Is your business using Facebook ads to promote your products or services? You should be!

Facebook hosts over 2.6 billion monthly users. Not only is it the largest social media platform in the world but it offers a highly sophisticated ad management system for business pages.

These ads are laser-targeted at your specific audience and are generally cheaper than traditional advertising.

While the Facebook Ad Manager seems user-friendly, it’s easy to mistakes that will cost you extra money. In fact, 46% of online marketing budgets are wasted due to basic mistakes.

In this article, we’re going to uncover the 7 mistakes that many businesses make when using Facebook ads. Most of the time they simply click the “next” button during set-up or miss an important detail that could make a big difference in their campaign.

I urge you to use this as a skeleton outline when reviewing your next ad campaign.

Want to know how to STOP WASTING your online marketing budget by making sure the basics are covered?

Let’s break it down step by step!

1. No CTA In Ad Copy

As professional digital marketers, we understand the value of the call-to-action (CTA). These short pieces of copy make the sale! It is Marketing 101 to have a CTA and a CTA that makes someone want to click your ad. 

Unfortunately, after auditing hundreds of Facebook ads over the last 5+ years, one of the most common mistakes I see is when businesses don’t include a CTA in their ad copy. 

An ad may be visually stunning but without a CTA the visitor won’t know what action to take. You’ll literally be paying for someone to see your ad but it won’t increase web traffic or conversions.

That causes a huge problem since on Facebook you’re not being charged per click but based on impressions, or the number of people who see your ad in their feed. 

After doing research through Facebook Ads Library, we found three examples of businesses that do not have a CTA in their ad copy.

A bridal business that didn't use a CTA in their Facebook ad.

A construction company that didn't use a CTA in their Facebook ad.

A dentist office that didn't use a CTA in their Facebook ad.

These ads all look great but they aren’t directing Facebook users to take the next step.

Action Item #1

What should you do if your Facebook ads look like one of the examples above? Don’t worry, it’s a quick fix.

The first step is to review all of your current ads and make sure you have a clear CTA in the body of the ad copy as well as in the headline. You want to describe your product or service but make it very clear about the next step.

Interested in seeing the anatomy of an effective Facebook ad?

Below is a sample of a HOTH Facebook ad with all of the necessary components.

The anatomy of an effective Facebook ad.

As you can see above, the ad copy doesn’t need to be very long. It just needs to be focused on action.

2. Tracking Setup

Tracking your ad performance is key. Analytics can show you if the ad is effective or needs to be revised to reach your target audience. You’ll also want to verify that you’re getting your money’s worth.

Most digital advertising platforms include a tracking tool. You probably already have Google Analytics connected to your website, but if you’re using Facebook ads you’ll also need to set up the Facebook Pixel.

In simple terms, the pixel is a few lines of code that you’ll add to the header section of your website. Once installed it will track what actions people take on your website after clicking on the ad. The goal here is to make your Facebook ads more relevant to your audience.

Many users will have a Goal Setup inside of Google Analytics, which works to show conversions, but the job of the Facebook Pixel is so much more. 

When using the Pixel you’ll be able to open a plethora of more advertising options like Facebook Retargeting, Build Lookalike Audiences, Optimize Ads for Conversions, and other advertising metrics. 

Action Item #2

Good news: properly installing your Facebook Pixel only takes a few minutes. Therefore, it’s not a big deal to do now if you’ve never used it before.

Before you do anything, check whether you have a pixel and whether it’s installed correctly. One of the easiest ways to do this is through a free plugin called Facebook Pixel Helper.

After the install, go to any website, and the plugin will light up if a Pixel is installed. As you can see below, by clicking on the plugin you can get details about it.

Knowing if a Facebook pixel was installed correctly.

More importantly, you’ll able to visit your website’s conversion pages and see what is active. In the image below, for example, conversions are set to bring in new leads.

Confirming your conversions in the Facebook Pixel Helper.

This is a great tool for auditing before campaigns go live, auditing teams, and leveraging it as a way to open conversations with potential customers.

3. Targeting Your Audience

No matter what marketing platform you’re using, properly targeting your audience is one of the main factors in running a successful campaign.

You need to understand who your audience is and what they want.

One mistake businesses often make when creating Facebook ads is going too broad or too narrow with their target audience.

Start off by building your target audience with a mix of demographics, interests, and behaviors. The Facebook Ads Manager offers a useful “Audience Size” tool in the top right corner that will warn you about going too narrow or too broad. 

In the screenshot below, you’ll see the default settings inside the audience builder do not show you options for interests and behaviors. 

Only basic demographic information like location, age, and gender are listed:

The basic demographic data within Facebook Ads Manager.

Click on “Show More Options” at the bottom of this screen to expand into more of the key information you’ll need to enter.

For this example, I created this sample advertisement where I’m looking to target small business owners who are interested in digital marketing.

Advanced audience information in the Facebook Ads Manager.

Facebook collects an incredible amount of user data and you’ll be able to tap into that for your advertising.

Targeting properly will put your ad in front of the right people who are interested in your product or service. 

Don’t rely solely on demographics. Discover your audience’s behaviors and interests, and incorporate them into your Facebook ad. Without optimizing these settings, you could be burning thousands of dollars.

Action Item #3

When is the last time you checked your audience settings in the Facebook Ads Manager? Take a few minutes and review your current audiences.

Check that you’re utilizing demographics, interests, and behaviors. And while you’re there, add any new interests or behaviors you discovered about your audience or clear out anything that’s no longer relevant.

If you don’t see an option to search for interests or behaviors, make sure the expansion is turned on. 

4. Optimization

Guess what? You need to regularly optimize your Facebook ad campaigns just like your SEO strategies or PPC campaigns.

Facebook advertising isn’t a “set it and forget it” method like print marketing.

Many businesses waste campaign money by not properly optimizing their campaigns or not doing it at all. 

I personally recommend focusing on your traffic and conversions when optimizing Facebook ads. For this article, I’ll solely focus on traffic but my team would be happy to schedule a call with you to discuss conversions. 

This may sound intimidating at first but get into the habit of checking your campaigns daily. At least until they’re producing conversions like leads, calls, or sales.

Here’s why: if you’re spending your full daily budget and not seeing any results after two weeks, then you probably have a traffic problem. Conversions won’t start happening until you nail this down first.

Action Item #4

When you’re ready to optimize ads, here are the metrics you need to review:

  • CTR (Click-Through Rate)
  • Conversion Rate
  • Video View Length (If Applicable)

These metrics allow you to measure which ads and ad sets are performing. Effective ads will have a higher CTR, higher conversion rate, and longer video view length (if your ad includes a video).

At a very basic level, the easiest way to optimize your campaigns is to turn off non-performing ads or ad sets. We’ll discuss this more in-depth below under split testing.

Typically, we’ll see if a campaign starts to convert within the first week.

Are you getting less than 50-100 clicks on your ad? If so, you should be looking at your destination. For lead generation, focus on optimizing your landing pages. And e-commerce operations should revise product pages.

Here’s a pro tip that will save you a lot of time and money: never drive traffic to your homepage. Your homepage should be set up as a branding hub, not for specific conversions.

Facebook ads should lead to targeted landing pages or product pages.

5. Split Testing

You can’t always predict how an audience will react to your advertisement. Sometimes ads with perfect audience settings and killer copy fall flat.

This is why The HOTH employs a technique called “split testing.” This is when you create multiple versions of the same ad to see which one works the best.

For each version, you’ll switch around copy, pictures, or CTAs. You’ll do a limited campaign for each and then pull the data.

Once you identify the most effective ad, you can create a much bigger campaign around it and invest more of your budget.

We run an enormous amount of advertising across multiple platforms including Facebook. Split testing is one of the secrets to our success.

Check out how we swap around creative and ad copy for a single advertisement:

An example of how we do split testing at The HOTH.

For this split test, we actually turned off our non-performers based on the results.

6. Remarketing

We talk about remarketing all of the time at HOTH PPC but it’s also an effective technique for Facebook ads.

Over the years, some of our most profitable campaigns are through remarketing on both Facebook and Google.

A chart showing how some of our most successful campaigns have been remarketing.

What is remarketing exactly? It’s an advertising strategy where you redeliver specific ads to people who visited your site but didn’t make a conversion. Chances are they looked at specific products or left something in the cart before closing your site.

This is what we use to grab their attention in a remarketing campaign.

Although the idea may sound intrusive to some people, a quarter of online shoppers said they “enjoyed” being retargeted. A majority of those shoppers added they were neutral to remarketing campaigns.

The fact is remarketing is effective because the user already expressed interest in a specific product or service. The remarketed ad simply serves as a reminder for them to purchase it when they have the time or money. It’s also a great way to personalize a customer’s experience.

7. Be Patient

The final Facebook ad mistake we observe businesses making all of the time is not being patient. They set up a new campaign or reactive an existing one and don’t give it sufficient time to perform.

A major benefit of using Facebook ads is that you get analytics instantly. Within a day the Facebook Ads Manager will start reporting impressions, engagement, or clicks.

But, this doesn’t mean you should start tweaking your ads within a few days of launch. We recommend giving them at least two weeks before making any revisions.

Waiting can be difficult for businesses because they want to see results quickly without spending too much money, yet two weeks is industry standard. It’s a best practice that we use for our social media advertising clients.

Tracking your data is important but changing settings too quickly could be a mistake, especially if it takes a few days for your ad to start gaining traction among users.


We hope these seven Facebook ad tips help your business out. Facebook advertising is a smart investment because it’s the biggest social media platform in the world.

Users spend hours a day on Facebook and make many life decisions and purchases based on what they see in their feed. Furthermore, Facebook owns other platforms like Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp. With a few adjustments, your ads can appear on other apps like Instagram.

Do you need help with setting up Facebook ads for your business? Reach out to our paid advertising team and we can help with strategy, audience settings, and ad design.

The HOTH is also designing a brand new Facebook Advertising Product for our clients! We want to hear from you about your business and what services you need to be successful. Take the survey here.


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