May 24, 2020

Facebook Ad Objectives and Formats

With over one billion global Facebook users and over 90 million small businesses actively using the platform, one of the most efficient ways to reach your desired audience is through paid adverts.

Before jumping straight into Facebook, it’s worth doing some preplanning.

As with all advertising, you must start by determining your marketing objective. Your objective might be brand awareness, customer retention or (the ultimate goal) increased sales. Next, consider who your target audience is to meet your objective and what they are likely to respond to regarding copy and artwork.

Finally, start your Facebook Advertising journey by creating a new Campaign in Facebook Ads Manager.


Choose Your Facebook Ads Strategy

The first decision you will need to make is whether to run your campaign as an auction or based on reach and frequency.

  • Auction Ads will have an estimated reach. Choosing to run your Ads as an auction will give you two additional objectives: Lead Generation and Messages. 
  • Reach and Frequency Ads give you more control as they will have a fixed reach and frequency depending on your budget.

Choose Your Facebook Ad Objective

Next, revisit your marketing objective and chose the corresponding Facebook Advertising Objective from Awareness, Consideration or Conversion. Budget depending, you may need to start with ‘awareness’ and build up to ‘conversion’, or you could start by running several Ads at once to target those at different stages of the customer journey.

Under each objective, you will find additional subcategories:


  • Brand Awareness: reach users who are most likely to pay attention to your ads and increase awareness for your brand. This is quality over quantity.
  • Reach: potentially quantity over quality, a reach objective will instruct Facebook to show your Ad to as many people as possible.


  • Traffic: direct people to a destination of your choice such as website, app or messenger.
  • Engagement: get more people to see and engage with your post or Facebook Page. Engagement includes comments, shares, likes, offer claims and event response. Narrow this down by three more categories: Page Likes, Post Engagement and Event Responses.
  • App Installs: Drive traffic to your download page to increase app installs.
  • Video Views: share engaging content such as behind-the-scenes footage, new product launches, and customer stories to raise awareness.
  • Lead Generation: capture key information such as customer contact details through a lead capture form within the Facebook platform. Any information already within Facebook (such as Name or Email Address) will be prepopulated.
  • Messages: direct users to Facebook Messenger to complete purchases, ask questions or start conversations with a member of your team. Make sure you have the capacity to manage this as users will expect a quick response.


  • Conversions: Encourage people to take actions on your website, in messenger or on your app. Then, use the Facebook Tracking Pixel to measure and track conversions.
  • Catalogue Sales: create Ads that showcase items from your stock catalogue to increase product exposure and sales.
  • Store Traffic: drive footfall to your offline stores and track through offline events.

Choose Your Facebook Ad Format

Each Objective will have slightly different formats available. However, the main ones are:

Single Image

Select one key image that is super relevant to your campaign. You can overlay text to include more information, but Facebook does frown upon this and advise no more than 20% of the whole image should contain text (this includes logos).


A great way to showcase a lot of information in a way that is easy for your audience to absorbed is through video. If you’re going to use a video, then you should be optimising for ‘video views’ as per the above objectives. Facebook recommends videos be 5-15 seconds in length, but you are allowed up to 240 minutes (this figure changes depending on your Ad placements).


Can’t choose just the one image and don’t have a suitable video? The Slideshow format falls somewhere between the two. Upload anywhere between 3 and 10 images and chose your image duration and transition. Slideshows can be no longer than 15 seconds which means your time length will change depending on the number of images you want.


As with a slideshow, if you want to use more than one image but don’t have a video – or want the video effect – then a Carousel allows you to upload up to 10 images to use. You can also include a different URL for each ‘card’ which means potentially linking off to 10 landing pages where relevant. Carousel Ads are a great way to showcase a range of products.

Instant Experience

Last but not least, the Instant Experience format is like a mini landing page still within Facebook (or Instagram). Instant Experience Ads were previously known as a ‘Canvas’, and you can add several images, video, buttons, and text boxes to provide as much information as you need. You can also add your product catalogue to drive sales. The Instant Experience format breaks down into the following depending on your objective:

  • Customer Acquisition
  • Story Telling
  • Sell Products
  • Build Your Own

There are, of course, other factors to consider when creating a Facebook campaign including Ad budget, targeting and how long your Ad will run for but hopefully the above gives you enough insight to get the ball rolling. Whatever objective and format you choose, it’s important to remember that these campaigns should never be put live and left to run. Keep an eye on your metrics and decide whether you need to tweak your targeting, creative or objective. Be sure to follow your customers along their journey.


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