You’ve worked hard on your website, and traffic doesn’t appear from thin air.

It’s time to use Facebook ads to send people there.

First, let’s take a look at the Facebook ad campaign setup process.

When setting up a Facebook advertising campaign the first thing Facebook asks you to do is to choose a campaign objective.

Facebook Advertising Objectives -

Most of the objectives are self explanatory, and if you click one, Facebook will display a detailed description of each.

  • Send people to your website: Increase the number of visitors to your website
  • Increase conversions on your website: Send people to your website with a specific action in mind, such as registration for a newsletter
  • Page Post Engagement: Get more people to see and engage with your Facebook Page posts
  • Promote your Page: Get more people to Like your Facebook Page

The most common question is related to the traffic generation based campaigns:

“Should I use “Send people to your website” (Clicks to Website objective) or “Increase conversions on your website” (Website Conversions objective), and when?”

With the “Clicks to Website” objective, you’re aiming to drive as much traffic as your ad budget will allow. Traffic is measured by website clicks, and Facebook’s optimization algorithm will optimize your campaign to achieve more clicks to your website.

Facebook Advertising - Clicks to Website Objective -

Should you choose the “Website Conversions” objective, you’re asking Facebook to optimize your campaign for a specific action taken. This action is defined by which page you identify as a point of conversion (a thank you page after a registration).

Facebook Advertising - Website Conversion Optimization -

Facebook will track conversions and target users that are most likely to take action.

There are a few important factors that will influence the overall cost of your campaign, and you may find that driving traffic to your website is more cost effective than trying to optimize for a single point of conversion.

Cold vs. Warm Traffic

‘Cold traffic’ is far less likely to convert than ‘warm traffic’ – what kind of traffic/visitors are you aiming to attract?

‘Blogs’ or ‘content’ sites may want to consider driving cold traffic with a “Clicks to Website” objective, followed by a retargeting campaign that uses “Website Conversions.”

This will provide the visitor with upfront value and will introduce your brand. Using initial ad copy that is more information based is also likely to raise your overall click-through-rate.

You can then retarget with a more aggressive message to get your audience to take action.

Where is your traffic going?

Conversion based campaigns will perform significantly better if you’re working with a website that is well optimized for conversions.

That’s kind of a no-brainer.

Using a blog format as an example, to maximize conversions, have you implemented the following?

  • Sidebar call to action
  • Strong calls to action within the content/article
  • Exit popup

Conversion specialists ConversionXL are a great example of executing on the above, and doing it well.

In the screenshot below, you can see the exit popup (triggered when someone moves their cursor into/above the URL bar) and a call to action in the background (top right).

Facebook Advertising Objectives - Conversion Rate -

In most cases, an indirect call to action will result in a very low conversion rate once on site, limiting Facebook’s ability to optimize your campaign for a conversion objective.

If your on-site calls to action are limited, or are displayed alongside content, you may want to consider driving visitors as your main objective.

This will keep traffic cheap and it will give you analytics data you can use to continue to make site improvements.

Always Test Your Objectives

Digital campaigns will vary significantly from site to site and business to business.

Website and landing page design plays a huge role in how a user converts once they’re on your site, but targeting the proper audience for yourself and your own objective is the only way to get true results.

There are no cookie cutter templates or strategies, there’s only testing to see which formula works for you.

How I Do It

When it comes to Facebook advertising, I’m constantly tweaking and testing to maximize campaign performance.

In this example, I’ll compare Facebook’s objectives Clicks to Website and Website Conversions to see which results in the lowest cost-per-conversion.

This test uses the same Ad Set targeting options, same budget, same ad, and the same landing page. The only difference is the objective.

For my main conversion based campaign I always use a page that has a strong opt-in/registration presence.

Below is a great example of a landing page that keeps it simple and to the point, avoiding design distractions and compelling the user to take a specific action.

Minimalist Landing Page - Facebook Advertising -

In the case of the objective test, I’m running a landing page formatted similarly (text, strong sign-up CTA) and the conversion pixel is placed on the following page, which confirms a sign-up.

One campaign is using “Clicks to Website” and the other uses “Website Conversions.”

For the first campaign, the “Clicks to Website” objective, I’ve made sure to select “Link Clicks to Your Website.” Facebook will now optimize my campaign to get me the lowest click cost possible.

Impression based Ad Delivery (option 2 below) can work well if you have a very specific audience, such a group of users you’re retargeting, however you will have to test to determine which performs better for you.

Facebook Advertising - Clicks to Website Objective -

For the second campaign, the “Website Conversions” objective, I’ve selected “Conversions” under the Ad Delivery optimization. Facebook will now optimize my campaign to get me the most effective cost-per-conversion possible.

The conversion pixel is placed on the following page, where the user is taken right after they sign-up.

You’ll notice there is also an option to choose “Link Clicks to Your Website.” You could technically run this for your Conversion campaign, but getting the cheapest cost-per-conversion is the goal here.

Facebook Advertising - Website Conversions Objective -

Again, I’m using the same ad and the same Audience targeting.

The only difference is that I’m telling Facebook to optimize one campaign for as many clicks as possible and to optimize the other campaign for as many leads as possible.

After 12 days, here are the performance breakouts for each:

Campaign 1 – Clicks to Website Objective

  • Objective: Clicks To Website
  • Spend:  $520.86
  • Leads Generated: 88
  • Cost Per Lead (CPL): $5.87

Facebook Advertising - Clicks to Website Performance -


Campaign 2 – Website Conversions Objective

  • Objective: Website Conversions
  • Spend:  $546.43
  • Leads Generated: 337
  • Cost Per Lead (CPL): $1.62

Facebook Advertising - Website Conversions Objective Performance -

When choosing the conversions objective, nearly 4x more leads were captured at a 73% lower cost-per-lead! This is amazing!

What does this mean?

You need to test an objective before drawing a performance conclusion. In almost every case you will see a distinct winner and you will never have to ‘assume’ you’re making the best decision possible.

You also need to TRUST in Facebook’s optimization algorithm. They will figure out the best way to optimize for a particular action, showing your ads to people that are most likely to act on it.

If you’re sending traffic to a landing page with the intention of generating leads, you need to test the “Website Conversion” objective.

The thought of placing a tracking pixel on a thank you page may seem daunting to some, but trust me, it’s worth the time to understand and implement. 

These key takeaways will make a HUGE impact in your Facebook advertising performance.

Get set up and start testing now. Once your campaign starts producing efficiently for you, you’ll never look back!

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