Phillip Moorman
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While it may be rocked by the occasional scandal, Facebook in 2018 remains an unstoppable force—not just as a social network, but as a sales network.

By recent measures, mobile advertising now accounts for one-third of total ad spending, with Facebook leading the pack. For e-commerce entrepreneurs, failing to take advantage of Facebook’s power and reach would be tantamount to ignoring the potential of the Internet itself.

Unfortunately, the variables involved in paid Facebook advertising leave a lot of room for things to go wrong. Even after ad creators have gained a basic understanding of the underlying metrics, balancing these various factors can feel a lot like a tricky juggling act.

So, as you go about meeting your ROI performance goals, it pays to stay aware of a handful of potential pitfalls.

1) Your Target Audience Is Too Broad

The old adage “you have to spend money to make money” never ceases to be true. However, far too many business owners make the mistake of throwing their Facebook ad dollars in the wrong direction. If your ad is being seen by hundreds of thousands (millions?) of people who are unlikely to have an interest in it, then you have overshot your target (at your own cost!).

Take steps to narrow your criteria.

If you lack data on the demographic makeup of your customer base—whether it already exists or has yet to be built—then conduct some research (which could take the form of a fairly basic survey). Gather information that will place you in a better position to designate your targeting criteria to be as specific as possible.

Try to avoid the trap of relying on the most basic demographics like age, location and gender. Dig deeper into your customers’ lifestyles, behaviors and interests.

Take advantage of Facebook’s unprecedented ability to deliver highly specific information about potential customers (right down to their favorite bands). Use tools like Lookalike Audience, which helps you find new Facebook users whose profiles resemble those of your existing fans.

2) Your Target Audience Is Too Narrow

Remember what I said about maintaining a balance? It is always possible to go too far in either direction. While it makes sense, especially for beginners, to start with a smaller target audience and then expand out from there, making it too small will result in potential customers failing to see your campaign in your first place.

Now, instead of adding qualifiers, eliminate them.

Alternatively, expand your criteria in a way that will result in more people being included. For example, broaden the age range. Or increase your geographic reach by designating Facebook users in more cities, states or even countries as part of the target audience.

However, as your intended audience expands, make sure that your actual audience expands along with it. If your CTR (click-through rate) does not see a significant increase, then you are back to the “too broad” problem.

3) Your Timing Is Off

Let’s say that you’ve found the sweet spot. Your ad is being delivered to exactly the people for whom you intended it.

When are they seeing it?

If you schedule an ad to run all the time, then your audience may feel overwhelmed. But, depending on how much you pay for Facebook advertising services, setting specific schedules is also an option—and a valuable one.

In some cases, timing will be dictated by the content, as with a promotion tied to a certain day (which would make little or no sense to run the following day). However, the finer nuances of timing are less clear. Try scheduling ads for different days and times (and remember to take into account things like differing time zones, holidays, etc.).

Then peruse the analytics to see which performs best. You may find that, for reasons that are not entirely clear, your ad simply performs better on Mondays than on Fridays.

4) Your Campaign Could Be Smarter

When you think about it, there are countless Facebook ads that push a product, and nothing else. But given the sheer potential of the medium, it seems that advertisers could be doing so much more—and the clever ones do.

Look for ways to link one aspect of your advertising and marketing with another. Start by thinking in terms of potential benefits you could offer to prospective customers (like discounts, gift cards and other enticing offers).

For example, if you are looking to build your list of customer email addresses, use your Facebook ad to draw attention to something on your website. Once the user lands there, ask for an email address in exchange for the benefit your offer.

In this way, you are using Facebook advertising and email marketing in synergistic tandem.

5) Your Content Could Be Improved

Even with the right audience and the right idea, the execution could still be flawed.

Ask yourself questions like these:

  • Could I say the same thing in fewer words?
  • Could I use bolder words?
  • Is my sentence written in active (rather than passive) voice?
  • Is my copy free of grammatical errors?
  • Have I included a clear call to action (CTA) to motivate the customer?

Eye-grabbing, succinctly written Facebook ads are also making increasing use of emojis, which help brands connect with Millennial and younger audiences.

A snappy, imperative phrase like “Don’t miss out!” is a great way to promote an offer, but adding an hourglass emoji to emphasize the time element makes it stand out.

6) You Could Also Use a Better Image

Effective use of social media often depends on visuals as much as words. Choose an image (or video) that will be eye catching and aesthetically pleasing, even amongst a sea of images.

An obvious example would be an ad for a restaurant that showcases a particularly well-photographed, mouth-watering dish—but the same logic applies to any online enterprises. If your business is oriented more toward service than product, then the choice of visual becomes more abstract, but no less important.

No matter what type of business you operate, remember that you are playing by the same basic book of rules—and the same set of online “tools”—as your competitors. It is your job to ensure that you use them to your best advantage.

The future of sourcing starts here

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