Avoid these 5 common mistakes in your Meta ad account

Account structure, a key component of Meta’s advertising strategy, has polarized media buyers since the inception of Facebook (Meta) ads. 

Regardless of one’s certainty in a “bulletproof” structure, there are no guarantees of success in your ad account, vertical, or product. At its worst, account structure may negatively affect your digital ad spending and burn your cash.

As an agency, Pearmill has had access to hundreds of Facebook ad accounts over the years. Drawing from our experience of auditing Meta ad accounts, here are the top five mistakes that wreck ad performance — and what you can do about them.

Mistake 1: Overcomplicating your ads

To achieve success with Meta ads, you must prioritize one of the Meta Power 5 Rules: Account Simplification. Meta itself has been emphasizing it for the past few years, so you know it’s important!

In certain accounts, we see multiple campaigns running for each ad placement or creative type. This creates more campaigns than necessary. 

The fix? Keep all types of creatives (image, carousel, and video) together under the same roof and run all placements as often as you can.

Here are the campaigns currently running on one of our great performance ad accounts:

  1. Prospecting campaign
  2. Retargeting campaign
  3. Advantage+ shopping campaign
  4. Creative testing campaign

** Notice how this account has both an APS (Advantage+ Shopping) and an ACQ campaign. We test APS vs ACQ for every account that we have, and in this case we learned that the account benefits the most from having one of each active. Make sure to test if ACQ or APS works better for your account - or both together.

When you simplify your account and minimize the number of campaigns, ad sets, and ads, you allow the platform to use its capabilities and run its own test with placements, targeting, ad spend allocation, etc. This helps identify the best, most effective opportunities to deliver your desired results.

Our advice? Keep the number of campaigns at a minimum, the number of ad sets within one campaign also at a minimum, and the number of ads per ad set somewhere between three and six. This works the best in most of the accounts we manage. 

Keep in mind that there’s no formula that covers all verticals because each ad account differs.

Side note: Be sure to run ads to an optimized landing page at the right price point — the simplified campaign structure can only do so much. 

Mistake 2: Trying to outsmart Facebook in audience targeting

One audience thrives over and over again in almost all ad accounts that we run: “broad targeting.” 

Broad targeting basically allows the platform to identify the right audience segment without giving it any instructions about your ideal audience. Example audience: all Meta users aged 18-65 who live in the USA

The best approach is to test before taking our word for it, so here’s a tip on testing. In a new campaign, set up three ad sets, each running the exact same ads at the exact same spend (use ad set budget optimization), but direct each ad set toward a different audience:

1. Broad targeting (all users 18-65)
2. Lookalike 1% from past purchasers
3. Interests stack (add multiple fields of interests)

Run the test for two weeks and analyze the data. The winning audience should be the primary audience that you target in your prospecting campaign. 

Mistake 3: Not establishing a proper testing process 

While it’s incredibly important to iterate on creatives within your ad account, it’s equally necessary to validate them through a creative testing process. Simply introducing new batches of ad creatives into your existing campaigns is not an effective approach.

By conducting ongoing, constant creative testing, you’re also shaping your creative direction. This helps you become more effective and ultimately achieve success with Facebook advertising. 

For years we’ve used a single, simple creative testing process over various ad accounts and verticals. Interested in reading more about how we test creatives? Check it out here.

Mistake 4: Ignoring the Advantage+ Shopping campaign

Similar to Google’s Performance Max campaign, this is Meta’s new, fully automated campaign setup that offers minimal customization for things like audience targeting and selecting ad placements. The platform does the heavy lifting with an ability to control the portion of the spending for existing customers.

This type of campaign must be tested — especially if your vertical is eCommerce. We don’t advise switching the full budget towards the Advantage+ Shopping campaign. Instead, run this campaign alongside existing campaigns. We’ve seen success in certain accounts as long as it doesn’t receive the entire account budget.

Mistake 5: Underestimating the power of your creatives

You may have seen the quote “Let the creatives do the targeting.” This has gained popularity in our post-iOS 14 world, where less user data is collected.

While not entirely accurate in a literal sense, there is some truth to it. The right creative iterations will indeed do their own targeting on your behalf. Creatives enable the platform to identify the perfect customer and, as a result, the ideal audience segment.

You can’t sustain consistent performance if you’re not iterating on and improving your creatives. Aim for a strict schedule in updating your creatives through frequent creative tests. The platform needs these signals in order to identify the desired audience segments. 

In other words, let the creatives do the targeting!

By avoiding these five common Meta ad account mistakes, you can significantly impact your digital ad spending for the better. As you audit your Meta ad accounts, keep this checklist handy so you can increase your ad performance.

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