How To Use Conversion Optimization On Facebook

January 24, 2018 · 6 min read

Are you making great video content and ready to take your marketing up a notch? Have you been running campaigns and boosting posts on Facebook for ages? Have you never done a campaign before? For every business, big or small, that uses the power of Facebook to grab leads and make sales online, it’s essential to understand how this mega advertising platform operates.

Don’t get intimidated by new terms or a little arithmetic. We’re going to walk you through how to use one of the most powerful solutions that Facebook offers today: Conversion Optimization.

What is Facebook Conversion Optimization?

In general, Conversion Optimization guarantees that the ads you create are seen by specific people who are likely to be interested in your business and perform your desired action. This action could be submissions, ebook downloads, sales, calling a phone number and more.

So, first things first, in order to use Conversion Optimization you have to make sure the Facebook Pixel is implemented on your website. The Facebook Pixel code is like a tube for a consecutive flow of information between whatever happens with your Facebook ads and the activity on your website. When placed properly, the pixel system lets you mark each action you care about on your website as a “custom conversion.” That’s why implementing the pixel is a vital first step for running Conversion Optimization campaigns.

Whenever a “custom conversion” occurs, be that a purchase or an email sign up, it sends a signal to good old Facebook including lots of information about the person who just took that specific action. This is where Facebook’s machine learning algorithms do their magic, allowing the system to know details on active users over time.

Based on this analysis, you can then find individuals that are most likely to convert within your target audience as a result of your ads. Thanks to the pixel, you can find and target the actual users that visited and did certain actions on your website, and their lookalikes (people who behave similarly online) so when Facebook shows them your ads, the conversion chances are much higher.


Where is this actually happening (and how can I start)?

Now that we know how to get Facebook to follow the users who are already engaging with us and find new users who are likely similar to them, we can get going with our campaigns.

Facebook ad system works as a hierarchy. The highest level is the account level, which is technical and recommended for advanced marketing managers.

Next is the campaign level. Each campaign is defined by a name and a single objective. You can choose from a number of campaign objectives such as Page Likes, Video Views on Facebook itself, Traffic to your final destination (via clicks on your ad), and the one that we’re all here for today: Conversions (any action that takes place within the final destination i.e: website or app)

This is the point when you tell Facebook what you want to happen from the campaign and your goal.

Let’s take a look at what businesses might choose at this point:

  • A real estate business wants to drive traffic to their website, where there are details about their services but no further action required. When creating a campaign, they should choose the objective of Clicks.
  • A local pet store just opened their official new Facebook business page and wants to get followers. They should choose the Page Likes objective.
  • A retailer sells books online and wants to get more book orders (aka sales). They should choose the objective of Conversions.

To put it simply: An advertiser that wants purchases and not clicks will choose Conversion Optimization. Facebook then shows their ads to the people in their target audience that are likely to convert (make a purchase) after seeing the ad.

How does it work behind the scenes?

When we choose a Conversion Optimization goal, we tell Facebook what outcome is important to us. Thus, Facebook knows in advance who is more and less relevant to show our ads to based on their past online behavior. Whenever we choose an optimization goal, we influence who is most likely to see our ad.

Every target audience (a specific demographic, age and interests) is divided by Facebook into 3 groups:

  1. People who are more likely to see your ad and do nothing.
  2. People who are more likely to see your ad and click on it.
  3. People who are more likely to see your ad and convert.


When you optimize for an action, Facebook is going to focus on the people most likely to perform that action (within your designated audience). So while your potential audience may be 100,000, Facebook may focus on the 5,000 people most likely to take that specific action.

Ready to create a Conversion Optimization campaign?

Step 1 – Create your campaigns with the right Conversions objective:

  1. Go to your Ads Manager
  2. Select Create New Campaign
  3. Choose the Conversions objective

Step 2 – Choose the conversion event to track:

  1. Create new ad set
  2. Chose the desired conversion event (e.g. Purchase, Complete Registration, Lead)
  3. Create the rest of the ad set as usual


Step 3 – Tell the system to optimize towards Conversions:

  1. Choose to optimize towards Conversions (the default selection)


Why would I do it?

Conversion Optimization drives more website actions, and makes your advertising more efficient and effective. When you use this advertising tool you will quite simply get more of your desired conversions. This is because Facebook already prioritizes showing ads to people who will increase bottom-line results (registrations, leads, purchases etc.). Not only that, but the algorithm usually allows your ads to function successfully at a lower cost.

How? Facebook is showing fewer ads to people who click but don’t convert thus you stop wasting money on people who are less likely to be active. On top of that, Facebook allows for flexibility. You can optimize for any event you’ve set up on the Facebook Pixel at any time.

Advanced Tips from the pros:

  • In order for an ad to be set on optimization for a specific conversion event (action), it is highly recommended to meet the requirement of having more than 25 times this conversion event reported per week (per ad set).
  • Change the conversion event to a more frequently occurring event as needed to meet the above goal. Start with the conversion event closest to your KPIs and move up the funnel as needed. For example, if you have less than 30 purchases reported to Facebook per ad set a week, but you have 350 ‘Add to Cart’ actions, make sure to use this event as the objective of the ad set, with a relevant bid.
  • Try the new enhanced Conversion Optimization feature to introduce link click optimization. We recommend it for manual bid advertisers suffering from under delivery. This adds link click optimization when there is not enough conversion data available.

  • If return on advertising spend, or breaking even after publishing online ads, is your primary goal, try value optimization (limited availability) to maximize the returns rather than drive the most conversions.


Final thoughts

Facebook News Feed algorithms continue to change in order to ensure its 2 billion (and counting) active users are getting the most out of the platform. This goes hand-in-hand with the Facebook ads system, which is ever evolving as well. The system is built based on the premise that ads shown on Facebook should be relevant to the people that see them and maximize value for advertisers.
When it comes to advertisers who want to bring new users from Facebook straight to their websites and app in order to take actions and do it inexpensively, the Conversion Optimization tools are essential. Instead of putting your hard earned money on boosting ads, which can be too wide of a window, with Conversion Optimization, Facebook finds you the audience that is most likely to bring you the exact results you want.


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Marketing acquisition manager, w/ 5 years experience in running campaigns on social media, search engines and native platforms.

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