Facebook browser open on laptop on deskFacebook boasts over a billion users that spend an average of 40 minutes a day on the platform. Facebook ads allow you to target all of these users—but they only work if done correctly. Are you spending time and money on Facebook ads and not seeing the results you want? You’re not the only one, and there are some common mistakes you can address that will improve your results.


This is typically where most Facebook ads fail. You’re not focusing on the right audience, or you’re being too specific or too broad with your current one. You might even be making these costly errors. For example, are you targeting:

All languages

Is your ad copy in English? If so, you want to make sure you’re filtering for English speakers only, so potential viewers actually understand your ad. Facebook’s default is to target all languages. This can be a major money pit, especially if you’re optimizing for impressions—people seeing your ad won’t necessarily understand it!

Broad keywords

Let’s say you sell expensive goods. Your first instinct might be to hone in on people who are interested in other expensive things like Mercedes, Louis Vuitton or high-rise condos.

Here’s the catch: there are plenty of people who like those things, but they might not necessarily be able to afford them or be able to afford your similar products. Try choosing people who have buying behaviors that would fit your ideal customer, as opposed to interests.

National audiences

While this isn’t necessarily the best approach for every campaign, local targeting is often overlooked. With Facebook ads, the more accurate and specific you can be, the more high quality leads you will get. The potential reach of a national audience is enticing, but the quality of an audience that size is often lacking.

If it makes sense for you to go after people who live in your area, do it! It might make sense for you to focus your spend on a national audience if you ship your products or if they’re available digitally. Otherwise, local is the way to go. You might see fewer clicks to your site, but sales and qualified leads will increase.

One attribute

Understand your buyer persona. Where are they hanging out online? What products do they buy when they go to the grocery store? Are they married or single? Facebook Audiences provides that information, which allows you to reach potential customers much more accurately.

Try adjusting to include attributes of the whole person, not just one specific hobby or interest. For example, if you have an art gallery and want to reach people who are interested in art, try the targeting whole person of your ideal buyer. Maybe that means targeting males between the ages of 30-50 who make an income of over $100,000, have above average spending habits, and who are into art.

Leave it at that and don’t get any more specific on the interests (i.e. adding the interests of fine art or competitor’s galleries). This will allow Facebook to cleverly target those users who are similar to your ideal buyer—you’re selling yourself short when you just focus on one piece of the person.

A/B testing

Each of your ads is probably geared toward a different potential audience; instead of guessing and relying on your gut to choose wording or images, try testing a few. This is known as A/B testing, you’re comparing ad A to ad B.

The key to useful A/B testing is making each ad exactly the same except for the one piece you want to test, like the background color. If you change several attributes, you won’t be able to tell which one made the difference when you’re ready to design your next round of ads.

I typically play around with A/B testing when it comes down to the copy or description of the ad. Try out asking questions, creating intrigue, or educating viewers with different ad copy. Facebook will take whichever one is performing the best and start displaying it more. You can then go in your Ads Manager and shut off the other ads and let the best one shine!

Using A/B testing takes the guesswork out of your ad creation. You won’t be wasting time and money on ads that aren’t performing as well as they could be with different copy.

Ad optimization

Facebook has built-in ad optimization tools that you can select from when you’re creating a new campaign. These tools correspond with different marketing objectives. Are you trying to drive people to your website to purchase something? Or maybe you’re trying to garner brand awareness? Currently, Facebook boasts 11 different campaign objectives.

You want to make sure you’re choosing the best objective for your marketing goals. This not only will ensure that you’re reaching the right people, but your ad’s success will be measured by objective-specific metrics.

Below are some of the most common objectives:


Choose this consideration if you’re looking to grab people from your Facebook ad and send them to your website. You might be looking to get them to sign up for your email list or even make a purchase. You will be able to track the success of your ads by installing your Facebook Pixel.

Brand awareness

You want people to recognize your brand and associate it with your industry. Facebook will focus on showing your ad to people who are more likely to be interested in it—viewers will see your ad up to two times every five days.

They then measure how many people are likely to remember your brand (after two days have passed) because of the ad; this is known as ad recall and is the metric used to measure success in this type of campaign.

Local awareness

Does your business thrive on in-store interactions? Get potential customers off Facebook and into your store with the local awareness objective. These ads showcase a CTA like “call now” or “get directions.” This objective cuts out your website as the middleman and allows viewers to access your information straight from the ad.


This objective works nicely when you’re trying to reach as many people as possible with your ad. You might choose this if you’re having an event and want a lot of people to be familiar with it and attend. This objective charges per impression—so you will pay for the number of people that see the ad as opposed to the number of viewers that click on it.


This consideration is best used for post engagements (post comments, likes, shares, and clicks), page likes, event responses, or offer claims. If you’re looking to do any of those things, this objective will give you optimal results. Note that Facebook will show your ad to people who are most likely to interact with your ad to increase its engagement.

Boosting ads

Facebook offers boosting as an easily accessible option; however, only use this option if you’re looking to get more likes or comments. If you’re looking for any other outcome, do not boost.

Facebook Ads Manager and Audiences has a plethora of data that you can delve into and use to your advantage to target potential customers. Make sure you’re using your time and money wisely by avoiding the common mistakes above.

AvatarAlexis Krasinski

Alexis is the owner of Monarchy Management, an elite digital marketing firm, where she focuses on helping small businesses grow and establish themselves in the ever-changing digital world. When she is not writing, tweeting, or taking pictures of her food, she is watching Golden Girls with her dog and boyfriend in Austin, Texas.