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Facebook ads have changed over the years. Ten years ago, it seems like anyone with a product to sell and a basic understanding of advertising could run ads on Facebook. The cost per click was low and the return on ad spend was high. Over time, however, more and more companies began to advertise on the platform with larger and larger budgets. Naturally, the cost per click rose and the return on ad spend cooled off. The biggest hit to Facebook ads, however, was the iOS 14 update. Running ads on Facebook is no longer as easy as it once was. With all of this in mind, our team has compiled a list of the 5 most common Facebook ad mistakes we see.

1. Ad Creative

At Set Fire Creative, we are lucky enough to have a dedicated Facebook rep. Each month we meet, they are able to provide us with insights on changes happening on Facebook’s ad platform. Before the iOS14 update occurred, our rep had warned us that something big was coming. Their biggest piece of advice for weathering the storm? Make sure your ad creative is top-notch. 

I’ll be the first to admit that I ran ads on Facebook back in the day when creative was important, but not as important as everything happening on the backend of the ad account. I can still remember seeing subpar creative dominating the competition because the targeting was so spot on and campaigns were perfectly set up. Those days are gone.

These days, one of the biggest Facebook ad mistakes we see is low-quality ad creative being run in campaigns. Do your company a favor and create high-quality imagery and graphics for your ad creative. Make sure that your ad creative pops off of the page and catches people’s attention. Running a video as an ad? Make sure it has a hook that draws people in and stops them from scrolling by.

2. Messaging

It’s not always about what you say, but how you say it. One of the most common Facebook ad mistakes we see has to do with messaging. We like to use the hook-story-offer method when writing Facebook ad copy. Here’s what that looks like:


Start your ad copy with one or two sentences that will get Facebook users to stop scrolling. When it fits with the brand, we prefer using emojis in the first line of ad copy. Emojis are known for catching people’s attention. The hook could be a surprising fact, a shocking statistic, an interesting declaration, or a five-star review from a happy customer. The most important thing is that it gets people to stop scrolling.


Now that you have their attention, it’s time to reel them in. Tell them what makes your brand, product, or service stand out. This could be sharing more information on your brand or product. Or maybe you paint a picture of what it will be like once they do business with you.


Why should people buy from you instead of your competitor? And why should they buy from you right now? Every ad should end with some sort of call to action coupled with an offer. Here’s an example: “For a limited time only, buy now and receive 10% OFF when you use the promo code: SFCROCKS.” Notice we added a bit of urgency in there with the “For a limited time only” line? If someone is interested in your product, but there isn’t a strong call to action, offer, and any urgency, there’s a good chance they’ll take the time to research some of your competitors for a better deal.


The ad caption isn’t the only copy in your ad. Remember that the headline is a valuable piece of real estate. Use the headline as another element to grab people’s attention. We like using all-caps and emojis when we can in the headline. My favorite personally—five star emojis along with the beginning of an awesome review from a customer (if you haven’t used that as the hook in your ad caption)

3. Tracking

Tracking is the Achilles heel for a lot of Facebook marketing campaigns—especially since the iOS 14 update. By all means, your ad campaigns can be nearly flawless. Your targeting spot on. Your creative phenomenal. Your copy well-written. But if something’s wrong with how you set up your tracking, forget about it.

Make sure to properly install the Facebook pixel on your website and landing pages. This is easier said than done depending on the CMS platform your site uses. Some CMS platforms make installing the Facebook pixel very simple, while for others you will need to research how to properly install the Pixel along with the events you want it to track on your site.

Once the Facebook pixel is set up on your site, your campaigns will begin to gather valuable data and record significant events happening on your site. This will lead to improved reporting and continual optimization of your campaigns.

4. Targeting

They say there are three rules of marketing: 1) Create a great product or service, 2) create a good sales pitch and/or marketing message, and 3) Find the right delivery system for your message. That last rule—find the right delivery system—has everything to do with finding where your audience is. If you’re advertising on Facebook, that must mean you know your audience is active on Facebook… at least, I hope that is why you are running ads on Facebook. Once you know they are on Facebook, you need to find them on Facebook.

Finding and targetting your audience on Facebook through the Ad Set portion of a Facebook ads campaign used to be much more effective. Back in the day, you could target people based on location, gender, age, a wide variety of interests, what accounts they followed, income, and much more. Nowadays, you’re left with fewer options. Facebook has removed the most effective interest targeting and can no longer pull from third-party data in order to target people based on personal information such as income. We can, however, still target based on age, gender, location, some interests, email lists, and Lookalike audiences.

We have found that targeting based on age, gender, and location still works well, but in most cases, we will leave interest targeting open so Facebook can find the right audience for our campaigns. If we have access to an email list, we’ll use it for remarketing campaigns. What’s most important to us, however, is that we test audiences the same way we test ads. For instance, we might run two different ad sets under the same campaign (with a campaign-level budget) and have interest targeting in the first ad set, but open interest targeting in the second. This way, we can A/B test and let the two audiences duke it out.

5. Patience

I think Axl Rose said it best: “All we need is just a little patience. Mm, yeah.” It may be last on our list, but it is definitely not least. One of the most common Facebook ad mistakes we see is people aren’t patient enough for results. People don’t like to hear it, but Facebook ads take time. How much time can depend on a few different factors.

Ad Spend

Probably the biggest factor is your ad spend. Put simply, based on your ad spend (and targeting parameters) Facebook will show your ads to a certain number of people each day. The more ad spend, the more people see your ads. The less ad spend, the fewer people will see your ads. Depending on your targeting and location parameters, your ad spend may be spread too thin— resulting in fewer than expected results. One way to run ads wisely on a smaller ad spend budget is to niche down on your target audience and location. If you’re looking for quicker results, consider spending more on ad spend. Otherwise, you may need to wait until your campaigns have spent enough (and ads have been shown to enough people) to begin seeing results.


Have you heard of impulse purchases vs habitual decision-making? In a nutshell, impulse purchases are those off-the-cuff purchases we make because the price is low and the product seems perfect. Habitual decision-making, on the other hand, is when we make a whole process out of making a purchase—we research the company, the product, competitors, alternative products, etc

If your product/service has a high price point (which we’ll discuss in a moment), your company is fairly new and unknown, and you have a lot of competitors in the space, you can almost guarantee that people interested in your advertisement will do their research before making a purchase.

Product Cost

We touched on this in our last point, but the cost of your product plays a HUGE role in how quickly you’ll begin to see results. The average return on ad spend (ROAS) on Facebook is anywhere between a 2:1 and 4:1. Meaning, for every dollar you spend, you should receive two to four dollars in return.

Now let’s say you spend $5/day on Facebook ads trying to sell a $20 product. According to the average ROAS we just discussed, you could see a sale come in every day or every other day ($5 to sell a $20 product would be a 4:1 ROAS). But now let’s say your product is $100 but you’re still only spending $5/day. According to the average ROAS, you could expect to see a sale come in every five to ten days. Simply put, the larger the cost of your product, the more you’ll need to spend and/or wait to see results.

5 Common Facebook Ad Mistakes Resolved

There you have it, our list of the 5 most common Facebook ad mistakes we see. Set Fire Creative has been running online ads for the last six years and has watched the platform change immensely over that time period. With all of the changes the platform has gone through, it is still a very viable place to advertise your business. That being said, it’s trickier now than it has ever been. If you need help finding the issues within your ad account, feel free to reach out to our team and receive a free ad account audit.