Facebook ads are widely regarded as one of the best ways you can spend money in digital advertising today. Well-placed banner ads, Twitter ads, and a bunch of other ads cannot come close to the effectiveness of Facebook ads.

As Facebook continues to throttle organic reach, boosting content or creating advertisements is only going to become more important. However, we cannot expect to just throw money at Facebook and expect a bunch of rich, 24-year-old, hoodie-wearing nerds to make it all work for us.

Facebook ads are incredibly valuable, but only if you know what you’re doing.

Here are three of the biggest mistakes I see when people spend money on Facebook:

1. Picking the wrong audience.

This is, without a doubt, the most common problem I see when helping people learn how to spend money on Facebook.

If you were to go to a Facebook page right now and try to boost, say, a blog post link you posted on Facebook this morning, the default audience to which you would be boosting that content is “People Who Like Your Page.” Most of the time, I would say, this is not the audience you want to be targeting.

Sometime, perhaps even later this week, I need to create a video to show the depths of Facebook audiences. But you need to be boosting your content to more than just “People Who Like Your Page,” or “Friends of People Who Like Your Page.”

If Pepsi is running an ad for Mountain Dew, it should target gamers, college students, and other related audiences. Not senior adults, moms, or other such audiences.

Your Facebook ads are only as successful as your ability to target the right audiences.

2. Boosting the wrong content.

The second most common problem I see when people spend money on Facebook is boosting or advertising the wrong content. This point is a bit relative because “the wrong content” can vary based on a given page, time, or other variable context.

Generally speaking, if you’re paying to boost content you’ve already created (as opposed to creating a paid ad), it is best to boost content that has already performed well, not content that has not performed well but you want to improve.

It is best practice to boost your best content. Don’t boost a low-quality image or a boring video just to try to get it on par with everything else.

3. Not spending enough money.

One of the first questions I am asked when advising on Facebook ads is, “Well how much money do I need to spend?” It’s an important question, but it’s not the most important question. The most important question is the audience question. But, alas, we do have to answer the money question. So let’s try.

When I am coaching people, I usually advise to start with $25 per week. I think that is a great bit to spend. I would say that the minimum you should spend each week is $10. Below $10 per week, you’re really just not going to get much of a return.

Now, this is an important part: I would advise spending whatever money you spend on one piece of content, boosting it over seven days.

For example, I have seen better performance boosting a video for $25 over seven days than $25 over one day. This may not be true for everyone, but it has been true for me.

Again, we must remember: you could spend $25,000, but if you aren’t boosting to the right audience, it really won’t matter.

This is as much as I could say about Facebook ads in such a short post. It is difficult because Facebook ads are so important, yet I know they are often very difficult to understand. I hope to create some instructional videos on Facebook ads in the near future.

Chris Martin

Chris Martin is the Co-Creator and Chief Content Officer at LifeWay Social as well as a Content Strategist at LifeWay. He and his wife Susie live outside Nashville, TN.