8 Common Facebook Ad Myths, Debunked
Advertising on Facebook is definitely among the best ways to get website traffic and acquire users, and absolutely anyone can do it. Among the tons of posts, videos and eBooks about Facebook ads, most are useful but, having spent over $3M on Facebook ads for various companies in different business types, I can say that some of the common beliefs about Facebook ads are simply myths which were completely crushed by my campaigns’ results.
Here are the eight most common myths about Facebook advertising that you should stop believing immediately.
Myth #1: You have to laser-target your audience
Endless articles and videos out there about Facebook targeting mention how you should laser-target your audience. Facebook offers all these unique ways to target people, why not make use of the knowledge Facebook has to reach exactly and only those people who are most likely to be interested in your offer? It makes sense, but unfortunately does not necessarily lead you to the best results possible.
Laser targeting can definitely help you reach the people who are likely to be interested, but not those who are also most likely to click your ad and convert.
While Facebook offers some unique ways of targeting, it also has an algorithm that can get you killer results. You just need to let it do its job!
The Facebook algorithm is great and you should allow it to do what it was designed to do: optimize your ad sets. A laser-targeted audience will often be too small for the algorithm to work its magic, and may actually block it from finding the right people.
If you’re trying to get conversions, leads or traffic to your site, it is best to keep your ad sets broad. The size is dependent on your budget, bids and goals. Try to maintain your ad sets at a target 300K and above, and set your budget and bid according to your goals. At Oribi, we actually see the best results with ad sets targeting 300K people and above, and we just let Facebook do the heavy lifting for us. Here’s an example of two competing ad sets we tested:
Ad set 1 – Using a broad targeting of interests with an audience of 390K people.
Ad set 2 – Using a laser targeting of 89K people that are more likely to be interested in our website analytics product.
Since both ads shared the same interests, just in a different structure, they did not compete at the same time, but at similar days of the week, budgets and bids.
The ad set targeting the broader audience easily outperformed the narrow targeting one. While the laser-targeted ad may have reached the people that are more likely to be interested in our product, the broad ad set was able to reach the people that are more likely to click our ad and convert.
Myth #2: Facebook ads are not effective for B2B
This is probably the most damaging myth for B2B companies. B2B marketers tend to pass on Facebook ads as a lead generation channel, because it’s a social media network and “they are trying to target professionals.”
Well, those professionals you are trying to target actually spend much more time on Facebook than on any other social media channel!
It’s not only easier to reach professionals and businesses of any kind on Facebook compared to any other digital marketing channels, it is also usually the most effective channel when done right. The possibilities for B2B marketers on Facebook are endless.
In addition, Facebook’s targeting and optimization abilities are superior to any other social media network, even for B2B marketers. Facebook allows you to target users by demographic, employer, the industry in which they work, job title, annual income, office type and above all, create a lookalike audience which automatically finds people similar to your own clients – which, by the way, works like magic.
For example, you can create a custom audience using your clients’ emails, and have Facebook find similar people for you to target. This way, you basically let Facebook handle the targeting for you, using everything they know about the users in your custom audience.
Top that with the killer Facebook algorithm that was mentioned above, and you have yourself a mean B2B lead generation machine. For more help, check out WordStream’s beginner’s guide to using Facebook for B2B advertising.
Myth #3: You need to use smiling people in your ad images
You’ve probably heard this before, maybe from a consultant, a colleague or even a famous blogger you might be following. They all say you should use smiling people in your ads because people respond to happy people. Well, they are right, but only partially.
Using smiling people in your ads might get you good results, but not the best results!
So, what will get you better results? Try to think of what would make you click on an ad on your Facebook newsfeed. In most cases, the ad will illustrate something appealing to you, that you’ll find worthy of checking out. In most cases, it won't be just an image of somebody smiling (especially not if it’s a generic image provided by a platform such as Shutterstock).
Try to create ads that will instantly make your audience understand “what’s in it for them.” In other words, what’s the benefit to them for clicking your ad? There’s a very simple reason for that. While browsing their Facebook feeds, most are not actually looking for something in particular, and they usually don’t spend too much time reading posts, especially not sponsored ones. Your image should therefore stand out and instantly spark an interest in the people who see it.
A great example would be this ad by Fundbox, targeted at small business owners, which offers to advance them cash on their outstanding invoices.
The ad is super simple and useful. The image clearly shows the results offered by Fundbox (you won't have to wait to get paid), along with eye-catching and compelling text. Not only was it an extremely cost-effective way to get them thousands of paying customers, it also earned 10K likes and over a thousand shares, which also means a lot of free impressions. No generic picture of a smiling business owner, but it still worked great.
Myth #4: You need to invest in getting page likes
Probably the most common myth out there. So many companies invest in getting page likes and actually measure this as one of their main KPI’s, assuming it will eventually pay off since more people will see their page posts and eventually become customers. This is absolutely wrong for two reasons:
- Just because someone liked your Facebook page, doesn’t mean he’s even close to becoming your customer.
- Organic reach on Facebook is constantly dropping, so not even your “Likers” will see your page posts unless you boost them.
Focus on using Facebook ads to reach your real goals. Make sure to choose the right campaign objective to reach your business goals, which will usually be conversions, app installs, lead generation or traffic.
By doing so, you will not only spend your budget effectively, you will also get page likes as a side effect at no extra costs. Some people in your campaigns will click your Facebook Page link instead of your website link in the ad, some will also like it. There’s also a simple hack to turn your ad likes into page likes. When someone likes your ad, you are able to invite them to like your page as well, which they accept in many cases. Simply click on your ad account notifications button to see the list of likers.
Myth #5: You should retarget all your site visitors
Retargeting your website visitors is always right; retargeting them all in a single ad set is wrong.
Different people visit your site through different campaigns and check out different sections of your site, or in a different step of your sales funnel; they should therefore be retargeted accordingly, with different ads, budgets and bids.
For example, we are retargeting users who already signed up to Oribi, but haven’t installed the script on their site yet, with this unique ad that was made just for them, and is targeted to make them to log back into Oribi:
I cannot emphasize this enough: Always try to segment your site visitors into different custom audiences, and target them in different ad sets. For example, you can create a custom audience of visitors on your landing pages from clicking an ad. These people already showed an interest in your offer, and are more likely to convert than mere browsers without a cause.
Another highly valuable segmentation will be to create a custom audience of people who visited your pricing page. These visitors are much more likely to become customers than those who just browsed through your homepage and left. It’s certainly worth retargeting them with an attractive offer to convert them from prospects into paying customers, and they are definitely worth a higher bid and budget than other visitors.
It’s actually very simple. Here’s how I built this audience in our account:
I simply added the URL of the pricing page, and excluded the people who already signed up.
Targeting all your site visitors is not only incorrect in terms of bids and messaging, it also wastes your budget on browsers who are on your site for other reasons and should not be included in your campaigns. Take for example people who visited your careers page. Obviously, they browsed through your site looking for a job opportunity, not to become a customer, and it makes no sense to spend your advertising budget retargeting them with your offer.
Myth #6: Right side ads are not effective
Right side ads are ignored by many advertisers who have either experienced horrible results from trying them, or heard about advertisers failing with them. But actually, right side ads can be very effective when used in a very specific way, making this assumption a complete myth.
Here’s the truth: Right side ads can be extremely effective, but only when separated into a different ad set which is set to pay for link clicks and not impressions.
The reason most advertisers get horrible results with right side ads is that they combine them in one ad set with other placements, like the newsfeed, paying for impressions. By doing so, you let Facebook drain your ad set budget on useless impressions without getting you the expected results. The right side placement is way more available for impressions since there’s less competition on it, so Facebook can show the ads to the same user at a much higher frequency. This means you will end up getting a lot of impressions, but not a higher reach, so basically the same people will see your ad over and over, which is definitely something you want to avoid when paying for impressions.
So how to do it right! Simply duplicate your ad set, and isolate the right side placement, then change your setting to be charged for link clicks (if that’s not your original campaign objective), and there you go. You’ll get tons of desktop impressions which are usually very expensive, and pay only when someone clicks on them. The only downside here is that your ads will be optimized for clicks instead of conversions.
Keep in mind that right side ads can only accommodate some of your original ad text, so you should make sure to adjust it accordingly, like we did with the ad below, which shows the appearance of the same ad on the news feed compared with in the right column.
Myth #7: Relevance score is the most important metric
Too many advertisers put so much effort into improving their relevance score, believing this to be the way to get better results, and eventually ending up focusing on the wrong metric. What you should focus on is your end results: your cost per acquired user and ROI.
A good relevance score is important, but not more so than having a good ROI, which doesn’t always correlate.
Facebook grades your ads by their relevance to the audience you are targeting, and the likes and shares are key factors in getting a high score. But just because people didn't like or share your ads, doesn’t mean it’s not getting you the CPA you are aiming for.
To explain this, let’s look at the real results I achieved in a recent campaign. My ad set had two slightly different ads, “Ad-1” & “Ad-2”, testing different headlines. The goal was to get conversions at the best possible price.
“Ad-2” had a better response, which resulted in a relevance score of 4. Well, it’s not really high, but it was higher than the relevance score of “Ad-1” which was a poor score of 3.
Had I believed in this myth, I would have instantly turned off “Ad-1”. Since I really only care about the cost per conversion, I didn’t. The cost per registration for “Ad-2”, with the higher relevance score, was almost $140 which is far from cost-effective. “Ad-1” on the other hand, was by far the most effective at only $25 per registration.
Don’t take this the wrong way: A good relevance score is definitely something you should aim for, and if I had an ad in this ad set with a score of 7 - 10, it would have probably achieved better results. You just need to keep in mind that what you should really focus on is the cost to achieve the actual aim of your Facebook campaign.
Myth #8: Facebook ads are too expensive
Let’s finish with the myth that needs to be crushed above all the others: Advertising on Facebook is too expensive.
This is wrong in so many ways. Advertising on Facebook is not only the most effective digital marketing channel (for those who do it right), but also affords great results even with a small budget of $5 per day. Clearly, $5 per day will not turn a small business into a major company, but it can definitely get them started on their way to business success.
Anyone can start off creating simple and small test campaigns to see what works best for them. Honestly, there’s no better advertising channel out there for good results at such low costs.
I hope you’ve found this article useful and that it will help you achieve killer results with your Facebook ads. I believed some of these myths, but my personal experience crushed each and every one of them.