10 Things Healthcare Marketers Get Wrong With Facebook Ads

Facebook isn’t always the easiest platform to stay on top of, due to it’s constantly changing ad setup interfaces, constant updates, and routine algorithm adjustments. There are subtleties in the setup that can cost you in ad spend, traffic, and potential revenue depending on your campaign strategy and intent. And if your strategy isn’t up to par prior to setup, you’re almost better off burning those campaign budgets yourself. Facebook doesn’t lament poor ad campaign execution – it profits from it!

So for those reasons, we’ve put together the top ten mistakes healthcare marketers in particular (but by no means exclusively) make that we see most often. Some of it is simpler than you think!

 

Read on for our tips to avoid being guilty of the same mishaps! 

1.  Your content isn’t tailored to a specified audience

Using relevancy as a humorous jab here might have somewhat worked for the Red Square Agency – but it certainly didn’t capture the audience they expected to get for the money they spent boosting the post.

Tip: don’t try to be trendy unless you can properly execute on it!

2.  You’re shotgunning ad campaigns

Shotgunning is a side effect of wanting your content to be seen as soon as possible by as many people possible. It’s as expensive as it is ineffective, because Facebook is the center of attention for a lot of diverse audiences. Be sure to take your time. Select the right interests, locations, groups, and demographics that make up the core of your target audience. Facebook’s algorithms are tied to relevancy – if your ads aren’t relevant, you’re burning your ad budget with your own hands.


This campaign might be effective if it were received by a healthcare professional – however in this case, the individual who snapshotted it wasn’t. With a well thought out campaign setup, you can prevent wasted dollars spent advertising to folks who don’t fit your target audience profile.

Tip: you can see who likes and shares your posts. Scan your audience to verify the right people in the right professions are seeing your ads! 

3.  You’re not engaging with your audience

If your audience is actively engaged with your content, or trying to reach out to you directly – don’t be scared, engage with them! It promotes quality discussion and brand trust, and is always best to do. Leave no stone unturned when promoting greater conversation around your brand.  Not to mention, leveraging comments on Facebook has HUGE impact on your marketing strategy. It can impact everything from the content you use, depicted imagery, how you refine your audience, and even how you refine your message.

 

[This ad is particularly sloppy for many reasons. See the angry emoji face in the bottom left corner? Audiences will always pick up on spelling errors, inconsistencies in messaging, missing headers, and poor call to actions. Brands can’t be afraid of face these realities – it’s their job to fix them, or forever be tarnished by them. 

4.  Your bid strategy is off

Outside of targeting the wrong audience, and producing irrelevant content – this is the most costly mistake of them all.  When setting up your campaigns, in the “Ad Set” edit section – scroll down to the “Optimization & Delivery” section and (when under the When You Get Charged option) be sure the selection is not set to impression! This basically gives Facebook free range to charge you, as it’s based on purely views.  If you’re looking to do a post boost, change this option to “Post Engagement” to maximize the bang for your buck.

Be careful! This is one of those overlooked subtleties in setup that can cost you hundreds, if not thousands in your digital strategy.

5.  You’re not using hashtags

The first hashtag was used in 2007 by Chris Messina, and has been leveraged across multiple platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Tumblr. It provides individuals a way to connect, express emotion, and categorize similar interests.  It’s a godsend for keyword searching. So it’s important to use hashtags in organic posts in Facebook, as having 1 or 2 hashtags in ads can actually expand your reach.  

If you have a clinical trial or branded community, be sure you’re including a branded hashtag. For example, were Pfizer looking to promote its “Get Old”  community on Facebook, you would see #getold in the ads or posts.  These simple touches can grow communities, followers, and awareness.

6.  You’re imagery is off

Imagery is the most important aspect of any post on Facebook.  Similar to content, if your imagery doesn’t catch your audience right off the bat, you could be in trouble. We institute a “goldfish” rule when it comes to imagery: if your image doesn’t catch your audience’s attention within the first 3 seconds, they’ve already forgotten it.  So select visually compelling, relevant, and meaningful images that resonate with your audience and your message. Just as well, be sure to have multiple images in place for AB testing purposes.  This allows you to capture preferential based data, and affords you the flexibility to pivot your creative direction quickly.

This Lifescript post is an example of imagery that doesn’t compel. Audiences know this is staged – they’re far more aware of what constitutes a stock photo than you might realize.

Tip: the more “real” (and less “stiff”) the photo feels, the better. 

7.  You’re not diversifying your ad types and/or ad placement

The most common ad on Facebook is your basic click to website, static 1200×627 image ad.  This is effective, but newer ad types are available that can drive greater engagement, views, and set yourself apart from your competition.  Ad placement is also important depending on your objective (for example, mobile has been outperforming standard desktop ads and at a fraction of the cost).  But if you’re looking to include contact form ads or display more complex product benefits, you might need to focus on Desktop. Different strategies call for weighing the pros and cons of placement diversity and ad type.

Let’s look at a breakdown of placements and ad types to better show you which may or may not align with your campaign objectives:

Lead Generation Ad Type:

This new ad style has been pretty popular these past couple months due to its ability to reach specific individuals and capture information through custom forms.  This ad type requires a link to your privacy policy, custom text that you can have either in paragraph or bullet format and with a custom message at the end.

Make sure you have a unique attention grabbing statement and content that will bring them value  – otherwise success will be difficult with this type of ad.

Clicks to WebsiteWebsite Conversion Ad Types:

A Facebook ad staple, this specific ad type has multiple layouts to choose from.  You have your standard 1200px by 627px image, some headline text, ad text, and link description text.

Another variation is the multi-image ads (Facebook Carousel ads) which include up to a few 1080px by 1080px images with custom text per each image block.  This can be very effective if you have multiple landing pages you’re looking to convert from, multiple events, products, and theme related offerings.

Another popular conversion ad nowadays are video ads.  The recommended text length is how many characters of ad copy could be displayed on smaller screens. Video lengths up to 30 seconds or under will continuously loop on Facebook for up to approximately 90 seconds.

App Installs:

For all you startup healthcare brands with apps, this is a solid way of gaining active users for your platforms and (most importantly) downloads.  There is a catch: you’ll have to have a Facebook App ID in order to use the Facebook SDK for iOS, Android, or JavaScript (Web).  But this shouldn’t be a problem if you already have a development team in place.

Page Likes Ad Types:

If you’re looking to grow your brand’s Facebook page or healthcare community, you’ll need a little assistance from the Page Likes campaign within Facebook.  This includes Desktop News Feed, Mobile News Feed and Right Column ads. We’ve personally found that the Mobile and Right Column perform the best for the lowest price, but it all depends on the audience you’re looking to target. Some of the specs and recommendations include an image size of 1200px by 444px, a limitation of 25 characters for the headline, and 90 characters for the bulk text.

8.  You’re image size isn’t quite right

Another big boo-boo: wrong image size in place when running ads.  This not only gives the potential audience a negative first impression, but it looks lazy.  If your image size is too small, Facebook will blow the size up and the image will be blurry and pixelated. If it’s too large – Facebook crops it for you.

 

Below are the basic Facebook image sizes. Use them appropriately!

  • Static Image Size: 1200px x 627px  
  • Multi-Image Size:  600px x 600px
  • Organic Post Size: 600px x 600px

This is an example of an improperly sized ad. It feels crammed, cutoff, and busier than it should be. More than likely, despite its relevancy, the image was cropped to fit an organic post image size.

Tip: crowded images are never favorable. If too much is going on, the audience won’t engage. Keep it simple, high res, and real!

9.  Make sure ads are mobile friendly

In the U.S. alone, 73% of people say their phone is always with them, and almost half of them check their phone 35+ times a day.  Since people consume mobile content on Facebook faster than on their desktop or laptops, Facebook will continue to make updates to its products to ensure your marketing dollars are effectively utilized on those mobile users.

Facebook’s ad carousel is an ingenious method for advertising that’s not only responsive – it’s eye catching. But the same rules for imagery apply here as well!

Tip: keep mobile ad images simple, uncrowded, with minimal text, and cohesive in theme. This creates uniformity and doesn’t raise questions concerning brand consistency.  

10.  No clear call-to-actions

Call-to-actions, also known as CTA, are the single most important part of your ad and your website.  In Facebook, they give you a few button CTA’s to choose from, so you have to make do with those options.  Yes, they are fairly boring and generic. They do very little to convert users – so it’s your job to make sure the CTA is clear and concise in the messaging/copy and sometimes even in the headline.  

Most people know what Invisalign is for – but this post in particular has no why. This line reads pretty much like an AdWords description (which is fine for keyword related searches…but not for audience engagement).

Tip: the description is equally important as the CTA. Don’t cut corners!

So remember: Facebook ad campaign strategy and execution go hand in hand. If your target audience isn’t refined, your backend isn’t setup properly, and your content and imagery isn’t relevant or doesn’t resonate – you’re in a very serious world of marketing hurt. Yet these are common mistakes that we see on a day to day basis!

Regardless, probably the most important tip of them all is that these facets of Facebook advertising are constantly changing. That’s right. Facebook is a constantly evolving platform whose primary attention is focused on the user. Which means as marketers, we have to be extremely attentive as to how those adaptations alter our ability to spread our message. And oftentimes, it’s the simplest mistakes that can send a like campaign careening downwards, trigger an adverse event, or suddenly eat up a lifetime budget in a weekend.

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Christopher Warden

Liquid Lock media specializes in paid social, community, and persona development solutions for the healthcare industry (including pharma, biotech, insurance, medical device, behavioral sciences, etc etc). We also offer inbound marketing, SEO, analytics, and UX design work through our strategic partners, to better assist organizations in capturing a comprehensive 360 degree view of their marketing endeavors.

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