How to Optimize your Facebook Ad Based on Objective

How to Optimize your Facebook Ad Based on Objective


facebook ads


Wondering how to get the most out of Facebook’s new objective-focused ad tool? Do you think ‘advertise for conversions’ sounds awesome but aren’t entirely sure how to do it?

You’re not alone.

This article will get into how to optimize your ad based on the four objectives most businesses will be looking for: engagement, likes, clicks and conversions. I’ll give you the best practices for creating an ad, and then give you my recommended targeting strategy based on your objective.

Along the way I’ll touch on Facebook’s conversion tracking pixel (and how to implement it) as well as a short breakdown of the pricing and budgeting structure for Facebook Ads.

So let’s get started.

Facebook Ad Objectives

1. Advertising for Engagement:Facebook Ad Engagement

As you may know, sponsored posts are disappearing in a couple months (April 9th). This is where they’re going. Essentially, think of advertising for engagement as your beloved promoted post.

Optimization Best Practice:

To optimize your Facebook Ad for engagement, I highly recommend testing it as a Facebook Post first (yes, this is still free…).

Come up with a couple different formats of the same content (different calls-to-action, headlines, a couple of different images, etc) and test them at the same time over the course of a couple of days. Whichever Facebook Post performs better (or which one of your week’s posts, perhaps) you make into an ad.

Targeting Recommendation:

Based on the best practice above, it makes sense to target your Facebook Ad to ‘Friends of Fans’ or a Lookalike audience (more on these later). Just make it clear in your targeting that you do not want the ad shown to people who have seen it before – as this is how your brand gets a reputation for spamming.

You want an audience who will appreciate your content (thus ‘Friends of Fans’ or a Lookalike audience) but who haven’t seen the ad before. This will increase the ad’s engagement, and increase the chance of Page Likes as well (but I’d see below for that goal).

2. Advertising for Likes:advertising for likes

This is one of the coolest developments in Facebook’s Advertising tool since the Lookalike audience implementation last March. Advertising for Likes is one of the best ways to increase your brand profile on Facebook.

Optimization Best Practice:

Create a like-gated Facebook contest (you’ll need a third-party app to create a like-gated contest, but wow do they work) which drives traffic to a tab within your Facebook Page. In order to ‘enter to win’ the visitor will have to Like your page. I highly recommend you create a contest with a prize related to your business (rather than straight cash, for instance). Though straight cash will generate a ton of Likes for your business, they won’t end up converting to a sale, sign up for your email list, or  stay around very long.

Another option is to put a Facebook-exclusive coupon code on your Page’s timeline – something which you can make (temporarily, perhaps) only visible to people who have Liked your Page. Create a Facebook Ad with the headline: “Exclusive 50%-Off Coupon!” and the body copy: “This week only, get 50% off any online purchase at [Your Brand]. Like us to get the Facebook-Exclusive code!”

Targeting Recommendation:

I recommend you target by Precise Interest or Broad Category when fishing for Facebook Likes. You need an audience who is either interested in your products or who would benefit from them (if they’re not already interested). For SaaS businesses, try targeting by job title, age group and subject matter.

For B2C, target by broad category and (if applicable) gender. Broad category allows companies that make baby’s diapers to target parents with a newborn. Or auto-companies to target people who have recently bought a used car (yes, this exists. Cool huh?)

3. Advertising for Clicks:

Okay, here’s the thing… Don’t advertise for clicks. It’s dumb. There’s no point in having a ‘click’ be your Ad’s objective.

A click is what we call a ‘vanity metric’. It’s meaningless to your business for anything more than showing your boss you’re great at making engaging ads. Yes, they’re engaging, but do they actually result in anything real for your business?

Advertising for Engagement, Likes, Conversions, Event Responses, or Offer Claims are all things you can take to the bank. Engagement and Likes increase your Facebook brand profile. Conversions, event responses and offer claims are all concrete things that matter in the real world.

Clicks aren’t.

4. Advertising for Conversions:advertising for conversions

This is the objective you want if you’re looking for real-world actions: either checkouts, purchases or lead generation.

Creating your Facebook Ad with the goal of a website conversion is a little more complex than the other objectives, namely because you need to have placed a conversion tracking pixel on the page that your facebook ad traffics to in order to see your ad’s performance.

Conversion tracking pixel:

I’m going to break the tracking pixel down into the simplest format I can. Let’s see if this works…

So the conversion tracking pixel is a handy little do-hickey. It’s a bit of code which Facebook gives you within the Google Chrome Power Editor tool. Once you have it you copy it and put it within the code of your website.

Here’s what it looks like:



Now I recommend you place this little buddy on the page AFTER your landing page (the page a conversion on your landing page traffics to). If you’re looking for a sales conversion, place it on the ‘Your Order is Complete. Congratulations!’ page. If you’re looking to generate leads through Facebook Ads, place the conversion pixel on the ‘Thanks for your details. We’ll get in touch soon’ page.

Conversions Best Practice:

Generating conversions is all about creating an engaging ad that encourages a click-through.

Here are the ad design best-practices I tell people when asked:


  • Use people’s faces (especially a smiling woman)

  • Go simple, easy to identify and plain (yet engaging)

  • Don’t include any words within the image – leave the message to your headline and body copy


  • Focus on colors that stand out against the blue and white of Facebook’s News Feed

  • Warm reds and oranges are attention-grabbing and pleasing to the eye

  • Avoid blacks, whites and light-blue as the primary color of your Facebook Ad as they’ll blend in, and whites and blacks are seen as cold and calculating


Think of your headline as a hook. Use it (along with the image) to grab attention and encourage the Facebook user to read your body copy:

  • Use a question, like ‘Want to Maximize ROI?

  • Use keywords like ‘free’, ‘discounted’, and ‘exclusive’

  • Use dollar signs and percentages like ‘Get $100 Off’ or ‘This week only 50% off!’

Body copy:

Your ad body copy is where you communicate the value of interaction and elicit the click-through. The rest is just eye-grabbing tactics.

  • Use a value proposition

  • Use a USP

  • Use the time-limit factor (to get a quick CTA)

  • Use demographic/audience targeting language

Targeting Recommendations:

I recommend you target your conversion-focused Facebook Ad at a Lookalike audience. A Lookalike audience (as some of you may know) is created by Facebook itself based on the characteristics of your own custom audience (a list your business has already imported into Facebook of your existing, or lapsed, merchants). Facebook takes that list of email addresses, finds the corresponding Facebook user, and then (when you click ‘create Lookalike audience’) finds another list of Facebook users with similar characteristics.

What this means: Basically, a Lookalike audience allows you to exclusively show your Facebook Ad to people exactly like your existing customers. These will be people in a similar age-group and gender demographic with the same interests, job titles, and social set-up as people who have already bought from you.

A Quick Note

You’ll have noticed by now that I’m leaving out four other objectives which Facebook allows you to focus on: App Installs, App Engagement, Event Responses and Offer Claims. The reason for this is because the best practices and targeting techniques for these objectives are covered in the best practices and targeting recommendations I’ve already given.

And, while I could probably flim-flam my way through it, a smart reader like you would notice I was repeating myself.

To be honest, very few small or medium-sized businesses are creating Facebook Apps. So that would have been a waste of time for a lot of you. And Event Responses and Offer Claims have the same structure as creating either an ad for conversions or an ad for a Facebook Like. You’re promoting an event or offer, and either designing your Facebook Ad to encourage a click-through to a landing page or a click-through to your Facebook Page.

And I’ve already gone over that.

Pricing and Costing Structure

So despite all these objectives, the pricing structure for Facebook Ads remains the same: you can choose either PPM or PPC (Pay-Per-Mille or Pay-Per-Click). Pay-Per-Mille, by the way, is paying based on 1000 ad impressions (1000 times a Facebook user sees your ad – counting people who have seen it multiple times).

Facebook will then take this payment amount and convert it (within your Ad Metric dashboard) and tell you the cost of your ad based on your objective. In the case of the example below, the Facebook Ad would have driven traffic to a site with a conversion tracking pixel, and these were the results:



For many businesses, however, the other metrics are meaningless (CPM, for instance). What you need is something that Facebook (unless you’re using a conversion tracking pixel or looking for Facebook Likes) doesn’t give you.


Cost-Per-Customer is the cost of getting one person to buy from you. This is the metric you have to figure out yourself, in order to determine the concrete ROI you’re getting from Facebook Ads.

Here’s how to calculate it:

Using Facebook’s built-in CPA tracking, we can get the cost of the initial action the user takes on our website. If that action is to make a purchase, then your CPA is equal to your Cost-Per-Customer. But if your action is to download an ebook, sign up for a newsletter or some other form of lead-generation, then you need to add one extra variable to the equation:

Make sense?



Hopefully you have a better idea of what the objectives are within Facebook Ads: which to use, and how to get the most out of them

Have you used Facebook Ads for a specific objective? I’d love to hear how it went. Start the conversation below!


By James Scherer

About the Author: James Scherer is a content marketer for Wishpond and author of the ebook The Complete Guide to Facebook Ads. Wishpond makes it easy to run Facebook Ads, create landing pages & contests, email automation campaigns & manage all of your business’ contacts.

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