By Michael Berean

November 3rd, 2017

As organic reach continues to wane, social media advertising is set to take on even more importance in the coming year. But to make the most of your ad budget in 2018,  you’d best relegate these common social media advertising mistakes to the past.

1. Not knowing your goals
One of the first steps in creating a successful paid media campaign is having clarity about your brand goals.

Are you looking to drive traffic to your website with your ad? Maybe you want to garner more video views? How about a good ol’ fashioned brand awareness campaign? Having your goals mapped out will help you manage expectations, build a sound strategy, and implement the right tactical approach that will bring you the most ROI for your ad spend.

For example, if you are looking to drive more sales qualified traffic to your site, one of the very first steps in the workflow would be to properly configure your Facebook Pixel tracking code and set up your site analytics, for example, Google Analytics. It’s vital as an advertiser to have insight into exactly how much attention your website is getting from your ads. A major KPI within your campaign will be click-through-rate from social media and you definitely need eyes on that.

In comparison, if you are launching a Facebook Ad campaign and are solely looking for video views or brand awareness, you can forgo the Pixel, but you should still pay attention to your analytics and see if the direct traffic increases, as this could be a result of your efforts. It is not the most concrete KPI, but still gives you valuable insights into whether or not your efforts are working.

Having your goals determined and mapping out a social advertising strategy around these goals will help you build successful campaigns that move the needle and increase your ROI.

social media advertising mistakes

Facebook Pixel lets you track ad conversions and build targeted audiences for future ads and remarketing.

2. Not properly configuring your conversion tracking
Whether you are running ads on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, configuring your conversion tracking is a must if you want to really get the most out of your ad budget.

Why do people choose to use social media for paid ads? Why is traditional print and radio marketing dying out? Because online you have the ability to track the performance of your ads from impressions and views, to click-through and conversion rates. The data matters and without it, you’re in the dark.

Facebook provides an incredible tool called Facebook Pixel. The Pixel, for the most part, is code that you place on your site that can map specific actions that are taken from your ads. For instance, it would track a user who clicks on your ad, visits your site, clicks on a product, and then makes a purchase. Whether you are dealing with a finicky client or a boss who is keen on the details, having this insight and being able to report on it is an incredible resource.

However, with that said, we have found that some marketers skip the Pixel altogether or do not know how to properly configure it. We can’t stress it enough, use the Pixel!

When you configure it you will be able to choose from a list of “events” you would like to track. This is the stage where you will apply campaign specifics and set up conversion tracking that is relevant to your goals. For instance,  if you want to drive traffic to a lead page for an ebook sign up, you might choose the “Complete Registration” tracking, whereas if you are interested in product purchases you would use “Purchase” tracking.

Once you choose your relevant event, Facebook will guide you through the process of properly placing the code on your site.

3. Neglecting to A/B Test
Oh, the wonders of the modern world! With great power comes great A/B testing. If you are not familiar with A/B testing, then it’s time to get cozy with it.

A/B testing, simply put, is the method of testing two things against each other. It could be an email with two subject lines created to see which subject line performs best or it could be two landing pages with different marketing copy built to see which creates more conversion.

A/B testing social media ads is important because it allows you to experiment and find out which ad copy, creative, campaign objective, or audience is performing best. By implementing A/B testing you further refine your ad performance and create more opportunity for a return on your ad spend.

This is also where organic posts still have an important role: A/B test them, then put ad spend behind the optimized post.

social media advertising mistakes

A/B testing is how you can identify what is working and tighten up your ad strategy accordingly.

4. Not defining personas
Personas are characters that represent your potential customers or audience members.

Based on a set of traits, behaviors, and the interests of the customer, you can start building personas that will help create ads that the market will respond to. When you start to understand your customer on a deeper level you’re able to create ads that resonate with them. This can lead to higher ad performance and an increase in engagement.

An example of a persona would be:

Bill the Barber: Millennial. Uses primarily Facebook and Instagram. Engages with Facebook video. Follows accounts on Instagram for hair and beard tips.

Sporty Susan: Fitness Addict. Loves Instagram. Follows health food accounts. Reads blogs on fitness and eating healthy.

By building personas, you will have a better idea of what your customer wants to see, what language they understand, and even what type of media is best suited for them, be it video, graphics or blogs.

social media advertising mistakes

Personas will inform your ad strategy on everything to the preferred channel to industry jargon.

5. Lacking ad creative diversity
No two people are the same. Therefore no two users are. People respond to different types of ad creative and it’s important to take a look at what is out there today and apply it accordingly. By diversifying your ad creative you are appealing to different types of people with different types of attention spans, interests, motives, and objectives.

Today, a large portion of users consume video, especially on Facebook, Instagram,  Snapchat, but try testing different video lengths and styles. From news updates to animation, there are so many forms of videos being launched today, it’s worth it to try different forms of video and see what sticks.

Instagram, in particular, is the network brands are turning to for its visually creative power.

In addition to video, audio today is more relevant and important than ever. Why? Because it saves people time and if you have noticed, saving time is a huge trend online. Releasing short form audio ads, podcast snippets, or “how-to” monologues are great ways to diversify ad creative and reach a different type of audience.

Facebook Carousel ads get 10x the clickthrough of other formats.

6. Choosing the wrong marketing objective
The first thing Facebook asks you when you launch an ad campaign is, what is your marketing objective?

Are you looking to drive traffic? Increase video views? Push an app download? It’s really important to properly configure your ad type and choose the right one for your campaign.

If you choose reach as your main ad objective, Facebook will allocate and optimize your budget to reach more people, however, if your goal is to drive more traffic to your site or have more post engagement, this would be the wrong option.

Facebook knows which of its users are more prone to certain actions within your audience. If you are targeting 100,000 people and select video views as your marketing objective, Facebook will push your ads to users within the 100,000 that are more likely to consume video content based on their data.

This is why it is vital to choose the marketing objective to most relates to your campaign goals because it can really have an impact on the success of your campaign.

7. Improper targeting
As important as relevant creative is to your audience, so is choosing the right audience for your campaign. Through targeting, Facebook provides a platform for you to reach the masses with your message. The idea is to get the most impact for your marketing dollars and by targeting the ideal audience, you help increase your chances of success. However, if you improperly target an audience on Facebook, you could waste unnecessary marketing dollars.

One of the most popular mistakes social advertisers make is going too broad with the targeting. Based on your budget, you are only going to reach a percentage of the overall audience, so you want that audience to be as defined as possible.

It’s important to narrow down your audience as much as possible to create more relevancy for your ads. You should also know when to post for that audience if you want to maximize your reach.

social media advertising mistakes

Take advantage of Facebook’s Custom Audiences to exclude people who already know your brand.

When targeting, it is also important to refine your demographic. If you are a fun, hip lifestyle brand, it is possible you may want to limit your age demographic to increase the performance of your budget. Certain demographics also respond better to different forms of creative, take this into consideration when launching ad campaigns.

Leave old habits behind to succeed in 2018
As we roll into 2018 marketers have never been so spoilt for choice with social media advertising formats. Just be sure not to blunt your impact and squander your budget with these easy to make, but simple to remedy mistakes.

To really win success with social media advertising you need to focus on personalization. We discuss that here in What’s the Secret Sauce in Social Media Advertising?

The Essential Social Networks Guide for Marketers.

Want more advertising tips? Download the complete marketer's guide to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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