Can These Seemingly-Harmless Beliefs Really Sabotage Your Facebook Ad Performance and Lose You Money?

facebook ad performance

A wise man once said this about successful advertising:  “The business that can spend the most to acquire a customer – wins.”

I have a serious problem with this piece of advice.  It assumes the size of your advertising budget is the only thing that drives the success of your business.  You gotta spend more to make more.  Sounds like sensible investment advice, right?

At a basic level it makes sense.  IF you’re a corporate machine the size of Procter & Gamble or Coca Cola. But there’s a fundamental difference between your small business and corporate blobs like these.  And it’s this difference that means you can’t just ramp up your ad budget and automagically make more money.


Because you’re a human.  

Being a human is a huge handicap when it comes to advertising.  What with all those pesky beliefs and emotions getting in the way of rational decision-making.  Ever wondered why big-budget conglomerates require a 50-person committee to sign off on major decisions?  They can’t risk blowing up their gazillion dollar budget on the whim of a CEO with a bad hangover.

This stuff matters.  It matters because your mindset and emotions can have a serious impact on how you handle your Facebook ad account.  

To make matters worse, you probably won’t even realise your beliefs have influenced your advertising decisions, until it’s too late.  The good news is, you can stop your amygdala from losing you money.    

Simply being aware of the problem puts you 10 steps ahead of everyone else.  It’s why I’m about to share with you the most common – but seemingly-harmless – beliefs that can sabotage your Facebook ad performance.

facebook ad performance

Belief No.1 – “What I like matters”

S’riously, I’m gonna blow a fuse if I receive one more slack message that goes like this:

“Just sending you a couple of ads I liked when I was scrolling the newsfeed.”

Some clients like to hide from the truth like petulant toddlers.  But you’re a grown-up so I’m going to tell you straight.  I don’t care which Facebook ads you like.  You might think I’m being ignorant.  Or arrogant.  Here’s why I’m not. You are NOT your prospect.  What you like is irrelevant and probably has very little bearing on how well your Facebook ads will perform.

I see this kind of misguided thinking ALL THE FREAKING TIME when I speak to clients.  They don’t understand why there’s a problem.  

Maybe that’s you too…so let me explain.  When you run your own business, it’s easy to make certain assumptions about your prospects.  Things like…

…why they like your products

…what problems they’re trying to solve

…what outcomes they’re hoping to experience 

It’s not your fault.  You’re passionate about your business.  You started it for a reason.  It’s why it’s natural to assume your prospects feel the same as you do about your business.  It’s easy to be naive and expect your prospects will like the same copy, the same images, the same colours and same fonts as you.

Maybe they do.  Probably they don’t.

Which is why the Facebook ads you like do not matter.  And why you should shift your mindset so you make decisions based on hard evidence NOT personal preference or assumptions.

Belief No.2 – “I need my ads to be On-Brand”

Sweet Mary Mother of God! Save me from this Facebook advertising lunacy.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve lost count of the number of minutes, hours, and eons of my life I’ve lost to pointless Facebook ad copy revisions.  I know what you’re thinking.  Surely these revisions aren’t pointless if they keep the customer happy?

Yeah? No.

In the rapid-fire world of Facebook ads, it makes little sense to spend weeks tweaking an image or writing word-perfect ad copy.  The marginal performance improvement is far overshadowed by the time, effort and money wasted on minor edits.

But there’s one thing that makes the editing process more frustrating than ANYTHING.  It’s when a client requests edits for being ‘off-brand’.  *head slap*.

What do they mean by being off-brand? Often, clients reject ads for a couple of reasons.  The ‘voice’ being off-brand.  The colour scheme being off-brand.  Images being off-brand or fonts being off-brand.

I geddit.  No one wants to see their biz baby represented in the newsfeed in a way that doesn’t feel like them. They want their ads to evoke the warm n’ fuzzies.  Only, there’s a problem.  The warm n’ fuzzies don’t generate sales conversions.  (Unless you’re advertising teddy bears).

Why? The feeling of warm n’ fuzzies is often at odds with the feeling copywriters need to trigger in order to generate desire and make the conversion.

Sometimes you need to make your prospects feel p*ssed off!  Or sad.  Or ashamed.  These are emotions no one would ever want associated with their brand.  But they’re essential in Facebook advertising.

It boils down to a basic misunderstanding of the purpose of Facebook ads.  Facebook ads are not designed to raise the profile of your brand over a period of weeks, months and years. (That’s what General Advertising is for).  

Facebook ads are a form of “direct response” advertising.  It means your ads are designed to trigger a specific and immediate action.  It’s why being ON or OFF-BRAND has far less impact than being on or off-MESSAGE.

So, here’s what I want you to remember.  The next time you start fussing over branding in your Facebook ads, ask yourself this, “what am I trying to achieve here?”.  If the answer is ‘action’ – screw your brand and start focusing on conversions.

facebook ad performance

Belief No.3 – “It worked really well on email, so let’s do the same on Facebook”

Before I dive into this false belief, there is a caveat. There’s one circumstance when this belief isn’t completely misguided.

It’s if you’re targeting a warm audience on Facebook (e.g. a past customer, a page follower, a video-viewer, an email subscriber etc.) That’s because your Facebook ad audience is at a similar stage in the customer journey as subscribers to your email list.

In almost any other Facebook ad situation?  Forget your email marketing.  

Why?  Most Facebook advertisers target cold audiences.  They want to widen their reach to people outside their existing network.  It’s why copying ideas from email rarely works out well on Facebook.

Lemme explain by first asking you a question.  When someone joins your email list, do they already know you?  Yes…(although maybe only a tiny bit).  This might seem inconsequential, but it actually tells us a lot about your prospect.  Here’s what we know when someone subscribes to your email list:

  • They know they have a problem
  • They think they know the cause of their problem
  • They want to find a solution to their problem
  • They’re interested to know more about YOUR solution to their problem

In other words, they have a level of desire and intent that you can tap into through your email copy.  An audience with this level of intent requires a certain type of messaging.

Now, lemme ask you another question.  When you advertise to a cold audience what do we know about them?  The answer is nothing.  Facebook knows a lot, which is how they target your ideal prospects.  But you, the business owner, know nothing until a prospect clicks your ad and starts to take action.

Until they click, your prospect has shown no intent whatsoever.  Therefore, they require a different type of messaging that triggers their intent.

In short, messaging that works on email is unlikely to work in your Facebook ads!

Phew!  I don’t know about you but I feel a lot lighter after getting that off my chest.  Key points to remember:

  • Don’t assume your Facebook ad target audience likes the same things you do.  Do your research and create ads for your prospect NOT for you.
  • In Facebook advertising your goal is conversion not brand awareness. 
  • What works in your email marketing probably won’t work in your Facebook ads.

Or if all else fails, you can always bring together your own corporate committee and make unemotional advertising decisions that way instead 🙂 

Want the secret to cranking out profitable Facebook Ad Copy in minutes

…even if you’ve never written a Facebook ad before?

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