Copy Code to Clipboard

If you’re a coach or course creator and you plan to use Facebook ads, you need to avoid three common Facebook ad mistakes. 

Hey, I’m Jenn Possick, The Ads Maven. I run ads for 6- and 7-figure coaches and course creators to help them grow their email lists and fuel their launch events. I’ve been an ads strategist for over 8 years. I know what works and what doesn’t. 

Don’t be a victim to 3 common Facebook ad mistakes

Here are some lessons from a real-life Facebook Ad Horror Story…

As a Facebook Ads Manager, I regularly hear about Facebook ad failures from potential clients. 

“Jenn – help! Why haven’t I gotten any results from my Facebook Ads?”

Whenever I ‘peek under the hood’ and check the ad account of someone who says this, I regularly have to brace myself. 

Today, I want to share one of the worst Facebook ad cases I’ve encountered—a true horror story—that just made my heart hurt.

Facebook Ad Mistake #1: Your Facebook Ads Manager doesn’t know what they’re doing 

Let me tell you about Becky (*not her real name).

When Becky came to me, she had poured almost $2K into running Facebook ads. 

She had even hired someone who said they “knew what they were doing.” 

Becky has an awesome business with amazing life-changing offerings. But she needed to get some leads, and the money she’d previously spent on Facebook ads had no results.  

Zero leads.

When she showed me her ad account, I immediately knew why.

It’s the same mistake I have seen SO MANY people make.

Facebook Ad Mistakes Jenn Possick

However, in this instance, it was the first time (but certainly not the last) I’d seen someone who called themselves a Facebook Ads Manager make this fatal ad mistake.

This honestly made me so mad for her. She had hired someone who claimed to know what they were doing with Facebook ads, and yet they made a super basic mistake.

The Lesson:  If you’re hiring someone, be sure to ask for previous results. Have they gotten results for a similar campaign before? Verify that their experience meets your needs.

Facebook Ad Mistake #2: Your ad Objective doesn’t align with the overall goal for your ads

So, what basic Facebook ad mistake did Becky’s ad person make? They were running ads for the wrong Objective.

Don’t run ads for the wrong Objective

This is critical. Here’s why:

Facebook’s algorithm is brilliant. Besides knowing more about you than your best friend does, it also knows how we use Facebook.

It knows who is the most likely to scroll.
It knows who is the most likely to click to a website.
It knows who is the most likely to convert into a lead or a sale.

In Step 1 of starting your ad campaign, you need to set your Objective.

Some common Objectives include:

  • Engagement
  • Video Views
  • Messages
  • Traffic
  • Conversions

However, 90% of your ad campaigns should have the Objective set up to run for Conversions.

Why? Because for the majority of the time, you’re looking for someone who will convert into a lead or a sale.

Let’s say your goal is to get someone to sign up for a lead magnet to get on your email list. However, if you run the ad for Traffic, Facebook’s algorithm will optimize your audience and only show the ad to those who are most likely to click to your website. 

This is not ideal because it doesn’t meet your ultimate goal.

Now what you actually need to do is run the ad for Conversions. This way, the algorithm will show the ad to those in your audience who are most likely to convert into a lead.

As a result, you end up getting a better cost per conversion, which ultimately saves you money and gives you a better ROI.

In Becky’s case, her ad person had selected an Objective that was even worse than running ads for Traffic.

They were running the ads for Reach!

Why it’s a HUGE mistake to run ads for Reach 

Ads for Reach means that Facebook will show your ad to as many people in your audience as possible. Typically, it costs about $35 to show your Reach ad to about 1,000 people.

But this means it’s showing the ad to people who are most likely to view the ad, as opposed to those likely to take the desired action—such as signing up for the lead magnet, going back to Becky’s case. 

In fact, the only time you’d actually want to run ads for Reach is if you have a warm, highly targeted audience of people who have already opted-in, and you have a very short period of time to reach them all.

But this was not the situation for Becky’s case. 

Her ad person had made two mistakes here: Not only were they running this ad for Reach to a cold audience, but the audience was way too big. 

(How big is too big? I’ll get to that in just a minute.)

The Lesson: 90% of the time, your ads should run for Conversions.

Please note: In order to run ads for conversions, you do need to have a Facebook pixel properly placed.

Facebook Ad Mistake #3: Your audience size and targeting are incorrect

Becky’s third issue is a very common Facebook ad mistake to avoid: Her audience was way too big and not well-targeted.

Facebook literally has millions of ways you can target an audience. 

Don’t make your audience too big

If you’re targeting by country or larger, you want your audience size to be around 1 million.

Becky’s audience? 44 times that.

Her audience was around 44 million people, and included targeting options like people interested in Oprah.

This is too big!

Here’s why: Have you ever watched Oprah’s show or clicked on something related to Oprah on Facebook? My guess is yes. But that doesn’t tell me much about you and your personal interests.

An ‘interest in Oprah’ is way too vague because she is too big of a brand.

Be sure to layer your audience targeting correctly

Becky’s ad person also made rookie Facebook ad mistakes with audience targeting. 

Effective audience targeting should help you narrow your audience. However, Becky’s audience targeting was “piled” on top of each other. 

Her ad person targeted people who had an interest in Oprah OR Tony Robbins OR yoga. 

Instead of precisely targeting a specific group of people, this actually just adds more and more groups of people! 

This is not what I recommend. 

With audiences, you need to layer your targeting. Facebook has an amazing feature that lets us do this.  

What is layered targeting?

Instead of saying “I want to target people interested in A or B or C,” you can say “I want to target people interested in A and also interested in B or C but not interested in D.”

Layering your targeting helps you narrow down your ideal client. 

Going back to Becky’s case, a better targeting option would have been an interest in Oprah AND Tony Robbins AND yoga.

(Now, honestly, this may still have been too vague and too large, but it would definitely be better than the previous targeting.)

The Lesson: If you’re targeting by country or larger, your audience size should be around 1 million. Be sure to use layered targeting to narrow down your audience.

Final Takeaways

From Becky’s story, we learned some important lessons, and the top 3 Facebook ad mistakes to avoid:

  1. Make sure your Facebook Ads Manager knows what they’re doing. Verify that their experience meets your needs. Ask for examples of previous results.
  2. Check that your ads are set up to the correct Objective. 
  3. Make sure your audiences are the correct size and well-targeted using layers. 

And in the end, Becky’s horror story did have a storybook ending after all. 

After explaining the common errors I saw in her Facebook ad campaigns, she decided to sign up for strategy sessions with me. Together, we made some simple changes to her ad Objectives and audience targeting. 

As a result, and for the first time ever, she finally started getting leads in her business through Facebook ads!

Are you ready to start bringing in leads for your business? 

Ready to run Facebook ads that are effective?

If so, let’s schedule a time to chat. >>

-Jenn Possick, The Ads Maven