The Comprehensive Guide To Facebook Ad Objectives


Don’t hit place order on your shiny new ad campaign without answering this question.

Are you sure you’re using the right campaign objective?

Facebook’s ad manager gives you 12 unique marketing objectives to choose from.

And each ad objective optimizes your advertisements for a different goal.

You could be looking to:

  1. Show your ad to the greatest number of people.
  2. Sell more products on your website.
  3. Encourage local users to visit your shop.
  4. Get people to watch your entire video

You get the point.

In this guide I’m going to go over all the different ad objectives and when you should use them.

Whether you’re a small business starting out, a seasoned FB ad veteran, or just want to learn more about Facebook advertising – I’ve included interesting information for all experience levels in FB marketing.

So lets get started…

What are the Facebook marketing objectives?

Facebook Marketing Objectives

Facebook campaign objectives are broken down into 3 main buckets.

  1. Awareness: These are objectives that generate interest in your product/service.
  2. Consideration: These objectives get people to start thinking about your business and (hopefully) seek out more information about it.
  3. Conversion: These objectives encourage people to buy or use your product or service – these will make you $$.

Each objective has many sub-objectives to choose from. Lets dive right in…

First, let’s talk about the Awareness Objectives

Awareness objectives generate interest in your product or service.
They’re perfect for situations where you’re looking to increase brand awareness.

Read on to learn about the first Awareness ad objective.

Brand Awareness Ads – Maximize the number of people who recall your ad

Facebook Brand Awareness Ads - placements & formats

Facebook announced Brand awareness ads back in September 2015:

Brand awareness optimization is designed to help advertisers find the audiences most likely to recall their ads…. By analyzing hundreds of brand campaigns we found that the longer someone spends with an ad, the more likely they are to remember what they’ve seen.

The goal of these ads is to maximize the number of people who will remember your ad.

When should you use Brand Awareness Ads?

These ads are perfect as part of a multi-step ad campaign. Here’s an example advertising sequence for a large mobile app brand.

  1. Launch Brand awareness ads in a tight geographic area.
  2. Launch a billboard locally.
  3. Launch App install ads once the demographic is saturated with Brand Awareness ads.

These kind of multi-pronged advertising strategies are perfect for large brands, and increase the likelihood of getting installs.

Local Awareness Ads – Target people close to your retail location

Local Awareness Facebook Ads - Placements & Formats

Want to get local attention?

Local awareness ads help you reach the people around your business by showing ads to people when they’re near one of your business locations. And with more local context like the map card and Call Now and Get Direction buttons, they can drive more customers and sales to your business.

These ads are perfect for driving foot-traffic to your retail store, coffee shop or other small business.

When should you use Local Awareness Ads?

Local awareness ads are great if you’re a small retail business looking to get more awareness for your brand. They’re easy to set up and advertisers will have full confidence that their ads are only being served to local potential customers.

The downside of Local awareness ads is that they have no demographic targeting options.

Note: Local awareness ads are being transitioned into Reach ads. If you don’t find this option in Ad Manager, use Reach ads instead. 

Reach Ads – Maximize the number of people who see your ad

Reach Ads - Facebook Objectives, Placements & Ad formats

This campaign objective is perfect if you want to:

Show your ads to the greatest number of people in your audience and control how often they see your ads.

Reach ads will optimize for the number of impressions, without regarding whether they are likely to pay attention.

When should you use the Reach Ads objective?

You should use the Reach ads objective when you want to maximize ad visibility within a small audience. Bonus if you’re looking to control the frequency of your ad impressions. Reach ads are rarely useful if used for large, unfiltered custom audiences without frequency enabled.

Now if you’re looking to increase more than just awareness…

Let’s talk about the Consideration Objectives

Consideration objectives get people to start thinking about your business and look for more information about it.
They’re perfect for businesses looking to get increased brand engagement.

Traffic – Maximize the number of people who visit your website, app or offer.

Traffic Ads- Facebook Objectives, Placements & Ad formats

The traffic objective increase the number of visits to your website or get more people to use your app.
With this objective, you can:

  1. Send people to your website.
  2. Send people to your messenger app.
  3. Encourage people to claim your offer.
  4. Get people to download your app.
When should you use the Traffic Ads objective?

The Traffic ads objective is great when you want audiences to read specific content on your website. 

These ads are perfect for promoting blog posts, pre-sale and other landing pages to custom audiences.

These ads are not a very efficient use of ad spend if used on large, unfiltered custom audiences.

Engagement ads – Maximize the number of people who interact with your Facebook posts.

Engagement Ads- Facebook Objectives, Placements & Ad formats

The Engagement objective helps you reach new people and keep up with your customers.
Here’s what Facebook says about this ad objective:

Facebook Page post engagement ads help you share information about your business with people. You can use them to extend your Page posts beyond your Page and inspire people to take action.

There are 3 types of Engagement Ads available.

  1. Post Engagement ads: This objective will optimize your ads for more social engagement with an existing or new post.
  2. Page Likes: This objective will optimize your ads to drive likes to your Facebook page.
  3. Event Responses: This objective will deliver your ads to maximize the number of attendees at events.

Post engagement ads are a great proxy for evaluating the effectiveness of your ads.

If you run an ecommerce site that sells shoes for $50 per shoe, properly figuring out your Cost Per Purchase for all your ad variants can easily cost you $300.

With PPE ads you can figure out which ad variants get the most social engagement – likes, clicks, comments, hearts – for as little as $5/day.

[bctt tweet=”With PPE ads, you can figure out the ad variants that get the most social engagement for $5/day.” username=”appsoario”]

Afterwords, use your learnings to optimize the winning variant for conversions.

When should you use the Engagement Ads objective?

Engagement ads are great for maximizing interaction with your content.

It’s also great to get feedback from potential customers on your product or service.

App Install Ads – Maximize the number of installs your mobile app gets.

App Install Ads- Facebook Objectives, Placements & Ad formats

App businesses – listen up!
App install ads will be your bread and butter. Here’s what Facebook has to say about them:

Facebook mobile app install ads enable businesses to connect with the people who are more likely to install your app, so you can get more people using your app. Mobile app install ads link directly to the App Store, Google Play and Kindle Fire store, so people can download your mobile app right away.

App install ads work for paid or free apps, and are optimized to only deliver installs at your target CPI.

When should you use the App Install objective?

If you’re trying to get App installs – this is the objective for you.

Note: You can also optimize your ads for in-app conversions with the conversion objective type. This’ll require you to integrate your app with Facebook’s SDK.

Video View Ads – Maximize the number of people who view your video.

Video View Ads- Facebook Objectives, Placements & Ad formats

100 million hours of Facebook videos get  watched every day.
Videos have grown crazy fast, and Facebook gives advertisers the tools to grow even faster.

Facebook says this about the video view objective:

Use the video views objective to help you grow your audience on Facebook by reaching people who are more likely to watch your video.

The video view objective allows you to optimize your ads for getting the most 3 second views as well as 10 second views.

It’s perfect for viral pages and brands that have a strong visual component.

When should you use the video view objective?

The video view objective is perfect for you if you’re advertising a video with a strong message.

In internal testing, we’ve found that video view ads optimized for 10-second views often perform better for driving conversions than conversion-optimized posts.

Lead Generation – Maximize the number of lead offer responses you get.

Lead Generation Ads- Facebook Objectives, Placements & Ad formats

B2B businesses rejoice!

If you want to collect customer information on Facebook – you should be using lead ads.

Lead ads allow you to create a questionnaire and collect information from your ads into a spreadsheet that you can later upload to Custom Audience.

Here’s what Facebook says about lead ads:

With lead ads, potential customers can sign up for what you’re offering, and you’ll get accurate contact info to follow up with them. When potential customers see your ad on Facebook, they can sign up for more info or request something from your business—like price estimates, newsletters, product demos, test drives and much more. By clicking your lead ad, customers will see a form that’s already filled with info they’ve shared with Facebook—like their name, number, or email. The form is mobile-device friendly and designed for the least amount of typing possible. So it’s quicker for customers to reach you—and gives you accurate, actionable info so you can reach back.”

Lead ads are perfect for:

  1. Newsletter sign ups for current customers, or getting information to new customers.
  2. For retail or commerce businesses, it’s a great way to offer deals, coupons and offers.
  3. B2B businesses looking to prospect and collect information from potential leads.

In our internal testing, appsoar has found lead ads to perform worse than landing pages.

When should you use the lead ads objective?

It’s great if you’re looking to:

  1. Keep ad fatigue low by mixing with other ad objectives.
  2. Experiment with an alternative ad objective for acquiring B2B leads.
  3. Qualify users without them having to go to a landing page or leave Facebook.

Now that we’ve talked about some of the top engagement objectives, lets make some money with Conversion Objectives. 

Let’s talk about the Conversion Objectives

Conversion Ads – Maximize specific actions users will take on your app or website.

Conversion Ads Facebook Objective - Placements & Ad formats

Want your users to sign up, subscribe or complete a purchase?
This is the ad objective for you.
Facebook says the following about the conversion marketing objective:

The Facebook website conversion objective helps you grow business on your website. Whether you’re after page visits, sales or any other action, website conversion ads encourage people to go to your website and do something.

This objective optimizes your ads for any specific pixel-trackable event. This could be a newsletter sign-up, a custom action in your app, or a purchase.

When should you use the Conversions objective?

This objective is perfect when you are looking to get sign ups, sales or subscribes on a relevant audience.

Note – If you’re planning on running ads with the conversions objectives for the first time, make sure your pixel has enough data to be able to optimize properly. Facebook recommends between 15-30 pixel fires a week before trying to optimize your ads for conversions.

Product Catalog Sales – Maximize the sales of items in your catalog.

Product Catalog Sales Ad - Placements and Ad formats

Ready to skyrocket your abandonment and make your checkout rate soar?

The product catalog sales objective allows you to create ads that automatically show products from your product catalog based on your target audience.

The product catalog should primarily be used to showcase products to users who have already interacted with your brand.

Some common uses for product-catalog ads include:

  1. Creating abandonment campaigns for when users add-to-cart but don’t end up checking out.
  2. Creating remarketing campaigns showing the exact products your users added to cart or viewed.
  3. Creating upsells to users who have recently purchased.
When should you use the Product Catalog Sales objective?

This ad type will mostly help Ecommerce sites with large product selections. These ads are best when shown to users who are already familiar with the website or brand.

Store Visits – Maximize foot traffic in your retail location.

Store Visits Ads - Placements available and ad formats available

Awareness of your local business is good, but local advertisers don’t want awareness – they want visits.
Here’s what Facebook says about this ad type;

Local awareness ads aim to bring people to your business, whether you have a single store or thousands of locations. The ads show people the stores nearest to them and offer relevant call-to-actions like “Get Directions,” making it easy for people to shop the store most convenient to them. Last year we introduced features that enabled businesses with multiple locations to create ads for every store dynamically within a single campaign.

The store visits objective helps customers find your business by including a map and encouraging users to go to your local business.

They have support for businesses with multiple locations as well as store locators within the ad.

When should you use the Product Catalog Sales objective?

If you have a single or multiple retail location – this ad type is great.
The downside is that you’ll have limited demographic targeting – Facebook doesn’t currently let you filter by interests.

Well, there you have it.

In this post you learned:

  1. The differences between all the different ad objectives.
  2. What placements and ad formats are available for each ad objective.
  3. Some typical uses for each ad objective.
  4. Insider tips & tricks for getting the most value out of your ads.

Thanks for sticking through this long read – you deserve a high five!

How have you been using Facebook Ad Objectives in your advertising campaigns? Let us know in the comments below.

Until next time.

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About the author

Dimitry Apollonsky

I'm a growth marketing pro that works with early stage companies to help them gain traction and reach their milestones through user acquisition, user retention and revenue growth.


Hi! I’m Dimitry

I'm a growth marketing pro that works with early stage companies to help them gain traction and reach their milestones through user acquisition, user retention and revenue growth.

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