Facebook Advertising Time Warp

Facebook advertising is a great tool for marketing your Facebook page and even your company website. But buyer beware of the Facebook Time Warp date change that could leave you screaming mad and more than a step to the left!

First, why is Facebook advertising such a good marketing tool? Because you can target your ad to specific ages, geographic areas and unlike a Google ad, you can focus on a Facebook user’s interest. Want to show your ad only to people who like organic, free-range chicken eggs living in Northampton, Massachusetts? Not a problem!

Facebook ads are particularly effective to drive traffic to your fan page that you’ve created for your website. Facebook users are more likely to click on an ad that interests them and does NOT take them away from Facebook, because you know it’s hard to tear yourself away from FB. More likes to your page, means more ways to draw people to your website. If you’re like most people with a limited budget you might run an ad for a day or two to test it out. That’s a good plan, if you can keep it to a day or two.

There is a lot more to the benefits of advertising on Facebook, but what I’m addressing here is one step in the process of creating your ad to be aware of. It’s the Facebook Time Warp! And if you are not very observant you may end up paying a lot more for your limited run ad than you intended.

As you setup your Facebook ad, you select an image, write a headline, short text for the ad to drive people to your page, select a daily budget and then under the Budget section, what is selected by default is “Run my campaign continuously starting today.” This option is fine, if you remember to come back to end the ad when you want to stop it. But there is also an option to “Set a start and end date.” That sounds more convenient, just set it to stop on a day and time and go about your busy schedule. That’s where the problem starts though! Or where the problem starts and doesn’t end!

Here’s what happens: by default the current date is selected as the start date and you can select a date for the end date. But wait! If you’re not very observant you might miss that the default end date, which might look like the next day, is NOT the next day, but the next year! So if you want to test an ad for one day, thinking you’ve set it to end the next day, you’ll be surprised to find it’s been scheduled to run for one year.

Rocky Horror Time Warp

Facebook Default Dates

Okay, so let’s say you were observant and noticed that sneaky one-year lapse in time they conveniently set for your ad to end. “Ha, I’ll change that,” you think. Okay, go ahead and change it! I dare you. This example ad’s end date was changed from 12/18/14 to 12/18/13, fine. But then when you go to change the time, the year changes back to 2014. Super Sneaky.

Year changed again after time change

Year changed again after time change

So we changed the time, then went back and changed the date back to 2013 AGAIN, and took a screenshot to make sure everything was kosher before approving the ad. Click to continue and everything should be okay, right?

Time and date change- Everything should be set

Time and date change- Everything should be set

NO! We went to the Campaigns and Ads administrator page and found the end date for the ad was changed back to 2014 again and the ad would run presumably for one year if you swore off Facebook and didn’t come back… or until you got your credit card bill and fainted.

Campaign View - Year changed again!

Campaign View – Year changed again!

The moral to the story? Running ads on Facebook is good. Not being extremely observant of the end date, expensive. Your $5 or $20 a day ad for a few days could turn into a much more expensive ad that will until you come back and stop it.

I did go in and edit the end date via the Campaign and Ads interface back to 2013, but I’m not very trusting, so I’ll be sitting here just watching the ad campaign screen for the next 8 hours just to make sure they don’t change it again!

And for my loyal viewers I have a Christmas gift for you – a $50 Facebook ad credit that can only be used if you do not already have an ad account with them. Good luck, the code is only good for one person, of course.  YHM6-T21H-39HR-7H7K