Facebook Campaign Objectives: Here’s How To Choose

Understanding Facebook campaign objectives is a bit like buying a vehicle: you know that they all basically do the same thing, but picking the wrong one can lead to misery and frustration.

Unfortunately, Facebook doesn’t do much to illustrate the differences between each of objective. Here’s an example. The help text for the “Increase engagement in your app” objective reads, “Use the app engagement objective to increase engagement in your app.” Wow.

To make picking the right Facebook campaign objectives easier (and far more entertaining), I’ve matched each Facebook advertising objective with its vehicle counterpart. If only buying a real car were this simple.

Facebook campaign objectives can be hard to choose
What’s my marketing objective? I’ll tell you, Facebook… it’s to make sense of this chart.

By the way, to make things even more confusing, Facebook campaign objectives have slightly different names in Ads Manager and Power Editor. The name you see in the headline is what’s visible in Power Editor; the Ads Manager equivalent is listed below.

Page Post Engagement: Top Fuel Dragster

The boost post Facebook campaign objective is like a top fuel dragster
Like a top fuel dragster, there’s no confusion about what boosting a post does.

Ads Manager name: “Boost post.” Simple. Powerful. Boosting posts does one thing and one thing only – it gets your page posts in front of more people. With only about 10% of your Facebook followers seeing your posts organically (if you’re lucky), boosting your posts is almost a necessity.

While boosting a post is probably the simplest way you can advertise on Facebook, that doesn’t mean it’s a tactic just for beginners. If you already have your audiences defined, boosting your posts right from your page is still a go-to tactic for many marketers.

Page Likes: 1965 VW Bug

Likes Facebook campaign objective
No longer practical, but great at getting Likes.

Ads Manager name: “Promote your Page.” I’m not entirely sure why people still pay for Facebook Likes, but if you think that’s the best investment of your marketing budget, Facebook can make that happen for you.

That’s why getting Page Likes is kind of like driving an old-school VW Bug. There’s no real practical reason to do so, but if you want people to simply like what they see, it’s the way to go.

Clicks To Website: 2002 Honda Accord

Clicks to website Facebook campaign objective
Like the Accord, Click To Website is nothing special, but it will get the job done.

Ads Manager name: “Send people to your website.” Ah the Honda Accord of Facebook campaign objectives. New Facebook marketers, start here. If you really can’t decide what to pick, it’s hard to go wrong with this choice. You can always upgrade to something fancier later.

And there are even some situations when Clicks To Website is the best choice. Here are a few:

  • You don’t have Facebook’s Conversion Pixel installed yet.
  • There truly isn’t an objective beyond getting people to view a web page.
  • Your budget doesn’t allow you to generate more than five conversions/day (more on that below).

Website Conversions: UPS Truck

Website conversions Facebook campaign objective
Facebook’s Website Conversions objective and UPS trucks share one thing in common: they both use sorcery to reach unreal levels of efficiency.

Ads Manager name: “Increase conversions on your website.” Here’s the thing about UPS trucks… they rely on sophisticated systems to choose their routes and get packages delivered as efficiently as possible.

The Website Conversions objective works the same way. No one is really sure what Facebook does to “optimize” for conversions, but if you set things up right, it will. That’s what makes Website Conversions the most prized of all the Facebook campaign objectives.

That being said, you can’t just dive right in. You’ll first need to install and configure Facebook’s Conversion Tracking pixel, a task only slightly preferable to filing your taxes. You’ll then need the patience to ride out the storm while Facebook figures things out.

Finally, the Website Conversions objective doesn’t work well if you have a relatively low budget. If your campaign doesn’t consistently get five conversions per day, Facebook will stop running the ads altogether.

Mobile App Installs: 2008 Tesla Roadster

App installs Facebook campaign objective
Tesla’s Roadster didn’t exist prior to 2007. And you definitely weren’t playing Pok√©mon Go then, either.

Ads Manager name: “Get installs of your app.” There were two things absent from the early 2000s: any car produced by Tesla and Apple’s App Store. The Mobile App Installs objective wasn’t around either. Though not the newest Facebook campaigns objective, it’s certainly the one most related to modern technology.

If you’re an app developer, you’d be hard pressed not to use this objective in your campaigns. Everyone else can basically ignore it.

Mobile App Engagement: Morgan 3 Wheeler

Mobile App Engagement Facebook campaign objective
The Morgan 3-Wheeler and the Mobile App Engagement objective: for niche audiences only.

Ads Manager name: “Increase engagement in your app.” There’s only one possible reaction you can have when you see a Morgan 3 Wheeler: what the f*%k is that? That’s also what most people say when they come across the Mobile App Engagement objective.

However, those who do market mobile apps (not me) know exactly what this is for and how to use it. Just like that automotive aficionado for whom a three-wheeled, motorcycle engined, open top, and fire-breathing car is the perfect choice. Just don’t expect your friends to understand.

P.S. In Power Editor, you’ll also find Desktop App Installs and Desktop App Engagement listed among the Facebook campaign objectives.

Local Awareness: Parade Float

Local awareness Facebook campaign objective
A Lego campaign float cannot be improved upon. And like Local Awareness ads, its perfect for getting the attention of people nearby.

Ads Manager name: “Reach near your business.” The Local Awareness objective has some cool tricks up its sleeve. Not only can you target people who are physically near your business at that moment, but you can use some very relevant CTAs to encourage a response. Facebook lets you choose from Like Page, Call Now, Get Directions, Learn More, and Send Message.

This objective can only be used to reach people within 50 miles of your business. Just like a parade float, it may not reach very far, but it’s great at attracting the attention of those nearby.

Event Responses: Postal Service Truck

Facebook Event Responses campaign objective
Postal Service trucks may be the only vehicles that look slow at any speed. Fortunately, Facebook Event Responses work a bit faster.

Ads manager name: “Raise attendance at your event.” You’re getting ready to host Paducah’s 7th Annual Poodle Show, Shrimp Boil, & Trike Rally. Last year was a huge success, but you really want to blow things out of the water this year. Where do you turn? If it was 1987, it would be the Postal Service. Fortunately it’s not, which means you’re going to use Facebook’s Event Responses campaign objective instead.

To get the most of this objective, you’ll need to create a Facebook Event first. When people click “Join” on your ad, Facebook will automatically add the event to their Facebook calendar. You’ll also be able to measure how many people have responded. Time to buy some shrimp.

Offer Claims: “Free Candy” Van


Ads Manager name: “Get people to claim your offer”. You’ve got a discount, some special offer, some promotion that people gotta know about. Then Offer Claims is your ticket. Unlike like that “Free Candy” van you are still skeptical about (“But what if it’s Twix?….”) , Offer Claims ads are legit.

In fact, of all the Facebook campaign objectives, this one allows some of the most creativity in how it’s used. You can create some very specific offers, using the following settings:

  • Offer type: Percent Off, Amount Off, Buy One/Get One, Free Stuff
  • Percent Value
  • Offer Title/Description
  • Expiration Date
  • Discount Code
  • Terms and Conditions

Video Views: Bluth Company Stair Car

Video views Facebook campaign objective
Like the Video Views objective, Michael Bluth’s go-to vehicle is sure to get stares wherever it goes. Yes, of course, the pun is intended, sheesh.

Ads Manager name: “Get video views.” If you have a video, you want one thing: for people to sit there and stare at your creation. This leaves no other option but to select the Bluth Company stair car as the representative of the Video Views objective.

The Video Views objective is perfect for retargeting, because Facebook will automatically build an audience of people who have watched some or all your video. And if you want to go completely crazy, Facebook will let you upload videos up to 60 minutes long. That’s 2.72 Arrested Development episodes.

Product Catalog Sales: Food Truck

Facebook Product Catalog Sales objective
Just like a food truck, Facebook’s Product Catalog Sales objective allows you to show what you’re selling and drive sales. Although at the time of this writing, food trucks still smell better.

Ads Manager name: “Promote a product catalog.” If you’re an ecommerce site, the Product Catalog Sales objective gives you a powerful way to create ads that are far more descriptive than typical formats.

You can even go a step further with something called Dynamic Product Ads. This tool allows you to automatically generate ads from your product catalog, and use Lookalike audiences to find more people who might be interested in a product, and create different calls to action based on previous user behavior.

Dynamic Product Ads are a bit too technical for this article, but Social Media Examiner has a great tutorial on how to use them.

Lead Generation: 1985 Toyota Hilux Pickup Truck

Lead generation Facebook campaign objective
If only you could just drive around town and pick up leads.

Ads Manager name: “Collect leads for your business.” Sometimes you don’t need anything fancy, you just want an email address. Or, a truckload of them. Enter the Lead Generation Facebook campaign objective.

Instead of sending people to your landing page, Facebook users can enter their information directly in the Facebook app. This is the only one of the Facebook campaign objectives that allows you to do this. By default, you’ll collect their name and email address, but Facebook will let you ask up to three additional questions.

The only thing challenging about the Lead Generation objective is that you must set up a Lead Form prior to using this option. For some unnecessarily complex instructions on how to set up Lead Forms, visit this resource from Facebook.

Brand Awareness: 2007 Hummer H2 With Body Wrap

Brand awareness Facebook campaign objective
If you have to do a vehicle wrap, promise me you won’t choose a purple Hummer with chrome wheels.

Ads Manager name: “Increase brand awareness.” Sometimes you just want to let people know who you are. Thankfully, Facebook offers a classier way of promoting your brand besides wrapping a chrome-wheeled Hummer H2 with a gaudy vinyl wrap. It’s called the Brand Awareness objective, and it’s basically just fancy way of saying that Facebook will optimize your ads for impressions.

There’s not a whole lot to do with Brand Awareness objective – define you audience, set your budget, add your creative, and Facebook will show you ad to as many people as it can.

Which Facebook Campaign Objectives Do You Drive?

Have advice on using Facebook campaign objectives? Let’s hear it in the comments below. If you’ve thought of a way to use an objective in an unorthodox way, I’d love to learn about it.

This post was originally published on Flag and Frontier, my marketing consulting business for B2B technology companies.

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