When building a fashion site designed to recommend personalized styles for customers, Armoire knew it had to deliver a customized digital experience, but with a human touch. With the wide range of available machine learning and AI tech, brands can risk coming off as creepy by going too far with the details they use to build customer experiences. Armoire didn’t want to cross this line.

“We want machine learning to be more human, but then we’re freaked out when it is,” said Katrina Taylor, Armoire’s head of user experience and product design, during a presentation on machine learning and human empathy at DX Summit in Chicago this week.

To avoid creeping out customers by crossing unnecessary boundaries when using their data, Taylor said her brand doesn’t use everything it may know about a customer. “It’s better to start off with a light touch and fill in the details as we go,” said Taylor.

She outlined the six rules that Armoire follows to create digital experiences built on machine learning and human empathy.

1. Determine the ongoing value

Taylor believes that the purpose of machine learning-enabled technology should be to advance the human experience, not the other way around. “Just because something is code smart, does not mean it is people smart,” said Taylor, “Great AI and machine learning solves customer problems before solving business problems.”

Once a company can solve their customers’ problems — and create ongoing value — the business problems will likely dissipate. As an example, Armoire knew women spent, on average, 219 hours shopping online per year and that 91% of online apparel returns were due to poor fit. Armoire addressed the issue by showing just 50 items from a customer’s search to reduce the amount of time spent browsing and show products the customer will likely “love” based on an algorithm that surfaces what will fit best.

2. Be sticky enough to build loyalty

Taylor believes the best way to create sticky experiences that drive return visits is to facilitate meaningful customer exchanges. If a brand is asking for customer data, there should be an equal exchange — or offer made to the customer — for that data.

Armoire gamifies this exchange by offering “sneak peaks” at fashion items that the customer is then asked to choose what they like and don’t like. The company also requires customers to review every single item they rent. (Armoire is rental clothing company that customers can use by paying a monthly fee). Both of these efforts provide a continual loop of customer data that results in sticky digital experiences.

3. Add behavior and emotion metrics to your data sets

Machine learning takes time, especially for a company like Armoire that relies solely on first party data curated from customers’ experiences. Behavior tracking metrics — such as scroll depth, heat mapping, click mapping, content viewed, time on page and landing exit page — can provide valuable insight. Emotion tracking is also beneficial, with tools now available to measure sentiment analysis, facial coding, voice analytics, gesture tracking and more.

“There’s some privacy concerns and elements of the creep factor here,” said Taylor. She recommends combining natural language process analytics with sentiment analysis for brands wanting to go deeper into emotional tracking measures.

There’s also something to be said for actual conversations with your customers. “The 360-degree view of the customer sometimes forgets the emotion,” said Taylor, “Each of us is better at interpreting human emotions than the most sophisticated technology.”

4. Build a relationship with your customer, but tread lightly

When integrating machine learning and AI into your marketing efforts, Taylor points out that sometimes technology allows brands to know more about an individual than their friends or family may know.

“We don’t tell people every single detail of our lives,” said Taylor. The same should be considered when using sophisticated technology to build digital experiences — this is why Taylor’s brand doesn’t necessarily curate an experience using every single data point they may have access to. Being transparent and keeping a dialogue about how customer information is used builds trust with a customer that can lead to a valuable relationship. “When they know how we’re using their data, it motivates them to give us more data,” said Taylor.

Another tactic Taylor’s team implements is spontaneity, recommending products outside of the algorithm to, in her words, surprise and delight customers and to learn more about them. Taylor said the “surprise and delight” approach is a great way to make machine learning more human.

5. Keep actual humans in the loop

“Because we are using an automated approach, we don’t want to follow it up with more AI,” said Taylor about the company’s business model, “That’s why we keep human interaction with customers to answer style questions.” Armoire also has set up physical locations where customers can schedule appointments with a stylist. When a stylist does meet with a customer — either in person or over the phone — there are protocols in place for the stylist to input the customer data into their systems.

“The human interactions improve our AI and our AI improves our human interactions,” said Taylor.

6. Machine learning user design = exceptional digital experiences

As the head of user experience and product design, Taylor believes data scientists should be integrated within the user design team. By bringing data scientists into the fold, the UX team can build relevant experiences based on quantifiable data. “Machine learning and UX should go hand-in-hand,” said Taylor.

Taylor realizes that not all brands may have the resources or bandwidth to practice all six rules she outlined during her presentation. If forced to choose, she says the first and last rule are the most crucial: Determine the ongoing value you’re creating and make sure your machine learning systems are integrated into your user design processes.

About The Author

Amy Gesenhues is a senior editor for Third Door Media, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land, Search Engine Land and MarTech Today. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs, SoftwareCEO, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy’s articles.


I will be direct. User Experience is the biggest factor that affects your growth. If you want your product to be successful at the end of the day, you need to improve and optimize the experience of your users because the satisfaction of your users is what determines your overall success. There are dozens of bad UX examples that prevent famous products from being flawless.

Some products might already be too mainstream for its users to quit when experienced flaws, so it may look like they are getting away with those. You, however, can not take the risk of designing bad UX. If your users have a hard time getting acquainted with your product or basically using it, they can easily switch to another solution.

Although it will be useful to point out the wrongs of your competitors to, um… steal their customers, it would be extremely valuable to learn from their mistakes in designing UX. Here are 6 bad UX examples that you can see all around and avoid.

But before you read further, did you have a chance to check out our list of the best tools for UX designers? If not, click here to access the complete list of the best of UX tools.

1) Are you torturing your Users for Money?

The case: We cannot deny that the ads are a major source of income for digital product owners. And some websites and apps use it as a trick to cheat on the users to get clicks. But, at what cost?

bad ux examples adverstisements

Why a bad UX: When a user clicks to open the link of a page they want to see, there pops an endless number of ads. What’s more terrible is sometimes when you click on “X” to close the ad, it directs you to another ad. It’s like the designers mock your communication skills and champion themselves as the winners of a prank contest. Expecting to have a successful product when having such flows integrated would be foolish since your users will quit using your product after going through torture like these.

2) Deleted(?) Messages on Whatsapp

The case: WhatsApp is famous for its encrypted messages and security concerns. But probably its designers are too honest to get you off the hook of an accidentally-sent or a regretted message. On WhatsApp, when you try to delete your message for everyone, it only hides the content and presents both sides with a note “This message was deleted.”.

bad ux examples whatsap

Why a bad UX: Therefore, the other side gets aware of the existence of such a message anyway. It is not deleting, but hiding the content, to be honest. If you are offering your users a feature, try to provide it properly. Even huge companies sometimes forget this.

3) Wait, this isn’t what I’m looking for!

The case: Let’s say you’re looking for a PDF online, or maybe you are trying to go to a page you are interested in. Some sites seem like they are offering you the link by ornamenting it with bold, italic, or underlined characters. It sounds good.

bad ux examples download

Why a bad UX: However, when you canalize your hopes into your touchpad and click, you get disappointed because it’s not even clickable. Or the worst scenario: The link goes to an irrelevant page. The creators of this hoax should question their ways to get the most clicks. If not, their brand value definitely will decrease significantly.

4) Clickbait 101

The case: Remember a time when you were scrolling down on any social media feed. When you see some news with scandalous headlines, you may open them.  But this doesn’t mean you won’t get disappointed if you may get directed to some other content.

bad ux examples clickbait
image taken from

Why a bad UX: You probably opened it because you wanted to learn more about what you saw in the headline. Some designers’ utmost priority is only to get the attention of users. UX design, as a field, was born to eradicate the motivations of these so-called “designers”. You are not only displaying a bad example of UX here, but you are also lying to your customers.

5) Looks good, but what does it do exactly?

The case: Most users value the presentation of what’s offered to them. Colors, shapes, font, and so many other things are all critical. But you may come across a landing page with a perfect look, but fails to deliver the message.

bad ux examples value

Why a bad UX: If you have difficulty making sense of a page, this is one of the bad UX examples. Though an artistic design may sound preferable, it shouldn’t be chosen over practicality and usability. The majority of the idea behind UX design explores the interaction of users with a product. Although it would be a big plus to have a breathtaking design, without getting your users to experience their Aha! moments, it would not make it a product eligible to be successful.

Click here to learn what Aha! moments are and how to search for them.

6) Are we using Spotify to its full extent?

The case: Spotify is a successful product loved and used by millions of users around the world. However, some users don’t know about some of its features, especially the podcast feature. Many users are not using the application to its full extent.

bad ux examples spotify

Why a bad UX: When you design a product full of useful features, but the users are not aware of them, this is also considered a bad UX experience. You need to know your user and provide them an easy path to your features. If no one knows about them, what is the use of these features?

To overcome such problems on feature and product adoption, working with a 3rd party onboarding software might be the solution you need. Learn all about product adoption here.

Also, see here to understand how exactly can a user onboarding tool help you by boosting customer success.

A good UX experience gives your audience a valid reason to use your product. Know your audience and appeal to their preferences to avoid ending up in lists such as this one. You can learn from these bad UX examples and avoid them in your future designs. Also, testing some functions on users can be of great help for UX designers. And maybe they may create an easily accessible feedback points for users, and try to get the most out of them. 


My friend and colleague Mark Demeny wrote a great blog post discussing the demands of the marketplace on software vendors and how those demands – and the direction those vendors take as a result – affects you, the buyer.

Here’s the money quote:

“…in addition to looking at a simple technology purchase decision, you also need to consider overall company strategy and plan appropriately. Vendors in different financial positions have varying pressures which may or may not align with your software purchase strategy. Some vendors may prioritize growth and new features over supporting existing clients.”

– Mark Demeny

I can tell you from experience, these “pressures” have been a challenge for just about any company seeking growth through outside investment. Some manage the pressures better than others. 

However, as Mark rightly says, in their handling of these demands, some vendors may prioritize growth and new features over supporting existing clients. In some cases, it can be a choice between growth OR new features. That’s where your pressures begin.

Empowering the marketing team

Chief Marketing Officers and their teams are always looking for better ways to keep pace with a customer who moves faster than the brand. They also need strategies to empower their marketing teams to do more with less and do it more quickly than ever before. 

To achieve these goals, marketers typically turn to marketing technology. Moreover, when we do, we’re usually in a hurry to solve some marketing problem du jour, so proper due diligence takes a backseat to expedient procurement.

In my 30 years working in the business, marketing and technology space, I’ve observed countless examples of the organizational and career wreckage that occurs when you skip the required up-front work.

Strategic considerations to avoid a martech #Fail

Mark offers a solid list of strategic considerations to help you avoid any potholes on your marketing problem-solving journey:

  • Understand your long-term priorities and those of your chosen vendor(s) – For example, are they focusing on innovation, growth and new customers or are they focusing on keeping existing customers happy and prosperous?
  • Consider your bundles carefully – Just because the products come bundled together doesn’t mean all of them are right for you and your business and marketing needs.
  • De-couple software from services – Sure, the vendor offers hosting or implementation/consulting services, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best fit to deliver those services for your organization.
  • Always be thinking about a migration strategy – You’re not doing this to change vendors (in case of technology or licensing changes), but even upgrades can require a lot of planning, consideration and cost. 

To add to those gems, I offer a few more proven strategies to help you make better decisions when it comes to choosing and using marketing technologies:

  • Organizational fit – It’s never been more important to accurately define and map the features, benefits and risks inherent in the components of your marketing technology stack against the needs and capabilities of the organization. Buying tools your team can’t or won’t use is a waste of time and budget. Considering organizational fit is critical not only during the planning and implementation stages but throughout the life cycle of your marketing technology stack.
  • Appropriate technology – This is about choosing and using the marketing technology tools that meet a given application most efficiently and effectively. For example, you might deploy an integrated content management system with marketing automation capabilities instead of multiple stand-alone components. The best-of-breed approach often requires manual integration of independent components, which comes at a high cost of time, people and money.
  • Usable design – I believe this to be one of the most critical keys to help you make better decisions when it comes to choosing and using marketing technologies. Make sure you select martech software and hardware that fits the needs of your team. Whether it’s software or hardware, considering user-centered design and implementation as a primary driver can help determine the usefulness of the technology. Remember, bigger is not necessarily better, nor is the most powerful, feature-rich system or application the best choice in all situations.
  • Manageable and supportable technology – You’ve spent your hard-earned budget on some great martech tools. Now what? Have you chosen hardware and software that can be managed and supported by the people using the technology? Consider robust software management features, vendor support, and the advantages of technology that embraces open and published standards as the drivers of a successful martech selection and implementation process.

Choose your marketing technology vendors wisely

We all know that marketing technology vendors are a dime a dozen, but having the right marketing technology partner(s) who understands (at the very least) your business, brand, and marketing needs are critical to your success. 

One of the tips above suggests that you should always be thinking about a migration strategy. It becomes much harder to migrate from a vendor’s platform, system, or tool should you need to when you’ve allowed yourself suffering from the horrible (but avoidable) “vendor lock-in” situation.

Before you move on to actioning the strategies you’ve read about above, here are three vendor lock-in scenarios to avoid:

  • Two-Guys-in-a-Garage Lock-in – I once worked with a global organization with many digital properties. For one of their U.S. web sites, they’d connected with a small company owned by a friend of one of the executives (see “Friend-of-the-Family Lock-in” below) that offered a proprietary content management system (CMS). Even though the CMS lacked the features and benefits the organization required, the media company execs were reluctant to move away from the platform because of the time and cost associated with a switch.
  • Staff-Augmentation Lock-in – Your budget is limited, and there’s no room for new hires. However, you need the staff, and when the vendor team offers to help cover some of your gaps in human capital to get some of those mounting tasks done, you gladly accept. It’s easier to wean yourself off a relationship like this when the projects are one-off, but once your vendor is embedded in a mission-critical project or more extensive program, you’re locked in.
  • Friend-of-the-Family Lock-in – How many times have you seen yourself (or someone you know) in this situation? The CEO has a buddy (or worse, a relative) who owns or is somehow part of a vendor organization. Unless something incredibly wrong happens where the only alternative is to move to a new vendor, welcome to one of the most painful types of vendor lock-in.

So choose wisely, because choosing and using the right marketing technology, and marketing technology partner, can be the difference between creating customer experiences that delight your customers or turning them off completely. It can also mean the difference between your marketing team’s success or failure.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

GeekHive, a New York-based marketing technology consultancy helping clients maximize their investments in martech. He’s also a digital marketing adjunct at New York University’s School of Professional Studies for 20 years, and the founder of How Digital Marketing Works.


Do you find yourself doing small tweaks to your client’s websites without charging because well… it’s such a small tweak! Perhaps you sometimes find yourself in an endless feedback spiral?

Ahhh scope creep – those tweaks, updates and additions that weren’t factored into the initial project cost. The problem with making small changes is that if you say yes to one, how many more will there be? You’re setting a precedent for feedback and changes to happen as they please. Then they don’t understand the value they’re getting and they have the power over the project by calling the shots.  

Even if it’s something you haven’t had to experience with in your WordPress career, you probably worry that it’s lurking around the corner, waiting to get you the second you let your guard down.


The additional cost of these “small changes” creeps up, wasting your time, energy and resources. But here’s the thing –  scope creep can be prevented with these nine easy steps that I’ll share with you. But first… 

Why Does Scope Creep Happen?

It goes something like this:

Client: I need a website to promote my new SaaS.

You: I’d be happy to help. Here’s my quote for $8,000. It includes X, Y and Z and will be done in 2 months.

3 months later…

Client: Where the heck is my website? You said it would be done last month!

You: Well…

You want to list off all the changes the client demanded be made — changes that you hadn’t accounted for in the original scope of work because that wasn’t what the client wanted at the time.

But it’s not like you put up much of a fight when they asked you to change that one thing… and then, oh! There’s another thing they wanted to be changed… and still one more thing. Because you said “yes” to the one change, you felt obligated to handle the others, especially since they kept promising it would be the last one.

In the end, you’re just as (if not more) frustrated as your client is about the missed deadline. You had only set aside enough time in your schedule to tackle the contracted work and now you’re over budget, overworked and your other clients are angry about how this has affected them.

The Nine Steps to Avoiding Scope Creep

You want to run a successful business, but that’s going to be impossible if you let scope creep chew away at your profits.

To prevent scope creep from ever appearing in the future, do the following:

1. Qualify the Customer

In the initial discussions with the client, if you feel their expectations are too high, they lack a complete understanding of the project or are haggling with you over the price… this is a warning sign that this is likely to be a stressful project that is not worth your time.

2. Get to Know the Client and Their Business

Having in-depth discussions in the early stages is vital. If you understand their goals then you can better understand what they want from the website and be able to estimate accordingly. Remember that the client doesn’t really know or understand exactly what they want and you have to help them uncover it at the early stages.

3. Be as Clear as Day in Your Documentation

Before you sign any more clients, spend some time working on your documentation. I suggest you use these two documents upfront with the client:

Proposal document – which includes an outline of things like the investment, timeline etc. Check out our Proposal Template which already has all of these things included.

Statement of work – the statement of work includes all the deliverables. Then have it clearly stated that “If it’s not in the statement of work, you will be charged an additional amount of xxx.”

    The more time you invest in this part of the process, the less of a chance there is that vagueness or ambiguities will cause problems for you down the line.

    Your refined documentation also gives you a chance to closely review job specs with clients, set expectations upfront and get their official acceptance of the terms with a binding signature. This way, if they try to violate the contract or exploit your generosity, you can gently remind them of what the original agreement states.

    4. Add a Buffer to the Project Schedule

    In terms of scheduling your projects, be careful. You never know what might come up — clients disappear, content gets delayed, personal emergencies arise, etc. Even the process of handling client feedback can hold things up (though that’s usually only if they get out of control with it).

    To ensure that unplanned stoppages or slowdowns don’t mess up your timeline, it’s a good idea to add a buffer to your project schedule.

    This way, you and your team aren’t always under the gun, trying to complete each phase or task at the very last minute. It also allows you to breathe a little easier if there’s a delay beyond your control.

    5. Set up Different Meeting Points with the Client

    You can never over-communicate with a client. Keep them up to date the whole way and have different meeting points set up for each important stage of the project.

    The prototyping stage is probably one of the most important stages as this allows the client to check out the features visually and better understand the concept and functionality and you can make changes much more easily at this stage.

    6. Establish a Communication Process with Your Client

    As well as setting up the meeting points, you still need to communicate on a weekly basis. For example, you may let them know at the beginning of the project that you will be sending an email every Friday with a detailed update because you need set their expectations from the very beginning around what to expect with communication. 

    This communication needs to take place on one channel. If you receive feedback from your client by phone, email or Skype, this means the records are kept everywhere and hard to keep a track of. So keep it all on email. If the client calls you or you have a meeting with them in person, write a summary of the call/ meeting and email it to them. This means that you have a record of everything that is easy to find if the client argues about anything with you that has been agreed upon or discussed. 

    7. Always Schedule a Team Kickoff

    Although clients are commonly the perpetrators of scope creep, it does sometimes come from within.

    And while you want to trust that your team can do what they’re tasked to do, and to empower them to do it with little oversight from you, it’s a good idea to make sure everyone starts each project on the same page.

    To keep your team from becoming the bottleneck in a job, schedule a team kickoff at the start of every project. This enables you to ensure that everyone understands the project specs and how to work towards the same goal. If something’s too complex, this will give your team a chance to work out the intricacies of it before the task is on their plate and realise too late they don’t know what to do with it.

    8. Keep Only the Head Chef in the Kitchen

    Have you ever worked on a project where everything seemed like it was going well, only for your client to pull a 180 on you because:

    “I was reviewing the design with my friend, and he says it doesn’t do a good job of conveying what my business does.”

    Not only is the feedback non-specific and unhelpful, but it’s coming from someone who has not been privy to the conversations or planning that’s gone on up until this point. You could spend time trying to figure out a different approach based on the outsider’s vague suggestion or you could nip this kind of bad behaviour in the bud.

    Your client hired you because you are the expert. If they wanted to solicit feedback from any and everyone in their life, they should’ve designed the site themselves. So, what you need to do from the get-go is to demonstrate your authority and continually reinforce it. That way, they won’t even think to ask anyone else to chime in. You know what you’re doing, you have things under control, and they’re happy to relinquish the reins to you.

    And if you’re dealing with multiple stakeholders from the client’s side of things, ask them to designate one clear decision-maker. It’s the only way to prevent the incessant back-and-forth that occurs when too many cooks are in the kitchen.

    9. Create a Formal Change Request Process

    At some point, you’ll run into a client that wants to deviate from the original scope of work. And that’s okay.

    via GIPHY

    It’s not that change is inherently bad. It’s that changes that have gone unchecked from your end are bad.

    Let’s say, your client says, “Hey, I know I asked for a simple contact form, but what I really need is a form that changes based on which department the visitors want to message.”

    You know that a form with conditional formatting would work well for this, so you think, “Eh, I’m not gonna charge them for this”, and run with the change.

    Instead, you should stop to factor in what this change will actually do to your budget and schedule. For example:

    Did you already build a contact form? Then, this is a completely new element you need to charge for.

    Do you need to switch to a premium plugin since the one used doesn’t include conditional formatting? Then, you need to include the time and cost of implementing a different solution in the budget.

    Does your designer have all the information they need to set up the form, fields and logic? If not, then there’s additional work to be done to set the new form up.

    Do you need to create the departmental addresses on your client’s domain? Again, think about how much extra work this adds to your plate.

    Even if a change request seems like a simple “let’s swap Element A for Element B”, it should still go through a formal change request process. That way, the client understands how these late decisions affect the project costs and timeline and it doesn’t become a habit for them to constantly ask you for small favours.

    One Final Thing

    The main thing you can do to avoid scope creep is to work with better clients. When you work with people who understand and appreciate the value of what you do, they’re not going to try to be selfish with your time or try to get free work from you. If you can avoid working with people like that in the first place, you can reduce the likelihood of scope creep from cutting into your profit margins.

    If you want to learn how to attract these higher-quality clients to your business, sign up for this free webinar where you’ll discover how to do just that.


    Facebook’s ad business shows no signs of slowing, generating $14.9 billion during the first quarter of the year. That’s up 26% year over year. With this growth has come a major expansion of Facebook’s audience targeting capabilities. Many retail marketers understand the advertising potential that Facebook holds as a result.

    But this sophistication isn’t without challenges. The growing complexities involved with setup and campaign management can often leave the most seasoned marketers in need of direction when advertising in the channel.

    Facebook advertising success boils down to the three areas of study: pixel and campaign strategy, audience targeting and measurement. Learn about the pitfalls involved in each and how you can navigate them with the right approach.

    Pixel setup and campaign strategy

    Those with experience setting up Facebook ad campaigns can attest to the platform’s cumbersome interface. With the vast array of settings and targeting capabilities, it’s easy to take shortcuts that result in poorly targeted campaigns that drive minimal results.

    Pitfall #1: Setting up the Pixel incorrectly

    Pixel setup is critical to tracking all customer interactions so that targeting is effective. Before diving into campaign settings, ensure your pixel is uploaded to your website and tracking what your website and app visitors view and purchase. Review your Pixel Events in relation to your business goals and get a better understanding of your customers’ path to purchase. To confirm your pixel is uploaded and running, use the Facebook Pixel Helper.

    Pitfall #2: Choosing the wrong attribution window

    Attribution settings for the Facebook pixel default to a one-day view and 28-day click. This means actions taken over these periods count either one day after someone sees your ad or within 28 days of someone clicking your ad. If you have a tight, ROAS-driven business, consider adjusting these settings so they fall in line with your business objectives. You have the option to change the attribution window to one-day, seven-day and 28-day view and click attribution.

    The default attribution model is Facebook’s way of demonstrating the value of the channel for marketers stuck in a last-click world. You may benefit from one-day view if you’re using a single touch attribution model since it will take conversions into account when optimizing the channel.

    Pitfall #3: Selecting the wrong campaign type for your business goals

    Define your goals and determine what type of Facebook campaigns best suit your business. Use Facebook’s different ad formats to fulfill these goals. Facebook dynamic product ads let you create retargeting campaigns that direct customers down the purchase funnel. Dynamic Ads for Broad Audiences (DABA) let you create prospecting campaigns that target new customer acquisition. Using these two formats, you can serve relevant ad content to re-engage past site visitors and target new shoppers unfamiliar with your brand.

    Pitfall #4: Neglecting to add tracking parameters for your data source of truth

    Append tracking parameters to each of your Facebook campaigns to avoid the pitfall.

    You can do this by creating a new campaign or working on a saved campaign in Ads Manager. Select an objective you want your parameters to achieve and add the website URL you want to track. Fill in the parameters by entering a key and an assigned value. For example, if you’re tracking an ad with the ocean as its image, you can add “image=ocean” as the parameter. The key is “image” and the assigned value is “ocean.”

    These parameters help track performance within your data source of record and serve as a second source of truth in measuring campaign success. You can track the effectiveness of your ad based on your parameter objective and understand which ads are helping you meet your goals.

    Pitfall #5: Starting with the wrong campaign strategy

    Campaign setup should segment your traffic into separate objectives you wish to report on and optimize. For instance, separating retargeting ad sets from prospecting ad sets lets you effectively manage more budget and optimizations between two different objectives. Keep in mind that the bulk of settings and targeting options take place at the ad set level and not the campaign level. This creates more flexibility to group various initiatives under one objective (like retargeting campaigns for different product sets or audiences).

    Audience strategy and targeting

    When it comes to audience strategy and targeting, marketers should focus on allocating budget toward the highest performing traffic sources. This especially true for retailers focused on the highest return on ad spend. Facebook’s ability to drill down into granular audience sets – like demographic and interest targeting – sets it apart from its competitors in an important way.

    Pitfall #6: Targeting the wrong audience

    Use dynamic product ads and dynamic ads for broad audiences to reach the largest number of Facebook users. Dynamic product ads are retargeting-based ads that focus on moving users down the purchase funnel. Create separate audiences (ad sets) for people who have purchased products, added items to their cart, and site visitors. Because each group is at a different stage of the purchase process, these ad sets will give you insight into how likely they are to convert.

    Layer time filters into these segments based on data amount and audience size. For instance, your purchased products audience can be split into two segments: “purchased in the last 30 days” and “purchased 30 days .” Consider this same process for each audience segment and break each up into time segments that align with your business and how your customers shop for you products.

    Depending on the amount of data at your disposal, the above structure can break down even further. You can split audience by device and, if possible, by platform (Facebook vs. Instagram). Each of these segments has performance differences to help prioritize how you spend your budget for the best return.

    The goal of audience segmentation is to eliminate overlap and ensure that you control recency and frequency of ad delivery. This will prevent you from saturating your audience with ads, which often results in ad blocking.

    Pitfall #7: Targeting too broad of an audience

    Dynamic Ads for Broad Audiences (DABA) is a prospecting ad format that drives new customer acquisition. These ad units help fill the customer prospect funnel for the retargeting campaigns discussed above. This segment of customers is where Facebook’s audience segmentation capabilities prioritize and strategically spend valuable budget dollars.

    To start with DABA, choose targeting that most aligns to your business (running, womens apparel, etc.). Once you decide core interests to target, create ad sets with additional segmentation for demographics like gender, age, and device.

    If audience size permits, consider additional segmentation for placement and platform. After finalizing the baseline structure of ad sets that target interests, consider duplicating the structure to target lookalike audiences for additional exposure.

    Pitfall #8: Overlooking bid strategy

    Marketers often fail to consider a bid strategy when advertising on Facebook. By choosing the wrong strategy or neglecting a strategy altogether, they exhaust budget quickly and ad performance suffers.

    There are six bid strategies available for Facebook ads. Each supports specific objectives and has unique benefits. Facebook sets bids for five of these strategies, including lowest cost, in which Facebook manages all bidding and reaches your lowest cost opportunities while spending budget. Consult the Facebook Bid Strategy Guide for a complete look at strategies, objectives, and when to use each.


    Most marketers struggle to find the value of each marketing touchpoint in any one purchase path. They often default to tracking performance via last-click attribution. This model, which credits one touchpoint as the entire customer journey, is antiquated and typically leads to inefficient spending. To get a holistic view of the sales journey across multiple touchpoints on Facebook, consider changing your attribution approach.

    Pitfall #9: Using the wrong attribution model

    Facebook is a platform that engages consumers at the top and middle of the purchase funnel more often than consumers that are ready to buy. Because of this high-funnel intent, retailers need to shift their measurement focus to multi-touch attribution (MTA). This will help assign value to each touchpoint so it receives the credit it deserves.

    Most shoppers use a variety of different platforms to shop. Facebook’s increasing role in the customer journey makes MTA a valuable tool in measuring how effective Facebook ads are in a marketing mix. It is especially relevant for marketers who advertise across multiple channels, as MTA evaluates each channel’s importance in a sale. Consider the many MTA options available: Linear, Time Decay, U-Shaped, W-Shaped, and Algorithmic.

    Avoiding Facebook Advertising’s pitfalls

    Facebook is a great platform to build awareness, advertise specific products, and drive revenue. However, many marketers simply invest in the channel with no clear strategy, which frequently leads to wasted ad spend.

    Whether you’re just getting started or an established marketer advertising in the channel, consider these pitfalls when working your Facebook ad campaigns. With the right knowledge in place, you can avoid burning your budget on limited results.

    Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

    About The Author

    Sidecar, Mike stays close to the shifting retail landscape and how it’s impacting marketing strategy. He has advised hundreds of marketers across retail verticals in the context of their business goals and the industry at large. Mike contributes to Marketing Land as well as Sidecar Discover.