A couple of years ago, I ran Facebook ads for my business. Well, promoted posts, really. I didn't know the difference.
The process looked a lot like this: Come up with a message to share, boost it with $25, and then scratch my head when my 11 likes didn't instantly turn into $10,000.
Well, over $1 million in Facebook ad spending later, I'm here to tell you that if your ads aren't working, you're the one doing it wrong. Here are some mistakes you might be making.
1. You're underspending.
You've heard the expression -- you have to spend money to make money. Well, it seems obvious, but same goes for acquiring a customer. You need to spend enough to actually acquire a customer. Imagine this scenario. You flip a penny and there's a 50/50 chance it lands on heads or tails, but if you only flip it three times, you might get heads three times in a row. The more you keep flipping it and saturating the pool, the odds that it will even out to 50/50 increase significantly.
The same goes for your ad spend. If you just spend a little here and there, it might take spending five or ten times your eventual average cost to acquire a customer. If you give up early, you'll never know the full potential of your ad spend or your profits.
2. You're overselling.
No one wants to be sold on social media or anywhere for that matter, really. So much so that people pay extra to avoid seeing ads on their streaming services -- let's just say I'm one of those people. I remember the first week that Instagram started running ads in feeds and in between watching my friends' stories. It was chaos, outrage. The number of out-of-control angry people who were furious a Lexus ad popped up between their cousin's #brunch pic and NASA's latest photo was absurd -- but understandable.
These types of interruptions in things you really care about can be infuriating, because they're unwanted. And that's a bad place for your business to be. Take careful time to chime into the conversation more naturally rather than blast your message any and everywhere, all the time.
3. You're over communicating.
Just like people don't want to be oversold, they want you to keep it short and sweet, too. Think "simple" when posting an ad on social media. For us, 15 second Instagram story ads perform the best. When it comes to Facebook, the fewer words the better. Even its own algorithm won't approve messages that have too much text on the screen, so you have to learn to communicate quickly and efficiently.
4. You're over broadcasting.
As an entrepreneur, you should think your idea is the next ground-breaking, earth-shattering company. I hate to break it to you, but your offering might not be for everyone. To test out where your market or customer base is, start with a small audience of the most relevant people based on interest targeting (Facebook and Instagram can help you here). If you already have customers, awesome, upload a list and target people like them.
Ideally, get to using lookalike audiences, which is Facebook's best guess of people that behave like your customers. If you're a software company serving small business, targeting people who exclusively like Target, Walmart, and Walgreens probably won't get you the return you're looking for. But targeting people that like Inc Magazine might. Be smart about your targeting.
5. Your ads might just be bad.
If you're absolutely killing tips one through four and you've made it to tip five...I hate to break it to you, but your ads might just be bad.
Maybe it's your first time on video and you're, well, boring. Keep practicing or maybe hire a dedicated person to help shoot, edit, or even write scripts for you. Just don't waste too much money out of the gates.
Your ad might not make sense. Try to get some unbiased opinions by posting your ad as a post to your organic followers and see what they think. You can also ask employees, friends, colleagues, mentors, anyone who you trust to give you truthful feedback.
Your call to action might be weak. Are you asking the right question at the end of your ad? Do your potential customers know what you want them to do? If the answer is no, you have a problem. Your call to action should be intriguing and interesting, prompting prospects to learn more.
Remember, Facebook is a mega company worth over $500 billion. With a net worth like that, you have to assume they're doing something right. If the ads aren't working, it's your fault, not Facebook's. Don't give up. Keep experimenting, and in time, it will pay off.