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8 common Facebook ad mistakes learned from auditing more than 100 ad accounts

Over the last 7 seven years, I’ve audited over 100 Facebook Ad accounts.
I’ve seen what does and does not work. I’ve learned from the mistakes of others.

Facebook is a data-driven platform; you should absolutely take advantage by tracking your results and spotting patterns so that you can capitalize on the wins and avoid common mistakes. Let me share with you some of the eCommerce mistakes I’ve seen and quickly learned from.

Not being systematic

Are you firing lots of different images, videos and lead ads at various budget optimizations and just hoping that something works? Does that sound familiar?

You may get some wins this way but if you don’t understand how you have achieved them, then you can’t duplicate your winning strategy.

I worked with this cosmetics e-commerce manager who had this problem. He would get great results from one campaign out of every 10 and never knew what was the golden string. He couldn’t pin it to creative, targeting or scheduling, and if he could, it would be pure guesswork.

Sending traffic somewhere useless

So you’ve optimized for lower cost of clicks, but then you’re sending people to your homepage instead of providing them with specific information for them to complete your desired call to action. I’ve seen people optimize their ads endlessly, but continue to send them to an inappropriate, unfocused landing page. You can check out why landing pages are critical to Facebook Ad success in one of our earlier posts.

I did some auditing for a hospital who hired a freelance agency that was doing this. They were getting low numbers for their reports and then blaming the lack of conversions on the hospital’s in-house team.The real issue was the agency had set up poor landing pages which drove any traffic that found its way to their website immediately off it again.

Not testing

It’s the same as just putting ads out there on Facebook and leaving it. No auditing, no nothing.

Clearly, if you never test your ads, you are never going to improve your results. This comes down to time, something that most business owners, managers and even media buying marketing services with many clients don’t have enough of.

I audited a digital agency ad account and found that they were just publishing campaigns as defined by their media plan and not learning from key performance metrics. They had a 20% ROAS due to their failure to change their plan based on actual performance as opposed to sticking by their media plan. They ran the same retargeting campaign and noticed the change when they made adjustments to landing pages and creative based on CTR metrics.

Not testing towards the final objective

Conversion ads are really powerful, but people often stick with traffic ads because they are focussing on CTR rather than opt-ins or sales. CTR is good for measuring the response to your ad but conversion rates are the response to your final objective- sales! This is a common mistake amongst advertisers who aren’t business owners.

Running tests at the ad level, not the ad set level

I don’t know why, but travel agencies seem to make this mistake often- they use a whole bunch of different ad images at the ad level, and fail to consider how Facebook selects ads to show to audiences. The way that Facebook chooses a winner is flawed, and you end up with one or two images getting all the impressions, and the others seemingly ignored.

Using a saved audience, and sticking with it

I audited an IT company’s ads who had a clear picture of their target audience’s persona and created a saved audience of interests that were all business/marketing/IT related. All their ads went to this same audience, and it meant that they had no idea which of those interests actually yielded the best results.

By testing multiple audiences, you should be able to make tweaks, segment and test easily!

Not testing a content-first funnel

A lot of B2B clients were guilty of this. They went straight for the consult call rather than using content at the ‘Top Of Funnel’ to build a relationship and trust for their brand first.
People primarily use Facebook for connecting with friends, family, and businesses they already know and trust. Your ad may appear out of left-field for Facebook users that don’t know anything about your brand or don’t find your ads relevant.

Testing stuff, but not turning off the worst performers

Oddly enough, this was a common mistake. One moving company I worked with was guilty of this. They would set up a bunch of different ad sets with targeting different audiences based on age, location, household income and leave them all running for the duration of the campaign.

This defeated the whole purpose of testing. They should have been monitoring performance closely and turning off the ads that didn’t meet their goals. As a result of this mistake, they had a 40% ROAS when they could have shifted their spend to the ads that were performing better.


To sum things up: Learn from Your Mistakes! You’re probably doing more things right on Facebook than wrong. Now that you know how to fix the mistake, your results will get even better.

Get in touch for a free strategy call and find out how we can help you achieve your campaign goals.