Organic reach isn’t what it used to be. As a result, social media advertising is a must for brands trying to reach new and engaged audiences on social platforms. And boy are the targeting and audience options compelling. Just think about all the data social media users freely hand over on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and the rest…

Unfortunately, as with PPC and Google Ads, and Google Analytics, there are a number of potentially costly pitfalls our clients and prospects stumble into on a daily basis. But with a little awareness, you can easily avoid making the common mistakes we see time and again.

Below we dig a little deeper into six of the most common social media advertising mistakes and how you can avoid and resolve them to start making the most out of your social media ad budget.

6 Common Social Media Advertising Mistakes

1. Using the Wrong Objective

Facebook’s ad platform is very good at going after whatever you’ve set as your objective. But with that comes caution. Get the objective wrong and you’ll likely end up far away from where you wanted to be.

For direct response campaigns, the traffic objective shouldn’t be used. Traffic campaigns optimise towards “clicky” users rather than those likely to convert. As a result, ad spend can easily be wasted on users who click but don’t go on to complete a desired action, or even load the page. You can quickly measure this by looking at the % of link clicks that become landing page views - there should be a stark difference in this between traffic and conversion campaigns.

A brand awareness or reach objective fits best if your goal is to hit a wide audience. The tradeoff here is lower quality traffic and lower engagement as the system is targeted with getting the most impressions for the lowest cost.

Think carefully about what your primary and secondary objectives are from the start, and create your campaigns accordingly knowing what the possible benefits and tradeoffs will be.

2. Not Using Delivery Insights

Delivery Insights is one of the most overlooked reports in Facebook. It’s an incredibly useful dashboard that can help you better understand the performance of your ad sets. It shows you detailed metrics about your ad delivery, auction overlap, audience saturation and bid competition.

These reports are available when an ad set has been running for at least five consecutive days and has at least 500 impressions. You can find them by clicking on the “inspect” option when hovering over an ad set.

You can read more about Delivery Insights in our appropriately named Quick Guide to Facebook Delivery Insights here >>>

3. Failing to Optimise Creative

It’s easy to get bogged down in the technicalities of a campaign build and leave what the creative looks like until the last minute. Advertisers are still guilty of chucking a 2 minute long rectangle video up and expecting standout engagement metrics.

But with a Facebook ad you don’t have the luxury of holding someone’s attention for very long, as the urge to keep scrolling persists. So, you have to optimise the creative as best you can for the platform.

The obvious win here is optimising creative for mobile, as your ads will serve over 90% on these placements. Think about using a vertical format for Instagram stories, and always having a 1:1 aspect ratio available for feed. Does your video rely on a voice-over? Then use subtitles, keeping in mind the mantra “design for sound off, delight with sound on”.

4. Using Very Narrow Audiences

While you want to get the core message out to your target audience, you have to strike the right balance and not go too far with narrow targeting.

For example, say you identify your perfect customer profile as - 1) looks like your current customers and 2) is into Taylor Swift and 3) likes running and 4) has an affinity to some luxury brands and 5) is recently engaged. Layering that all together in one ad set is going to give you an incredibly small audience pool and the system is going to have to work very hard to get an ad in front of that person.

You’ll pay for it in expensive CPMs needed to win the auctions, and high frequencies. Instead, have one audience attribution per ad set, and let the system find you the lowest cost conversions within a bigger pool.

5. Not Using Dynamic Ads

Many advertisers are still not harnessing the power of dynamic ads. Dynamic ads run off a product feed, so are applicable for eCommerce brands but also hotels, flights, automotive and property.

Facebook dynamic ads automatically show the right products to people who have expressed interest on your website, in your app or elsewhere on the Internet. All you need is a pixel on the site (or an SDK if in app) and a product catalogue.

This function is only available through the ‘Catalogue Sales’ campaign objective. It’s proven to be an incredibly successful strategy, delivering a higher volume of purchases than both ‘Interest’ and ‘Lookalike Targeting’ campaigns month-on-month.

For more on dynamic ads read ‘3 Strategies for Ecommerce Success on Facebook’ here >>>

6. Not Using Facebook Attribution

Setting up Facebook Attribution is straightforward and free to do, and offers another tool for measuring campaign impact and value. So, why wouldn’t you give it a go?

With some extra tracking parameters we can bring Google, Microsoft Advertising and DV360 impression and click data into Facebook Attribution to get a better understanding of how these channels perform.

Through Facebook’s Data Driven Attribution (DDA) system it’s also possible to analyse the lift as a result of advertising (how many users convert that wouldn’t have organically) and measure the incremental impact the activity has.

For everything you need to know about Facebook Attribution, click here >>>

Final Thoughts

Our teams see these mistakes across Facebook and other social media advertising platforms all the time. If you’ve made one or more don’t worry - it’s not the end of the world! SearchStar is a Facebook Marketing Preferred Partner. If you'd like to talk in greater depth about Facebook and paid social to better understand how it can drive your business objectives, please don't hesitate to get in touch with the team here...