5 Typical Facebook Ad Mistakes That Are Hurting Your Budget.

Here’s how to get more bang for your buck with Facebook advertising.
Maria Toft
March 19, 2019 - 5 min. read

Facebook has become one of the most cost-effective and accurate advertising channels available today. With over 2.3 billion monthly active users and a sophisticated algorithm that understands behavior and intent, Facebook provides digital marketers with one of their best chances to get their ads in front of the right eyeballs.

The abundance of data and targeting options allow the testing of audiences, ads and landing pages. But be mindful of your mistakes—they can hurt your business if you waste too much budget trying to find the right customers without a clear strategy and understanding of your target persona.

Here are the biggest Facebook ad mistakes to avoid:

1. Targeting too big of an audience

One of the most common Facebook ad mistakes that will quickly waste your budget is that your target audience is simply too big. With a large audience, you run the risk of burning your budget quickly while hoping that your ads are seen by the people that your content resonates with. Don’t base your advertising campaigns on guesswork. Instead, take advantage of the multiple targeting options offered by Facebook to narrow down your audience and tailor your ad content accordingly.

How? Too many options and opportunities can sometimes hurt more than help. The key is to get a 360-degree view of your audience to better understand which targeting options can help you fulfill your business goals.

Tip: Use a customer experience tool such as Falcon to get a full view of your customers and prospects. Social media provides almost limitless insight into your audiences, but when you begin to connect data across touchpoints, it becomes more difficult to understand their behavior. This is when social listening and CX become powerful tools. With Falcon’s Audience, you can create group profiles who are talking about topics relevant to your business on social media and sync this with your CRM data to get a 360-degree view of all your customers’ interactions.

““The more you know about your customers, the more you can provide to them information that is increasingly useful, relevant, and persuasive.””

Jay Baer

2. Not excluding those who have already seen your Facebook ads or taken action

There is nothing worse than wasting your Facebook advertising budget on people who already know about your product or have seen your ad over and over again. Save your money by excluding Facebook Custom Audiences; these can be compiled based on visits to your website, actions taken with your brand, or your Facebook followers.


  • Exclude people who have visited specific landing pages. To create a Custom Audience in Facebook that groups the people who have already visited your website, make sure to create and implement a Facebook Pixel on your website.
  • Exclude people who already like your Facebook page. If you are trying to extend your brand reach and attract new audiences to your site, exclude your existing Facebook followers. Your followers are your brand advocates, so don’t flood them with the messages they have already seen.
facebook ad mistakes custom audience targeting

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

Tip: Set up your Custom Audiences based on which actions people have taken with your brand or which landing pages they have visited. This allows you to create remarketing campaigns with more tailored offers.

3. Not learning from your organic posts

If your paid marketing campaigns exist in isolation from the rest of your marketing programs, you are missing out on valuable data and insights from all your customers’ touch points—and that’s a major Facebook ad mistake. Use the data from organic posts to understand which content your audience is interested in and transfer those learnings to your paid efforts.

Global travel site Skyscanner provides a great example of how organic social learnings drove a successful advertising and PR campaign. Skyscanner came up with three creative concepts for a holiday campaign, then tested them on social media to judge the best direction. The winner was…none of them. Armed with this insight, the team went back to the drawing board to produce a more resonating campaign. While revisiting the data, they also used a small amount of ad spend to target specific focus groups and test once again. Learning from their results, Skyscanner created one of their most successful campaigns.

Facebook advertising mistakes examples skyscanner

A look at how Skyscanner’s creative changed from left to right, after learning from their social media posts.

4. Forgetting your Lookalike Audience targeting

Facebook’s Lookalike targeting is an easy way to find new and highly relevant customers without having to invest in research or multiple rounds of testing that could fritter away your budget. Lookalike Audiences are people who are likely to be interested in your business or product because they display similar interests or characteristics to your existing customers.

It’s easy to avoid the Facebook marketing mistake of missing out on this powerful targeting tool.


  • Only use your best Custom Audience (social followers, customer database, or loyal customer list and brand advocates).
  • Choose a smaller Audience size. When creating your Lookalike Audience, you can pick an Audience size from 1% to 10% of the total population in the country you choose, with 1% being those who most closely match your seed audience. The lower the percentage, the smaller and more targeted the audience.
  • Layer on other targeting options, such as interest and behavioral targeting to narrow your reach and better match your ideal customer.
facebook marketing mistakes lookalike audience targeting

Choosing an Audience Size of 1% will make your Lookalike Audience match your source customer group more precisely.

5. Not documenting your results

Whether they be wins or fails, make sure to document your results so you can continue to improve and not lose sight of what you have tested in the past.

Make sure you are tracking the right metrics and summarizing learnings. (Hint: our Social ROI Handbook will help you establish the right metrics and how to break down goals so that your team is set up to measure the real impact of your social media marketing). Make it a habit of making data easily available to your team.


  • Create a document with your results and learnings.
  • Share learnings with your team, and key insights with the entire organization.
  • Revisit your results after a while. As Facebook advertising evolves quite rapidly, new opportunities might arise that you may have previously disregarded based on test results. For example, the use of video content has ramped up massively over the past year and proven itself a highly effective tactic for brands.

So, digital marketers, before you create your next Facebook advertising campaign take a second to consider if your budget is being optimally spent. Do the math and work on creating the perfect targeting options for your brand –  this will help to ensure your content reaches your intended audience without spamming the feeds of your other Facebook followers or users.

Make it a habit to be there in the moments that matter to key individuals. Maximize the return on Facebook ad spend with a clear objective in mind, be it awareness, consideration or conversion. Last but not least, experiment with your campaigns – success in digital marketing is all about learning. Applying today’s lessons will help lift your Facebook campaign’s ROI tomorrow.