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Which Facebook Campaign Objectives Should I Use?

Which Facebook Campaign Objectives Should I Use? When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

There are currently 11 different Facebook campaign objectives available. Selecting the appropriate campaign is the first step toward creating Facebook ads that drive results. To help you take advantage of some of Facebook Ads best practices, let’s explore each Facebook campaign objective and how to choose a Facebook ad objective for your business.

The advertising objective that you choose will have a significant influence on the elements that will be available to you during your ad creation. Perhaps most importantly, each objective comes with its own audience targeting algorithms and, in some cases, limitations.

In short, opting for the wrong advertising objective could prevent you from creating the kind of ads that will drive towards your specific goals.

This article will dive into the top 5 most used Facebook ads objectives: brand awareness, reach, traffic, engagement, and conversions. We’ll explore each option and advise you on whether they’re right for your business and goals.

Which Facebook Campaign Objectives Should I Use?
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Here are all 11 Facebook ads objectives organized by the stages of the buyer’s journey:




  • Brand awareness
  • Reach
  • Traffic
  • Engagement
  • App installs
  • Video views
  • Lead generation (forms on Facebook)
  • Messages (chat on Facebook)
  • Conversions
  • Catalog sales
  • Store traffic


1. Brand Awareness

The brand awareness objective is exactly what it sounds like—it helps promote awareness of your brand within your target audience.

Facebook ad example

Should I Use This Objective?

Honestly, no. While it might sound like a pretty nifty way to spread the word about your business, it actually limits your potential engagement with your audience. This objective may help with ad recall and brand lift, but it does not drive actions such as clicks, website traffic, or conversions. The ads within this objective are structured to spread awareness and nothing more, meaning that your ads might show up on-screen for your audience, but they won't necessarily prompt them to take further actions.

Moreover, determining brand lift and awareness can be challenging for the reasons described above, and they are not reported on in your Facebook Ad results, making it difficult to prove ROI and ad efficiency.

The only time we would recommend selecting the brand awareness objective is if you have a very large budget and want to use it to become the dominant presence in an existing audience. If you don't already have an established brand or reputation, this objective probably won’t give you a great return on your digital ad spend.

Even if your goal is brand awareness, there are better-suited objectives to help you achieve that goal without limiting your audience's ability to go beyond initial awareness (more on that coming up!).

2. Reach

At its core, the reach objective aims to get you the most impressions for the lowest cost. This is the only objective that does not take previous engagements or behavior history into account when showing your ads. That means that it targets everyone in your selected audience, even if they have no behavioral indicators showing that they would be likely to engage with your ad. We'll explain why this is significant below!


Should I Use This Objective?

There are really only two situations in which you'd benefit from this objective: 1) if you want to target one specific area, and 2) if you are targeting a niche market. In either case, your audience will remain more or less the same over time, making the lack of behavioral targeting irrelevant. 

Put simply, if you want everyone within a relatively small and highly specific target market to see your ad, this objective is for you.

If you fall into this category, you're almost guaranteed to find that a reach campaign will generate more impressions and greater reach than a local radio, newspaper, or offline ad.

Otherwise, your campaigns will suffer from that pesky lack of behavioral targeting. With other Facebook campaign objectives, Facebook’s algorithm can show your ads to the folks within your audience most likely to engage with it, as well as exclude targeting people who have already converted.  This means that you may be spending your budget showing your ads to people who are historically uninterested in your ads (or ads in general) or to people who have already converted. This budget would be better spent targeting the most promising people within your audience rather than treating them all as equally qualified.

3. Traffic

As its name implies, the traffic objective drives users to your website (or whatever link you use within your ads). This objective instructs Facebook to target people within your audience that are most likely to click on the ad but does not take into account behavior or conversions that may happen after the traffic lands on your site.

Warby Parker Facebook Ads Example

Should I Use This Objective?

This objective is really only suited for one goal: increasing traffic. If you're looking for clicks and website sessions, this could be a good option in terms of padding those numbers. In terms of actual, qualified traffic that will convert once it lands on your website, however, that's another story.

The traffic objective isn't optimized for driving actions or conversions. It's more of a “lead a horse to water, then turn around and walk away before you see whether it drinks" kind of deal.

If your ad's landing page is a conversion machine that turns traffic into gold, a traffic campaign might work for you despite its shortcomings. Even in that case, though, choosing this objective won't give you many insights into what happens after the traffic lands on your site.

It's okay to use this objective for the top to the middle of the funnel campaigns, such as increasing your blog readership, but if real conversion opportunities are worth more to you than general traffic, keep scrolling to see some better objective options for meeting your goals.

"Wait a minute," you may be thinking at this point in the article. "It seems like you're recommending against every objective option. Are any of them worthwhile? Do you have a vendetta against Facebook ads?!"

No, dear reader, we assure you that we love Facebook ads! =)

And yes, some great campaigns come out of the above Facebook campaign objectives. The Facebook ads best practices and objectives listed so far, however, are meant for top-of-the-funnel campaigns and have significant limitations in both audience targeting and reporting insights.

Many Facebook advertisers select brand awareness, reach, or traffic objectives due to the allure of reaching the highest number of people. What we want to emphasize here is that for most campaigns, quality is better than quantity. Sure, you can use these Facebook ads best practices to drive a huge volume of traffic, but traffic for traffic's sake won't help your bottom line.

Stay with us here, and we promise that by the end, you'll find the best objective for your goals!

4. Engagement

The engagement objective is used for driving and tracking actions on Facebook. These ads are not meant to lead to external links, though. Instead, they’ll be placed in front of users who have shown a likelihood to engage with ads via comments, shares, reactions, and more.

A big draw of this objective is that it enhances your ability to retarget users who have previously engaged with your ads in other campaigns using conversion objectives. (Woah, campaigns that enable other campaigns? Now we're getting meta).

Image result for meta gif

There are three types of engagement objectives:

Post Engagement

This objective will drive comments, shares, and reactions by targeting users most likely to engage with ad posts. While often thought of as vanity metrics, generating engagement on your posts helps build your authority by providing a sort of social proof. Think of it this way, if you're scrolling through your feed and you see a post with 0 comments and 1 like, are you going to think the company is legit? Probably not. On the other hand, if a post has hundreds of likes and a few dozen comments, you're going to recognize it as a legitimate company with some level of credibility.

Page Engagement

Facebook Engagement Ad Example

This objective is primarily used to drive page likes. Its first benefit functions similarly to post engagement in terms of building social proof. A page with thousands of likes tends to be perceived as more credible than a page with only a few dozen likes.

The second benefit of building your Facebook audience is that it allows your organic social media strategy to reach more users within your target audience. Anyone who likes your business page may see your posts, images, and other updates as a part of their news feed.

Event Responses

Facebook Ad Example Event Response

This objective drives engagement with an event post on the Facebook platform. It allows users to mark that they are “Interested” in an event without clicking through to the actual event page. 

This low bar to entry means that the number of “Interested” people may be much higher than the number of actual registrants or participants. Users also have the option to click through into the page and RSVP that they are “Going” to the event. But again, since there is no form to fill out, this is a very low commitment form of response.

Should I Use This Objective?

Definitely! No matter what your ultimate goals are, we recommend having at least one engagement campaign running at all times. Even if you dedicate just a small budget to this campaign—say, $5 per day—you’re almost guaranteed to see beneficial results from these efforts.

We’ve already mentioned two of the benefits above—building authority through social proof and expanding the organic reach of your regular social media posts. More importantly, however, is that this objective allows you to create audience lists for retargeting campaigns.

Here are three examples of what this could mean:

  1. You have some great content and want to use it to turn traffic into contacts. You decide to run a post engagement ad using top of funnel blog posts. You enroll all of the people who engage with your post into a custom audience, then target that audience to promote a gated offer like an eBook. Because they’ve engaged with your content on Facebook, they may be more likely to submit a form on your website in exchange for lower-funnel content offers.
  2. Imagine your company offers an introductory discount to new clients only. You run a page engagement ad to get folks to like your page, then enroll all of the people who have liked your page in the last 30 days into a custom audience. You exclude an imported list of current clients, then target that custom audience with your exclusive offer as a thank you for liking your page. It allows you to add this extra layer of personalization with minimal effort on your part.
  3. Let’s say your business serves three verticals. You have an event coming up for one of those verticals, so you run an event response engagement ad to generate interest. Regardless of whether they actually attend your event, you can enroll all of the people who mark themselves as “Interested” or “Going” into a custom audience. Since the event is specific to one of your target verticals, you can target that audience specifically to promote content and offers relevant to that vertical rather than promoting your business more generally.

To get even more out of these custom audiences, we also recommend making lookalike audiences. Lookalike audiences include people who are similar in demographics, interests, and behaviors to the users within your custom audience, expanding your audience significantly without sacrificing the quality of your targeting.

5. Conversions

The conversions objective is all about driving actions. These actions can occur on your website, within your app, or Facebook Messenger. For this article, we’ll be focusing on the website conversions, which are tracked by your Facebook Pixel.

Facebook ads example

Should I Use This Objective?

Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes! This objective should be used at least in some capacity by every business using Facebook ads best practices. Conversions campaigns are all about actions, and actions are what drive visitors to become contacts, contacts to become leads, and leads to become customers. This is where your ad spend budget will begin to turn into revenue.

Browsing through the list of standard events, you’ll notice that there is quite a breadth of options ranging from simply viewing content all the way to making a purchase. As such, these campaigns can become robust rather quickly, so you’ll want to plan out your sales process and conversion timeline ahead of time to make sure your ads are optimized to convert the right people at the right time.

Here’s where those Russian nesting doll campaigns we mentioned previously really come into play. Using engagement or traffic campaigns to generate custom audiences, you can more efficiently use conversion campaigns to precisely target people at the optimal time when they are most likely to perform a particular action.

Consider these options:

  1. You launch a conversions campaign using only a saved audience. That means you target your ads to all members of a generalized audience who share a set of demographics and interests. Facebook’s algorithm takes its best shot at identifying the people within that audience who are most likely to engage with your ads. Still, there is no concrete data telling it who specifically to target within the group. If your saved audience is strong, you may see some conversions come out of the campaign. More likely, however, you’ll see a high CPC or CPA and inconsistent conversions with this shotgun approach.
  2. You launch a conversions campaign using a mix of custom audiences and lookalike audiences generated from your engagement and traffic campaigns. The ad sets within your campaign coincide with the different stages of your buyer’s journey, and you’re able to use those tailored audiences to segment your ads appropriately. You’re able to show a sequence of ads to your audience that aligns with their experiences, behaviors, and conversions so far. You’re able to move them from point A to point B to point C by gradually exposing them to lower-funnel content and offers. You monitor different conversions and weigh their values accordingly to determine exactly which ads are driving the conversions that matter most to your company. You’re able to A/B test and optimize until your conversion path is a foolproof success.

The conversions objective is about more than driving purchases alone. It allows you to build bridges between the many different conversions that lead up to that final purchase.

Facebook Campaign Objectives Work Best Together

To reach your full potential on Facebook ads, you have to run a variety of campaigns in conjunction with one another. The more data you can collect on your audience’s behaviors, the better able the Facebook algorithm will be to bubble the most promising leads to the top for you. A fully optimized Facebook ads strategy will run the top of funnel Facebook campaign objectives like reach and traffic to support retargeting and lookalike targeting efforts that push for higher value conversions.

If you’re still not sure where to start, here’s one option to build off of:

  • Campaign 1: Objective - Traffic
      • Audiences:
        • Multiple versions of saved audiences to test performance
      • Ads:
        • Top of funnel content
  • Campaign 2: Objective - Engagement
      • Audiences:
        • Custom audiences from traffic ads
        • Lookalike audiences from traffic ads
      • Ads:
        • Top to middle of funnel content
  • Campaign 3: Objective - Traffic
      • Audiences:
        • Lookalike audiences from engagement ads
        • Lookalike audiences from contact lists
      • Ads: 
        • Top to middle of funnel content
  • Campaign 4: Objective - Conversions (high value)
      • Audiences:
        • Custom audiences from engagement ads
        • Custom audiences from contact lists
      • Ads:
        • Middle to bottom of funnel offer
  • Campaign 5: Objective - Conversions (highest value)
    • Audiences:
      • Custom audiences from engagement ads
      • Custom audiences from contact lists
      • Custom audiences from conversions (high value) ads
    • Ads:
      • Bottom of funnel offers

Notice how the campaigns move from top to bottom of the funnel and from saved generalized audiences to specific retargeting audiences. Each campaign sets up the audience to be converted to the next step in the process with the ultimate goal of closing the deal.

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