How to Know Which Facebook Campaign Objective to Use
When you’re trying to promote your brand, products, and services via social media, it’s important to structure your campaigns correctly (just as you would when using a PPC platform like Google Ads or Microsoft Ads). If you have a solid structure, you’ll get a higher ROI and have more efficient, more effective campaigns that perform the way you want them to.
The very first thing that Facebook will ask you to do when you promote an ad is to choose a campaign objective, a goal that the entire campaign will focus on. This can be a lot of pressure if you are unfamiliar with social prospecting/remarketing, and you may be tempted to just boost posts instead (which will negatively impact your budget). How are you supposed to know which objective is best?
The somewhat obvious answer is that it depends on your business and marketing goals. Facebook divides 11 distinct objectives into 3 categories: Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion. Awareness promotions aim to inspire interest; Consideration promotions take it one step further and aim to prompt people to find out more information; Conversion promotions are the most aggressive and direct and push people to take an action on your site (purchase a product, register for an event, download a free coupon, etc.) Taking the time to understand what each of Facebook’s 11 objectives within these 3 categories does will help you confidently decide which one will give you the best results.
1. Brand Awareness
Facebook describes the brand awareness objective as the most helpful for advertisers who want to target people who are more likely to be interested in and remember their ads.
When measuring goals, it’s often helpful to ask yourself what you would consider a win. If your biggest win with this promotion is someone seeing your ad, stopping their scroll to pay attention to it, and finding it memorable enough to recall later, then brand awareness is a great objective to select. (If your biggest win would be subscribing to your email list, it’s probably not.) Think about how much you rely on online sales, as well. If you are a big company who just wants your customers to have your brand present in their mind when they’re out and about making consumer decisions offline, then brand awareness is probably a smart move; if you’re a small business that operates entirely online, then there are other goals that will be more strategic for your budget.
If you select the brand awareness objective, Facebook will provide you with an estimated ad recall lift metric. This is their approximation of how many people would be able to accurately remember your ad if they asked them questions about it two days after seeing it.
Facebook describes the reach objective as most helpful for advertisers who want to target the highest amount of people in their audience with an ad. Just because you post something doesn’t even mean everyone who follows you will see it (thank you, Facebook algorithms). Reach allows you to maximize how many people (those that follow you and those that don’t) see your So if you’re trying to communicate something and you want all of your followers to see it, or if you want people to be more aware of your products because they see them multiple times per day, then setting the objective to reach will achieve that for you.
Reach can be particularly helpful during/following public relations crises when you need to change brand perception, or when your promotion period will be short (like if an event is happening this Saturday). If saturation or virality is the win for you, then reach is the right objective to set.
If you’re trying to use your ad to drive people anywhere other than Facebook, like to your blog post, website, case study, podcast, or app, but you don’t necessarily need them to take an action once they’re there, then selecting the traffic objective will ensure that Facebook delivers your ad to people who are likely to click on your link. Messenger is also included in this objective; if you want to drive someone to a conversation, traffic will work for you.
A key aspect of the traffic objective is to note that it’s passive; if your biggest win would be for users to actually convert, then don’t choose this goal. But if you want to increase the amount of traffic to your site or app to build a better relationship with your customers, get a higher sample with which to AB test, or have more opportunities to convert, then choose this objective.
Engagement is the best objective to use if you want to increase interaction on a post, page, or event. Facebook will deliver your ads to people most likely to comment, like, share, or respond for the lowest possible cost.
The more interactions promotions have, the more people they will reach; this means more organic reach for your promoted post/page/event. If a high number of likes, virality, or more people saying they are interested in your event is a win for you, then engagement is the way to go!
5. App Installs
This objective is helpful if your main win is getting people to download your app because it is a major part of your branding strategy somehow (it brings in the most revenue, fosters the strongest relationship between you and your customer, or provides value to the customer). When you choose this goal, Facebook sends people to the App Store, where they can then download your app directly to their device.
6. Video views
Even if you’re promoting a video, just because this is the only objective with “video” in the title doesn’t mean that it is the best goal for your campaign, depending on what it is you want to accomplish. If you just want more people to view your video (not convert, not visit your site, not share it), then select this option. Video is a wise choice for engaging cold audiences, or people who are unfamiliar with your brand, because a well-produced video is interesting to people scrolling through their feeds. They’re more likely to stop and watch it than to stop and view an ad.
However, if your biggest win is to drive people somewhere and you’re using a video to do it, then your best bet would be to use traffic, and not video views. Only use this objective if you are focused on showing the video to users.
7. Lead generation
Lead generation is an objective that collects leads directly within Facebook – you don’t send anyone to a website with your promotion. Interested users input their data (name, email address, phone number, etc.) into a lead form. The fact that it all happens inside of Facebook means that you won’t be getting website visits for future search remarketing/retargeting purposes, but it makes it more convenient, and therefore, more desirable, for people to give you their information, and it does help you create a remarketing/retargeting audience for social purposes.
If your biggest win is contact information for a person, this is the optimal objective. You will need to have a CRM in order for this to be efficient; if you don’t, you will have to regularly and manually download a CSV file.
Messages is Facebook’s newest campaign objective. In an article introducing this latest option, Facebook reports that 54.5% of social media users in the United States said they preferred messaging channels over emails and phone calls.
If you want to drive conversations with your target audience, and tailor controlled communication to the individual, this objective can help you reach people who are more likely to reply to your business. Within Messenger, you can answer questions and offer support, which may be enough to get the user to convert, or at least to form a favorable impression of your brand that they would not have had without a “personal” touch.
This is the most popular objective out of the 11 because it optimizes for revenue (the most important business goal). If you are laser focused on driving specific actions like purchases and registrations, and a win for you is a sale, plain and simple, then the conversions campaign objective is the one for you – but only if you have enough weekly conversions for Facebook to pull data from.
If you don’t have at least 25 conversions, Facebook may limit your reach because they can’t optimize the delivery of your ads based on the behaviors, attitudes, interests, and demographics of people who have already converted.
10. Catalog sales
The catalog sales objective is for Ecommerce store owners who want to showcase specific products. Facebook automatically shows certain items from your catalog based on your target audience. If you sell multiple products, you can integrate your product catalog with Facebook and it will pull data to show to your users.
If you own an Ecommerce brand, and a win for you is showcasing your products to interested users (particularly if you have great product photography) then catalog sales is an appropriate choice.
11. Store traffic
If you’re trying to drive people offline to a physical location, or multiple physical locations, then this objective can help you reach more people around your business in real time. (Before you can set up a store visit campaign, you need to have a location in Business Manager.)
You can tailor your ads to include localized content, and even increase foot traffic to multiple locations with buttons like “Get Directions”. This is the right objective to choose if a win for you is someone entering your business.
Have any questions? Want to learn more about how social media marketing can complement and enhance your PPC efforts? Empirical360 has extensive experience helping our clients go viral. For one client, we used a Facebook campaign to produce over 70K. We know what a good Facebook strategy looks like, and we can help your business grow online through social prospecting and remarketing/retargeting!
Shea Duncan - Author
Director of Content Marketing
Shea is an expert content writer and is a classic literary nerd! She loves writing highly engaging content and has a knack for making it convert!