How to Avoid Overspending on Facebook Ads

Reading Time: 7 minutes

When it comes to Facebook ads, some days it’s like speaking Greek or pulling teeth to get me to understand the level of patience and commitment it takes to manage long term testing and optimization of a traditional campaign. Seriously, I just can’t deal with the drama and the up & down of it all. And I don’t think that’s any weakness of character to admit that.

I’d be willing to bet that most online small business owners feel that way. And therein lies the problem. Because to grow our businesses, we have to pay for strategic advertising. Organic traffic will only get you so far. Unless… you have all the time in the world to wait for money to start rolling in. And I’ve got plans, BIG life plans that require fundage now 🙂

So without further ado, here’s how I Avoid Overspending on Facebook Ads. (Disclaimer: In 2017, I spent $231 on Facebook ads for my business. And I made over $73k.)

Start campaigns with an engagement ad.

When you create an engagement ad, you’re being strategic and smart. Because those ads are super affordable to run. You find a viral element, like a video, that most people in your target market can connect with. And anyone who likes, comments, or shares with that post can be retargeted. (More on this in my next point.)

Here’s an example of an engagement ad viral video I had made by my buddy John.

Funny, right? And ANYONE who knows about funnels, traffic, and Facebook ads will immediately connect with this message, and want to comment and/or share it with others. And every time they do, and their friends do, and their friends do… you are growing your engagement audience to retarget them later for an offer.

Engagement ads are pennies on the dollar to run. And because of the viral component, you can reach far and fast with a small investment. Which leads to the next tip on how to avoid overspending on ads…

The absolute best advice I can give about Facebook ads is to use retargeting.

What’s retargeting? Glad you asked.

Facebook has this lovely little tracking tool called a pixel. It knows when you’ve been on a website that has the pixel embedded on it. For instance, this blog post has a pixel letting my Facebook ad account know that you are reading these words right now. (Insert my best Dr. Evil MUAHAHAHAHAA laugh here.)

So when I go to run my next Facebook ad campaign, let’s say it’s for my new product, $100/month Facebook Strategy for Growth, I can set the campaign to specifically target anyone that has seen the pixel on this blog post page to see the advertisement for the product, too.

By you reading this post, that lets me know you want to read and learn about Facebook ads. Chances are, you want to learn MORE about Facebook ads. So you’re likely a good target for my product. That’s the basics of how retargeting works.

And you can retarget lots of things to grow your business. Like engagement ads, website traffic in general, specific pages-also called custom conversions in Facebook ad land, previous buyers, email subscribers, etc.

Which leads me to my next tip of how to avoid overspending on Facebook ads…

Use look alike audiences for quick growth and/or boosted sales.

If you have an email list, even a small one, or a list of contacts from Acuity, or 17hats, or from previous purchases for products or courses… any type of collected data (mainly first name and email address) for clients or potential clients, you can upload this information to Facebook.  Then, Facebook will make a look alike audience using this data.

This audience is the next best thing to your target audience because it finds people just like the ones who are already connecting with you in the manner mentioned above, and targets them in an ad to help grow your numbers either by adding them to a list or selling them an offer… whichever one you’re using for your campaign objective.

Which leads me to the next tip on how to avoid overspending on Facebook ads…

Know the campaign goal/objective and choose the ad optimization appropriately.

When I set up a Facebook ad for my business, I know exactly what my goal is and it’s usually one of three things.

  1. Awareness, like the engagement ad above.
  2. List building using an effective freebie or optimized read magnet.
  3. A registration or purchase objective for a live workshop or evergreen course/product.

I keep those steps in mind when choosing the campaign objective setting up my ad. Keep this mental note: clicks to page/post, and engagement ads are the least expensive to run. Complete registration and purchase objectives are more expensive. At least until you’ve had time to test and optimize your campaigns. This is why I run the majority of my ads as awareness ads in stages. But more on that later.

Next, we need to get your ads to convert. And to do that without overspending on ads you need to…

Create an irresistible offer and quality read magnets.

I preach this concept to my 1:1 coaching clients, in my Facebook groups, and to my course students ALL THE TIME! You want to make sure your readers are getting value and actionable steps every time they come in contact with, pre and post purchase.

Before they trust you enough to buy from you because they’ll say, “Gee, if the free stuff is this valuable then how much MORE will I get from the paid offers?” And after they buy from you they’ll be loyal fans to a fault and spread the good word about you all over social media. And that’s free advertising that’s worth more than any Facebook Ad campaign results any day.

So when you’re creating your freebie, content upgrade, lead magnet, or whatever you prefer to call it, make sure it’s packed full of stuff that wow them and make them want more. Don’t be scared to give away stuff that you normally charge for here.

And to me, a read magnet is simply an epic blog post on a topic in your field of expertise. Make the content full of morsels they can use to overcome their pain points or that makes a light go off in their head giving them the aha moment they didn’t even know they were looking for!

Don’t forget the exclusions.

When setting up your campaign, toward the bottom of the ad set settings you’ll see an area that talks about exclusions. Make sure you strategically think about which one to choose according to your campaign objective/goal. For example, if you’re running an engagement ad with a viral video component, you might want to exclude people who like your Facebook page because you want a fresher audience.

And to get a head start with that new audience, use this next tip to avoid overspending on Facebook ads…

Stack the ad post ID to compound positive feedback.

When you’re creating your campaign and get down to the ad level, instead of uploading a an image or starting from scratch building an ad, use a post ID of an ad that’s been running and has great engagement, comments, shares, and a high relevance score. This ad will perform better than an ad with no traction when presented to fresh audiences.

Learn how to sell the benefits of your offer, not the features.

I can’t tell you how crucial learning this skill can be for your future success. And not just with Facebook Ads. This is super important to learn for closing potential clients on discovery calls, writing email sequences, and sales page copy, etc.

Anywhere you need to persuade someone to pick you or your services or products over the sea of options out there, you need to be using copy that nails the benefits of working with you. Grab then in the gut by exaggerating their pain points and proving how your offer is THE way to overcome the obstacle.


Use effective images that stop the scroll.

You know that quote, a picture’s worth a thousand words? It’s true. I stop for ads in my newsfeed all the time that don’t even pertain to me when they have a great image or video. And almost none of them have copy on the image.

You don’t have to have fancy graphics or Photoshop skills to create an ad image that will grab someone’s attention in their newsfeed. It can be the simplest of things, but they share a powerful message with just a snapshot.

What’s more….

Video sells.

I have a video ad I use for my affiliate marketing funnel and my lead generation made easy landing page. A video creator made it using Powtoons. It’s awesome. That video helped my affiliate course funnel have epic results. The optin rate was 60%. Take a look for yourself…


See what I mean? Effective.

When optimizing, test one thing at a time, no matter how small or simple the detail.

I can’t stress this enough. Audiences are funny things. And even something as small as one word choice, or a button color, even a background shading behind text… ALL these things and more can effect your conversion rate. So when you find an ad and audience that is working and you want to optimize for maximum results… start slow and change one detail at a time. Measure results for at least three days. Then decide which option is the winner.

Run each campaign to one ad placement location, then you’ll know which converts better.

As a business owner, you need to know what converts. That’s one of the most important metrics that you will need to know how to measure ERRRRRRRRRRY day. I know it takes time. It’s worth it. So when I tell you that each ad set needs only one location for ad placement, don’t get in a huff.

I’ll repeat that. If you want to run audience network ads, newsfeed ads, InstaGram ads… and all the different ad placement types that Facebook allows, then each one needs to have its own ad set so you can monitor conversions for each individual location. This is the ONLY way you’ll know which one is working the best.

And my last tip to avoid overspending on Facebook Ads is…

Check out your Facebook group insights or your Google analytics data.

Did you know you can run ads on a custom schedule that matches your ideal audience? You sure can. Check your insights and data to find the sweet spots for your particular audience and demographics to really nail down new audiences to try with your ads.

This isn’t an exhaustive list even though it’s decent in size. Mainly I want you to be aware that yes Facebook Ads can be a pain in the arse BUT if you keep some simple things in mind, implement some basic strategies, even this most elusive digital marketing skill can be tamed and trained to get results for your business without blowing the budget.

Overspending on Facebook ads is like buying gold headphones


I’m April and I’m known for a couple of amazing skills. They both have one thing in common… I make it rain. Book a call with me today and we'll ignite your business.

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