How to choose the right objective for your Facebook advertising campaign

by | Jul 23, 2019 | Facebook Ads: Audiences and Funnels | 0 comments

Remember reading those ‘choose your own adventure’ books as a kid? You know, the ones where you decide at each turn what action the character takes – which either ends very well or very badly? Creating a Facebook/Instagram ad is not dissimilar! There are lots of decisions to be made and many moving parts to get into alignment if you want to create an ad that results in a happy ending.

The first decision you’ll be tasked with making on your quest to creating a high performing ad, is which objective to use.

There are currently 11 Facebook advertising objectives to choose from when creating your campaign. These are grouped into three different objective types…


  • Awareness,
  • Consideration, and
  • Conversion.
It is important that you choose the objective that makes the most sense for your end goal because this will determine which subset of people within your chosen audience Facebook prioritises showing your ad to. Choosing the wrong objective means that your ad will be shown to the wrong subset of people that will be less likely to interact with your ad in the way you want them to, meaning that your ad – and your return on investment – will suffer.

So, what different Facebook advertising objectives are available, and which should you choose for your campaign? Let’s take a look…

Awareness objectives

The two awareness objectives you can choose from are Brand Awareness and Reach. These ads are optimised for impressions. This means that if you choose these objectives, Facebook will show your ad to as many people in your audience as possible. It won’t take into consideration what action (e.g. button click, page like, engagement, video view, sale) they are most likely to take.

Because Facebook is not optimising for a specific action, these ads tend to be the cheapest of all the objectives. However, they are also generally the least desirable objectives for independent retailers because more often than not we DO care what action people take when they see our ads more than how many people see the ad – quality over quantity.

These objectives tend to be used more frequently by bigger brands, for example, those that might sell their products in supermarkets and therefore just want to tell more people about their product, or those who can measure brand awareness via third-party tools.

When working with independent e-commerce businesses, I might choose the reach objective if I wanted to target a very small warm audience or a very small local audience.

Consideration objectives

Consideration objectives are focused on getting some sort of engagement with your ad and can be very useful to independent e-commerce businesses. Let’s take a look at the ones most relevant to you:


When choosing the traffic objective, you are telling Facebook to show your ad to the subset of people in your audience that are most likely to click on the link/call to action button on your ad.

More often than not I would choose the conversion objective for e-commerce businesses over traffic (because I don’t just want people to click – I want them to buy!).

Traffic can be useful however when you want to send people to your website to read specific information – for example, a blog post or customer case study. This can be a great way to warm up your audience, especially if you have a complex or high price product which requires consideration from the customer before they buy.


Engagement is a useful objective for all sorts of businesses. It works well with the Facebook algorithm which loves posts/ads that have lots of engagement. When you select engagement as your objective you then have three further options – post engagementpage likes and event responses.

The one that is most relevant to e-commerce businesses is post engagement. When you select this objective, you are telling Facebook to show your ad to the subset of your audience that is most likely to engage with your ad in some way – for example a like, comment or share. This is a fantastic way to build up social proof on your ad.

Of course, page likes and event responses can be equally useful if you are looking to grow your Facebook following* or want to build anticipation around an event – for example, a pop-up shop, launch or sale.

*top tip – post engagement can also be used for this as you are able to invite those who have liked the ad to like your page.

Video Views

When you select this objective, you are telling Facebook to show your ad to the subset of people in your audience that are most likely to…you guessed it…watch your video! You can optimise your ad for either Thruplay (Faceboook will deliver your ad to get the most completed video plays if the video is 15 seconds or shorter), 10-second video views or 2 second video views.

This is a great objective to use with a cold audience, especially if you have a higher priced product or some more complex information to explain meaning that people are less likely to buy ‘cold’. You can retarget the people who have watched a specific portion of your video (i.e. the warmer audience) by using another ad encouraging them to buy the product.

Conversion objectives

Conversion objectives are unsurprisingly focused on conversions (which for e-commerce businesses means getting sales). There are three objectives which fall in the conversion category:


When you select this objective, you are telling Facebook to show your ad to the subset of people in your audience that are most likely to visit your website and ‘convert’, which for most of you reading this will be to purchase!

Big audiences work best for the conversion objective to give the algorithm enough data to find those within your selected audience that are most likely to take the action you want them to based on their past behaviour.

Catalogue Sales 

Catalogue Sales are also known as ‘dynamic product ads’ (DPAs).

When this objective is selected, Facebook shows relevant products from your catalogue to each individual it serves the ad to, based on what products they may have viewed on your website or elsewhere.

Have you ever looked at a product, maybe even added it to your basket but for some reason not gone through with the purchase then find each time you log into Facebook/Instagram the product is following you around and calling you back to buy? This is a Catalogue Sales ad used for retargeting purposes.

Without any retargeting, only 8% of customers return to complete their transactions. However, with retargeting campaigns, the percentage of users who return and buy increases to 26%! Therefore, when used in the right way, these ads can be extremely effective in enticing people back to buy.

Store traffic

If you have bricks and mortar stores instead of, or as well as, an online store, this objective could work well for you. These ads focus on targeting people within your store localities and increasing store visits.

This objective works best if you have multiple store locations. Consider using the reach objective if you want to drive local footfall to a single store.

I hope this has given you some insight as to which objective(s) will be the best choice for your next advertising campaign. If you have any questions about Facebook/Instagram advertising or would like to discover ways in which you can work with me, please get in touch via email or send me a DM on Instagram.

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