Market Trends

Written by The Marketing Team July 13, 2018

10 common mistakes in social media advertising

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To celebrate Friday the 13th, our weekly Facebook live today focused on some of the most frighteningly common mistakes in social media advertising. While listening to these can be scary, the aim was quite the opposite – to help you improve your performance with some social advertising best practices!

We covered mistakes in ad account setup, mistakes in the creation of campaigns and ads, and mistakes when your campaign in running.

You can watch the full replay of the Facebook Live below, and read through more detail further down in this blog post.

Ad account mistakes

Screen Shot 2018-07-13 at 12.12.07Not using the Facebook pixel correctly

To get the most from your Facebook advertising, it’s crucial to have the Facebook Pixel working properly on your website. Without it, you’ll struggle to attribute leads and purchases to the right campaign and won’t have a clear picture of the real business value your ads are driving.

We still see see a number of advertisers struggle with the Facebook Pixel – whether it’s setting it up or being certain that it is properly working.

The good news is, we can help! We’ve written an eBook, ‘The Complete Guide to the Facebook Pixel’, which runs you through how to set it up step-by-step. We also recommend downloading the Facebook Pixel Chrome extension, which will help you determine whether the right Pixel events are firing on each page of your website!

Mistakes in campaign creation

Ad set overlap

When creating multiple ad sets within a Facebook campaign, a common mistake we see is overlap between audiences targeted across ad sets. Forgetting to exclude audiences already targeted in another ad set can lead to poor delivery and wasted budget. The general rule is the larger the overlap between audiences across ad sets, the worse your campaign will perform.

It’s important to note that a little overlap is normal, and won’t affect performance. But as you create more and more ad sets, think about excluding audiences in the new ones that are already covered by others.

Mistakes in ad creation

Too much text in images

While Facebook has done away with the 20% text rule, your ads’ reach and delivery could still be affected by too much text in images.

Under Facebook’s new guidelines, your ad won’t be rejected if it contains more than 20% text, like it used to be. But it will have its reach limited ’97 Facebook now categorizes your ad according to a rating scale, and manages its delivery accordingly.

Not checking how your ad looks in the different placements

A common mistake, again related to image creative, is using the same image for multiple Facebook ad placements, without editing the dimensions accordingly. In some cases where the image is cropped, the entire meaning of the ad can be lost, since creative often makes up such an important part.

By way of example, best-practice for a Facebook image ad is at least 1200 x 628 pixels, whereas Facebook Carousel ads feature square images at 1080 x 1080 pixels. The hugely popular Stories format is different again, with vertical video requiring media in 16:9 format.


Video too long

The longer your video ad, the less likely you are to achieve good completion rates and ensure your audience gets your whole message. For standalone ads in News Feed, as well as in-stream video ads, Facebook recommends using video that is 15 seconds or shorter.

As you may know, there is also an increasing trend towards 6-second video ads. The industry seems to have converged on this length of ad, which is well suited to short, snappy messages. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg stated in 2017 that compared to 15- and 30-second ads, 6-second ads showed higher brand metrics across the board.

Mistakes when your campaign is running

optimizing on a pixel with low conversions (AT THE CAMPAIGN LEVEL)

As an example, let’s take a standard conversion funnel for an e-commerce company: the top level of the funnel is impressions, then clicks, which then leads down to ‘add to cart’ and finally purchase.If you are reasonably new to Facebook advertising, or have just set up the pixel, straight away optimizing on purchase is not a good idea. Since you will be generating a lot less purchases than clicks, delivery could suffer if you try to optimize on purchase straight away. The Facebook algorithm effectively won’t have enough data to optimize on purchase at this stage.

If you see your delivery suffering, and know that you are optimizing on an action towards the bottom of the funnel, try broadening it out and optimizing for an action a little higher up. If you’re a new advertiser, a good strategy could be to get started by working your way down the funnel, first optimizing on clicks and then ‘ad to cart’, for example.

Facebook suggests that 15-25 conversions per day, with a conversion rate of 0.5%, is required to really make the most of optimization with the Pixel.

Errors with rules (AT THE CAMPAIGN LEVEL)

On Paragone, users have the ability to set automated rules to limit bad campaign performance. Based on the conditions you choose, an action can be generated. This could be for example, turning your campaigns off if your CPA gets too high.

automation_powerhouse_makemereachThese rules can be very helpful to let you enjoy a relaxing weekend, without worrying about your campaign going rogue! Rules can also help during rush periods, when you’re overwhelmed with work and don’t have time to carefully monitor how your campaign is tracking.

There can be a couple of mistakes when it comes to rules:

  • Say you return to the office after a lovely and relaxing weekend. You notice your campaign didn’t perform very well, so your rule was activated and your campaign stopped. So far so good! You decide to monitor things a little closer, change some ad copy and creatives and put a little more budget behind the campaign to get things going. But you forget to turn the rule off! Later, the rule is triggered again and you end up with very low spend when you could have been generating purchases.
  • Or, you set up a rule and use the wrong KPI – i.e. a different KPI to the one on which your campaign is optimized. You head away for the weekend and the rule doesn’t trigger when it was meant to, because it has been set up with the wrong KPI. You come back to find your campaigns have overspent!

Delivery stopped when spend cap reached (AT THE CAMPAIGN LEVEL)

First lets look at what spend cap is. Say you’re given 1000 euro to spend on your social ads campaign for the week. Naturally, some days you will spend more, and others you will spend less. To be sure you spend the full 1000 euro, you’ll need to set your daily budget a little higher than simply 1000 divided by 7 – so say a total of 1100 for the week. This will give your ads a better chance of delivering.

But, at the same time, you don’t want to actually spend 1100 euros – you only have 1000 euros to spend. So you set up a bid cap of 1000 euros. You’re effectively saying to the Facebook algorithm: “I have 1100 euros to spend, but stop spending at 1000 euros”.

A big mistake can occur in the situation when you’re happy with the performance of the first week. You’ve spent your 1000 euros and you are keen to start scaling the campaign with a bit more budget. Forgetting to remove the spend cap at that point will mean your campaigns again stop at the amount you chose, and you miss out on all those great bottom-of-funnel actions that your well-performing campaign should have delivered!

Not checking relevance score (at the ad level)

Relevance Score is a grade that Facebook gives you as an advertiser, to signify whether or not your ad is relevant enough to reach your target audience. Relevance Score is a number from 0-10, and if you have a bad grade it could penalise your delivery, cost you more and lead to poor performance.

Not checking you Relevance Score and letting your ads continue to run is therefore a mistake. For more tips on keeping your Relevance Score high, check out our dedicated blog post here.

Frequency too high (at the ad level)

Frequency is the average number of times a user sees your ad. A high frequency (general considered to be over 3) means a user is seeing the same ad too many times. This can lead to damage to your Relevance Score if users choose to hide the ad from their feed.

Best practice according to Facebook is to keep average frequency at around 2.4.


MMR_LandingPage_Summer-SalesKeen on learning some more best practices for your social ad campaigns this summer? Download our ‘Ultimate Guide to Summer Sales Success’ and learn about how different Facebook and Instagram ad formats can help you level-up your social ad performances this summer!

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