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September 29, 2016
Marketing  |  12 min read

5 Facebook Ad Myths that are Killing Your Profits

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Jay Pitkänen

“Boost this post to get better results!“

Facebook hounds you with this supposedly important message. You scoff. Why would anyone pay to boost their posts? You might even consent to Facebook’s badgering and fork out the $5 needed, and what happens? Facebook becomes even more irritating, now blasting you with confusing messages about retargeting options.

Facebook ads? Pah, it’s just a fad and the internet will soon get over it.

This is how myths begin. Facebook Ads are a powerful platform with incredible potential. It’s also complex and surrounded by myths and misconceptions.

Let me show you how to see past those myths and unlock the real power of Facebook advertising.

The power of reaching a tiny amount of people

Facebook doesn’t cost any money, but it’s far from free.

This massive people-search engine sits there quietly, collecting every detail of your life and your friends’ lives, storing everything as searchable data for advertisers.

While that might sound like something even George Orwell would lose sleep over, it’s a dream scenario for every marketer. Imagine targeting anyone you want to target: No more wasted money on showing irrelevant ads to the wrong people.

The Facebook Ad platform, with its ample targeting power and complex features, is quite a handful even for the most seasoned marketing professional. Many are content to simply scratch the surface and take what results they get.

Such variance in user experiences has lead to different ideas about what Facebook Ads is and isn’t.

Myth No. 1: It’s too expensive!

We have no problem purchasing the latest MacBook for work or the latest lead generation plugin for WordPress. We’ll gladly pay for a landing page service or domain hosting, or hire someone to help us design an image.

Spending money for advertising, though? Nope. Most of us would rather sweat away at guest posts (yes, guilty as charged) and other forms of free promotion before even looking at paid advertising.

Let’s talk about that.

Can you afford NOT to advertise?

Perhaps you should save your money and keep doing the free promotion. This was my thinking—then I opened up my calculator.

An average guest post takes 20 hours to write. On average, that brings in 100 subscribers. Let’s say my time is worth $10/h. Whoops, I’m paying $2 per subscriber. Even then, I’m risking that no one takes an interest, and I’ve wasted my time.

Mary Fernandez, the self-proclaimed blogaholic, used Facebook advertising to grow her subscriber list. She gained 532 subscribers in 43 days, after spending a total of $227.05.

That’s $0.43 per subscriber. AND you can still write guest posts at the same time.

What about sales? At Thrive Themes we had a massive 900 percent ROI on Facebook ads during a period of 11 months. That’s $9 for every $1 spent.

These ROI-figures are tough to achieve and require a lot of experimenting, but it just goes to show that Facebook ads can be extremely lucrative. Question is, can you afford NOT to spend money on advertising?

Absolute minimum budget for a Facebook Ads campaign:

The absolute minimum daily budget based on Facebook’s pricing is $2/day or $5/day for manual bidding. That’s $60-150/month on advertising. Hardly more than your internet bill.

Granted, it’s the absolute minimum budget, and probably won’t bring in massive results. But for someone with a minimal advertising budget, any positive result is welcome.

The minimum budget for your campaign depends on your campaign goal, but it’s safe to say that Facebook advertising doesn’t require a massive budget to get started.

Myth No. 2: Useful, but will not work for my business

ansolute minimum budget for a facebook ads-campaign for Facebook ad myths

Facebook Ads won’t work for YOUR business because of one of the following reasons:

  • Only B2C companies advertise on Facebook
  • Only fun media companies advertise on Facebook
  • It’s only for boosting posts, to collect likes and increase brand awareness
  • Your product isn’t digital
  • You don’t want to annoy people while they’re browsing Facebook

If reasons like these are preventing you from dipping your toe into the Facebook advertising pool, you might be looking at it completely backward.

The marvelous thing about Facebook is that, much like Soylent Green, it consists of real people. Every account, if not for a tiny percentage of fake accounts, is a real person. Real people are generally interested in a variety of different things, including your business.

More than 1 billion people have a Facebook account. This means a member of your potential audience is browsing Facebook at this very moment and you’re missing out on an opportunity to get in front of them.

In short: If your business provides a benefit to your audience, Facebook Ads will provide a benefit to your business. Whether it be in leads, subscribers or sales.

Myth No. 3: I need a huge audience

If you’ve heard the myth that Facebook ads are only good for collecting “likes,” you’ve heard the misconception that follows: You need a huge audience to get any true results from Facebook advertising.

The great thing about Facebook is that you already have a huge potential reach. Facebook will gladly serve your ad to any of its 1.65 billion users.

All you need to do is tell Facebook what sort of person you want to target.

Build a target audience from scratch

You can build an accurate target group for your ads quickly, starting from absolutely nothing. All you need to do is specify the type of person you want to target, and Facebook will do the rest.

Here’s how:

  1. Find Pages focused on your selected interest using Facebook’s search function.
  2. Use this cool hack to find more relevant groups to further narrow down your search.
  3. Make a profile of the type of person involved in these groups.
  4. Using this profile, create your first target audience.

Boom—audience from nothing.

Expand an existing audience

If you already have a group of engaged followers in the form of a mailing list, you can turn that into a custom target audience for Facebook. Facebook can then expand on that with the Lookalike Audience function.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Import your mailing list into Facebook to create a custom audience.
  2. Create a Lookalike Audience based on your custom audience.

If you don’t have a mailing list, but still have a fair amount of traffic to your website, you can:

  1. Install a Facebook tracking pixel onto your page to identify and record visitors.
  2. Use the data recorded by the pixel to create a Lookalike Audience.

It’s helpful if you already have a large list of subscribers, but you can use Facebook’s provided tools to build an audience from nothing and still be successful.

Myth No. 4: I need professional quality images

build an audience form nothing for Facebook ad myths

Your Facebook ad needs an image, that’s true. To be successful, it needs to be:

  1. Visually appealing
  2. Attention grabbing

That’s it.

Sure it helps to be relevant to your offer, but that’s in no way a requirement.

At Thrive Themes, we’re always trying to optimize and increase our Facebook ad ROI. This means going to some extremes in image choices.

going extreme in image choices for Facebook ad myths

A standard stock photo. Note the cute baby pondering and looking. Your eyes are automatically drawn to the corner with a feeling of getting ready to learn.

a bog standard stock photo for Facebook ad myths

Using humor and a striking graphics style, this image brings home the message and stands out from the crowd.

using humor and striking graphics style for Facebook ad myths

A professional brand colored design, built by our team of designers. Your attention is drawn to the product logo in the center of the image.

Using similar copy and target audiences, which one do you think brought a positive ROI? (Answer below.)

As Sketchdesk concluded in their mythbuster-case study about Facebook images, people respond to images in surprising, often counter-intuitive ways. American Marketing Association was quick to criticize Sketchdesk’s case study as inconclusive and lacking targeting data.

Sketchdesk and AMA agree on one thing: you must test different images. It’s the only way to really know what your audience responds to.

So don’t worry if you’re not a professional designer or a studio photographer. If you want to create something from scratch, Adespresso has a great guide on using Canva to create amazing Facebook Ad images.

Here are a couple of image ideas you can easily make:

  • Plain colored background with an icon on it
  • Stock photo
  • Screenshot
  • Scenery photo

Then test. Test two or three images on the same advert. You might be surprised by the result.

If you’re stuck looking for images, here’s a few good sites with free or cheap images:

If you want to quickly edit an image, try these sites:

In short: As long as you have an image that’s visually appealing and attention-grabbing, you’re good to go. Don’t get stuck on the idea that the image has to be perfect.

Answer: ALL of those three images brought a positive ROI after testing.

Myth No. 5: Facebook Ads are ignored because they’re annoying

positive ROI after testing for Facebook ad myths

Remember when banner ads were all the rage? Yes, the flashy and annoying ones, informing you of the iPhone or million dollar prize you’ve won. You don’t see them anymore. I mean, you literally don’t see them anymore.

This dreadful ad format was so annoying that people became blind to it.

Irrelevance makes an advert annoying. They’re trying to sell you something you don’t need and end up robbing you of your time. On the other hand, if an ad offers you something you find truly beneficial and helpful, you’d love to find out more.

Now, Facebook is an evil corporation only interested in money.

(Just to point that out.)

But they know where that money comes from: the users. Facebook’s primary goal has always been to attract and keep users on the platform. Keeping users requires constantly engaging them with relevant information and keeping irrelevant information out of sight.

In other words, Facebook has no incentive to let marketers ruin the platform with spammy ads.

Sure, once in a while a spammy ad or annoying post slips through, but it soon disappears if not enough users engage with it. Properly targeted quality ads take precedence because they’re the ones people tend to click.

Facebook’s humongous user base keeps on growing because of the perceived value users get from continually being presented with relevant content.

Bottom line—Facebook ads is designed to favor showing relevant ads and keep irrelevant ads out of your Newsfeed. That’s why it’s so damn effective.

Ditch the myths—start your ad campaign with a fresh mind

There are other myths, and Facebook’s lackluster communication about new updates and features doesn’t exactly prevent new myths from forming.

Truth is, you’re losing a ton of profit if you let misconceptions keep you out of this advertising platform. Now you know the myths. You can start your journey into Facebook ads with a fresh mind.

When you create your first Facebook campaign, remember to pair every ad set with a conversion optimized landing page. 

This article originally appeared in Jeffbullas's Blog.

This article was written by Jay Pitkänen from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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