How You Will Waste Your Money On Facebook And Google

If your Facebook and LinkedIn feeds are anything like mine, you’ll be targeted by loads of Facebook and AdWords gurus telling you how every business can make money using these platforms.

They’re absolutely right. If done correctly, Facebook Ads and Google Ads can be one of the most targeted sources of qualified traffic that you can get to your website.

However, the challenge lies in getting it right.

Many marketers and business owners have trialled this kind of advertising, spending significant amounts of money and received little in return. They've then halted their campaigns and left the platforms feeling disillusioned, thinking that paid media won’t work for their business.

So, to help you make sure that you don’t fall into the trap of wasting your marketing spend without generating a positive ROI, I’ve listed the top reasons why and how you’ll waste your advertising spend.

1) You don’t realise that Facebook and Google are businesses and want to take your money

This is a fundamental realisation that you must understand. Whilst the tools given by the platforms are extremely useful, they are designed to get you to spend more. Obviously, they know that by helping the advertiser be more successful they will spend more. However, they are pretty unforgiving if you make a mistake. For example, if you get your targeting wrong, or you fail to pay attention to negative keywords, you’re not going to get your wasted spend refunded.

2) You don’t understand the platforms

Paid advertising is a specialist activity. This is why agencies exist and why larger companies hire paid media specialists.  Don’t expect to play at this and get great results. To get the best results you need to not only understand the technicalities of the platforms themselves but also the strategies behind them. There’s loads of learning to be done, and each platform will have a plethora of information as well as certifications to show your knowledge.

Check out Google Academy for Ads as well as Facebook Blueprint. There are also hundreds of blogs and podcasts that you can consume: Perpetual Traffic from Digital Marketer with @mollypitman is one of my main sources of learning on Facebook Ads.

3) You don’t invest the time

Getting results from your paid media means that you need to invest time. Time required to learn and keep up to date with the regular changes that the platform makes and consistent commitment to optimising your accounts.

Paid media is not a set-and-forget activity. You can’t just set an ad campaign and expect it to perform to its maximum potential. Time is needed to regularly review your campaigns, to split test ads, evaluate results, turn off ads that aren’t working, add in negative keywords, perform bid management and so on, and so on, and so on.

4) You haven’t targeted properly

Whatever platform you’re using, it’s vital that you’ve got your targeting correct.

How many times have you performed a search on Google and seen ads that are totally irrelevant to you?

This happens because they have targeted the wrong keywords or haven’t paid attention to the location where the ads are appearing. Or, you may have seen ads on Facebook that are just completely random and are of no interest to you at all.

Both platforms give some fantastic options to help you ensure your ads are only shown to people that are likely to be interested in your products or services, make sure to utilise them.

5) You don’t understand traffic temperature

Think about any considered purchase that you made in the last year. Let’s say, any purchase over £100. What did you do? Did you just make an instant decision based off an ad that randomly appeared in your feed while you were watching TV? I’d wager that you didn’t.  

There are a number of different models relating to the buyer’s journey which is the way that people buy, but to keep it simple, consider your traffic as cold, warm and hot.

  • Cold traffic means people that have not heard about you before;
  • warm is people that have perhaps heard of you and have shown some interest;
  • hot is people that are ready to buy.  

If you’re sending sales messages to cold traffic, it’s going to be rare that someone in this audience is going to buy from you straight away. Your job should be to move people from one stage to the other. So for people that haven’t heard of you before, your job is simply to make them aware of you and show some interest. This may be by getting them to read your blog or watch your videos. For warm traffic, you want to get them to raise their hand by putting in an enquiry or downloading something, so they’ve shown more than a modicum of interest. Then, send your sales piece only to hot traffic.

6) You’re not tracking the right metrics

This point is aligned with number 5. Track the right metrics for the right campaigns. So if you set up an awareness campaign for cold traffic, track the number of visitors to your blog or number of people in your new audience. If you have a campaign for warm traffic to get people to download an ebook, track the number of downloads and then track the number of conversions for your hot traffic, whether that’s an online sale or an appointment generated.  (Of course, if you are generating offline appointments, then ensure that you’re tracking your conversion rate from appointment to sale that is generated from each particular source.)

7) You treat each platform as a silo

Most companies that spend money on different advertising platforms will treat them as individual campaigns instead of having them all aligned so that they are serving the same message. Having consistency across the different platforms is key to having an omnipresent message going out and nurturing your prospect.

8) You don’t have a process

Having a systemised process is key to ensuring that you hit all the paid media best practices and keep consistency in your campaigns. Know what you need to check and how often you need to do so. Know the process for setting up and optimising your campaigns. For example, a process for your Google Adwords campaigns could look something like this:

  • Split test ads. Review ad copy, pause any losing ad and create a new competitor.
  • Check the search terms report and add any negative keywords and look for keyword expansion opportunities.
  • Check for underperforming keywords. Pause if necessary.
  • Check for dayparting opportunities.
  • Check for device bid adjustments opportunities.
  • Check for location optimisation opportunities.
  • Check bids to ensure that you’re getting the correct amount of impression share and are getting the ROI that’s needed.

(This is not a definitive list, but just there to give you an idea of what you should be creating in your process.)

9) You don’t understand attribution

We’ve seen countless times that people have turned off ads and paused campaigns that don’t appear to be converting; however, when the attribution has been checked, the campaigns have led a vital role in either commencing the conversion path.

For example, someone may have become aware of you by clicking a Facebook ad, then later they did a Google search and clicked on an ad, then later they did another search and clicked on an organic search result before they converted to one of your goals.  

As most platforms and your Google Analytics generally only report on the last click, it would be easy to mistakenly conclude that paid media isn’t producing conversions for you and end up either not investing the correct budget into that campaign, ad or keyword or turning it off altogether. Make sure that you utilise attribution reporting either with the tools on the platform itself or on Google Analytics.


Google Ads and Facebook Ads can be one of the fastest, most effective way of generating leads for your business and beating your competitors; however, you need to know what you’re doing.  If you’re going to commit budget to these platforms, make sure that you either commit the time to learn, set up and run the campaigns properly or hire either a reputable agency or an employee that is capable of doing so.

Don’t be one of the casualties that spend loads of money without any return.

At Klood, we have a team of specialists that continuously work to optimise our clients PPC campaigns and deliver quantifiable ROI. If you think it’s time to get a professional on board, book a PPC audit.

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