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Seriously Though, Why Does My Facebook Ads Not Work?!

In this article, we got Reuben Ch’ng, a digital marketer for close to 10 years, to give a super duper simple guide to help us run Facebook Ads that actually work for beginners like us.

We know many of you out there are looking monetise your craft or creation, be it selling your artwork, or building an audience for your blog etc; but when it comes to marketing and advertising it to the right audience, that is where the tough part comes in.

There are so many posts out there teaching you how to create Facebook Ads, but they all seem too complicated to follow through as a newbie.

Fret not, in this post, I will share 5 super duper simple tips to run better Facebook Ads that actually work.

Before we start, just so you know. You can log into your ad manager on Facebook, following this link: https://www.facebook.com/business/tools/ads-manager

1. Get as many PMs as possible. NOT.

As you start your first advertising campaign on Facebook, you might feel as though the best way to acquire customers means trying to get as many ‘PMs’ on your Facebook ad.

You might even see other business who have posts filled with tons of comments “PM”.

By the way, 'PM' means = Private Message

See this below. This business must be getting a lot of sales!


As someone who has experienced running tons of Facebook advertisements, the PMs that you get on your Facebook ads, usually DO NOT convert into sales. Yes, you read that right. It does not.

Think about it. If these people are investing only 2 seconds of their time to comment ‘PM’ on your Facebook post - do you think they are people who will actually invest more time & money to get your product or service?

Instead of trying to get people to engage and comment ‘PM’ on your post, focus on getting customers to visit your website. There’s an option in Facebook ad targeting that does that, so use that to your advantage.

2. Do NOT use the “Boost Post” button

I guarantee you’ve seen the ‘boost post’ button if you have managed a Facebook page before. Basically, that is Facebook asking you to pay for some advertising so that your post gets shown to more people on Facebook.

But don’t use the ‘boost post’ button! Sounds counterintuitive, I know. But let me explain.

See, the objective of the ‘boost post’ method is to gain engagements on your Facebook post. When you boost your post, Facebook's algorithm will try to show your post to people who would most likely like or drop a comment on your Facebook post.

That sounds good, but only, that doesn’t convert into sales, or even the right audience you are looking to reach out to.

The logic here is that people who love engaging with content (by liking & commenting) are not necessarily buyers.

So here’s my tip:

Use the Facebook Ad Manager to create an ad campaign with a website visit objective. This way, Facebook will help show your ad to people who will most likely click on your ads and wait for your page to load.

They may not be people who enjoy commenting/liking posts - but in my experience, these people are more likely to be your customers.

3. Don’t Use Automatic Placements for Facebook Ads

If you have some experience running Facebook ads, you’ve probably used the ad manager before.

So admit it. How many times have you chosen 'Automatic Placements' when creating your ad campaign, through the Facebook ad manager?

This is a bad practice!

Just like big brands who ware advertising on physical billboards, the location of where your ads are shown needs to be strategic. When you opt for “Automatic Placements”, Facebook will push your ads to every possible placement it has - including placements like Instagram Stories.

But here's the thing. The same ad that you use for Facebook will not be as effective if you used it as an Instagram Stories ad. For one, the size and dimension of the ad will be different.

Plus, user behaviours on different platforms will be different - so if you’re advertising on Instagram, you’d want to design an ad that is created for Instagram. And vice versa if you’re creating an ad for the Facebook newsfeed.

Yet, there are thousands, if not hundreds of marketers using automatic placements to push their ads - wasting ad spend.

Let's break down the different purposes of the ad placements available on Facebook:

Instagram Placements

If you are new in the market, do not advertise on Instagram. This is because people scroll really fast on Instagram. They are there to look at pictures. If they do not know your business, your ad will be quickly scrolled past. However, if your brand is known and has some traction in the market - Instagram could work for you.

Facebook Feeds

The most effective & common placement for Facebook ads is “Feeds”. It is a form of a native ad, where your ad looks just like an organic post on Facebook. This makes it non-intrusive, where it does not disturb the user’s experience scrolling through Facebook.

Your job here is to make your ad stand-out while still looking like a post. Don't oversell here, because users scrolling on the Facebook newsfeed are looking for interesting things to look at, not to buy something.

Facebook Instant Articles

This ad placement is slightly more disruptive, as it will pop up in between articles on Facebook. They may not work as effectively because you are disrupting users who are reading an article.

Unless your ad relates really well with the article that they're reading, then this may be a good ad placement. You can choose to show on certain websites and articles - based on your settings in the Facebook ad manager.

Right Column (Desktop Only)

These ads are the one that appears on the right side of your Facebook page on desktop. They appear to be quite small and people normally dismissed them, thanks to banner blindness. So you'd want to use high-contrast images here to attract users.

Right column ads are usually great for branding campaigns or retargeting ads.

Facebook Marketplace

This is one of my least recommended ad placements, especially if your target audience is Malaysians because it is not so widely used here yet. These are ads that appear when users browse Marketplace in the Facebook app.

Facebook Stories

These are ads that appear between stories you watch on Facebook. They can be made to work, but you need to design ads specifically for the placement. Never use the same ad you were going to use for the news feed here.

Because stories is in a video format, creating video ads for this placement makes more sense.

Audience Network

Audience network would refer to ads showing on websites or applications - out of Facebook under Facebook's Audience Network.

Using this ad placement is tricky because you have less control as to where it would appear. The biggest advantage of this placement is that it is affordable.

I would recommend you use this ad placement, but closely monitor your ads, and see if it brings the results you want.


These ads will appear within your inbox and is quite effective. However, you don't currently see many of these ads in Malaysia yet. This is good to run, but you might not have enough audience reach with it.

4. Proper Facebook Ad Delivery Will Make (or break) Your Ad Success

Choosing the right optimization for ad delivery is extremely crucial for your success with Facebook ads.

Link Clicks

Links clicks would be the recommended option by Facebook. If you choose this, you'll optimize your ad to show to people who most likely will click on your ad.

However, take note because people who click on ads are not necessarily people who would wait for your landing page to load and view them.

Take, for example, myself as a Facebook marketer. I click on a lot of ads every day - to look at what my competitors are doing. But that does not necessarily make me someone who will buy.

In fact, Facebook also would show the ad to people who have a historical record of mis-clicking ads.

Landing Page Views

Because of the limitation of the above, bidding for landing page views might be more effective. This means your ads will be shown to people who most likely will click on your ad and wait for your website to finish loading.

Landing Page views are tabulated when the user clicks on your ad, and spends a slightly longer time (6 seconds and above) on your landing page - which is the way Facebook calculate valid landing page views.

I would recommend using this ad delivery option most of the time for your ads, so you are able to achieve results for your business.

Believe it or not, as you run more ads, Facebook ad algorithm will begin learning about your preferred audiences and find the right audience that is genuinely interested in your ads and business!


Similar to how the right column placement works, this would be effective if you are working on a branding campaign, in a case where you want to reach as many people as possible, then repeatedly expose them to your product so that they will have your brand in their minds.

Daily Unique Reach

This optimization option would be preferred if you'd like to reach a large audience but ensure your ads are not shown too often to them. For example, you could choose to show your ad only twice to a single user.

The reason you would want to do this is to ensure your potential customers do not get bored seeing the same ad over and over again. In other words, you want your brand burnt into the minds of your ideal customers, but don't want to annoy them by showing the ads too many times.

5. Game Changing Tip: Always optimize your ad early

The final tip for this post.

Most marketers who run Facebook ads would leave it to run for a few days, before coming back to check on its performance and make necessary optimization.

Here's a trick: After launching your ad, check back as early as 1 or 2 hours and optimize it.

How does this help?

When you first publish an ad, the Facebook algorithm will put your ad on “premium spots” on Facebook, where it would receive maximum visibility. The algorithm does this to gauge the quality and relevancy of your ad by tracking the number of people responding to it. Then the algorithm decides if your ad deserves to stay in the “premium spots” or if it should be deprioritized.

So here’s the cool thing about optimizing your ads early. When you tweak your ads early, Facebook’s algorithm will be forced to show your ads in the “premium spots” on Facebook, where the algorithm will try to gauge your ad quality, again. As it does this again, your ad gets seen again by people.

But, I'll only recommend this if you're handling just a few Facebook campaigns. As you scale and run more ad campaigns, you might not be able optimize so many ad campaigns at a go.

Running successful Facebook advertising campaigns do not have to be difficult. But always remember to always track your ad results and ensure that you achieve your marketing objectives while still being profitable.

What other Facebook Advertising tips you have learned along the way that works? Do share it with us in the comment section below.

Check out Reuben's online programs: Facebook Ad Dive and Digital Marketing 360.

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