Dennis Yu reveals the 12 worst Facebook marketing tips

Our CTO Dennis Yu had a few takes on the top Facebook marketing mistakes

Let me know how many of these ring true for you.

1. It’s not possible to measure Facebook ROI

If you have a conversion pixel, lead capture form, or any other form of sales tracking, then you can hold your Facebook marketing, organic or paid, accountable. What’s not so easy is assigning value to the “assist” from Facebook, which results in brand awareness and more searches for you on Google over the long haul. Another phrase for this– word of mouth.

2. There are 1.3 billion people on Facebook, so if you make a page, you can get rich

That’s as silly as saying that there are 1.3 billion people with electricity on this planet, so they should buy your electronic item. Facebook is a utility now, like power and gas.  Not sexy, but definitely a ubiquitous necessity. Don’t ever jump into a network just because it’s big. But do be there because your customers are there and you can reach them cost-effectively.

3. You can still get Facebook fans for a nickel

Small biz and B2B players fall for this almost as hard as tip #2.  Yes, having more fans, all else equal, is a good thing. So adding in a bunch of fake fans from the Philippines, via a contest or via a fan-buying service is a good thing, right?  Nope.  People click like on your page only AFTER they have a good experience with you, on or offline. Ironically, posting interesting content drives new fan growth effectively.

4. Learn Power Editor and you can be a Facebook consultant


Yes, there are a few cool features in Power Editor that aren’t in the regular ads manager interface.  But in the thousands of Facebook ad campaigns I’ve run since 2007, rarely has the make-or-break difference been because of feature knowledge.  If there’s a gap, it’s usually due to misalignment with goals, content, or targeting.

Consider this: Facebook, properly understood, is a word-of-mouth amplifier– to make eager fan reviews all the more vocal. So the truly passionate fan knowledgeable about your product will beat the technical consultant who is unfamiliar with your company any day of the week.


5. Don’t post more than once per day

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Well-meaning, since they have a fear of being “seen” too often. The reality is that perhaps 3-5% of your fans see any particular post.  And Facebook already prioritizes who sees what based on preferences. Some pages in news/media post 30-40 times a day with no detrimental effects. The governor for post content is your quality bar, not an artificial limit.  If you’ve got 10 pieces of awesome content for one day, go ahead and post. If you don’t have anything, don’t feel obligated to post, either.

6.Right-column placements are “better”

There are 5 possible placements now on Facebook.  The two right column placements are certainly cheaper from a pure CPM perspective.  But a desktop newsfeed or mobile newsfeed impression is worth far more than a right column placement.  Allocate your money based on true performance (CPA and CPC), not CPM.  If you want to inflate your impression count (perhaps you’re an agency that wants to show big impression numbers to a client), then run right-column. But be prepared to explain why your click-through rate is equally low. So don’t go for impressions, go for business results.

7. Boosting posts doesn’t work

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You would have found me guilty of advising this a couple years ago. And I’d assert that back then, I was correct.  Facebook has improved so dramatically, that boosting posts to drive engagement, whether directly in the timeline or as one of the 9 self-serve ad objectives, works splendidly.  Of course, if you have conversion targets, you’ll still want to drive to “website conversions”, “app installs” or whatever the goal is.

8. Run all remarketing through Criteo, AdRoll, Perfect Audience, or another FBX (Facebook Exchange) Provider


Now that we can run natively on Facebook, the only reason to use a FBX partner is if you have a massively complex product catalog.  If you’re in the US, then you’re going to run retargeting natively through Google and Facebook. The 3rd party vendors are struggling to define where they add value on top of what Facebook and Google are doing automatically for you now.

9. Do the same thing someone else did

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That’s like popping the same pills as the patient next to you. They probably have a different ailment and your body will react differently to different treatments.  Your business might have similar conversion goals, but you’ll have a different value proposition, different audience base, and different targeting strategy. What works for someone else probably won’t work for you. When you read “success” articles in social media, be skeptical. Proof. How often do you hear about failures, anyway?

10. Have someone else make your content

We’re itching to believe that a magic tool or low cost consultant can just do this for us. Alas, if you believe this, I’ve got some weight loss supplements to offer you. Just kidding. The reality is that whoever is making the content should be the one who best understands your mission and knows the target audience intimately.  If you subscribe to the model of GCT (goals > content > targeting), there is no way you can strip out the content piece in the middle of this process. The content creator gets direction from goals/mission and then is the one best positioned to amplify it with ads. The worst thing you can do is mindlessly post someone else’s content. It’s not yours, and even if people won’t know you borrowed it, it doesn’t reflect who you are. It won’t drive word of mouth.

11. Just work hard for a long time and you’ll win

Maybe in Hollywood or American Idol. But if you’ve got landing pages that already convert, then you should expect your remarketing efforts to pay off immediately. This is not to discount the solo struggle of entrepreneurship, which is staring into the abyss and eating glass. It’s to discredit the notion that if you just engage more and work tirelessly to build your brand, that you’ll get there.  If you’re a startup, you should be getting your website and content right before engaging in fancy Facebook ads– otherwise you’ll waste the traffic that you drive.

12. Look at your Google Analytics or Omniture to measure conversions

Until 3 years ago, I would have argued with you to being blue in the face over this one. Today, because 75% of your social traffic is likely coming from mobile, you’re facing the “dark social” problem, which is beyond Google hiding keywords and referring urls from you. It’s beyond link shims and even Facebook mobile app traffic. And it’s not solvable by fractional attribution models via Google or other players.

If you want to measure Facebook ROI, there are 9 things you need to do to properly account for the word of mouth effect, people using multiple devices, and conversions that don’t have clicks associated with them (view-throughs or otherwise).   You’re going to have to use the conversion tracking built into Facebook for Facebook and use Google’s for Google’s to get accurate data.  That’s the short answer. The long answer is that you’ll need to understand holdout audiences if you’re a sophisticated advertisers that has enough traffic to make it count or you’ll have to be content with being relatively close.

There’s no magic bullet, sadly.  But what you can count on is that Facebook will soon make it such that you merely specify the goals, post content that supports each of these goals, and upload your audiences.  Then they do the rest.

We’re getting close to that already with objective-based ads and oCPM bidding, which are the defaults. If you’re spending a lot of time optimizing campaigns, doing things like bidding and campaigns structure stuff, as opposed to creating content, then something is wrong.

If you have any questions, feel free to post your question and I’ll be sure to answer it when I have a moment.

Dennis Yu
Dennis Yu
Dennis Yu is co-author of the #1 best-selling book on Amazon in social media, The Definitive Guide to TikTok Ads.  He has spent a billion dollars on Facebook ads across his agencies and agencies he advises. Mr. Yu is the "million jobs" guy-- on a mission to create one million jobs via hands-on social media training, partnering with universities and professional organizations.You can find him quoted in major publications and on television such as CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, and LA Times. Clients have included Nike, Red Bull, the Golden State Warriors, Ashley Furniture, Quiznos-- down to local service businesses like real estate agents and dentists. He's spoken at over 750 conferences in 20 countries, having flown over 6 million miles in the last 30 years to train up young adults and business owners. He speaks for free as long as the organization believes in the job-creation mission and covers business class travel.You can find him hiking tall mountains, eating chicken wings, and taking Kaqun oxygen baths-- likely in a city near you.