Facebook ads are a sure-fire thing, right? I’m sure that you have heard the countless success stores and the world and its hamster seem to be doing it right and hitting the jackpot…. everyone apart from you, you feel.

You have created the best Facebook advert ever and have already daydreamed of people coming to flock to your sales page in droves. After crafting your masterpiece, you hit publish and then sit and wait for the magic to happen…and wait…and not a thing! It’s all been a majestic flop. The campaign has ended you are wondering what the hell has happened and why the Fail Fairy has come to bite you on the ass.

Believe me when I say I have probably committed every single one of them and more in the early days, so don’t feel bad. Some have even made me want to hide in shame they were so epically terrible! But to fail is to learn, and boy did I learn! The upside is that my clients have benefited off the back of my mistakes and had a giggle at my expense when I warn of my cautionary tales.

Before you throw in the towel and vow to forever avoid Facebook ads like an annoying ex, consider these common mistakes which show where you may have gone wrong and finally turn failure into success

Wrong Audience

Facebook boasts a number of 1 billion daily active users and knows a scary but impressive amount of information about its users. It’s the only platform where you can advertise to a precise audience, that’s pretty neat! With all those people, surely you should attract anyone who may be interested? You can, but precision is key.

Because you can pinpoint the audience you want to target, it pays to take advantage of this feature!

For example, a children’s bookseller would not fare well to just target people who read books, that is calling out a majority of people and not everyone is interested in children’s books. Remember there are different types, categories and niches.

Instead look at your target audience and narrow it down getting into the granular detail like they are your best friend; who is most likely to be interested in your product? What books do they like to read (or listen to if it’s audio books), Where do they live? Their age? Are they male or female? What products do they usually buy? Do they go mad for collector editions? How much do they spend? Who do they admire? (Hint: parents of children of a certain age!). We can go on. Write down as much points as you possibly can and use this to make your targeting more precise.


Looks definitely count in the world of Facebook! On an individuals news feed there are hundreds if not thousands of images and videos at any one time that they are scrolling through. You are competing with every single of those. Insipid washed out images, bootleg looking shots or even images that make absolutely no sense to your audience will not do. It needs to be colourful and eye-catching and original. It also has to be relevant to your message and the product or service you are selling. If a video can be added, even better.

Also make sure that it does not offend or turn people off! If anyone marks it as spam or offensive this greatly reduces the chance of your ad being seen.

No call to action

Your ad has it all and you have a prospective buyer hook line and sinker…but wait, no call to action! It’s like being chosen for your dream job based upon your CV and not leaving any contact information on there. Your buyer will not hunt around for the call to action, they would already be off to the next thing.

If you want the audience to take a next step, you need to tell them!

Using wrong objectives

Like the point above, next to using no call to action is using the wrong call to action. If you want sales, why are you asking the audience to like your page or learn more?

Facebook has made it easy when building your advert as you can use a specific objective best suited for the outcome you want to achieve.

Think about your desired outcome for that specific ad; it might be to send traffic to your website, generate leads or even boost awareness of your brand. Facebook will then optimise your ad for that particular objective.

Salesy headline

There are two main reasons why people use social media; to find information (particularly a solution to a problem) and to be entertained. They are not joining Facebook with the main intention of being sold to, the majority actually dislike it.

So when your post comes up asking for sales with the subtlety of a dodgy used car salesman who masquerades as a town crier at weekends. It’s frankly annoying, especially if they are not in the mood to buy and just want to catch up on the latest news of great-aunt Annie’s drunken antics.

Instead think about tailoring your message to how it would benefit your audience. Would it make them run faster, smarter, slimmer, look like a million dollars or be the envy of their peers? Remember, be the solution to their problem!

People are not ready to buy

This ties in with the salesy headline. If people do not know your brand from Adam, they are unlikely to buy anything from you, no matter how great your service or product is. It would be weird if in real life the first thing you did upon introduction to someone new is ask them for money. It’s the same in the ‘virtual’ world. You have to build relationships with your prospective buyer and get to know each other so that they like you and build trust.

Broken links

Possibly one of the biggest fails of all! You may have the perfect ad that looks great, the message is off the chain, the call to action has more clicks than a poetry beat club but….the link is broken and leads to a void of nothingness or worse, something totally unrelated to your ad if you have accidentally put in the wrong URL (the horror!). Always test your link before you publish your ad!

Let me know if you have been guilty of any of these sins or any other Facebook ad sin. Like confession, you will feel better after as you are not the only one!