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The One Mistake That Could Be Ruining Your Social Media Ads

I received an email today from an owner of a company in California who was seeking some input for an article about advertising on Facebook. In the email, he asked me to answer two questions: what is one important component of a good Facebook ad and what’s one mistake to avoid? 

My answer for the important component of a good Facebook ad: knowing your audience.

My answer for the one mistake to avoid: targeting a random or general audience.

Although I did expound on my answers, he might not have liked them for a couple reasons:

  1. I essentially gave him a positive and negative version of the same answer
  2. A lot of times when people are asking about components of a good Facebook ad, they're wanting to know about the creative portion of the ad (text, image, headlines, CTAs, etc.).

While a lot of times people focus on optimizing the creative part of an ad, the creative is not the most important part. It is important, but if your optimized ad is being shown to people who aren't interested in your product or service, you're wasting time and money. I could see a beautiful looking ad for fidget spinners, but guess what, I'm not going to engage with it because I'm not interested. 

That's why I tried to stress the importance of knowing your audience in my reply to his email. Without an interested audience, people are just going to scroll right by your ad. 

In order to prevent wasting the time and money used to optimize your creative, avoid the mistake of not knowing your audience. Below are a couple easy ways to help you start targeting people who are more likely to give you the results you're looking for.

Audience Insights

I would recommend utilizing Audience Insights on Facebook to get a better idea of which demographics are engaging the most with your content. Take notes of the demographics and then set up your ad to target those demographics. You can find a more in depth look at how to use Audience Insights here.

Lookalike Audiences

Another option is to create a lookalike audience based on people who already engage with your page. Check out this tutorial to get started using lookalike audiences. 
Once you know who your audience is, the text and visuals of your ads can directly address common pain points that these people share. Knowing your audience will not only benefit the creative of your Facebook ads, it will also enable you to create ads that are relevant to specific segments of your audience.
So, before you focus all your time and money on creating a good-looking ad, ensure the right people are going to see it. Use audience insights and lookalike audiences to help you avoid the mistake that could be plaguing your social media ads.

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