5 Ways You’re Wasting Money on Facebook Advertising

The Facebook advertising platform has a ton of great options when it comes to ads and targeting. This makes it a prime tool to help your business grow, but it also means it can be confusing. 

If you’re just starting out and trying to set up and run campaigns on your own, it can be very easy to make mistakes. Whether you’re creating campaigns or auditing existing campaigns, look out for these 5 ways you might be wasting money on Facebook ads.

Check if you’re wasting money on Google Ads here!


1. Not Excluding Your Customers

There are some cases where you’ll want to explicitly target your existing audience. You might have a product people buy every so often like makeup, or you might cross-sells or upsells that make sense. In those cases, you’ll want to set up dedicated retargeting campaigns.

But for any prospecting campaigns where you’re trying to find brand new customers, you should exclude all your current customers. Not only will this save you money by not wasting it on people who have already purchased, it will also keep them from getting annoyed and bombarded with irrelevant ads. No one wants to keep seeing ads for something they’ve already bought.

Screenshot of Facebook Ad settings to create a custom audience.

In addition to excluding customers from prospecting campaigns, you should also be excluding your website visitors.

Once they click through to your website, this will take them out of your prospecting campaigns, and they will fall into your retargeting campaigns.

Keep your prospecting campaigns for top of funnel users who are not familiar with your brand yet. The messaging should be different to these people than people who are already familiar with your brand.


2. Using Ad Campaigns for Page Likes

There is very little reason to spend money on getting people to “like” your business’ Facebook page. Back in the day, this made a lot more sense as you could pay a small amount for a fan, and they would then be able to see your organic posts for free. 

Organic reach is not what it used to be, and the number of likes a page has is nothing but a vanity metric. As you start advertising, you’ll naturally start to get more likes on your page. But more important is engagement and that you’re hitting the right people with your ads and posts.

If you’re trying to build a big community within the Facebook landscape, then it might make sense to run them. But if you’re trying to get people to your website to buy or do anything else, skip the page like campaigns and go after what it is you really want.

It’s also important to remember that you don’t “own” your Facebook page. You’re renting it from Facebook, and it could be taken from you at any moment. But you do own your website and your email list, which can prove to be much more valuable. 


3. Not Utilizing the Facebook Pixel Properly

If you’re spending money on Facebook advertising, you better have the Facebook pixel installed on your site! 

This is what allows you to run retargeting campaigns on Facebook. You’re missing out on big opportunities if you’re ignoring your best audience - people who’ve already visited your site.

Screenshot of the setup screen for a Facebook Pixel.

Retargeting is one major aspect of the Facebook Pixel, and the other is tracking conversions. If you want Facebook to optimize towards people who convert on your website in order for them to find more people who are likely to convert as well, you have to feed this data back to Facebook.

By installing different conversions for leads, registrations, purchases, etc., Facebook can gather information on what type of people are taking these different actions so it knows who to target in ads, ultimately making you more money.

If you do not have any conversion events set up on your website, the best Facebook can do for you is try to get more people who will click on your ads. The problem with this is that not everyone who clicks has the intent to buy. You might end up with more traffic to your site, but fewer conversions.


4. Optimizing Toward the Wrong Objective or Conversion

If your goal is to get conversions on your website, your objective should be conversions, and you should choose the specific conversion action you’re looking for. You should not be optimizing towards video views. Don’t try to trick the system. Tell Facebook exactly what it is you want, and it will go after the people most likely to take the desired action. 

Screenshot of Campaign Details which includes 'Buying Type' and 'Objective.'

 Screenshot of Conversion settings.

Like I mentioned above, not all those who click are buyers. If you optimize your campaigns toward traffic and clicks, you will get more people to your site. But they could just be click happy, looking for information, or digitally window shopping. Your conversions and conversion rate will suffer.

On the flip side, you might want to drive people to consume content and get as many eyeballs as possible, in which case it makes sense to optimize toward traffic.


5. Using Too Broad of a Target

Facebook has amazing options when it comes to how you can target. One common mistake you should avoid is targeting too broad of an audience, especially with smaller budgets.

As you’re building out your targeting, Facebook will give you estimates of how large of an audience you have. 

Screenshot of Audience Definition and Estimated Daily Results.

In this example, our audience size is 32 million people. That’s not very defined. 

We want to start with low-hanging fruit of targeting we think has the best chance of success. From there, we can start to scale up and cast wider nets with our targeting.

Another mistake is putting too many interests or demographic targeting in one ad set. 

Screenshot of Detailed Targeting info on Campaign Settings.

In this example, we’re trying to reach parents of infants. But if we put all of these audiences together, Facebook is looking for people who fall into any of these buckets. That’s again making our audience much broader.

It’s also preventing us from being able to tell which audiences are performing well or hurting performance. If we broke them all out into separate ad sets, we would be able to tell if one particular audience resonates better than the rest, and we can reduce our wasted spend on those audiences that didn’t work for us/


Next Steps

This is only scratching the surface on a few quick and easy ways to reduce wasted ad spend on Facebook. If you’re looking to start advertising on Facebook or want to improve and grow your current advertising program, reach out to us for an audit and strategy session. We’d love to help!

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