facebook ad mistakes

The Facebook Ad system is a complex one. 

There’s no getting around that.

There are so many options ranging from targeting to placements to creative strategies, and while this is great for customisation, it also leaves plenty of room open for errors. 

Even small mistakes can unfortunately derail an otherwise strong campaign, making troubleshooting a little more complicated. 

There is a silver lining here, however… 

The vast majority of campaigns are suffering from at least one of seven extremely common mistakes that we see popping up again and again.

Once you know what these mistakes are, you’re able to watch for them and address them moving forward.

If you’re currently struggling with your ad campaigns, take a look at these seven common-but-devastating Facebook Ad mistakes that you’re probably making and how to fix them!

Quick Navigation to Facebook Ad Mistakes

1. You Aren’t Taking Ad Funnels Into Account 

This is often the biggest mistake we see brands making on Facebook Ads.

They’re focusing exclusively on single campaigns as individual units instead of working to create cohesive ad funnels.

Ad funnels allow you to nurture audiences more effectively, showing them relevant messaging at the right time to build a relationship that will hopefully lead to conversions. 

You may start with a video ad appealing to cold audiences, for example, and then create a retargeting campaign for a lead generation ad based on those past video views. 

If you aren’t using ad funnels, you’re almost definitely letting potential customers who otherwise may have converted slip away.

Most customers need to see content from a brand multiple times before they’re willing to purchase.

Segment your campaigns by cold, warm, and hot audiences, and consider the best messaging and offers to use for each one.

In the examples below from our client Sweet Packs, cold audiences are shown an introductory campaign designed to explain the product before warm audiences are shown a campaign that encourages users to order a sample. 

The first ad someone would see, if they’ve never seen the brand before

facebook ads cold

Retarget that person who has then visited the website, viewed the video or engaged in their page.

facebook ads retargeting

Cold audiences would likely benefit from ads focusing on introducing them to the brand or product, while long-time established customers would be most receptive to a re-engagement campaign that’s reminding them to purchase again.

2. You Aren’t Nerding Out Over Retargeting 

We’ve already mentioned retargeting in the section above, but it’s so important that it’s getting its own section here.

If you aren’t leveraging retargeting, then you likely aren’t creating strong ad funnels, so the two work hand in hand. 

Retargeting allows you to show specific groups of users content that’s most relevant to them, but unlike generic interest or demographic targeting, you’re using the individual’s current relationship and recent actions with your brand to structure campaigns and reach them.

A few options for retargeting on Facebook include:

  • Retargeting based on your email list, or segments of your email list. Segments can be broken down into cold/warm/hot, or be based on a customer’s past purchases (petite clothing vs. tall clothing). 
  • Retargeting based on users who recently engaged with you on social accounts, including those who watched a for a certain period or percentage of time or who liked an Instagram post.
  • Retargeting based on website activity. If a user clicks on your order checkout page but does not ever reach the order confirmation page, there’s a good chance you have a high-intent abandoned cart users on your hands. An ad campaign like the example below would work well here. You can also target users who have viewed specific product or service pages with dynamic retargeting.
retargeting advertisement

There are more retargeting options available, all of which can be found under Facebook’s “custom audience” section.

For best results, you’ll want to have retargeting campaigns set up alongside your initial brand awareness campaigns so you can keep people moving through the funnel. 

Facebook retargeting can also massively help you increase your eCommerce brands conversion rate.

3. You’re Neglecting LTV

Your customer lifetime value (LTV) is an essential metric that most brands forget, especially when considering acquisition costs.

A single purchase from a customer may drive £15 in sales, and your calculations tell you that you can only afford £3 in cost-per-purchase (CPP) costs in order to maintain profitability once you factor in things like shipping costs, abandoned clicks, and other overhead.

But once you realise that customers are likely to yield £300 in sales over their lifetime, you may discover that you can afford to spend more.

Keep in mind that it’s estimated to be anywhere from 5-25x more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.

In addition to reassessing what you can afford to spend, keep in mind that you also need to use re-engagement campaigns regularly, ensuring that you’re boosting LTV and keeping customers around.

Companies like Sephora make use of “exclusive” loyalty programs and rewards programs, which are all designed to keep customers engaged and purchasing more with rewards like free birthday gifts or discount codes.

facebook ad example

4. Your Creative is Unoriginal or Stale (Or Both)

When users see your ad, it needs to really capture their attention.

There’s so much going on in the feed that if they aren’t excited and motivated to act, they’ll keep on scrolling past.

The best way to create exciting and persuasive creatives is to create audience segments and then focus on appealing to their specific motivations and pain points.

As you do this, you’ll highlight unique features and benefits that would most appeal to each audience segment, explaining how your product can solve the specific problems they have.

Let’s look at three ad examples from HelloFresh, each of which focuses on different pain points and how they impact different audience segments.

The first campaign focuses on busy individuals who don’t have time for planning, shopping, and prepping. They talk about how easy and fast it is, and all you need to do is select the meals you want!

hello fresh facebook ad

Next, you’ve got an ad that’s reminding ad viewers that they are the UK’s leading recipe and meal box.

They’re trying to build trust, promising that their recipes are tested, their high-quality ingredients come from reliable suppliers, and that everything is pre-portioned.

This can overcome an objection, and encourage users to try it.

hello fresh ad example 2

And finally, we’ve got an ad that’s focusing on eating fresh, and how easy it is to eat well with home-cooked food, and now for 50% off! This is meant to appeal to healthy eaters.

hello fresh ad example 3

These are three very different pain points, and by creating multiple ad campaigns, the company was able to appeal to every single one.

5. You’re Forgetting Lookalike Audiences

Lookalike audiences are a little like low-hanging fruit, allowing you to create audiences full of cold users who are similar to customers that you already have.

This feature is most effective when used to target your most high-value customers, which can include those who spend the most per purchase or who have the highest retention rates.

facebook lookalike audience

You choose one of your custom audiences as a lookalike source, set the locations you want to target, and then choose “audience size.”

Audience size can be tricky; the smaller the audience is, the closer they’ll be to the original custom audience.

You want to strike a balance here, prioritising similarity while still ensuring you’re reaching enough people.

If you’re wondering what lookalike audiences can do for you, check out our case study that shows how we helped SNKR Supplies achieve 3.5x ROAS and grow 25x using this strategy.

6. You’re Not Monitoring Your Campaigns Regularly 

If you aren’t staying on top of your campaigns constantly, it will come back to bite you.

Even if you have a few ads that seem to be performing well right out of the gate, it doesn’t mean things will stay that way.

Performance on your ads can change quickly due to a number of different factors, including changes in the market, adjustments to the algorithm, and more. 

Pricing fluctuates, and certain ads may be prioritised over others.

It’s also important to note that once the frequency creeps on your campaigns, your performance is likely to dwindle; everyone who would convert has already done so.

Watch your campaigns closely.

Even automated rules aren’t a replacement for a dedicated account manager.

If you don’t have the time to stay on top of your ad account, consider working with an agency like ours to help.


If you’re struggling with your Facebook Ads, you definitely aren’t alone. Many of our clients come to us because they’re frustrated with the results they’re getting (or aren’t getting), and feel like they’re throwing money out the door.

If this sounds familiar, revisit your current campaigns and see if any of these common Facebook Ad mistakes could be the culprit. You may even see that several are impacting your account, and a few quick fixes is all you need to get things straightened out.

Interested in growing your brand more aggressively through Facebook Ads and getting results fast? Learn more about how we can help you here.

Jack Shepherd
Co-Founder @ The Social Shepherd⁣

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