So you're using Facebook ads to promote your brand online? That's a good move, given that Facebook ads are affordable when compared against the cost of advertising on other online properties.

Unfortunately, it's easy to use that affordability as an excuse to just let the ads run without careful consideration about whether or not your campaign is properly optimized. As a result, you could be pouring money into ads that aren't giving you the best bang for your buck.

That's why you should watch out for these easy-to-miss Facebook ad mistakes.

1. Improper Conversion Tracking

You might take a quick peek at your ad analytics and notice that you've got a fairly healthy conversion rate. "I must be doing something right!" you say to yourself.

But maybe not.

You have to look beyond the raw numbers and dig deep into what Paul Harvey used to call "the rest of the story."

Here's the rub: it's possible that your conversion rate is inflated because you placed the conversion tracking pixel on too many web pages or the wrong web page.

If your whole purchase process takes customers through a series of pages and you put the pixel on the first page, then guess what? Facebook will report that the person who landed on that page "converted" even though he or she might never even go past Page 1.

That's why it's usually a good idea to put the conversion tracking pixel on the final page of the purchase process. You'll have more accurate metrics about how many people really converted thanks to your Facebook ad campaign.

2. Focusing on Leads Over Conversions

As a good digital marketer, you're smart enough to know that you should split-test your ad campaigns to see which ones work best.

During a recent testing period, you noticed that Campaign A sent 10 people to your site whereas Campaign B only sent 3 people.

Easy decision. Campaign A is the winner, right?

Maybe not. You just measured leads in that test, not conversions.

Suppose only 1 in 10 visitors from Campaign A makes a purchase, but 2 in 3 visitors from Campaign B makes a purchase. Which campaign is the winner in that case?

Now, it really is a no-brainer. The campaign that gives you the most conversions, but necessarily the most leads, is the one you want to invest in.

So measure appropriately.

3. Targeting Non-Fans

As you launch your Facebook ad campaign, you come across that option to exclude showing your ad to people who already "like" your page. You think to yourself: "Well, I've already got those people as customers. I think I'll try to reach some new people."

That might seem like it makes sense at face value, but it's not necessarily the best choice.

Remember, people who "like" your page are almost certainly part of your target market. Why wouldn't you want to reach them?

Also, keep in mind that people who "like" your page might not see everything you post on it. Facebook uses an algorithm to determine what its users see. If you've only got a few hundred "likes" on your page, you can be sure that not too many of those fans will see what you post.

Finally, remember that it costs much less to resell to existing customers than it is to find new customers. People who've bought from you in the past are probably among those who "like" your page, so market to them for an easy win.

Bottom line: target fans and non-fans alike.

4. Not Testing Images

As we've seen, you're a good digital marketer so you already know about the importance of split-testing. That's why you run variations of your ad copy to see which one performs the best.

But wait a second. Have you considered testing the image that you use to grab people's attention?

Remember, on Facebook you have just a fraction of a second to get the attention of people who are scrolling through their newsfeed. That means your image has to stand out.

If you haven't already done so, start running split-tests with different images. You might be surprised at how much your conversion rate improves with a more potent graphic.

5. Using the Wrong Image Shape

While we're on the subject of images, you should make sure that you're using the right image shape.

Remember, Facebook ads like an image that's landscape-oriented. If you're using a portrait-oriented image, you might take a hit on conversions because you're not maximizing the use of horizontal space.

If you find that you can't stretch your ad horizontally without distorting it, just add a colored background to the image so that it stands out a bit more.

6. Using the Wrong Color

Speaking of color, are you using the right color for your Facebook ad?

Facebook's color scheme is blue and white. If your ad is also blue and white then it won't stand out very well.

Consider going with colors that are bright, stand in contrast to Facebook's color scheme, but aren't annoying. That's how you'll get the attention of people in your target market.

7. Not Allocating Enough Money to Ad Testing

Split-testing doesn't just take time, it also costs money. That's why you need an ad budget that includes a line item for split-testing.

Too many marketers make the mistake of budgeting money for running an ad, but never for the testing period. As a result, they eat into their advertising budget when they conduct experiments.

That leaves them with less money than they should have for the actual campaign.

Do yourself a favor: allocate money for testing in addition to advertising.

Published on: Jan 27, 2017