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March 12, 2019

Top 5 Facebook ad design mistakes to avoid

Recently, Facebook ad revenue topped $16.6 billion. Facebook reported its average price per ad dropped 2 percent by the end of 2018, and its number of ad impressions is up 34 percent.

This makes Facebook ads one of the best advertising options currently available — if you know what you’re doing.

While Facebook has massive audience reach, and handy custom audience targeting tools, you have to first know how to get your audience’s attention.

The average person reads only 20 percent of the text on a given webpage, but highly visual content lands 94 percent more total views. Understanding how to wield creative design for your business is the make-or-break of most successful digital marketing campaigns. Here’s a breakdown of five common Facebook ad design mistakes to avoid if you want to run a successful Facebook promotion:

Mistake #1: Not having a specific, data-driven goal

Unless you have an unlimited ad budget, your Facebook ad dollars should not be spent on qualitative goals like “brand awareness.”

Instead, your primary goal should be to increase clicks, calls, or conversions (sales / opt-ins), so you can actually use your ad dollars for hard, quantitative results. If the goal is not a metric you can measure, it’s going to be pretty impossible to gauge the success of your campaign or report any distinguishable trends.

Mistake #2: Choosing a “wallflower” design

Facebook ads weave seamlessly into your audience’s feed, giving you only a moment to capture their attention as they scroll through Facebook. To make them stop and consider the message of your ad, your design has to stand out to catch their eye.

While design trends are a great place to start for ad inspiration, remember these designs are trends. Don’t feed into the oversaturation of your audience’s feed, and your ad will stand out. Keep these general guidelines in mind when designing your next ad:

  • Less is more. Minimalist design helps the eye naturally know where to look, instead of a busy mess that will just causes your audience to quickly scroll past.
  • Eye contact. If you’re using an image of someone, or a group of people, make sure at least one person is making eye-contact with the viewer. It’s personal, and attention-grabbing.
  • Limit text. Images with too much text won’t make it through the Facebook ad submission, and they don’t yield great engagement rates anyway. Use the Facebook Image Text Check tool to make sure your ad passes Facebook’s test. N.B. This refers only to the text on an image, not the text that goes with an image. Watch the #TechTip video below to learn how to use this tool.
  • Motion. Most, if not every, image your audience scrolls through will be a standard, flat 2D image. Experiment with gifs, video, or 3D photos to stand out.
  • Don’t do anything for a click. This approach will skew your data, and waste your ad dollars on “fake” clicks and leads. Not to mention, your audience’s perception of you or your brand’s reputation may suffer. A.K.A No clickbait.
  • Be interactive! At the end of the day, the best ad is the one that users interact with. Understand your audience, understand your platform, and marry the knowledge in a compelling, interactive design.

Mistake #3: Not understanding your audience

What makes Facebook ads so great, is the platform’s ability to target for highly customizable audiences. Take advantage of this!

Think of your audience as one person. What would resonate with them? What would make them think you’re talking specifically to them? Test out your assumptions, try slowly appealing to other markets to better define your audience. If you have multiple, defined audiences, consider marketing to them separately with a different creative strategy for each.

Mistake #4: Not staying flexible in your design approach

As trends come and go, customer behaviors change. Making any hard design rules will only serve to hinder your ad campaigns. As our audiences change and evolve, we have to too.

When possible, test design options or alternatives for each ad campaign, and experiment with your design. We use at a minimum six ads for each campaign we create, more when there are more than one ad set (target audience).

As long as you keep a few constants — colour, logo, etc — and remember to tie your designs back to a quantifiable goal, mixing things up and testing things out with your audience will only help build your understanding of them.

The only rule: never run an ad campaign without an intentional test in mind. Don’t just try things out to try things out, unless you can specifically track your results. (More on this to come soon!)

Mistake #5: Using Facebook “likes” as a measure for success

Facebook Analytics is a helpful tool for measuring ad results, but don’t be distracted by metrics such as likes, follows, or impressions. While it may be reassuring, and promising, to see a post get a lot of likes, or to gain a ton of followers in a day, unless these metrics can be directly tied to your ROI, don’t focus on them. The point of your ad is to earn sales and leads, not likes!

With a clear goal in mind, and a few design tips, you can wield Facebook ads to boost your marketing and increase your ROI. Share your favourite ad examples in the comments, and let’s learn about great (and not-so-great) Facebook ads together!

Have any lingering questions about Facebook ad campaigns? Get in touch! We can help.