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10 common mistakes in Facebook advertising

Some people have their doubts about Facebook advertising. I think these concerns are worth making you aware of – you need to make this decision to advertise on Facebook for yourself.

However, I can only speak from my own experience as I've experimented with Facebook advertising to promote events and activities at my church (for example, Carols under the Bridge).

I also make this point – there are numerous terrible ads currently displayed on Facebook. The creators of these ads shouldn't be disappointed at the low click-through rate (CTR) they received on their ads – they're not worth clicking on! I wonder whether many of the people who are so vocal in complaining about Facebook ads are the same people who've simply created terrible ads. In these cases, Facebook advertising isn't to blame for a dismal response – their ads are.

One of the benefits of Facebook advertising for ministry, is that with such a low minimum daily spend, it's not a big risk to try it out and see if it works. If you decide to do this, there are some common mistakes you should be aware of, to avoid wasting your money (and destroying your brand).

1. Not targeting your ads by location

Unlike other forms of online advertising, Facebook allows you to target your ads to people in specific locations. I live in Sydney, but I saw these ads from Brisbane, Ireland, the Blue Mountains and Victoria. These ads aren't going to get a good click-through rate outside of their local area – displaying location-specific ads outside your location is, in most instances, a complete waste of money.

2. Lack of information

If your ad doesn't provide any information, don't be surprised if noone ‘likes' the ad, or clicks through to the page.  For example, why would a Facebook user like an ad for a conveyancer? When creating a Facebook ad, put yourself in the position of a user – ‘why would I click on this ad?'.

3. Spelling mistakes and typos

Sometimes typos are small:

Sometimes they're messy:

Either way – a quick read of the ad would have made all the difference. Afterall, attention to detail matters.

4. Ambiguity

What on earth does the wording in the body of this ad have to do with jewellery?!

This ad has everything – except text or an image that makes sense:

And does Tillymin Services sell medieval goblets?!

If a Facebook user has no idea what you're advertising, don't be surprised if you don't get many people clicking on your ad. Curiosity will only generate so much interest.

5. Bad graphics

Poor graphics can take a number of forms, including too dark:

Cut-off text:

And poor resolution:

It's common sense, but if a user can't read your ad, they're unlikely to click on it.

6. No graphics

Related to poor graphics is no graphics. Text-based ads work with Google Adwords (the context of a Google search is text), but on a medium that is content rich, you need to work harder to get your ads noticed.

7. Promoting a ‘get rich quick' product

Only suckers click on these ads (or any ads that look like a get-rich-quick scheme):

If you're promoting ‘get-rich-quick' schemes, stop it. If you're not, make sure your ads don't look like you are!

8. Asking for ‘Likes'

Again, it's common sense, but an ad needs to be interesting to be clicked on.  If you want users to ‘like' you, provide them with a compelling reason, rather than a desperate request. TEAR's campaign is the exception to this rule.

9. Setting up ads before you've got a page

I clicked on this advertisement for a Facebook page to discuss Christianity. When I arrived, only 12 people liked the page, and there was no activity on the page. If you're going to advertise a page or website, make sure there's something worth looking at when a user clicks on your ad.

10. All-round dodgy

It's amazing the type of ads that people will create and Facebook will approve. Did noone check this before it went live?!

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Nathan

    February 13, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    Great post. Thanks Steve.

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention 10 common mistakes in Facebook advertising | Communicate Jesus -- Topsy.com

  3. Joanna

    February 13, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    I got a bizarrely confusing one yesterday. It was for things to do in my city but had a picture with a woman, a swimming pool and a monkey! Unless someone has a very illegal pet, I am sure there are no monkeys in town. Very confusing. Didn’t help that it sent me through to a page that asked me to join their mailing list but didn’t really tell me much about them.

  4. Marc Aune

    February 18, 2011 at 1:28 am

    I thought the ad with the cut-off text was clever: “Don’t get ripped off” with part of the text literally ripped off. 😉 Of course, I still wouldn’t have clicked on it.

  5. heather blatz

    April 10, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    Any suggestions where to get photos for the ads and which photos grab more attention ?

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