Choosing the Right Facebook Ads Objective: Part 1

By Megalytic Staff - October 02, 2016

How do you accomplish a goal? First, you’ll need to set your overarching goal. From there, you’ll define every micro goal and each of the individual actions that will get you there.
For marketers, step one is having a product to market. The second is to acquire customers. The third? Profit.
That sounds great, except that customer acquisition part can be tricky. That’s where Facebook can help.
With more than a billion active users, Facebook provides fertile ground for customer acquisition.
  • The downside: The increasingly pay-to-play nature of Facebook mandates an investment to maximize this audience.
  • The upside: Facebook ad targeting is both robust and granular, offering numerous options that allow you to drill into minute targeting and action-based details.
It’s complex, but the opportunities it provides are awesome. We’re here to help demystify it, at least a little bit.
When creating an ad in Facebook, the interface presents you with a host of overwhelming options. Before even writing your ad, you’re forced to select a “marketing objective.” At the time of writing, the Ads Manager gives you a whopping 13 options.


Facebook Marketing Objectives


How is the average marketer supposed to know which option to choose here? To Facebook’s credit, the multitude of choices is intended to relate a variety of objectives to practical marketing goals. Unfortunately, so many choices often just confuse people using the interface for the first (or second, or twentieth) time. Your choice will affect what your ads look like, how you can target your audience, what bidding criteria you can use and what actions you are charged for. All of these variables have the potential to muddy the water when it comes to getting the most cost-effective results.
In this article, we’ll cover the marketing objectives offered in Facebook Ad Manager. We’ll also cover which ones are best aligned with which marketing goals and the potential concerns and caveats that come with some objectives.

Basics on Metrics

Before we dive into choosing your objectives, there are a couple of important basics to know.

  • Reach is about maximizing individuals.
  • Impressions are about maximizing frequency.
  • Engagement is whenever someone likes, clicks, comments on or shares your post.
  • Website clicks are exactly as they sound. This option disregards ad clicks that remain within the Facebook platform and counts only the clicks that lead users to your site.

One of the distinct advantages Facebook offers is a level of recognition other platforms haven’t yet achieved. When you’re advertising on Facebook you know it is actually reach tied to an actual "individual" vs. a cookie because it's tied to a user's account. So where Google Analytics might not necessarily know the difference between the same people logging in from different devices, Facebook can recognize an individual logging into the same account form their computer, phone or tablet. This means the "reach" number is tied to actual, real individuals where a count of Google Analytics users might be skewed. The exceptions to this would be the same person having multiple FB accounts, or any bot FB accounts, of course.

Now, let’s start looking at the objectives themselves.

Boost Your Posts

This objective focuses on maximizing reach for page posts. If you want as many eyes on your content as possible, this may be the way to go. You might find this objective useful when you’re posting an update about an upcoming company event or asking a question for which you want to generate comments.

You should not choose this objective if you’re promoting a post with a link in the hopes of generating traffic to your site. With boosting posts, Facebook only lets you bid by impressions, reach, or engagement, and the bidding system will focus on maximizing whichever one of those factors you choose.

If you bid by impressions or reach, you end up paying purely based on ad views, whether or not you achieve an effective clickthrough rate or efficient cost-per-click. If you bid based on engagement, you pay anytime someone clicks, likes, comments on, or otherwise directly engages with a promoted posts. In that case, you’ll pay for a lot more factors besides simply clicking a link to your site.

Promote Your Page

If you’re looking to build likes for your page, this is the objective to choose. You’ll bid based on a target cost you’d like to pay per like, but Facebook will ultimately bill you based on impressions. You can create an ad that appears similarly to a promoted post. This kind of ad can include an image, ad copy, and a like button. It will then appear as a sponsored post in people’s News Feeds with the sole call to action being to like the page. The advantage of this objective is the ability to grow your invested fan base to bring higher exposure to your organic content.

Reach People Near Your Business

When your intent is to promote a local business that targets a generalized demographic within the immediate local area, this is solid objective selection. You can choose a radius of 1-50 miles around an address, which can be your business’s address, but doesn’t have to be. As with other ads, you can select from a variety of ad formats, using an image, multiple images, or video along with text promoting your business. The call to action button can link to directions to your business, a phone number to call, or a website.

This objective limits targeting options from the full range available elsewhere, so don’t pick this one if you also want to focus on a factor like job title. Besides the geographic radius, you can only choose the age and gender of your desired target audience.

This type of ad can be especially effective for businesses like restaurants, local grocery stores, child care providers or car repair shops that service a wide range of people in a limited geographic area. A good strategy is to promote your business’s location in conjunction with a discount to people who see the ad.

Increase Brand Awareness

Unlike boosting a post or promoting a page, this format focuses on exposing your brand to people who are already the most likely to engage with your ads. You can bid based on “brand awareness” (reaching these potentially engaged people) or on reach (reaching individual people no more than once per day).

The appearance of the ad will be similar to a sponsored post with the option to include a link. This format is best for getting people familiar with a brand they may not know. However, you should not choose it when your goal is driving traffic, since you can’t bid by click.

Send People to Your Website

At last, we reach the objective to pick if your goal is website traffic. In line with its description, this is the prime goal you should choose when you aim to drive the maximum number of visitors to your site. Whether promoting a blog post or a landing page, you can focus your bidding on getting relevant people to click links and ultimately (hopefully) convert.

You can bid based on link clicks, impressions, or daily unique reach. If what you really want is people on your site to shop, sign up, or even call, we recommend bidding on link clicks. This option allows you to finely control how much you pay for actually getting people to your site to accomplish your main goal.

Below are a couple of examples of these ads, including carousel and single image formats. You can also use a video or Facebook-generated slideshow along with your link and ad copy.


Facebook Ad Clicks to Website Single Image



Facebook Ad Clicks to Website Carousel


Get Installs of Your App

Facebook’s immense array of targeting options offers a perfect setting for targeting users that are likely to download your app. For example, you can target runners with an ad to download a GPS tracking app or target gamers with an ad for an action game app.

This ad format allows you to reach users on their mobile devices with an ad directly linking to the Apple App Store or Google Play to download the app. You can bid based on link clicks, app installs, or app events. Bidding by app events allows you to potentially reach people who have downloaded your app but aren’t yet making use of it, targeting specific actions within an app, such as logging a run in a GPS app.


When creating a Facebook ad, think carefully about the objective you choose, as it will affect the ad format, targeting options, and bidding criteria you’ll be able to work with. This was just brief overview of some top objectives, along with some tips on when each one works best. Just like life, Facebook gives us too many options to tackle in one day. In this post, we’ve covered approximately half of the objectives available and we’ll work through the rest next time.

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