If you want your ads to reach the right audience, you must select your Facebook campaign objective carefully. Here is what you need to know.
Some advertisers might overlook it, but your Facebook campaign objective is one of the key factors dictating your campaign’s success, and here’s why.
When you launch a new campaign and set up your ad sets, you always define your target audience, right? But would everyone in your target audience see your ads? Hell no!
So, if you want to reach the right people, help Facebook’s algorithm help you and choose the right campaign objective.
Facebook offers 11 campaign objectives (also called Facebook ad objectives) for different business models, goals, and funnel stages. And this guide will be your map in the Facebook advertising jungle.
Important note: In December 2021, Facebook announced it will gradually introduce a new set of consolidated campaign objectives in Ads Manager throughout 2022. We will discuss the changes later in this article, but first, let’s talk about the current campaign objectives.
What are Facebook campaign objectives?
A campaign objective is the ultimate goal of your ad campaign. Selecting an objective is like telling Facebook’s algorithm, “Show my ads to the people that will most probably take this action.
”You have 11 Facebook campaign objectives to choose from, and they are divided into 3 categories based on funnel stages:
Awareness campaigns are usually your first touch with the potential customer. Their goal is to make people aware of your existence and consider your business as an option. These are usually your top-of-the-funnel campaigns.
Then, you have Consideration campaign objectives, which mostly target warmer audiences. These people already know your brand. So, you want to engage with them to drive them further down the funnel.
Lastly, Conversion campaigns are your business’ bottom line. This is the end goal at the bottom of your marketing funnel.
Every campaign objective you choose has its own specifications regarding ad placements and formats. Once you select a campaign objective, Facebook’s algorithm looks for the people in your target audience that are most likely to complete this objective. How does it do it?
Well, that’s a professional secret Facebook doesn’t reveal. However, Facebook mainly considers these two parameters:
- Have these people completed the desired campaign objective (not necessarily with your business) in the past?
- Do these people share similar characteristics with those that have completed the same campaign objective with your business?
The second parameter is based on the data collected by your Facebook pixel. This is why you need to have some pixel data to use certain Facebook campaign objectives.
Now, before you choose your Facebook campaign objectives, let’s take a step back and talk about your marketing strategy and account structure.
The marketing funnel - the key to success
Most businesses - especially if they sell expensive products, services, or subscriptions - can only dream of first-touch conversions. Usually, that’s just a fantasy. Especially if you’re marketing online.
That’s why you need to thoughtfully pave your potential customer’s path from the first touch to the final conversion and beyond (upselling and cross-selling). You can either use the aforementioned funnel structure (Awareness-Consideration-Conversion) or the ARR method: Acquisition, Retargeting, and Retention.
The main advantage of the ARR method is for ad attribution. It allows you to identify efficiently which channels and platforms drive your conversions. The different funnel stages align with your 3 main channels of income: acquiring new customers, converting people who are already in your sphere of influence and increasing your profit from existing customers.
At Madgicx, we also divide the acquisition stage into two separate sub-stages. Let me explain every stage in detail.
- Acquisition Prospecting: These people haven’t heard of you yet, and you want them to remember your name. For example, lookalike audiences, interest-based audiences, location-based audiences, broad audiences, etc.
- Acquisition Re-Engagement: These people have already had their first touch with your brand, but they still haven’t visited your website. Some examples are video watchers and ad engagers.
- Retargeting: Warm audiences that are highly prone to convert. These people have visited your website, so they have already shown high intent. You can create custom audiences by segmenting them based on their activity on your site.
- Retention: Existing customers. Those people have already bought something from you, so it may be easier to upsell or cross-sell them. You can target them using your customer data.
Planning your marketing strategy based on the ARR funnel model is the best way to make sure you’re targeting all the audiences you should be. And if you segment your ad campaigns according to these funnel stages, you’re already one step ahead of your competitors.
Okay, enough with the theory. Let’s get down to business and talk about the use cases for each Facebook campaign objective.
Awareness campaign objectives
These campaign objectives mainly target your top-of-the-funnel audiences. They are usually aimed at broad audiences and their main goal is to introduce your business to prospective customers.
Facebook offers you the Brand Awareness campaign objective to reach potential customers that are likely to engage with your business. This objective is more targeted than the Reach objective, which we will discuss next.
The Brand Awareness objective is great for campaigns that target your top of the funnel - acquisition audiences, and mainly prospective customers. These are the coldest audiences, who have no idea who you are.
Hence, you want these people to know about your brand and recognize who you are and what you provide. Better yet, you want people to see your business name and be able to recall why it stands out from the competition.
This campaign objective is classic to spread the word about your business or a special offer you’re promoting. It allows you to select between showing your ad to as many people as possible (Reach) or as many times as possible (Impressions) within your target audience.
If you aim for a higher Reach, you can make more people aware of your business or offer. However, a larger number of Impressions means a better chance they’ll remember you and a lower risk they’ll miss your ad.
The main use case of the Reach campaign objective is in acquisition campaigns. Reach acquisition campaigns allow you to show your ad and introduce your business to many potential customers. That’s the main advantage.
However, you might also reach some irrelevant people since Facebook would not optimize for quality, but rather for quantity in this case. If you use the Conversions objective, for example, you’ll get a more targeted campaign, but it’ll also cost more than Reach.
You might not have expected it, but the Reach campaign objective can be used efficiently in retargeting campaigns as well. This is quite a revolutionary method, but it’s working very well for our customers.
When you use Reach campaigns for retargeting audiences, you minimize the risk of reaching irrelevant people. So, your chance to drive conversions is much higher. Also, it allows you to control your frequency and avoid audience fatigue, which is a big risk in retargeting campaigns.
Why is audience fatigue such an issue?
Put yourself in your audience’s shoes for a moment. Imagine you would see the same ad 10 times. Isn’t it annoying? Also, if you’ve seen the ad 10 times and haven’t clicked it yet, you’re probably not the right audience anyway.
That’s why when you bombard the same audience with the same ad, you get a drop in performance, AKA “audience fatigue”. And if you want to avoid it, you should set frequency capping to limit the number of times a person in your audience sees your ad within a given period.
Consideration campaign objectives
Not all of your customers will convert on the first touch. I hope you have already figured this out by now. Many of them will go through a long consideration process.
Hence, you need to be there and engage with them along the way. There are many ways you can do that, and you need to test each of them because different audience segments will react better to different types of ad campaigns.
Consideration campaign objectives are there for you to cover all the different approach angles and bring your customers home. Then, they’ll be ready to convert.
The goal of this campaign objective is to send people to your website or app - AKA traffic. If you select this objective, Facebook will show your ads to the people its algorithm believes are most prone to visit your destination URL.
The main use case for the Traffic objective is for content arbitrage businesses. Since their main selling point is the amount of traffic they get, that’s their conversion event at the bottom of the funnel.
Nonetheless, these businesses can still leverage the Conversions objective to get more specific and target people that view more pages and ads on their websites. The solution would be setting up the right pixel events to track landing page views and link clicks.
Another use case would be for new businesses that still don’t have a lot of pixel data. If that’s you, it may be beneficial to launch acquisition Traffic campaigns to feed your pixel. Then, you’ll have enough data for more targeted Conversion campaigns.
However, note that Traffic campaigns might also bring you visitors that aren’t potential customers. These campaigns are very broad, and you might also be feeding your pixel with inaccurate information. So, this coin has two sides.
Source: Penn & Teller
The Engagement campaign objective is designed to increase the number of people that interact with your Facebook page and posts. Facebook Engagement refers to likes, reactions, comments, and shares.
The more engagement your posts drive and page fans you have, the stronger your social proof is. This is crucial if you provide services in a competitive market, like personal training, business consulting, or even yoga teaching. This is what makes the Engagement campaign objective very efficient in acquisition campaigns.
You can create 4 kinds of ads with the Engagement objective:
- Post Engagement: Promote an organic post you’ve already created on your page or the ad itself. Alternatively, you can utilize post boosting - an entry-level advertising technique, which allows you to reach a bigger audience than you would have reached organically. However, when you boost your posts, you have less control over your target audience, and Facebook will mostly show it to people who are already your page fans.
- Page Likes: In this case, Facebook will show your ads to people who are prone to follow your page. Page Like ads target people that have shown interest in your niche or share similar characteristics with your page fans.
- Offer Claims: If you have a special offer, you can promote it using Offer ads. Facebook users seeing your ad can save it for later, and then Facebook will remind them about it. They may even be reminded of your offer when they are nearby your store if they have location sharing turned on.
- Event Responses: This sub-objective promotes your Facebook events to increase attendance. If your ad is shown to someone who hasn’t responded to your event, it shows an “Interested” button. If it is shown to someone who has already responded “Interested,” it shows them the “Going” button.
If you’re in the Mobile App Install business, that’s the campaign objective for you. By choosing the App Installs objective, you’re telling Facebook to show your ads to people who tend to download apps and are similar to your existing app users.
If you want your Facebook ad campaign to be successful, make sure your potential users know why downloading your app will benefit them. Make it sound promising if you want them to download your app from the App Store or Google Play Store.
Before you create an App Installs campaign, make sure to:
- Register your app on the Facebook for Developer’s site. If you don't, your ads will optimize for clicks instead of installs.
- Link your Facebook ad account to your registered app. You can do this under “Settings” -> “Advanced” on your App Dashboard.
- Set up the Facebook SDK and your app events. This will also allow you to track and optimize for in-app events and customer LTV.
Facebook has also made some changes to App Installs campaigns due to Apple’s iOS 14 update, so be sure to check the latest updates.
If you are trying to build a fan base using videos on Facebook, Video Views is your go-to campaign objective.
The Video Views campaign objective can be very useful if you’re building up your influencer profile or promoting a service that has a strong visual aspect. For example, if you’re a dance teacher.
If you select this objective, Facebook’s algorithm will aim at people who watch videos regularly on Facebook. It’ll also probably try to find similarities with your video watchers. This will help you increase brand awareness and develop trust with your audience.
Moreover, the Video Views objective has a relatively low CPM, which is always great. As one of my best friends always says, every time you manage to save money, it’s like an additional income.
If you need help with video production, you can try Sparkle - unlimited design services (free trial available).
This objective is most suitable for Lead ads. These types of ads allow you to collect data about people who have previously clicked on your ads. Lead generation is effective because it makes the customer’s journey to your business page shorter.
Instead of them having to switch from your Facebook page to your website, you can automatically drop them on your product page. This allows you to build up a large customer database. Here are two examples of lead generation:
- Generating leads on your landing page: this type of lead generation focuses on persuading the user to stay on your site and perform an action. This allows you to control the content that the users can see and keep track of how many people have visited your site or clicked on your page through your Facebook pixel.
- Facebook Instant Form: Facebook offers a form, in which users can automatically fill in their details without having to leave the Facebook app.
Each of these options has its advantages and disadvantages. Using your own landing page will grant you more control over the content your potential leads will see. Nevertheless, it requires an additional step - switching from the Facebook app to your website.
Furthermore, pixel tracking on your website might become problematic due to the iOS 14 changes. If you use a Facebook Instant Form, however, this won’t be an issue.
This is a relatively new objective that allows you to engage in direct conversation with potential and existing customers. You can do that by creating Ads That Click to Message.
The CTA button in these ads is “Send Message,” and Facebook will show them to people that are likely to start a conversation with your business. You can select which platforms to use for the conversation: Messenger, Instagram, or WhatsApp.
Message campaigns are most commonly used in Southeast Asian countries, for example. That is because, in these countries, people tend to complete purchases using messaging apps more often.
Note that if someone doesn’t have WhatsApp installed, for example, they may be sent to Messenger instead.
Furthermore, the Messages campaign objective allows you to use Sponsored Messages. This ad format is used to re-engage in conversation with people that have already communicated with you via Messenger.
For example, let’s say you’re launching a new product. Sending a message to your customers about this new launch will give them a reason to visit your site and make a purchase. That is a great example of an upsell/cross-sell retention campaign.
Pro Tip: Remember that people that choose to engage with you via message are expecting you to reply, so stay on top of all your messages to keep your customers satisfied and engaged. You can view all your Messenger and Instagram messages in your page inbox, but your WhatsApp messages will only appear in your WhatsApp Business inbox.
Conversion campaign objectives
Lights, camera, action! We’ve reached the bottom of the funnel and the bottom line of your business.
The following Facebook campaign objectives are made to convince people to pay you money. The type of conversion you use depends on your business model, but the main goal is this: Turn these people into customers!
The Conversions campaign objective is all about driving action on your different platforms. Once you gather enough pixel data, this is the most recommended objective for most businesses.
This objective is arguably the strongest because it will make Facebook’s algorithm target the people that are most likely to complete your desired conversion event.
For example, if you have an eCommerce business, you’d probably optimize for Purchase. If you’re a SaaS company, you may optimize for Complete Registration or Subscribe.
Then, Facebook uses its database and your pixel to target people who have already completed your desired conversion event and users that share similar characteristics with customers who have completed this event on your website.
You can use this campaign objective effectively in acquisition prospecting campaigns targeting lookalike audiences. This will help you find people similar to your existing customers, which means they’re more prone to convert.
In addition, the Conversions campaign objective is very useful for acquisition re-engagement and retention audiences that you want to push further down the funnel. These are warmer audiences, so they may just need that last small push to convert. Moreover, it can help you upsell or cross-sell existing customers in retention campaigns.
Pro Tip: If you are a new business or have a relatively “young” pixel, Facebook might not have enough data to make this objective efficient for you. You might end up wasting your money on the wrong audience. Therefore, it’s best to start with Traffic campaigns, for example, to feed your pixel before you aim for conversions.
Wise eCommerce store owners have long realized the power of Facebook product catalogs and Dynamic Product Ads (DPAs). And those elements go perfectly together with the Catalog Sales campaign objective.
Once you set up your shop on Facebook with your product catalog, you can create product feeds. They will be the basis for your targeted ad campaigns.
Then, you can launch Catalog Sales campaigns. This tells Facebook to retarget your website visitors that viewed products on your website or added them to their cart but haven’t completed the purchase.
Based on your pixel data, Facebook will show these custom audiences the item they have left in their abandoned cart and encourage them to get back to your store and buy it.
Alternatively, you can use DPAs to upsell or cross-sell customers that have already purchased some items in your store. This is an opportunity you shouldn’t sleep on, and you can simply launch retention campaigns targeting them and showing them complementary products.
Recently Facebook has added the option to use DPAs in Conversion campaigns. The advantage is that you can then combine DPAs with other kinds of ads to create a more comprehensive campaign. Moreover, you can now use Dynamic Product Ads for acquisition prospecting campaigns.
Pro Tip: If you’re using one of the main eCommerce platforms, such as Shopify, WooCommerce, or Magento 2, some great integrations and plugins will help you set up your Facebook pixel and connect your store to Facebook.
This objective is relatively specific because it aims to promote your brick-and-mortar store and focuses on increasing store visits and offline sales. To do so, you need to add your physical store locations to Facebook.
Once your stores are set up on Facebook, you can drive traffic to them by targeting nearby customers using Facebook geo-targeting. You can direct people to your store using a map card and the CTA button “Get Directions.”
Moreover, you can customize your ads according to the specific offers and your current stock at any of your stores.
Other types of physical businesses can benefit from the Store Traffic campaign objective as well: gyms, salons, restaurants, dealerships, and more.
Pro Tip: If you use this objective, make sure that you track your offline sales and use Facebook offline events to do so. This way, you’ll be able to know whether your ads work and improve your audience targeting.
Facebook is introducing a new set of consolidated campaign objectives
Facebook recently announced that it was gradually introducing a new set of consolidated campaign objectives in Ads Manager. However, if you see more than six campaign objectives when you create a new ad, these updates don’t apply to you yet. Facebook will gradually be introducing these changes to Ads Manager throughout 2022.
Campaigns created before the release of the new objectives will remain active, and there won’t be any need to make changes to existing campaigns.
Objectives are now grouped together based on their expected business outcome. And while objective names will change, they’ll still perform the same functions and give users access to the same features.
This table shows how the previous objectives will align with the new ones:
Most objectives now require you to choose a conversion location. According to Facebook, a conversion location is “the place where your desired business outcome will occur.”
For example, if you create a campaign with the Leads objective, you can choose Instant Forms, Messenger, Phone, App, or Website as your conversion location. Depending on the conversion location you select, you can then select a conversion event.
“The conversion event you choose will tell us the action you want your audience to take once they’ve landed on your conversion location,” Facebook clarified.
Just like everything else in the world of Facebook ads, you’re going to need to test different Facebook campaign objectives on different audiences to see what works for you.
The most important thing is that you figure out what your marketing funnel looks like and divide your campaigns accordingly: acquisition prospecting, acquisition re-engagement, retargeting, and retention.
Alternatively, if this works better for you, you can divide your funnel into Awareness, Consideration, and Conversion. The most important thing is that you make sure to have a full-funnel targeting strategy.
By choosing a campaign objective, you’re telling Facebook to use its database and your pixel to find the people that are most prone to complete this objective. These could be people that have already completed the same objective before or share similar characteristics with your customers.
Many objectives can be beneficial in different funnel stages, such as Reach, Messages, and Conversions. Try them out and see where they help you the most.
You should accumulate enough pixel data before going for bottom-of-the-funnel objectives such as Conversions and Catalog Sales. You could use Traffic campaigns to feed your pixel and gather the required data.
When you test multiple Facebook campaign objectives, it’s a good idea to use automation to make sure you’re not overspending on underperforming ads and scale successful campaigns. And if you want to take automation to the next level and stop worrying about your budgets, check out the Autonomous Budget Optimizer.
Good luck, and stay objective!
*Contributed to this article: Jordi Rubenstein.
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Yuval is the head of Content Marketing at Madgicx. He is in charge of the Madgicx blog, the company's SEO strategy, and all its written marketing materials.