7 Budget-Wasting Facebook Ad Mistakes (+ How to Avoid Them)

If you have the time to create new ads but you have no idea how to use Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator (like me), there are still options out there. Sites like Canva, my personal favorite, allow you to use premade templates to design new Facebook ads in just a few quick clicks. The interface is very user-friendly and can save tons of time.

mistakes. But who says they have to be your mistakes? Here are the most common ones I’ve seen that you can learn from.

1. Letting your ad creative get stale

But sometimes, having too tight of a hold on your audiences can be a detriment on Facebook. Just like objective optimization, we need to ensure we have enough data for Facebook to go on and see success.
Where possible, try to keep your audience mappings logical, but don’t narrow them too far. Depending on the account, I typically shoot for anywhere between 2 and 40 million users in a target audience to keep things focused and give Facebook enough performance data to optimize on.
There are quite a number of things you can do on Facebook that can cause issues, but almost invariably there are easy solutions. If you see that your Facebook campaigns aren’t doing as well as you’d like, be sure you’re not making any of these common mistakes before thinking something more nefarious is afoot.
Looking at other Facebook ad creatives can be a great way to get ideas for new posts. The ads don’t even have to be from your industry or vertical as you’re mostly looking for layout, tone, and creative ideas. Facebook has its own page aptly named Facebook Ads Inspiration, but there are also lots of blog posts out there from agencies you can find with a simple Google Search.
Not only can ad fatigue cause your performance with those assets to decline, but you’re also creating negative mental associations with your brand in your potential customers’ minds.

Image source

When it comes down to it, we’re all using online marketing to get more customers, so if you’re spending the time to build your top-of-funnel marketing, why aren’t you nurturing them through to the stages that actually generate revenue?
If you’re segmenting your audiences too far and putting them into different ad sets, you’ll likely never get out of Facebook’s learning phase.
Lifetime budgets, on the other hand, help to optimize within days for your goals, but don’t always reach the target spend each day, making pacing more difficult.
Although making new creative is likely one of the more time-consuming actions for social ads, there are some ways to help cut down on the time it takes to churn out more ad creatives:

Design Pickle. They offer a number of different tiers that can help you get new creatives on a regular basis at a fairly low cost.

2. Optimizing for the wrong objective

With all of the different targeting options Facebook has, it can be easy to build out tons of different audiences trying to reach the same users. The problem is, sometimes users fall into multiple different targeting options and based on your setup, could be showing up in multiple different groups.

campaign objectives each have their own actions they’re optimizing for. Choosing the right campaign objective can be a huge step in the right direction. If you need help choosing a campaign objective, you can check out this video.
Daily budgets, for example, help balance out spend to be consistent day over day, but while your campaigns will still try and gain as many of your conversion objectives as possible, it will also work to spend your entire budget each day regardless of conversion performance.

If you come from a Search background, odds are you like to have pretty clean campaign structures with highly segmented campaigns and ad groups so you’re able to optimize for what is and isn’t working. I know I do.
That’s not to mention using ad scheduling and other tools.
So, instead of making these mistakes, be sure to do the following:

4. Over-segmenting audiences

One misconception I come across is that all creative has to be entirely unique and custom created. Although that certainly is the dream, it’s not the case when there are plenty of sites that curate free or low-cost stock imagery for reuse. Don’t be shy about using stock photography in your creatives because honestly, some of it is really good.
If you’re leveraging Reach, Engagement, or Video Views campaigns to gain brand awareness, ideally you’ll be creating remarketing lists of users that engaged with those campaigns and targeting them later with a more mid to bottom-funnel call to action.
Look around for inspiration
Are there any mistakes you have made or seen? Let us know in the comments!
Now just because you’re not over-segmenting your audiences doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. You can also err on the other end of the spectrum.
If you’re not seeing the results you want from your Facebook campaigns or feel like you’re not getting the most for your budget, check out this post that covers the nuances of each budgeting type and be sure you’re set up for success.

5. Not checking audience overlaps

Use stock images
This can cause issues for a few reasons:
Have you ever been on Facebook and felt like you were seeing the same ads over and over and over again? We all have. It’s not enjoyable for you, so why put your audience through it?

  • It can be unclear which targeting options are working best. Users with feet in different pools can convert and Facebook will choose the most recent audience they were in to see the conversion, which isn’t always the one that had the greatest impact.
  • Ad creative fatigue can set in much quicker if you’re serving ads to users from multiple different ad sets or campaigns. The frequency numbers we see will only correlate to that individual ad set or campaign, so fully understanding saturation across those levels can be difficult.
check out this post.  

6. Controlling placements rather than customizing

This could be as simple as bringing them to your website for ungated content, asking for a lead generation form fill for gated content, or as complex as requesting a demo or making a purchase on a landing page.
When users get to the Placements portion of the ad set controls, it can be very tempting to pick and choose which to have your ad show up in. But that’s not always in your best interest.

check out this video. 
full buyer journey.

The Facebook and Instagram networks are pretty vast and that means your ads can show up in a number of placements around the web.


Additionally, the smaller your audience is on Facebook, the higher CPMs you’ll pay. This means it’s more expensive to reach the same audience if you’ve broken up targeting options into 10 different ad sets rather than 3-4.
Leverage design tools

Avoid these Facebook ad mistakes and reach your goals

This can cause you to miss KPIs and under-serve your audience as a whole.
Facebook has a number of ways to optimize for your goals, and for some, these options can get confusing.

  1. Use tools to get inspiration for new creative, such as Facebook Ads Inspiration, canvas, or even stock photos.
  2. Make sure you have a clear understanding of campaign objectives so you can make the appropriate optimizations.
  3. Make sure you understand the nuances of budget controls.
  4. Keep your target audiences between 2 and 40 million users to collect enough data.
  5. Use the Audience Overlap tool to make sure you’re not serving the same ads to the same users multiple times.
  6. Make sure you start with all placements and then refine once you’ve collected data.
  7. Set up your campaigns such that each one is a different part of the same buyer journey.

The Facebook Ads platform has been around for nearly a decade now and over that time, it’s gone through a number of iterations. Best practices come and go, new features are constantly being added, and it’s easier than ever to make a simple mistake that could cause your ad campaigns to fall short of your goals.