Hand coming out of laptop holding a stop sign with an exclamation mark for Facebook ad mistakes

Mention Facebook ads and most people will roll their eyes, with a look of pure horror on their face, and I can understand why.  Facebook certainly doesn’t make it easy to achieve high returns on invested time and effort, not to mention budget.

But here are 5 common mistakes that those new to Facebook ads often find themselves making and ways to avoid them, hopefully saving you from pulling ALL of your hair out, at least!

1. Busting out a Boost

You’ve probably seen a Facebook notification on a post experiencing higher levels of engagement, or that Facebook’s algorithms have noticed is similar to other posts previously boosted. The message goes along the lines of “This post is performing x% better than other posts…” and prompting you to “Boost” that post.

A boosted post is all about engagement and is the simplest form of Facebook ad there is. There are specific circumstances where they can work for you, but, on the whole, you’re likely to get better results from heading over to Facebook Business Manager and putting your effort into a full-fat Facebook ad.

A Facebook ad will give you much more flexibility to tailor your ad with a plethora of ad objectives, whether you want website clicks, event attendance or lead generation.  You’ll have a choice of ad placement and full customisation of your target audience.

2. A Stock Image Sitch

An admission here.  I do use stock images; they’re convenient, abundant and technically far better than any attempt I might make on my phone.  BUT. (And that’s a big BUT) If I am using a stock image for a Facebook ad, I will always use a paid-for image, as opposed to a free one and try to find one that represents whatever I am promoting, with a side of quirkiness thrown in. 

Eggs in carton with Facebook ads like icons above them

Your image has got to not only represent your brand, but, with images responsible for between 75%-90% of ad performance, they are the one element that will attract a potential to actually take notice and read your ad. Consequently, it’s important that your image stands out for all the right reasons. There are plenty of expert opinions on what makes a great Facebook ad image, but my advice is always use something eye-catching, avoid anything with too much text, or too much detail and make it relevant to your product/service and brand.

On the other hand, if you are a photographic whizz, then don’t shy away from using your home-grown images.  These help to build authenticity in you and your brand and can really attract an audience.

3. Watch Your Words

Remember that SELL, SELL, SELL! Is just not the way to go in any marketing.  Would you walk up to someone in the street and immediately start selling to them before you had introduced yourself or your products/services?  Of course not. Badly constructed or ill-thought-out copy can be a real turn off. Instead, approach creating your copy from your target audience’s point of view.  What is the problem that you are able to solve? How can your products/services solve that problem? The write your Facebook ad copy accordingly. You want your copy to be compelling, without that hint of desperation that comes across when you are focused on “the sell”.  Writing from your target’s point of view will allow your copy to resonate with your audience, appear authentic and encourage them to find out more.

4. Targeting Tips

When creating your ad, it can be all too easy to make mistakes with your targeting – perhaps adopting a “blinkered” approach of selecting too narrow an audience, or on the flip side, an “Everyone’s welcome” approach and adopting too broad an audience. To decide if your audience size is right, look at your potential reach in Facebook. If your ad is set to reach thousands upon thousands, then maybe have a reality check and ask yourself if there really are that amount of people within your target parameters who would be likely to be interested in your offer. If the answer is no, then narrow your audience by selecting additional interests or demographics.  If your audience is already very narrow, then look at increasing it.  

Dart on bulls eye with text Audience

5. Video is the Way to Go!

A recent survey by Promo revealed that 71% of consumers found Facebook video ads relevant or highly relevant.  It is therefore a bit of a no-brainer that video ads are likely to be top performers in your stable of marketing tools.  Do keep your videos short, though. The optima length of a standalone ad in News Feed is 15 seconds or shorter, so do practice getting your message across succinctly, to encourage viewers to click on your video, and importantly, stay to the end.


There is no denying that creating a Facebook ad is not exactly a walk in the park. Facebook doesn’t make the process exactly intuitive.  The best piece of advice I can give is to take your time and allow enough time to strategically think about your Facebook ad objectives and your target audience.  Don’t be afraid to tweak your ad content throughout the lifecycle of the ad, but do leave the ad for around 72 hours before any adjustments are made to allow it to establish itself and for the Facebook algorithms to start working their magic!

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