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5 Common Mistakes Startups Make with Facebook Ads

Brian Meert

Brian Meert

Brian Meert is the CEO of AdvertiseMint, a Hollywood based digital advertising agency that specializes in helping successful companies advertise on Facebook. AdvertiseMint has managed millions of dollars in digital ad spends in the entertainment, fashion, finance and software industries. Brian is also the author of the best selling book, "The Complete Guide to Facebook Advertising," and the innovative "The Complete Guide to Digital Advertising Policies" infographic. He is a 15-year digital advertising executive and a member of the Forbes Agency Council. Prior to founding AdvertiseMint, Brian built and sold Gofobo.com, an online ticketing system that revolutionized the entertainment industry and is now utilized by Warner Bros. and Disney.
Brian Meert

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There are a lot of new and small companies that rely on Facebook as a cornerstone of their marketing plan. And yet, so many brands struggle with Facebook ads. Before you continue pouring money into advertising campaigns that aren’t delivering the results you want, let’s go over the five mistakes that a lot of startups make when running Facebook ads.


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Mistake No. 1: Boosting your posts

At first, the “Boost Post” button seems like the easiest way to get traction out of your content. You already created the post, and there’s a way to show it to a wider audience. Why wouldn’t you do it?

Boosted posts have limited settings in comparison to manual promotions. If you’re going to spend money on Facebook ads, why wouldn’t you spend money that has the greatest chance of getting you what you need in return? By taking a little extra time to run a manual promotion instead of a boosted post, you’ll select and reach a more targeted audience, choose better placement and device options, and have more freedom when it comes to how long you want to run the ad for.

If the content you used in a regular post is getting a lot of attention from your audience, then reuse that content in a manual promotion.

Mistake No. 2: Not using the Facebook Pixel

You need to set up the Facebook pixel on your website in order to run ads. The Facebook pixel tracks a lot of information you won’t get otherwise, particularly when it comes to how your site visitors behave on your website. Essentially, the pixel tracks who does what on your site, then lets you find those people on Facebook so you can retarget ads to them.

When you have the Facebook pixel set up, you can create better-targeted custom (and lookalike) audiences, optimize your campaigns, track events and retarget users.

For example, if people visit a specific page on your website, you can then find them on Facebook and target ads to them. You can also figure out the actions that people take when they see your Facebook ads.

For example, how many people head to a certain page of your website or perform a specific action on your site after viewing your ad? You can then use this to improve and create your ads for even better results.



Mistake No. 3: Recycling the same creatives every time

It’s a good idea to regularly refresh your ad creatives, ideally, twice per month (at least). Yes, it takes time to do this, and as a startup, you may not have a dedicated marketing or creative team to handle it for you. But since Facebook advertising is so important to the health of your business, so is your creative portfolio.

If you regularly use the same imagery, media or copy in your ads, people are going to get ad fatigue, which means they’ll automatically start ignoring your content when they see it. Yes, you want your brand and content to be recognizable, but that comes from brand style and voice, not repeating content over and over. Using the same exact creative elements makes your ads very easy to overlook.

Change the wording of your ads, especially the CTA. Update images with new filters, text overlays and effects. Take a photo or video and shrink it down into a GIF. Take a copy-heavy post and turn it into a video. Change ad formats, too: experiment with single images, video ads, slideshows and carousel ads, for example.

Mistake No. 4: Forgetting to run A/B Tests

What’s better than a high-performing Facebook ad? One that can perform even slightly better. Even once you’ve created a Facebook ad that’s doing its job, you can always find out if there’s room for improvement. That’s where A/B testing comes in.

The key to A/B testing is to only change one thing while keeping every other element exactly the same.

For example, you can change just the CTA. In one ad, your CTA may be “Buy now!” and in another ad, it may be “Learn more.” You can change the wording of the copy, the size of the font or where the text is placed. You can even change just the background color to determine whether or not an image gets more attention with a white background rather than a blue one.

Once you’ve tested two ads against each other, take the one that performed better and change something else to run a new A/B test. Rinse, repeat.


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Mistake No. 5: Creating landing pages that look totally different

Chances are a lot of your startup’s Facebook ads are going to direct people toward a landing page on your website. The problem is that a lot of those landing pages may be unrecognizable compared to the Facebook ad itself. By the time a user gets there, even in just a second or two, the user could either forget why they clicked or think they hit the wrong link. Either way, they’re going to leave the landing page and forget about it (and your company) completely.

Use the same imagery and wording on your landing page as in your ad. Make sure that whatever promise you made in the ad, like a free download, is front and center on the landing page. The transition has to be seamless, especially since it’s hard enough to get users to click in the first place. Otherwise, you’re going to put dings in your credibility and professionalism, and nobody wants to interact with a brand they don’t trust.

Final thoughts

Facebook marketing and Facebook advertising are two different animals. Doing well at one does not mean excelling at the other. In order to make Facebook worthwhile for your brand, you have to figure out your marketing and ad strategies: how to handle them separately and how they work together.

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