The first step in creating your ad campaign is setting your objective. On Facebook, ad objectives are grouped into three categories based on what stage in the buyer's journey the people you want to target are in: awareness, consideration, and conversion.

When choosing an objective, make sure it’s in line with your goal. Facebook relies on algorithmic learning, meaning it looks for patterns in peoples’ past behaviors to predict future actions. If you choose an objective such as traffic when what you’re actually looking for is store purchases, the algorithm will look for users most likely to click, not users most likely to buy.

Key takeaways
  • Each Facebook campaign objective fills a distinct role in a comprehensive Facebook ad strategy
  • Depending on the objective, Facebook's algorithm will optimize differently to help you reach your goals
  • To best ensure success, always make sure you're measuring the right metrics for your corresponding Facebook campaign objective

I'll show you what each of the below Facebook campaign objectives are and how best to use them.

Awareness Objectives

In the awareness stage, you’ll want to target people at the top of your funnel. These people either don’t know they have a problem to solve or know they have a problem but haven’t found a solution.

Campaigns with Facebook ad objectives in the awareness stage likely won’t lead to sales directly. The purpose for awareness campaigns is to attract people who are likely to go deeper into your sales funnel and gather enough data to create custom audiences.

Depending on the price tag and complexity of your products or services, you can choose to tell your whole brand story in one ad or use the ad to pique interest and re-direct viewers to blog posts, guides, or videos.

Less expensive products that are often bought on impulse require less persuading, while more expensive and complex products and solutions may benefit from showing people more content.

Brand Awareness Campaign Objective

When picking the brand awareness campaign objective, don’t attempt to get your audience to take an action like signing up for your newsletter or clicking on your website link.

This doesn’t mean you won’t get any conversions using the brand awareness objective, however, conversions won’t be the metric by which you should measure brand awareness results.

Instead, you’ll measure your ad performance against ad recall, which refers to how many people end up remembering your ads after seeing them. Ad recall lift is an estimated metric inside Facebook Ads Manager based on polls which Facebook users are asked whether they recall seeing your ad or not.

Brand awareness ads are used to let more people know about your brand and build lasting impressions.

If you choose to place your ads on mobile, consider experimenting with vertical videos. Most people hold their phones vertically, and the ads in a vertical format may be less disruptive.

Reach Campaign Objective

If you own a smaller company that isn’t established yet, running ads in the reach campaign objective could be beneficial, as doing so has the potential to expand a small audience.

The main goal of reach ads is to reach as many people as possible. If you run these ads often enough, you can increase ad recall and make your brand more recognizable to your target audience.

However, these types of ads aren’t used only on cold audiences. You can also use reach ads to bring awareness about new products and services to warmer audiences or shift brand perception by advertising changes in your company’s culture.

You can optimize ads for either reach or impressions. The term impressions refers to the number of times your ad is displayed, whereas the term reach refers to the number of people who’ve seen your ad.

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Consideration Objectives

Facebook ad objectives in the consideration stage are for targeting people in the middle of your funnel who are already aware of your products and services. To nurture this interest, create ads that educate and encourage engagement. These people might not be ready to buy yet, but they are the most likely candidates and could use a nudge in the right direction.

Traffic Campaign Objective

When combined with content marketing, the traffic campaign objective can be a great way to get more people to visit your website and even your product pages.

Keep in mind, the traffic objective won’t replace the conversion objective. Although this objective may lead to more sales on your online store, it doesn’t optimize for people who are more likely to purchase. It optimizes for people who are more likely to click on the link to your store.

The traffic objective can also lay the groundwork for conversion campaigns. When your pixel is brand new, setting up a conversion campaign isn’t likely to work well because you don’t have enough data to work with. The traffic objective can help you attract people interested in your products and assist you in compiling a custom audience that you can later re-target with conversion ads.

Engagement Campaign Objective

Looking to build social proof on Facebook? The engagement campaign objective can help you get more shares, likes, and comments on your ads and posts. It can also help you reach people who are more likely to participate in your events and claim your offers.

Engagement objectives decrease the costs of online advertising by encouraging shares and word-of-mouth marketing. Choose this objective if your brand is relatively unknown and you’re looking to build social proof.

Other ways you can improve engagement include using the Facebook post insights to determine when your ideal buyer is online and posting during those hours. Also, make it a goal to always respond to comments.

App Installs Campaign Objective

With the app installs campaign objective, Facebook targets people within your target audience who are more likely to install your app. If your goal is to get more people to use your app, you can use the traffic ad objective to remind them to re-open the app and use it again.

If you want to optimize for purchases inside the app, choose the conversion objectives instead.

Video Views Campaign Objective

With the video views campaign objective, you can optimize your ads for views that last longer than two consecutive seconds or 15 seconds and longer.

The two consecutive seconds video view option works best if you’re trying to build lookalike audiences for a future campaign, whereas the 15 seconds and longer option works best for product videos and user-generated-content testimonials.

Because Facebook mutes videos by default, always add subtitles to your video ads. Plus, your viewers may scroll through the feed while being in a crowded place, or they may not have their headsets on. You don’t want to miss out getting your video in front of the right person by failing to accommodate viewers who don’t have their volume on when browsing Facebook and Instagram.

Lead Generation Campaign Objective

Ads in the lead generation campaign objective work best for people who already know your brand, have shown interest in your products or services, and are in the mindset to make a purchase.

One of the advantages of lead generation ads on Facebook is that people don’t have to leave the platform. This translates into higher conversion rates. People also save time, as the instant form created by Facebook automatically pulls their contact information.

When creating the ad, you have the option to choose between more volume and higher intent leads. If your objective is to gather a bunch of lower quality leads to nurture with content and later re-target with ads, opt for more volume. However, if you’re looking for high quality leads with strong buying intent, choose higher intent.

If your products and services are inexpensive, and you know that a lot of people both need and can afford what you are offering, you may benefit from choosing the more volume option. Stores and service providers with offers that are more expensive and require more consideration from the user side might benefit more from the higher intent option.

When putting together the ad, you have many options to choose from. Your lead ads can help promote a discount or a contest, raise awareness about an event, or offer a free giveaway in exchange for an email address.

Messages Campaign Objective

When you’re using an ad with the messages campaign objective, people can click on the ad and automatically start a conversation with your business on Facebook Messenger.

The messages objective works well with people who are likely already familiar with Facebook Messenger and enjoy texting. Message ads are great conversation starters. You can ask for peoples' opinions on certain products or services, take quizzes, and you can even automate responses to save time.

If your responses aren’t automated, it's crucial to respond quickly to messages. Otherwise, people will lose interest.

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Conversion Objectives

Facebook ad objectives in the conversion stage are best used on hot leads who know your business and have strong buying intent. This objective works best with people at the bottom of your funnel who just need that last push or reminder to buy.

Conversions Campaign Objective

Facebook conversions are meant to prompt an action on your website, app, Messenger, or WhatsApp. These actions could be an opt-in, an add-to-cart, or a purchase.

Ads in the conversion campaign objective work best with people who’ve already been through the awareness and consideration stage of your brand and have shown signs that they’re ready to make a purchase.

Catalog Sales Campaign Objective

The catalog sales campaign objective is the bread and butter of advertising for ecommerce businesses. Ads in catalog sales campaigns are generated from your ecommerce store's product feed, bringing a personalized shopping experience to your audience directly in their social feeds.

To create catalog sales ads, you’ll need to integrate your product catalog with Facebook (all of the big ecommerce platforms have integrations with Facebook) so the platform can pull data to create ads.

With catalog sales, you can show people ads products they’ve previously viewed on your website. For example, if you sell winter boots and someone clicked on a pair of your boots but failed to follow through with the purchase, you can use Facebook to remind them about the boots they previously looked at.

If you choose the catalog sales objective, you’ll also be able to create dynamic ads, which are ads automatically generated by Facebook and sent to people who've shown interest in your products.

Store Traffic Campaign Objective

Brick-and-mortar businesses that have multiple locations and want to dynamically advertise the closest location to people may benefit from the store traffic campaign objective. For example, a local market may advertise their organic products to someone living 5 minutes away from their location.

For this type of ad to work, you’ll need to introduce your physical store locations in the business manager and the user will need to have their location services activated.