Top Paid Advertising Mistakes To Avoid

Online advertising is a really good way to get your message and product in front of a very specific audience. Contrary to popular belief, PPC (pay per click) ads are not the magic bullet for getting people to your website and making sales. In short, PPC is a form of paid advertising where you are paying a fee whenever someone clicks on your ad. The concept of PPC is very simple: you create ads and they get displayed to your target audience according to a set of variables. The exact details will vary between different ad platforms, but basically, you are either bidding on specific keywords that people are searching for (Google AdWords) or you are targeting specific demographics and interests and then showing your ads to them (for example, on Facebook).

In today’s time, people are much harder to sell to and the competition is getting more intense each day so just by advertising on paid ad platforms won’t guarantee you any traffic or sales. Depending on which advertising platform you’re running ads, you must know how to exactly optimize ads for the specific platform or you just won’t make the most out of your ad budget. Not having a proper strategy in place would just lead to people ignoring your ads and you wasting your marketing budget.

Pay per click illustration

A great thing about online advertising is that it can be extremely effective. This is even more true for helping you to promote your product to your ideal customer or even if you have a brand new website that you’re trying to rank high in Google, so in the meantime, you can run some ads to have a steady stream of visitors from day one.

Have you ever analyzed your ad spend and asked yourself why are you spending so much money but not seeing any increase in new customers and sales? You know that many businesses are spending a lot of money each year on online advertising so it must be working for them, but why isn’t it working for you? Most likely, the answer can be found in some of the common problem areas.

Just because you know how to create ads on Facebook or Adwords doesn’t mean you’re doing it right at all. Most likely, you’re missing the boat and not getting the most out of your advertising dollars. Good news is that with only a few changes, you can achieve a big positive impact on your advertising efforts. None of the best practices that we’ll describe here are complicated but they still require the attention and time to get right. In a nutshell, online advertising is basically trying out different types of ads, testing a lot of different ads (images, ad copy, headlines) and also tracking everything.

Using Poor Creatives

The creative refers to your ad image. No matter which ad platform you are using, you need to make sure that your ad images look clear, clean, and professional. Since your goal would be to attract the audience’s eye immediately, you can test some vibrant images that would grab their attention, even though it might not be relevant to the actual product service. For example, you can look at the color scheme of your ads based on the ad platform where you are advertising. If it’s on Facebook, you’d want your image to contrast with the white and blue colour that’s present on Facebook so your audience would be more inclined to see your ad.

Don’t make a mistake and run ads with a poor image and then expect to generate high-quality leads. You don’t need to have an extensive designing experience because you can always hire someone else to create ad images for you. Two of the most popular places would be Upwork and 99 Designs where you can get your creatives done very affordably.


The main purpose of the image is to make it stand out so it would catch people’s attention. The image is the main thing that you should be testing because, usually, it will have the biggest impact on your ad performance. Don’t be afraid to test many different variations of the image and also be sure to test even those that you think it wouldn’t perform well because you never know. Always rely on data from your split testing and don’t go with your assumptions because you can be surprised by the results of your campaigns. Don’t be manipulative with your ads, but try to understand which images generate the most clicks and this will help you to understand how to engage your audience better.

Focusing Only On One Ad Platform

It’s easy to get confused when picking your ad platform due to the vast amount of choices. You should choose only the ones you think are worth the most and focus only on them. Your best bet would be to start out on Facebook and AdWords, but you can also try to directly buy some banners on specific websites if you have the budget.

Facebook might be the easiest platform to start on and you are basically targeting interests and demographics and then Facebook will show your ads only to people who match your specifications. AdWords is generally more complicated and there, you target your ads based on specific keywords that people are using to search on Google. There are several other platforms with mentioning (like LinkedIn and Reddit), but it’s generally the best idea to stick with Facebook and AdWords, at least in the beginning. On LinkedIn, you are targeting a similar information like you are on Facebook and it basically comes down to the info that’s available on someone’s profile like the company, work experience, or age.

If you are on a tight budget (less than $500/m), then you probably want to go with Facebook and AdWords only. Be very careful with your bidding and try to stretch our your ad budget as much as you can. Generally, the less competitive niche and keywords that you’re trying to target, the more reach and clicks you will be able to get out of your ad spend. For business owners with large budgets, you’ll have the luxury of testing out many different things and you’ll be able to find the best combination very quickly and then you need to focus only on scaling those campaigns and increasing your ROI.

Not Scaling Your Ad Campaigns

The first phase of running paid ads is to take a lot of time to launch different ads and then track the results and eventually optimize them. This way, you will see which ads are just wasting your money so you can stop them, but you also see which ads are performing the best so you can know where to spend more.


Once you find a campaign that is generating the sales for you and bringing in a desirable ROI you’re looking for, then you should work on scaling it and seeing how you can spend more money on it and take it to a higher level. For example, if you are spending $1,000/month on a campaign that is earning you $2,000 back (if that’s a good ROI for you), then you should start spending more money on it to see if it will retain that ROI on a higher ad spend. Hopefully, it will, but you must test it to actually see. Increase the budget, but keep an eye on it and track your results.

Not Tracking Your Results And Metrics

One of the biggest mistakes that people make is not knowing the exact ROI (return on investment) that they are getting from their online marketing efforts. Tracking and measuring metrics sounds simple but it can be deceptive. For example, if you are optimizing your ads to get a higher CTR (click-through rate) on your ads and you are mostly focused on that metric, then you still have the problem if you are in the situation where those clicks aren’t converting and producing sales.

So, the first step in online advertising is learning how to track your results and measure ROI on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Once you set your goals, you’ll need to set up a tracking system so you know exactly on which ads people are clicking and where your traffic is coming from. Google has a tool that lets you create nice tracking URLs that you can use to track your campaigns and conversion in your Google Analytics account.


When analyzing your metrics, don’t assume that more clicks are better just for the sake of it. Instead, focus on tracking conversions and the returns you are making from your ad spend. You can set up conversion tracking for almost any source, whether it is a website, app, or phone calls. Return can mean different things for each campaign and it can range from a sale to brand awareness. For example, clicks are easy to track across all channels but they don’t necessarily equal revenue. On the other hand, revenue is the most reliable metric that your company lives for but sometimes it can be challenging to tracked, depending on your type of business.

Not Implementing Retargeting

Retargeting (remarketing) is the best way to get the most out of your advertising budget. It is usually cheaper than running ads to a cold audience and it’s fairly easy to set up. It works like this: when someone visits your website or landing page that you have set up for retargeting, a cookie is saved on their computer and that is how the ad platforms know who has visited your website before. You can then create retargeting ads and target those exact same people as they browse around the web or Facebook again.


When they see your ad on Facebook or on other websites again, they have a good chance of clicking through and coming back to your website. It makes no sense for anyone not to implement retargeting. As you probably know, sale is rarely generated on a first visit or contact, so retargeting offers a highly effective and cheap way to get your product or service in front of your potential customer again, and you can have your ads follow them around the Internet so on fifth or whichever contact, they are much more likely to buy.

Retargeting is super easy to implement on Facebook. You just need to go to the ads manager and create a custom audience. There, paste the URL of the page that you’d like to retarget and select the event like page views (your situation might be different). Anyone that visited that exact page in the past (up to 180 days) or anyone that visits it in the future, will be automatically added to that custom audience so you don’t have to keep going back and adding people or tweaking it. Then, to create a retargeting ad, simply go ahead and create your ad like you would usually do and in the section where you select the country, above that you have a field where you can choose that custom audience and then that ad will be shown only to those people who visited your page.


Paid advertising is a must-have for any business and especially for anyone running a small business. It can be a great source of leads at a lower cost of customer acquisition when compared to other traditional ways of advertising. Setting up and running paid ads can be overwhelming and time-consuming, but you must do it correctly if you want to generate traffic and get the most out of it.

Be sure that you are following the trends because the ad platforms are always changing so you have to adapt to new algorithms and technologies.If you want to gain the lion’s share of the profits for your ads, then you need to fully understand the principles of online advertising so you can manage your campaigns correctly. Only then you will reap the benefits of having your ads reach and target the right customer at the right time.