I made when I first started managing paid social ads


Paid social advertising has become an integral part of digital marketing strategies, allowing businesses to reach and engage with their target audiences, arguably easier than ever before.

However, if you’re new to paid social advertising you’re bound to make a couple [or several] mistakes. I certainly did!

Here are 5 mistakes I made when I started managing paid ads [pre TDP 😉 ], so you can hopefully learn from my experience and be one step closer to successful and efficient advertising campaigns.


Mistake 1: Insufficient research, planning and understanding


Let’s start right at the beginning, shall we? There are times when jumping straight in and learning as you go works wonders, and while that may be the case for some marketers or business owners diving into paid social advertising, it’s the exception and not the rule.



As with most marketing efforts, it’s oh-so-important to have a clear understanding of a few factors before you jump in:

  • Your goals – what are you hoping to achieve?
  • What success would look like for you?
  • Who is your target audience and where are they hanging out? 
  • How do users behave on this platform? What do they expect when scrolling [insert platform here]? 
  • What type of advertising solutions and campaign objectives does the platform offer? Are they aligned with your goals?


Mistake 2: Not checking [and double-checking] your tracking


We’ve all been there – launching that brand-new campaign and waiting, and waiting and waiting for that first sale to come through, only to realise that the tracking wasn’t working as it should!



Without proper tracking installed [both through the platform analytics and Google Analytics], you’re effectively flying blind and unable to measure the effectiveness of your paid social media advertising campaigns.

While you can get by just using the analytics in your advertising platform of choice [e.g. Meta Pixel data in Ads Manager], it’s wise to have additional layers of tracking such as UTM parameters through Google Analytics to give you even more insight into your campaign performance.


Mistake 3: Not investing in…well, everything


While there are some social media advertising platforms that let you start with more minimal assets – we’re talking minimal creative assets, small engaged audiences, and minimal budget – you won’t necessarily see the same success with your paid social media campaigns as you would if you invested a little more. 

Here are some things that are worth investing in as you start managing paid ad campaigns:

  • Invest in creative assets – both static and video. We don’t necessarily mean perfectly-polished, Oscar-worthy video assets and award-winning photos. What we do mean is investing in a wide variety of assets to allow you to test, test, test! 
  • Invest in audience building – both organically and through your paid social media campaigns. Having engaged audiences, such as website visitors, an email database or social engagement audiences available to retarget in your paid ad campaigns will make the world of difference to your results.
  • Invest in testing – if it’s the first time you’re advertising on social media [or the billionth time you’re advertising], it’s so important to approach each and every campaign with a testing and learning mindset. Ensure you have enough budget and creative assets to allow you to test out different objectives, audiences, placements, creatives, messaging and more to give your campaigns the best chance of success.


Mistake 4: Not understanding the nitty-gritty details of managing a campaign


Okay, so you’ve got a solid understanding of the platform and how it can meet your goals. You’ve invested in creative assets and audience building, and are ready to test, test, test. And you’ve quadruple-checked that your tracking is in order. What’s next?

Now it comes to the setup, monitoring and optimising of your campaigns! And this is where we quite often see things go wrong. Here are just a few examples of mistakes I’ve made or seen in my time managing paid ads activity:

  • Setting up the lifetime ad spend of the campaign as the daily ad spend, burning through the allocated spend for a month-long campaign in one day.
  • In a similar vein, setting up the total campaign budget as the individual ad-set level budget instead. 
  • Getting too trigger-happy when optimising campaigns and not allowing the campaign enough time to deliver and learn. 
  • Mis-labelling campaigns or creatives and turning the wrong ones on/off. 
  • Selecting the wrong campaign objective or optimisation for your end goal.



We could go on and on about the hiccups we’ve seen or heard about when it comes to the actual setup, monitoring and optimisation of campaigns. Even the most seasoned marketers and advertisers make a mistake here or there, but it helps to have a thorough understanding of the platform and processes to prevent it where possible.



Mistake 5: Having unrealistic expectations


While this one isn’t necessarily a mistake in the sense of an action I’ve taken, it’s definitely one I’ve experienced too often – both personally and what I’ve seen with the clients I’ve worked with over the years.

Expecting immediate and phenomenal results from your paid social media campaigns the moment you’ve switched them on is a mistake we see all too often. While running paid social media campaigns can deliver some stellar results, it takes time and consistent effort to achieve strong results.





I hope you’ve taken a thing or two away from the mistakes I’ve made during my time managing paid social media campaigns. If you’re after more of a helping hand when it comes to running your own paid social media campaigns, perhaps our

Paid Ads in a Day Workshop or Social Media Ads Mastery 12 Week Course will teach you so much more too! 

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