Facebook Ad Objectives

A visual of Facebook Ad Objectives explained

Most local businesses should advertise on Facebook. At Level Up, we strongly believe this to be true, and the evidence backs us up. It’s cost-effective and, if you do it right, it can help your business to grow.

But that is easier said than done.

While Facebook ads are effective, many local business owners don’t know which objectives to choose for their ads. Choosing the wrong objective may lead to a low return on your investment and possibly a dreaded feeling that you’ve wasted money.

With that in mind, here’s our rundown of Facebook ad objectives to help you understand which objective makes the most sense for your business.

What are the Available Ad Objectives on Facebook?

A visual of Facebook Ad campaign manager

When you create an ad for your business on Facebook, you can choose from 11 objectives divided into three categories: Awareness, Consideration, and Purchase (Conversion). Let’s review them.

1. Brand Awareness

These ads generally do not get a high click-through rate because their objective is to make people aware of your brand. They are best used as the first step in a campaign to attract new customers.

2. Reach

If you want to get your ad in front of as many people in your target audience as possible, this is the objective to choose. Here again, you may not get a ton of engagement, but you will be sure that your ad appears in your target audience’s feed.

3. Traffic

Traffic ads are designed to direct more traffic to the URL you choose, usually a link on your website. Facebook tracks only the number of people who click on your links, meaning that you’ll need to track conversions separately.

4. Engagement

On Facebook, engagement means likes, comments, and shares. If you want to get more people to engage with your content, this is the ad objective you should choose.

5. App Installs

This one’s self-explanatory. If you’ve got an app to sell or promote, chose App Installs as your objective.

6. Video Views

Have a video to promote? Choose the Video Views objective to get more people to watch your video. This objective is ideal for product demo and explainer videos.

7. Lead Generation

If you’ve got a great lead magnet to promote, the Lead Generation objective is ideal because it allows the people who see your ad to opt in and get your lead magnet without leaving Facebook.

8. Message Ads

Message ads are designed to get more people in your target audience to message your business on Facebook. They can be useful if you want to initiate conversations, answer questions, and nurture leads.

9. Conversion Ads

If your goal is to get more people to take a specific action, such as adding an item to their cart, buying a product, or RSVPing to an event, this is the ad objective to choose on Facebook. It works best when targeted to people who are already familiar with your brand.

10. Catalog Sales

Another ad objective that may be effective when targeted to people who already know your brand is the Catalog Sales objective. You can use it to connect Facebook with your product catalog and display individual products to your audience.

11. Store Visits

If you have a brick-and-mortar store, this ad objective can help you entice more local customers to visit your store. To use it, you’ll need to make sure that your business location(s) are accurate in Business Manager. (Be mindful of this objective as recent changes to mobile operating systems like iOS 14 might negatively impact your results)

You should think first about which objective you want to achieve. Consider the options we’ve explained above. Then, choose the ad objective that will help you get there.

Which Facebook Ad Objective is Right for Your Business?

A visual of a bullseye target with an arrow in it

Now, let’s talk about which Facebook ad objectives make the most sense for local businesses. Some simply are not good choices if you’ve got a small audience to target.

Brand Awareness

This is a good objective, particularly if you feel like your competitors have more brand recognition than you do or if you haven’t been in business for long. Recency bias can get you started down the path of getting your audience aware of your business. It’s a good idea that the ad you create is a compelling representation of your brand, including your brand’s personality, voice, and ethics.

Reach

The goal for this objective is to reach as many people as possible, and isn't ideal for most, local small businesses.

Traffic

This can be a good objective for small businesses who want to get more people to visit their websites. However, you should make sure that you have a well-designed landing page before you spend any money on traffic. You need to give people a reason to stay on your website once they click the link. That reason should be very clear and we would recommend the objective is to capture a lead or opt-in. For instance, getting an email address or SMS Text numbering exchange for something of value.

Store Visits

This objective is arguably the most highly focused ad available. But, with recent changes to mobile operating systems and privacy concerns, leveraging this objective might need to be revisited as results may be skewed based on target users privacy preferences.

The key with this is to test and see how your ad costs and the results of your campaign area affected. The argument worth considering is the results may still be compelling as a customer who registers as an actual store visit may be more valuable to a business owner than say an ‘aware’ community.

If you decide to use the Store Visit objective make sure your location is and information is up-to-date. Its worth mentioning to target the ad to people who live within proximity to your store! Then test and expand your ad’s radius to see if it makes sense reaching people who aren’t necessarily within an easy traveling distance.

Catalog Sales

The Catalog Sales objective is useful for an online store. It can help you show off your most popular products and get them in front of an audience. Again, targeting is going to be important. You should use this ad objective with an audience already familiar with your brand for the best results.

Messages

This ad objective may be right for your company if you feel that you need one-on-one contact with customers to overcome their buying objections. However, you should only use this objective if you’re ready to monitor your messages and respond promptly when people write to you. A slow response time can undo any good you do with the ad itself. You may want to consider installing a chatbot in Facebook Messenger to send an immediate response.

Visiting your Facebook Ads Manager page will give you additional information and guidance as you create your ad. Remember, the ad objective you choose should be carefully selected to align with your business growth objectives for the best results.

Final Thoughts on Facebook Ad Objectives

Picking the right Facebook Ad objective will have a significant impact on your ROI. If you’re not certain which one is right for you, then you’ll want to test different objectives to see which one works best for your business goals. By split testing your objectives early on, you’ll have a better understanding which one works best for your audience and what offers you’re promoting for your business. 

Fortunately, each Ad objective is intuitive enough… so picking one, testing it out, and seeing if it aligns with your business goal is the way to go. 

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