Skip to content
Digital & Technology

Are your Facebook adverts wasting money?

Facebook has become more than just a social network, for the vast majority of the world it’s became a part of daily life.

Facebook Knows Everything:

 Facebook has become more than just a social network, for the vast majority of the world it’s became a part of daily life. With every single log in, Facebook learns more and more about its users’ behaviours and interests, adding to the social profile it holds on each of us. As a

marketer, you can target potential customers on more than just age, gender and location, but on the month their car insurance is up for renewal, the supermarket in which they shop, and how frequently they travel to foreign countries just to name a few.

 Campaign Goals and Conversion Tracking:

 Determining if a paid advertising campaign has been successful comes down to understanding the goals of the campaign itself and knowing the value of the return they bring. The majority of SMEs advertising on Facebook will be doing so to generate an e-commerce sale or generate a lead. Setting this type of goal means that a cost per acquisition (CPA) can be calculated. Unlike traditional advertising, Facebook pixel tracking allows advertisers to track the exact activity generated on their website from their adverts. You are able to understand which pages they visit, how long they spend on the website and if they convert to a sale/lead you can then attribute conversions right down to a particular advert. Before any adverts are made live, you should ensure your business understands its goals, ideally a target CPA to work towards, and conversion tracking is correctly installed.

 It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that Facebook advertising is just boosting posts and paying for page likes within the Facebook page manager. Many smaller advertisers don’t realise there is actually an Ads Manager, which is the tool to use to fully manage multiple campaigns and have access to the full range of advert types offered. As the Facebook feed algorithms have changed over the years, the value of the like has decreased. Previously if you had 1k page likes, your content would show in all of these people's feeds, these days if you manage to achieve around 20% reach of that organically you’re doing well. Therefore, to get the most out of Facebook advertising, ensuring that you explore the full range of advertising objectives outside of boosted posts and page likes is a good place to start.

If your business is a new app and you’re looking to increase your downloads, running App Installs adverts allows you to target users that are on a particular device such as iOS or Android and the call-to-action on that advert when clicked will be to take the user directly to the relevant app store.

 Another example is that you are personal trainer and you don’t yet have your own website to drive traffic to, the best type of advert for you may be a lead generation advert which allows you to collect select information from the user and take their enquiry without them leaving Facebook.



 The average amount of touch points it takes for somebody to build up enough trust to make a commercial interaction with a new company they have never previously heard of or dealt with is between five and seven. A touch point could be a friends’ recommendation, an email received, a website visit or even reading a Trustpilot review.

 Taking this into consideration, if you as a business are investing financially to drive new prospects to your website, it would be foolish not to remarket to these people to remain in their minds and move them through the decision-making funnel to conversion. One key element to any remarketing campaign is to ensure you have exclusion audiences set up, this is so that if you make a sale of that pair of shoes to somebody via your advert, Facebook will know they’ve hit the confirmation page and will exclude this user from seeing further remarketing ads because well who is going to buy the same pair of shoes that they’ve just purchased days before, this one small tip could save up to 15% off your CPA if not currently running.

 How Facebook remarketing works:

Facebook Remarketing

Custom Audiences:

 As a business, you collect data from all sorts of places, from lead enquiries right through to customer sales. The traditional way to market to these people once you have their contact details is via email but as we all know, how many generic sales emails do we all receive and how often do we actually engage with them? Well statistics show that on average 1 in 5 of people open emails from companies they’ve opted in to receive further information from. Facebook allows businesses to import their database of any sort (a minimum of 250 email addresses) and it will then match those email addresses to Facebook profiles and create a custom audience for you which is then ready to be marketed to. On average 70% of email addresses match to a Facebook profile. Custom audiences give you the opportunity to position yourself in the consideration stage of people you know are already semi-engaged with your business, but may need that final nudge to convert.

 Not only is custom audiences a way of targeting specific people with your adverts but it’s also a smart way to exclude people from them as well. For example, if you are trying to onboard new customers with an exclusive new customer only offer, if current customers see this they may be annoyed and so it would be important on occasions like this to exclude them using custom audiences.

 How custom audiences work:

Facebook Audiences

Lookalike Audiences:

 Lookalike audiences are a natural evolution from custom audiences. In the simplest of terms, it is taking an audience you’ve established within Facebook and finding people that are similar to them in terms of behaviour, demographics, income and interests. You can do this to the extent of a 1% lookalike compatibility.

 The best example of a successful lookalike audience campaign would be where you import your customer database as a custom audience and then use this to create a lookalike audience of those people. It makes logical sense to use the data Facebook has on your current customers to find others that digitally look similar if not identical.

Campaign Structure (Ad Group Split):

 It’s critical that you are able to see the data of your adverts and make bid adjustments based on performance easily. One quick way to ensure this is splitting out at ad group level, to elaborate if you have one ad set which is targeting 18-30-year old within Manchester, it would make logical sense to split this out further to two ad sets, 18-30-year-old males in Manchester and 18-30-year-old females in Manchester. The benefit of setting your structure up in this way is that often you will be able to then easily make bid adjustments on an ad set level, you will most likely discover that either females or males convert better one way or the other and having the ad groups split out like this allows you to quickly and easily manage your budget attribution accordingly and always remember to let the data do the talking when making decisions and bid management.

 Types of Facebook Adverts:

 To extend from the earlier point of Facebook advertising being more than just boosted posts, the platform offers single image, single video, carousel, slideshow and canvas adverts. One thing to consider when selecting your advert media type is placement. If your advert is going to sit within a very busy and creative content dominated news feed, how do you ensure yours grabs attention and doesn’t just get lost in the noise?

 Carousel adverts are a great way to showcase multiple products or pictures depicting your overall offering within one advert, this could be a full collection or even the key sales features of your business such as free delivery, finance options or even a sale now on.

 It’s important to ensure that you trial a variety of advert types to learn which best engage the audience that you’re trying to target.


A/B Split Testing:

Over the course of time you will likely learn that the 80/20 rule also applies to Facebook advert performance and that just a small percentage of your adverts drive that final conversion. It’s important to ensure that these adverts remain running, but it is always worth running variations of these adverts to test new imagery, content, button call to action, ad text and landing page.

Split testing isn’t something to just trial the once; it should be a part of your ongoing process of managing the ads account and ensuring that you are always getting the most out of the account.

Craig Tomkins

Craig Tomkins, Chief Commercial Officer at Padoq Managing Director at Nothing But Epic.

Co-Founder of Nothing But Epic and Padoq. Nothing But Epic is a digital acceleration agency focusing on scaling up ambitious brands online. Padoq is a community platform that gives organisers all of the necessary tools to better manage their group, making life simpler.

" Facebook Ads are a brilliant way to attract and grow your audience, if you need help or guidance with Facebook Ads we have a variety of digital workshops to support you in your digital journey. Our digital advisors can provide one-to-one assistance offering their digital expertise and services to you and your business. Email me at and start your Digital Growth!"

Olivia Axon Digital Marketing and Events Apprentice at GC Business Growth Hub
I Want To Grow Using Digital and Technology

Share this post

GenAI-Powered Chatbot