Kaitlyn Delaney
Kaitlyn Delaney 2 April 2019

The Biggest Social Media Advertising Mistakes in 2019

Social Media Advertising can be a powerful marketing tool for driving engagement, web traffic, and conversions. But are these mistakes keeping your campaigns from performing their best?

With social media advertising spending expected to reach $18.4 billion this year, there’s no denying that paid social media campaigns should be an increasingly important part of your social strategy. Paid social media isn’t just an awareness push either. Although it can be a cost-effective way to reach and educate new audiences, it’s also been shown to help businesses of all sizes nurture leads, increase engagement and drive web traffic and conversions.

Yes, social media advertising can be a powerful marketing tool. But are these mistakes keeping your campaigns from performing their best?

#1 You’re Not Taking Advantage of Pixels

Most of the social media platforms now have tracking pixels or little snippets of code you can put directly on your site or in Google Tag Manger to track the behavior of users referred from social media. If you haven’t implemented these on your site yet, you’re missing out.  You can use these to pixels to build customized audiences, track their behavior on the platform and your site, and later retarget these folks with ads customized to their stage of the customer journey.

You can also use them to gain access to a deeper level of campaign performance insights. For instance, Facebook’s gives you a better idea of if those clicks are really translating into landing page views or if they’re dropping off before they make it to your site. LinkedIn’s pixel, or Insight Tag as they call it, even gives you insight into anonymized profile info (such as company, job, and location) about folks who have engaged with your content at both the website and ad campaign level.

Install those pixels, build those custom audiences, and reap the rewards of the newly available data to learn from your current campaigns and optimize for the future.

#2 You’re Not Tailoring Your Creative for Social

You may have spent a lot of time and money shooting those television ads but that doesn’t mean you should just put them up as video ads on social media and call it a day. After all, you customize your ads for television, radio, outdoor and display. Social shouldn’t be any different. Audiences consume content differently on social media than through other mediums and while they may have to choose between watching your Hulu ad or taking that binge-watching snack break, on social everything is skippable. If you don’t capture users’ attention (and quickly), they’ll keep scrolling past. In fact, with today’s waning attention spans, Facebook-Nielsen research has shown that most of a video’s impact occurs in the first 10-seconds and most social platforms recommend keeping video ads to 15-seconds or less.

And while we’re talking about your social media ad creative, make sure you’re designing it with mobile audiences in mind. Is your creative designed to make an impact in the feed and truly break through the noise? Twitter has “cards” you can attach to tweets so they take up more space in the feed and Facebook now allows square and vertical images (yes, even for web traffic ads) to help you reach that mobile audience.

Take advantage of these features when designing your ad creative and remember, different platforms have different ads formats and creative specifications so put some thought (and research) into which ones can best help you reach those marketing goals. Video can be great for awareness and lead nurturing but maybe LinkedIn InMail will work better for that hard-sell push or maybe your content is better suited for a Snapchat or Instagram story than the feed itself. Take the time to design content specifically for each platform and placement you’re using to see the most success. 

#3 Your Landing Page Provides a Poor User Experience

Just as important as the content and look of your ads themselves is where they send people. Imagine seeing an ad with a message that interests you. You click through to the website ready to learn more, only to be directed to a lack-luster, dated, or confusing site. Frustrating right?

Keep your ad’s messaging clear and relevant and avoid that dreaded click-bait when chasing those coveted click-throughs. Whether your site’s not optimized for mobile or doesn’t follow through on what you promised, if you’re providing a poor user experience users will bounce before they convert. To truly capture that ROI with your social media ads, you’ll want to deliver on any promises your ads makes to the user. Make sure the info they’re looking for is easily viewable across devices, design any forms with mobile-friendly buttons (or use lead-generation forms on the social platforms themselves if you’re not gating content), and provide a clear path to conversion.

#4 You’re Not Optimizing for Performance

One of the best parts of advertising on social media, and digital in general, is the ability to make changes “on the fly” as they say. If you’re going the “set it and forget it route” your campaign performance will suffer. The more nimble you can be the better. Monitor campaigns as you go, report on your progress, and be sure A/B test your creative to see what performs best with your audience. Sound overwhelming? Most platforms have some form of automation to help you out if you’re just getting started but optimizing manually gives you more control over what exactly you’re optimizing for.  

And don’t forget to integrate with Google Analytics to look at metrics both on and off the platforms when you’re making these optimizations. Seeing an ad with a high cost per click? Don’t pause it just yet. It could have the best conversion rate once users get to your site. Adding UTM tracking to your links will help you attribute these conversions to specific ads.

Finally, remember that works for other brands (even those in your industry) may not work best for you. Finding success with paid social tactics is an ongoing process and your strategy should evolve with the platforms themselves. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find what works for you.

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