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How retailers can avoid the 9 biggest pitfalls of Facebook ads.

How retailers can avoid the 9 biggest pitfalls of Facebook ads.

Pitfalls of Facebook Advertising: Facebook's advertising success can be attributed to the three areas of investigation such as pixel and campaign strategy, targeting and measurement.

Facebook advertising traps; Facebook's ad business shows no signs of slowing, generating $14.9 billion in the first quarter of the year. This is 26% more than the same period last year. With this growth has come a significant expansion of Facebook's targeting. Many retail marketers understand the advertising potential that Facebook holds as a result.

But this sophistication is not without its challenges. The growing complexity associated with building and managing campaigns can often leave the most experienced marketers in need of direction when advertising in the channel.

Facebook's advertising success can be broken down into the three areas of investigation; pixel and campaign strategy, audience targeting and measurement. Learn more about the pitfalls associated with each and how to navigate them with the right approach.

Pixel setup and campaign strategy

Anyone with experience setting up Facebook ad campaigns can attest to the platform's cumbersome interface. With the multitude of settings and targeting features, it's easy to take shortcuts that lead to poorly targeted campaigns that yield minimal results.

Facebook Ads Pitfalls #1: Incorrect Pixel Setting

The pixel setting is crucial for tracking all customer interactions so that targeting is effective. Before diving into campaign settings, make sure your pixel is uploaded to your website and track what your website and app visitors are seeing and buying. Review your pixel events in relation to your business goals and get a better understanding of your customers' path to purchase. To confirm that your pixel is uploaded and running, use Facebook Pixel Helper.

Pitfalls of Facebook Ads #2: Choosing the Wrong Attribution Window

The attribution settings for the Facebook Pixel are set to a one-day view and 28-day click by default. This means that actions taken during these time periods will count either one day after your ad appears or within 28 days of your ad being clicked. If you have a tight, ROAS-driven business, consider adjusting these settings to align with your business goals. You have the option to change the attribution window to the one-, seven-, and 28-day views and click Attribution.

The default attribution model is Facebook's way of demonstrating the value of the channel to marketers who are stuck in a last-click world. You can benefit from Day View when using a single-touch attribution model because it takes conversions into account when optimizing the channel.

Pitfalls of Facebook Ads #3: Choosing the Wrong Campaign Type for Your Business Goals

Define your goals and figure out what type of Facebook campaigns best suit your business. Use Facebook's various ad formats to achieve those goals. Facebook's Dynamic Product Ads let you create retargeting campaigns that drive customers down the purchase funnel. With Dynamic Ads for Broad Audiences (DABA), you can create prospecting campaigns aimed at attracting new customers. With these two formats, you can deliver relevant ad content to re-engage past visitors and target new customers who aren't familiar with your brand.

Pitfalls of Facebook Ads #4: Fail to add tracking parameters for your data source of truth.

Add tracking parameters to each of your Facebook campaigns to avoid the pitfalls.

You can do this by creating a new campaign or working on a saved campaign in Ads Manager. Choose a destination you want your parameters to reach and add the URL of the website you want to track. Fill in the parameters by entering a key and an assigned value. For example, if you are tracking an ad with the ocean as the image, you can add "image=ocean" as a parameter. The key is "image" and the assigned value is "ocean".

These parameters help track performance within your data source and serve as a second source of truth when measuring campaign success. You can track the effectiveness of your ad based on your parameter goal and understand which ads are helping you achieve your goals.

Pitfalls of Facebook Advertising #5: Starting with the Wrong Campaign Strategy

The campaign setup should divide your traffic into different targets that you want to report on and optimize. For example, by separating retargeting ad sets from prospecting ad sets, you can effectively manage more budget and optimizations between two different targets. Note that the majority of settings and targeting options are done at the ad set level, not the campaign level. This creates more flexibility to bundle different initiatives under one target (e.g. retargeting campaigns for different product sets or target groups).

Target group strategy and targeting

When it comes to audience strategy and targeting, marketers should focus on allocating budget to the highest performing traffic sources. This is especially true for retailers focused on the highest return on ad spend. Facebook's ability to drill down into detailed audiences - such as demographics and interest alignment - sets it apart from its competitors in important ways.

Pitfalls of Facebook Advertising #6: Targeting the Wrong Audience

Use dynamic product ads and dynamic broad audience ads to reach the largest number of Facebook users. Dynamic product ads are retargeting-based ads that focus on moving users down the purchase funnel. Create separate audiences (ad sets) for people who have purchased products, added items to their cart, and visited website visitors. Since each group is at a different stage of the buying process, these ad sets give you insight into how likely they are to convert.

Layer time filtering in these segments based on data volume and audience size. For example, the audience of your purchased products can be divided into two segments: "Purchased in the last 30 days" and "Purchased 30 days +". Consider this same process for each audience segment and break it down into time segments based on your business and how your customers shop for your products.

Depending on the amount of data available, the above structure can break down even further. You can split the audience by device and, if possible, by platform (Facebook vs. Instagram). Each of these segments has performance differences to help you determine how to spend your budget for the best return.

The goal of audience segmentation is to avoid overlap and ensure that you control the timeliness and frequency of ad placement. This prevents you from oversaturating your audience with ads, which often leads to ad blocking.

Pitfalls of Facebook Advertising #7: Targeting Too Broadly

Dynamic Ads for Broad Audiences (DABA) is an ad format that helps attract new customers. These ad units help fill the customer prospect funnel for the retargeting campaigns described above. This customer segment prioritizes Facebook's audience segmentation capabilities and strategically spends valuable budget dollars.

To get started with DABA, choose a target audience that best fits your business (running, women's apparel, etc.). Once you've decided on a target, create ad sets with additional segmentation for demographics like gender, age, and device.

If subscriber numbers allow, consider additional segmentation for placement and platform. After finalizing the basic structure of interest-based ad sets, consider duplicating the structure to build an imitable audience for additional attention.

Pitfalls of Facebook Advertising #8: Overlooking the Offer Strategy

Marketers often don't think about bidding strategy when advertising on Facebook. By choosing the wrong strategy or neglecting one, the budget is quickly exhausted and advertising performance suffers.

There are six bidding strategies available for Facebook ads. Each supports specific goals and has unique benefits. Facebook offers five of these strategies, including lowest cost, in which Facebook manages all bids and achieves your lowest cost while you spend your budget. Check out the Facebook Bid Strategy Guide for a complete overview of strategies, goals, and when to use them.


Most marketers struggle to find the value of each marketing touchpoint in a single purchase path. They often rely on tracking performance by last-click attribution. This model, which states a touchpoint as an entire customer journey, is outdated and typically leads to inefficient spending. To get a holistic view of the sales journey across multiple touchpoints on Facebook, consider changing your attribution approach.

Facebook Advertising Pitfalls #9: Using the Wrong Attribution Model

Facebook is a platform that engages consumers at the top and middle of the purchase funnel more often than ready-to-buy consumers. Because of this high-funnel intent, retailers need to shift their measurement focus to multi-touch attribution (MTA). This will help assign a value to each touchpoint so that it receives the recognition it deserves.

Most shoppers use a variety of different platforms to make purchases. Facebook's increasing role in the customer journey makes MTA a valuable tool for measuring how effective Facebook ads are in a marketing mix. It's especially relevant for marketers who advertise across multiple channels, as MTA evaluates the importance of each channel in a sale. Consider the many MTA options available: Linear, Time Drop, U-Shaped, W-Shaped, and Algorithmic.

Avoidance of the traps of Facebook advertising

Facebook is a great platform to generate awareness, promote specific products and increase sales. However, many marketers simply invest in the channel without a clear strategy, often resulting in wasteful ad spend.

Whether you're just starting out or an established marketer in the channel advertising, consider these pitfalls when working with your Facebook ad campaigns. With the right knowledge in place, you can avoid spending your budget on limited results.

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