When I set up my first Facebook Ad Campaign roughly an year ago, I was excited. However, after having burnt through INR 10k in less than week, with little to no results to show for; All that initial excitement didn’t last long; I was disappointed, ashamed even, of the failure of my Ad campaign.
I had referenced the Facebook Blueprint and also diligently studied various “Facebook Ad gurus” before I set up my campaign. After pouring through all the Ad reports and dismantling my Ad from top to bottom, I soon came to the realisation…
“I had followed all the guidelines to the T and still failed”
It’s been an year since that letdown, and looking back on the disaster that my first Ad campaign was, I can point out at least 6 things I did wrong that ensured that my campaign was bound to fail.
So here goes. A curated list of what not to miss before running your first Ad campaign on Facebook and how to fix each one of them.
1. Audience Fatigue: The performance of your ads will drop after 4–7 days
This drop in performance can be attributed to something called Audience Fatigue. As a result of optimising for the objective you set up your campaign for (clicks, reach, engagement et al) Facebook ends up showing your Ads to the same set of people multiple times.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise when you see your performance drop within a week of running your Ad campaign as quite simply, it’s your audience that’s tired of seeing the same Ad again and again.
The Fix: There are some precautions you can take to avoid audience fatigue for as long as you can, but as a general good practice, you should renew your Ad creatives & copy at a certain refractory period depending on your total audience size and the audience you are reaching out to daily.
Another way to avoid audience fatigue is by targeting a large enough audience to begin with (20M as against 20K) and by categorically excluding audiences that have interacted with your Ad previously.
2. Metrics: Links Clicks, Post Clicks and Clicks all mean different things
Facebook Power Editor, the go-to Ads dashboard for a majority of Facebook Marketers offers a wide array of metrics for every Ad that you run. However, be extremely wary of what each of one of these metrics means.
“Tracking the wrong metric can be disastrous to measuring the success of any Ad campaign”
For example, when running an Ad campaign with a website click objective (i.e is to run an ad to get website traffic) Link Clicks should be your key operating metric. If you were to track Clicks, you’d a get a deceptively high number, as this includes clicks on the Ad post itself, clicks to know more, clicks on the image etc.
The Fix: Have an in-depth view of each metric & what it means for you before you run an Ad Campaign to any objective, customise each tracking dashboard accordingly before running a campaign. You can also go a step ahead and set up the Facebook Pixel on your website to directly track conversions of your end objective from the Facebook Ad Dashboard itself.
3. Attribution: Conversions from your Facebook Ads won’t always match your in-house analytics
Attribution of traffic from your Ads has been a long contested topic amongst marketers. To put it succinctly,
“The Link Clicks on Facebook Ads Manager won’t match your Google Analytics data and there’s nothing you can do about it”
Attributing your traffic is the first step towards measuring success of your marketing Ad campaigns and will go a long way in determining what is working and what isn’t.
The Fix: Choose one platform that you are most comfortable with and stick to it track success of your campaigns. It’s essential that you track your channel improvement over time than using a couple of tools to get an accurate absolute number. As a general rule of thumb, ensure that your Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel (If you are using it) tags are set up correctly.
4. Bots: Beware of Bot Traffic
“Not all traffic is good traffic”
I recall the first time I decided to run campaigns to the Audience Network Ad placement, which is a network of blogs that have complied with the Facebook Ad policy and have Ad spaces set up. I received massive success on clicks, reach, CTR, all across the board except…there were no conversions on my website.
On Analysing the traffic coming from that particular Ad placement, I noticed that most users would perform one click and drop off, all within 0.1 secs. All of them, the very same action. That is a definitive red flag for bot traffic, which in unhealthy for any Ad campaign, as you are paying for every one of those useless clicks.
The Fix: Closely analyse the traffic you receive from your Ads also split test across placements to check for the kind of traffic you receive from each. Always keep your end objective in mind, the conversion, and don’t get bogged down with early stage funnel metrics like traffic or post likes.
5. Overspending: You may end up spending more than you planned to
Facebook offers you a couple way to set the budget of your Ads, you can do so on a daily, weekly or total basis. However, this throws up a few problems as Facebook tries to optimise for your conversions.
Say you set a weekly budget of INR 7o000 with a daily spending limit of INR 1o000K. Sounds fair in writing, however Facebook takes the liberty to spend more on certain days to optimise and less on others for the same reason. So if you extinguish your budget, it’s entirely possible that you end up with your Ad not running on half the days that you planned for.
The Fix: It’s best to set Daily Budgets and add enough balance to your Ad account (if you are using a prepaid account or have enough account balance if you have yours linked to a card). You still run the risk of overspending, but not by much, as compared to setting a weekly or total budget for your campaigns.
6. Ad guidelines: It’s easy to get your Ad account banned
“Have you seen those posts where they ask you to Like, Share or Tag a friend ?”
Yes, those are frowned upon by Facebook when you use the same in an Ad and can get your Ad account banned, sometimes forever with no chance of getting it back. This means, all your data, Ads gone before you can say “I didn’t do anything wrong!”
The Fix: It’s best to go through the Facebook Ad policies before you set up your first Facebook Ad Campaign. Also take care that any of the products that you are selling don’t violate Facebooks Community Guidelines, in which case you may have to sell them in an oblique manner (read surrogate advertising) to get your ads approved.
Well, what if you still fail after keeping all of these things in mind?
It’s alright not because it’s your first time and you were bound to fail. It’s alright because, Facebook advertising is all about iterating on what doesn’t work and focusing on what does & scaling it. Marketing isn’t an exact science…
“The more you think of your Ads in terms of What works and What Doesn’t as against Success and Failure, the better off you will be with your Ad campaigns”
I hope this helps!