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How to Pick the Right Facebook Ads Objective

Choosing an objective is the first step in the Facebook ads creation process. And arguably one of the most important, too.


Facebook uses objectives to clarify your campaign and individual campaign goals. They influence not just your potential outcome but the type(s) of Facebook ads you can post and where.


Using the wrong objective can quickly transfer in losing out on potential engagements or conversions. While it may not torch your Facebook ad campaign, there’s no reason to give up potential gains if you don’t have to!


That’s why we’re putting together a quick explainer on each Facebook ad objective and its primary purpose. We’ll also break down the new objective structure that Meta (Facebook’s parent company) plans to implement by the end of 2022.


What are Facebook Ad Objectives?

Facebook’s ad objectives literally lay out the objective, or actionable result, of your campaign.


When you select an objective, you’re telling Facebook what you hope to accomplish, such as post engagement, website traffic, or conversion.


In turn, Facebook uses this information to determine what kinds of ads you can run and where to place them. Down the line, Facebook will use your inputs to help optimize your campaigns and generate the best results. This is possible because Facebook constantly analyzes user inputs about behaviors and hobbies to pair the best ads with the most likely buyers.


For example, if you pick the Traffic objective, Facebook will present your ad to users most likely to click through to website links. If you select Leads, Facebook will show your ad to the audience most likely to provide their information. (Perhaps in exchange for a goody bag, like 10% off their first purchase.)


Bear in mind that it’s typically unwise to click one objective and hope for two outcomes. For instance, if you select for Traffic while hoping for Leads, you may get lucky with both. (But more than likely, your Facebook campaign will produce all traffic and no leads.)


Instead, it’s best to create multiple campaigns with targeted objectives to see the results you want.


After all, that’s what Facebook ad objectives are there for!


New Facebook Ad Objectives on the Horizon

In late 2022, Meta announced its plan to gradually introduce 6 “simplified campaign objectives” in Meta’s Ads Manager. (Formerly Facebook Ads Manager.)


This is a massive consolidation on the company’s part, as it previously touted 11 available objectives to choose from.


In the process, Meta noted that all functionality would remain available, though some objective names and campaign creation steps will change over time. Additionally, the company repurposed some of the old objectives as features or optimization settings for broader ad sets.


However, what didn’t change was the purpose of each Facebook ad objective: to help advertisers reach their target audience. That’s why the platform kept six core “goals” as its new objectives: Awareness, Traffic, Engagement, Leads, App Promotions, and Sales.


(As a quick aside, Meta adds that campaigns designed under previous objectives will remain active. They also extended the ability to edit and duplicate existing campaigns through year-end 2022.)


Comparing the Old vs. the New: Facebook’s Changing Ad Objectives

Before we cover each ad objective in debt, let’s look at what Facebook’s new objectives are.


New Objective Name

Previous Objective(s)

Awareness

Brand Awareness

Reach

Store Traffic

Video Views


Traffic

Traffic

Engagement

Engagement

Conversions

Messages

Video Views


Leads

Conversions

Lead Generation

Messages


​App Promotion

App Installs

Sales

Catalog Sales

Conversions


As you can see above, some of the old objectives now fit into two or more of the new boxes. In others, objectives were combined to make one bigger goal.


For example, video views not fit into either Awareness or Engagement. Meanwhile, conversions now work as Engagement, Leads, or Sales goals.


When selecting your ad objective, you’ll want to ask exactly what you hope to accomplish from your campaign in terms of goal and scope.


For instance, the now-extinguished video views fits into both Awareness and Engagement. If you hope to improve awareness using video ads, you can select the Awareness objective. But if you’re looking to increase your views, Engagement would be a more appropriate pick.


Other Changes Coming to Facebook’s Ad Campaigns

Meta notes that the six new objectives don’t just consolidate names – it also impacts ad sets and campaign result displays.


Ad Set Changes

Some of Facebook’s previous ad objectives are now available as features or optimization settings. For instance, “reach” is now available as an optimization setting under the Awareness objective.


Other campaign objectives now operate as conversion locations – in other words, where your ads show up. Meta gives the example of the old “messages” objective, which you can now access by selecting the Engagement objective and choosing “messaging apps” as the conversion location.


Ad Campaign Display Results

Some of Facebook’s new objectives generate different results that don’t combine neatly into a single metric. To compensate, Meta notes that you can review results in the Ads Manager that appear either blank or as a dash in the results column. This should simplify results reporting and prevent confusion when determining your Facebook ad performance.


How to Choose the Right Facebook Ad Objectives

The first step to successful Facebook advertising is determining your business goals and aligning each campaign with a set target.


Remember, the ad objective you select determines how and where Facebook will distribute your ad and track its success. Before you can select the right campaign objective for you, it’s important to pick your preferred end-game and design an ad set to meet that goal.


Bear in mind that you can run multiple ads with different objectives at the same time. In many cases, operating multiple ad sets simultaneously means you can selectively target different customer bases or goals on an affordable advertising budget.


Your goals may also change over time – for example, moving from building awareness to driving traffic to increasing conversions. Don’t be afraid to grow with your business and move into more advanced (or just plain different) ads.


But prior to doing any advertising or growing, you should understand each ad objective.


#1: Awareness

Previous Campaign Objectives:

  • Brand Awareness objective

  • Reach objective

  • Store Traffic objective

  • Video Views objective

What is the Facebook Awareness Objective?

The Facebook Awareness objective is designed to generate awareness for your business. The goal is to reach as many browsers as possible who are likely to remember your ad and, hopefully, return to make a purchase later.


Think of Awareness as an opportunity to make a good first impression and begin building familiarity with your name and products. However, you can also use Awareness objectives to remind existing customers that you’re still here to help them with their problems.


Who is the Awareness Campaign Objective good for?

The Awareness objective is optimal for new businesses looking to spread their name. Businesses that have recently undergone rebranding may also use Awareness to reintroduce themselves to a new or existing customer base.


Who is the Awareness Campaign Objective not good for?

You should avoid the Awareness objective if you hope to encourage actions like post engagement

or conversions.


#2: Traffic

Previous Campaign Objective:

  • Traffic objective

What is the Facebook Traffic Objective?

The Traffic objective remains the only entirely unchanged objective in Facebook’s repertoire. The goal is to increase digital traffic to a destination of your choice, such as your Facebook Page, Instagram shop, or external website. Facebook will show these ads to users most likely to click to off-Facebook links, as well as certain internal links.


Who is the Traffic Campaign Objective good for?

The Traffic Objective is ideal for businesses promoting new products, flash sales, or holiday deals. Businesses can also pair Traffic with specific landing pages to describe services or products browsers may be interested in.


Who is the Traffic Campaign Objective not good for?

Traffic links can help improve viewership on your website or Facebook Page, but it’s not designed to encourage lead generation or conversions. If you’re hoping to bag a bunch of sales, a sales-oriented objective may find more success.


#3: Engagement

Previous Campaign Objectives:

  • Engagement objective

  • Conversion ads

  • Messages objectives

  • Video Views objectives

What is the Facebook Engagement Objective?

Facebook’s Engagement objective is designed to push your ads to the people most likely to engage with your brand. Meta notes that this Facebook objective puts your ad in front of people who are most likely to engage with your post, send messages, or travel to your website.


As it combines the old-form engagement, conversion, messages, and video views objectives, it’s a good selection if you hope to achieve any of those goals.


Who is the Engagement Campaign Objective good for?

The Engagement objective is ideal for businesses that want to push past brand awareness into customer interactions. Businesses that hope to achieve likes, comments, shares, and other actions beyond simple views may find this objective useful.


Who is the Engagement Campaign Objective not good for?

The Engagement objective isn’t ideal if you want users to take immediate action. Sure, it can help improve your Like count – but again, it’s not likely to turn browsers into buyers.


#4: Leads

Previous Campaign Objectives:

  • Conversion objectives

  • Lead Generation objective

  • Messages objectives

What is the Facebook Leads Objective?

Facebook’s Leads objective is built to optimize lead collection to grow your subscriber lists. For example, you can use Leads ads to reach customers willing to share their email addresses or phone numbers to receive email or text ads or updates.


Who is the Leads Campaign Objective good for?

Generally, the Leads Objective is ideal for businesses willing to exchange a sweet deal (hello, 10% off!) for customer contact information. Businesses may find more success with these ads after running an Awareness campaign, as customers will have already demonstrated their interest in the product or business.


Who is the Leads Campaign Objective not good for?

Because Leads ads run through Facebook, they’re suboptimal for advertisers who hope to drive traffic to external landing pages or websites. On the other hand, collecting data onsite can increase lead generation, as customers don’t have to navigate off the page.


#5: App Promotion

Previous Campaign Objective:

  • App Installs objectives

What is the Facebook App Promotion Objective?

The App Promotion objective replaces Facebook’s App Installs, but it seeks similar goals: to increase app installs or in-app activities. Typically, this objective directs users straight to their mobile device’s built-in app marketplace to simplify the installation process.


Who is the App Promotion Campaign Objective good for?

This objective is ideal for businesses that want to increase app installs, in-app purchases, or promote new app updates or features.


Who is the App Promotion Campaign Objective not good for?

For App Promotion to work as intended, users have to have the ability to download apps. That means users must be on a modern mobile device – not a desktop or laptop.


#6: Sales

Previous Campaign Objectives:

  • Catalog Sales ads

  • Conversion objective

What is the Facebook Sales Objective?

Sales is the objective that many Facebook advertisers target, as it’s designed to turn ad dollars into business profits. The goal is simple: to target Facebook users most likely to buy your goods or services.


Sales objectives work for both on- and offsite purchases (i.e., purchasing through Facebook or an external business or ecommerce website). Facebook also allows advertisers to optimize for side goals like adding items to a cart.


Who is the Sales Campaign Objective good for?

Facebook’s Sales Objective is designed for businesses that want to increase their conversions. Meta generally recommends targeting this goal toward users who are already aware of a business’ products or services instead of attempting to cold sell.


Who is the Sales Campaign Objective not good for?

Sales Objectives aren’t ideal if you’re targeting customers who aren’t aware of your product already. Additionally, Meta may require you to install Facebook Pixel on your website before launching a Sales Objective campaign.


Key Takeaways: Facebook Campaign Objectives

Facebook campaign objectives help businesses of all size reach their target audience for an ad’s intended purpose.


Think of these tools as another layer to Facebook’s personalization tools. Not only can you segment consumers by career, hobbies, and preferences, but how likely they are to like your post or buy your product.


Better yet, you can target both at once with separate ad campaigns. That’s a lot of powerful ad marketing packed into just one website!


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