Avoiding Mistakes in Ad Campaigns: 9 Things to Double-Check Before Publishing


ou hit the publish button, the ad goes live, and then somebody in the team picks up on a silly mistake. Suddenly, everyone is in panic mode and you waste resources trying to pull the ad. In serious cases, this has the potential to harm the reputation of the whole company. With this in mind, it’s important to understand the common mistakes in ad campaigns and how to check for them before publishing. In this guide, you’ll find a detailed list to help prevent future mistakes on Google and Facebook.

1. Campaign Objective 

After spending time perfecting an ad, the last thing you want to do is send it out with the wrong campaign objective. These days, the objective you choose depends on the platform you’re using and the goals of the campaign. On Facebook, you can choose from several different objectives including:

  • Engagement 
  • Traffic 
  • Conversions 
  • Catalog Sales 
  • Store Visits 
  • Brand Awareness 
  • Reach 

The objective you choose should align with your marketing goals. Although it seems a small mistake, selecting the wrong objective can hinder campaign performance.

While some marketers will simply click on the wrong objectives, others don’t have a full understanding of what the objectives provide. For new brands, you may want to boost product awareness. This is great, but do you choose the Traffic or Reach objective? Though essentially the same, Traffic is designed to send people to your website while Reach is all about getting in front of as many relevant people as possible. The more you understand the objectives, the easier you can identify the one you need for each campaign. 

2. Creatives 

As a consumer, you don’t want to see the same commercial appearing on the TV over and over again, right? Well, it’s the same for your audience on social media and search. If you don’t refresh the creatives on your campaign, your audience may grow to dislike the ad or ignore it completely which can lead to ad fatigue.

There are many things you can do to keep ad creatives fresh: 

  • Reword the call to action
  • Add/remove details (including emojis, pricing, brand name, and product) 
  • Use a different format (carousel vs single image, for example) 
  • Add the brand logo 
  • Use a new background or filter 

In truth, you don’t need to overhaul the whole ad and produce something entirely new. Instead, make small changes to prevent ad fatigue.

3. Targeting 

With Google, Facebook, or any other advertising platform, targeting is often the difference between success and failure. Although you might be tired of hearing it, even the best ad won’t perform if it’s shown to the wrong people.

Before choosing targeting definitions, understand that both Facebook and Google have extensive options for refining your campaign. When selecting targeting criteria, think about the interests of your target audience and select keywords that will bring in the best conversions at the cheapest cost. If your audience or targeting definitions are too broad or inaccurate, you’ll end up paying for ads that get delivered to people with limited interest in the business.

Facebook even has tools like lookalike audiences and custom audiences that can help you tailor your audience to reach the most relevant people.

4. Irrelevant Content 

While on the topic of targeting, you also need to consider whether or not the ad you’ve produced is relevant to the audience. Often, we get carried away during the ad creation stage and lose sight of what the audience wants and needs. Before publishing any ad, think about a potential recipient and how they will react.

We have two tips for people with this concern: 

  • Check the Relevance Score of your ad campaign on Facebook 
  • Ask your audience directly

While the former will help to identify the general interest in your campaigns, the latter will help to learn exactly what the customer needs right now. 

5. Keywords 

Online advertising revolves around keywords. With Google, for example, you will come across three types of keywords: exact match, phrase match, and broad match. 

Exact Match

With this option, the only way for your ad to display is if somebody in your chosen audience types the exact phrase you have selected. Despite a higher conversion than phrase and broad match ads, exact matches have much lower traffic. 

Phrase Match

This time, the search doesn’t need to be exact, but the ordering should remain the same. For example, a campaign with ‘best camping stove’ will still deliver to somebody who searches ‘where to find the best camping stove’. Although other words are present, they are still in the same order as your phrase match. 

Broad Match

Lastly, this option allows your ad to show when your chosen words are used in any order. Of course, this means the opposite of an exact match in that you’ll have lots of traffic but lower conversion. Why? Because you’re more likely to appear in irrelevant searches.

Before launching your campaign, double check that you’ve selected the right keywords for your goals. Are you looking for high traffic or high quality conversions?

6. Landing Page 

We can’t forget that some campaign objectives will push consumers towards a specific landing page. If this landing page is cluttered, slow, or has broken links, one of two things will happen:

  1. Facebook will disapprove of the ad
  2. The consumers who click through will soon click away again. 

If your landing page experience fails to deliver what was originally promised in the ad, Facebook might consider it clickbait. Ultimately, you don’t want your brand to be linked with clickbait because it can negatively impact your image and reputation.

7. Content 

Remember, Facebook wants to keep all ads clean and positive for the recipients. Therefore, we recommend checking your ads for third-party infringement, misleading content, inappropriate or offensive content, or even content that encourages unethical or illegal behavior. 

All of these content restrictions are available in Facebook’s advertising policies.

8. Bidding  

Over the years, countless businesses have overspent on ad campaigns. Especially when a lack of experience is an issue, they set bidding settings without really understanding them. With this in mind, it’s definitely an area to double-check before hitting the publish button. 

Quite often, the key to success is trial and error. If your aim is to boost traffic to the website, many people are hesitant at first and will set limits of $10. This is fine, but you need to be willing to experiment. For example, double this amount or even triple it to see how it impacts results. As you continuously review the analytics and adjust, you should eventually find the perfect bidding amount for the campaign. 

If you’re not comfortable using custom bid settings, feel free to use the platforms’ automated bidding systems.

9. Final Questions Checklist

As well as these eight large checks, there are a lot of smaller things you should check before publishing an ad. You should ask the following: 

  • Does the ad stand out or will it blend into the crowd? 
  • Have I proofread the content? Is it error-free? 
  • Have I ensured the ad is free from profanity?
  • Does the ad avoid using the word ‘you’?
  • Is the CTA clear? What do I want the recipient to do after seeing the ad? 
  • Do I know the CLV (customer lifetime value) of my customers and did this contribute to decisions? 
  • Did I include negative keywords? What words do I want to exclude from the ad campaign? 
  • Am I sending all leads to the right landing page? 
  • Has the landing page been checked and tested by people with no connection to the brand? 
  • Have I teamed up with an optimization tool to take some pressure off my shoulders and optimize the ad automatically?