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Digital Marketing News & Best Practices - Adlucent Search Pros(e)

4 Bad Facebook Ads (and How to Fix them!)

Posted by Laura Russell on March 30, 2016

Facebook advertising continues to grow rapidly, with more than 2.5 million advertisers now utilizing the platform to reach target audiences. Their audience creation and targeting capabilities surpass most other networks, and people spend more time on social (especially on mobile) compared to other sites. However, with all the ad types and targeting capabilities available, it can be difficult for advertisers to get it right. We’ve all been served ads that are just a little off, so let’s highlight some of those and how advertisers can fix these common mistakes to not only avoid wasted ad spend, but improve metrics that affect relevancy score on the network.

Bad Ad #1:  Toyota’s Little Red Car

A few weeks ago I saw my friend post the following on Facebook:

Bad Facebook Ad 1

After speaking to him about it and learning more, it turns out he had visited a Toyota dealership and looked at specific car models. Toyota is obviously using a retargeting method, but their segmentation is off if the products they are showing don’t align with their potential customer’s interest.


When a company obtains a lead, including a person’s email address or phone number, they typically have a CRM system that stores this lead and provides additional information about them (such as the product or category of interest). In this case, Toyota should have segmented the leads in their CRM data by model (truck, minivan, sedan, SUV, or hybrid) and then by condition (new or used). They could then upload these lists into Facebook’s Audience tool, and customize their creative to treat each audience appropriately with a message that meets their needs.

Bad Ad #2: Already a Classpass Member

Classpass is an avid Facebook advertiser but I often see ads encouraging me to “join now,” or “learn how to access”:

Bad Facebook Ad 2

The problem is, I am already a Classpass member. Advertisers are charged every time someone interacts with an ad on Facebook, and CPCs are affected by Relevancy Score, so ultimately, Classpass is wasting money by sponsoring join-now types of posts to existing members.


Classpass should utilize Custom Audiences in Facebook by regularly uploading a list of members to create an Audience. They should then exclude this Custom Audience from any ads or sponsored posts that contain messaging about learning more or signing up, and allocate that ad spend toward acquisition instead, or toward sponsoring other types of retention content, like blog posts and special events, toward members.

Bad Ad #3: I’m NOT a Healthcare Professional, Wayfair

A good friend of mine, who is definitely not a healthcare professional, sent me this screenshot recently:

Bad Facebook Ad 3

It turns out, she visited Wayfair’s site and browsed, but never looked at business categories. This is clearly a retargeting ad, but if they are not retargeting the correct category, it could fall on deaf ears or dissuade potential customers.


Facebook’s retargeting capabilities are pixel-based, and implementing the Facebook Pixel correctly is crucial to a strong lower-funnel strategy. In this case, it seems the “View Content” Standard Event was not accurate, thus serving the incorrect content to a user. Carefully troubleshooting pixel set up with their dev team would benefit Wayfair, and probably increase their ROAS on retargeting ads. At Adlucent we use the Facebook Pixel Helper Chrome Plug-in to view and troubleshoot client’s pixels.

Bad Ad #4: She Insider’s Proofreading (or lack thereof)

Bad Facebook Ad 4

This one needs little explanation. The ad text doesn’t read well and doesn’t even really make sense. The titles in the carousel aren’t consistent, and you can see by the reactions icons that users don’t like the post.


Always proofread! Advertisements reflect your brand, and the goal is to resonate with your audiences and build a consistent, positive brand message. Typos and negative reactions hurt She Insider’s reputation and consumer trust.

Have you seen any similar ads that make you say “huh?” or just annoy you? Send them our way!

Topics: advertising, facebook, Featured Post, Marketplaces, Social


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