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2.23 Billion People.

In the second quarter of 2018, this is the number of monthly active users on Facebook according to Statista.

Whether it’s a little less, or a little more, it’s hard to argue against Facebook’s prevalence in modern society. As international bestseller Seth Godin says: “Marketing Is A Contest For People’s Attention”.

With close to a third of the entire planet’s population on Facebook, it’s quite obvious where the attention is. As marketers, business people and creators, let’s take a look at some common Facebook Business Ad mistakes.

5 in fact. And how they could be costing you sales.

#1 Having Too Broad Of An Audience Size

Creating Facebook Business Ads are one thing, but choosing your target audience is a different beast entirely.

Here’s what I mean…

For one, it’s common to find businesses that try to target too broad of an audience. The intention is right, in that they’re simply trying to broaden their scope. But many times, it results in promoting a product or service that ends up with underwhelming conversions.

This is where segmentation comes in.

As you may already well know, one can specify who they target their ads to. Be it by gender, location or even interests. This works two-fold.

Firstly, you end up targeting an audience more suited to your business. But more importantly, exclude those who are unlikely to engage with your ads in the first place.

It’s that easy! Or is it?

Well, yes and no. If you’re a tennis store only targeting those who have an interest in tennis, it goes without saying, you might not get very far. To narrow your audience you can do a couple of things. A simple one being, just understanding your customer better.

Let me clarify…

It means asking yourself, what other products or services your ideal customer buys. In doing so, you taper your advertisement even further resulting in a more qualified lead.

There’s no one-size-fits-all rule. But having 500,000 to 1.5 million people as a target audience can be a good starting point if your advertising nationally or even internationally. By contrast, even a few thousand, if chosen correctly, can suffice if you target locally. Have a look at this article if you want to understand Facebook Audience Insights – one of the most useful Facebook tools.

#2 Forgetting To Collect Data

If you’re looking to maximize the full potential of Facebook Business Ads, collecting data is paramount. It allows you to create custom audiences and lookalike audiences, two things that we’ll look at shortly.

But how does one collect data?


You’ll need to install a Facebook pixel across all of your websites and landing pages. Simply put, a pixel is just a piece of code that you embed onto your domain. Once installed, Facebook will track a variety of activities in relation to those who have visited your website.

#3 Not Using Custom Audiences

You could easily classify this as an extension of the previous mistake.

I’ll explain…

As mentioned earlier, in order to create a custom audience, you must gather data. The data gathered can range from the very general to specific.

For example, once your Pixel is installed, Facebook can collate a list of the people who have:

  • visited your website
  • added an item to their cart
  • purchased a product
  • and much more

But what about something specific?

Let’s say you sell artisan hand bracelets. You can create a custom audience from people who have gone to your website and added a product to their cart but never reached the “thank-you” page as a result of an actual purchase.

What this means, is you can use this particular custom audience for a retargeting campaign for your Facebook Business Ad. In other words, you won’t need to spend excess funds testing which combination of demographics and interests you should target. Another reason for having custom audiences leads us to our next mistake…

#4 Not Using Lookalike Audiences

We’ve just seen that custom audiences can be used for purposes such as segmentation for retargeting. But what about lookalike audiences? Many people tend to get confused by the two however the difference is ‘night and day’.

Let’s look at another example.

This time you own a boutique real estate agency in Melbourne. In terms of Facebook Ads, you’re doing great! You have a target audience that isn’t too narrow nor too broad. You’ve installed a Facebook Pixel to collate data.

And what’s more… you’ve even created a custom audience. The created audience is simply based on those who have engaged with your Facebook Business Ad and have safely landed on your home page.

There’s just one problem

It’s only about 20 people and you need to scale fast. That’s where a lookalike audience comes in.

As seen previously, we can target our audience based on demographics and interests (amongst other things). To say the least, it’s a lot of trial and error. To bypass this, a lookalike audience is created from people with similar demographics, interests and behaviours as your custom audience.

In other words, it will be shown to people who are “pre-qualified” or rather, those who have the same traits as your custom audience. In this example similar traits to those who have landed on your home page.

The bottom line?

Higher conversion rates and a lower cost per purchase/lead.

It’s also compounded by the fact that lookalike audiences are generally at a minimum, around 1 million people.

Keep in mind that at least 100 datasets (ie 100 people in your custom audience) are needed for Facebook to create a lookalike audience.

So this boutique real estate agents still has some way to go!

#5 Using Wrong Conversion Objectives

Business Facebook Ads come with a variety of variables. One important one being your ad objective. Maybe you’re a budding musician who just wants more engagement in terms of likes and comments on your new guitar cover.

Or you’ve just opened a new e-commerce store and your sole goal is purchases. Both of you have ads. Both with completely different objectives.

When explicitly communicating your conversion objective to Facebook, it’ll look to promote your ads specifically to those more inclined to fulfill those individual objectives.

In simple terms, tailoring your ads towards people who in the past have taken those particular actions, or those who are more likely to.

For the e-commerce startup, they may find it utterly amazing to have 60% of people who viewed their and go to their product page. But if they haven’t optimized it for those who actually make purchases, they ultimately may be unpleasantly surprised by the final outcome.

You can also visit this article to learn more about some useful hacks and tricks for social media advertising.