facebook advertising

Turn Your Failing Ads Around in Under 5 Minutes With These Simple FB Ad Optimization Tweaks

There are a lot of moving parts to a successful Facebook ad campaign.

Targeting is arguably the most important of them all.

When it comes to setting it up, one little mistake can turn an otherwise successful ad campaign into an expensive lesson on what not to do.

Maybe that’s a little dramatic, but you understand that it’s really important to get your ad targeting right.

Everyone focuses on the interest targeting options and the power of Custom Audiences & Lookalike Audiences. Rarely do they talk about conversion optimization and ad delivery optimization.

You know, the options you quickly skim over as you’re configuring your ad sets…

There's a problem with that…

Facebook doesn’t just show your ads to everyone in your target audience. It actually shows them to only a small segment of your target audience.

Your conversion optimization settings tell Facebook which segment of your audience to show ads to.

Facebook themselves even stress how important these settings are…

For the ‘Optimization for Ad Delivery’ setting, Facebook says:

“Choose how you want us to deliver ads based on what you’re trying to achieve. Your selection affects who sees your ads to get you the best results for the lowest cost”.

So if you know that getting these settings right will lower your ad costs, why skim over them and leave it to chance?

Keep reading to learn:

  • Exactly how to choose the best conversion to optimize for
  • How to select the best ad delivery optimization setting for each of your ad sets
  • And how to choose how you’re charged for your ads so you pay less

In other words, you’ll learn how to set your ads up so Facebook does more of the heavy lifting for you so you get better results at a lower cost.

Optimizing for a Conversion

 If you’re running a Website Conversions campaign, when you go to configure your ad set you’ll see ‘Optimize for a Conversion’ at the top.

Just because you’ve selected ‘Website Conversions’ as your campaign objective doesn’t mean your ads are optimized to get the conversions you want.

You still need to tell Facebook WHICH conversion event you want to get more of.

Quick note: I’m going to assume you’ve installed the Facebook pixel on your website & set up conversion tracking. If not, I highly recommend you go and do that straight after you finish reading this post. 

Optimizing for a conversion event

When you select a Conversion Event to optimize for, Facebook will show your ads to people in your audience who are likely to complete that specific conversion action.

Here’s how it works…

Every time someone completes a conversion event on your website, Facebook takes note of who that person was and what type of conversion they completed.

As more people convert, Facebook builds up more and more data about the people completing each of your conversion events.

Facebook is constantly learning and adjusting its algorithm to show your ads to more people who are also likely to convert. Building up this conversion data is commonly known as ‘seasoning the pixel’.

As you get more conversions for your chosen event, your ads will perform better.

This is because Facebook will have more data available to use when it’s optimizing your ads.

If you’ve ever wondered how we scale ad campaigns to $5k / day and beyond, this is the secret.

Once you’ve seasoned your pixel with thousands of conversions, Facebook does a lot of the heavy lifting for you when it comes to targeting.

Now let’s talk about how to choose which conversion event to optimize for.

How to Select the Conversion Event That Will Get You The Best Results

To help understand how to choose which conversion event to optimize for, let’s consider a basic sales funnel:

  1. A person reads a piece of your content
  2. That person joins your email list. At this point they complete the ‘Lead’ conversion event
  3. They then click a link in your email, go to your website and add an item to their shopping cart. Now they have completed the ‘Add to Cart’ conversion event
  4. They begin the checkout process, completing the ‘Initiate Checkout’ conversion event
  5. Finally, the person completes the checkout and completes the ‘Purchase’ conversion event.

As you can see, there are a total of 4 different conversion events in this process. So which one should you choose?

On the surface it would be fair to assume you would optimize for the ‘Purchase’ event because that’s ultimately what you want. After all, it doesn’t matter how many people add an item to their shopping cart if none of them buy…

Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple.

Remember, Facebook needs people to complete your conversion events to be able to optimize your ad sets for that event.

If no one is converting, Facebook doesn’t have any data. That means it can’t optimize for those conversions.

You need to be getting at least 15-25 conversions per week for Facebook to be able to optimize for a particular conversion event. And more is better.

Here’s what Facebook have to say about it:

Facebook minimum number of conversions


If you aren’t getting 15-25 purchases per week, there’s no point optimizing your ad set for the ‘Purchase’ conversion event.

The solution?

You need to move up the funnel and select a conversion event that is being completed AT LEAST 15-25 times per week.

In this example, let’s assume you’re getting 50 ‘Add to Cart’ conversions, but only 10 ‘Purchase' conversions per week.

That means you could try optimizing for the ‘Add to Cart’ conversion event instead of ‘Purchase’.

The once you start getting more purchases, you would create a new ad set that's optimized for the ‘Purchase’ event.

Ideally, you want to optimize for the lowest conversion event in the funnel that gets at least 15-25 conversions per week.

But if you have other conversion events a little higher in the funnel that get lots more conversions (e.g. 100-200 per week), you might find you get better results optimizing for those.

Remember, there are no set rules with Facebook advertising. It’s important to test different options and see what works best for you.

Optimization & Delivery 

In this section you’re going to tell Facebook HOW to deliver your ads.

There are 7 main delivery optimization options:

  • Link Clicks to Website
  • Conversions
  • Impressions
  • Daily Unique Reach
  • Video Views
  • Post Engagement
  • Page Likes

The good news is you’ve probably noticed you don’t need to choose from a big list like this each time you create an ad.

The list of delivery options is determined by the campaign objective you choose.

For example, let's say you want to create an ad that sends people a special birthday discount coupon via Messenger. In this case you if you select the ‘Engagement' objective you'll see the following options for optimization for ad delivery:

facebook ad optimization selection box - Link Clicks or ConversationsNotice you can only choose either:

  • Link Clicks
  • Conversations

So how do you know which one to choose to get the best results?

Well, it depends on what you’re trying to achieve.

As a general rule, I always select the option that’s most closely aligned with my top level goal, and I would advise you to do the same. 

And 95% of the time, that objective is ‘Website Conversions’.

To understand why it’s important to choose the right objective, let’s look at how Facebook’s targeting changes based on your decision.

The first thing you need to know is that Facebook will show your ads to different people depending on what you choose to optimize for.

You’re probably thinking you’ve already selected your targeting options, so what does this have to do with targeting?

Remember, Facebook doesn’t just show your ads to everyone in your target audience.

It cherry-picks people to show your ads to based on your Facebook ad optimization choices.

Facebook will show your ads to the segment of your target audience who are most likely to perform the action you choose under ‘optimize for ad delivery’.

audience segments

Facebook knows who is most likely to click an ad, most likely to complete a conversion action, likely to engage with an ad, and likely to do nothing.

That means if you choose ‘Link Clicks to Your Website’, Facebook will show your ads to people in your target audience who are most likely to click an ad.

If you select ‘Conversions’, Facebook will show your ad to people in your target audience who are most likely to click your ad AND continue on to complete your chosen conversion event.

And the same goes for Page Likes, and for every other option…

This is why you should choose the option most closely aligned with your top level goal.

Facebook will help you achieve your goal by showing your ads to the right people within your target audience.

For example:

If I want to get people to join my email list or purchase my product, my top level goal is conversions. That means I’ll select conversions under ‘optimize for ad delivery’, and NOT website clicks.

Sure, I need clicks, but clicks alone aren’t what I’m looking for. I am looking for people to take the next step and sign up or convert.

If I was to select ‘Link Clicks to Your Website’ when my real goal was conversions, Facebook would show my ads who are likely to click, but not necessarily likely to convert. I’d rather people who are likely to convert in this case.

Impressions & Daily Unique Reach

There are 2 optimization options that stand out as not being directly to any goal. Those are Impressions & Daily Unique Reach.

So when should you choose these over the other options?


Choosing this options tells Facebook that you want your ad shown as many times as possible to anyone in your target audience.

Facebook will not optimize for any particular result (click, conversion, etc.).

It also won’t limit the number of times a person may see your ad each day. A heavy Facebook user may see your ads several times in one day using this option.

The only thing Facebook cares about when optimizing for impressions is displaying your ad as many times as possible. Whether that’s 50 times to 1 person or to 50 different people, it doesn’t matter.

This is an option I use very rarely, simply because it generally doesn’t align with my Facebook advertising goals.

Daily Unique Reach (DUR)

Optimizing your ads for Daily Unique Reach means Facebook will show your ad to as many different people in your target audience as possible, but only once per day.

This allows you to reach as many of your target audience as possible without overwhelming them with a flood of ads.

Daily Unique Reach is a good option for small re-targeting audiences where you want to make sure as many people as possible see your ads.

Here’s a real example of how I use DUR:

When running ads to a webinar I don’t just want people to register. I also want them to attend live.

To boost live attendance rates, I show Facebook ads to a Custom Audience containing everyone who has registered for the webinar.

I just want to make sure as many of those webinar registrants see my reminder ads.

I don’t want them to click the ads or complete a conversion action because they’ve already registered for the webinar.

DUR is the perfect optimization option here because it allows me to ensure as many people see my ads as possible without overwhelming them.

Conversion Window

Conversion window is a relatively new addition to the Facebook ad platform.

Facebook conversion window

You need to think about how you expect your leads and customers to behave and make a choice based on that behavior.

To find out which conversion window is best for you, ask yourself this question:

When do I expect a lead to complete my desired conversion action?

If the process looks something like this:

  1. Person sees an ad and clicks on it
  2. They are sent to your landing / signup page
  3. They then immediately fill in your signup form and become a lead

Then you would want to choose the ‘1 Day Click’ option.

This is because you expect people to convert (complete your signup form) within 1 day of clicking your ad.

If you are using ads to promote a lead magnet or a webinar, you most likely want a 1-day click conversion window.

It is very unlikely that someone will click an ad, view your signup page, go away, and come back 5 days later and sign up. Chances are if they don’t sign up within 1 day of clicking your ad, they never will.

Wondering when would you want to choose 7-day click or 28-day click?

Think about how an e-commerce site works. The path from Facebook ad to actually completing a purchase might look something like this:

  1. Someone sees an ad for a product while on their mobile device
  2. They like the product, but don’t want to pull out their credit card and complete the checkout while standing on the train on the way to work
  3. So they add the item to their shopping cart to come back to later
  4. 3 days later, it’s the weekend. They’re sitting at home and suddenly remember that they wanted to purchase the product. So they open up their computer, go back to the website, and complete the checkout process

In this case the purchase conversion happened 3 days after clicking the ad.

If you’re in e-commerce and this sounds like it may be a common scenario in your business, then a 7 or 28-day conversion window may be best for you.

For myself and my clients, I’ve found ‘1-day click’ to be the most effective conversion window in the majority of tests I’ve run. However, most of these fit the first scenario and aren’t e-commerce businesses.

That said, this is a new option and I expect it will improve as Facebook collects more data and the algorithm improves.

When You Get Charged (What do you actually pay for?)

Ever wondered how Facebook decides how much to actually charge you for your ads?

Well, it depends on how you set them up.

In most cases, you’ll pay based on either:

  • How many thousand impressions your ads get (CPM)
  • OR for every link click on your ads (CPC)

when you get charged fb ads

The choices available also vary depending on your campaign objective.

For example, if your campaign objective is page likes, you can choose to be charged per page like or per 1000 impressions.

Whichever option you choose; Facebook will only bill you when that event occurs (e.g. when 1000 people see your ads or when someone clicks a link).

That means if you choose to optimize for link clicks, but get charged on a CPM basis (per 1000 impressions), Facebook will show your ads likely to click, and charge you every time 1000 people see them.

As a general rule, I suggest you leave this as the default option. Facebook have actually done a pretty good job of setting up defaults that get you good results in most situations.

As always, it’s something you can test, but overall this isn’t going to make or break your ad set.  Focus on getting the other things right that we’ve discussed here before you focus on when you get charged.


There’s much more to Facebook ad targeting than just selecting the best target audience.

A lot of the optimization that will dramatically improve your results is handled by Facebook behind the scenes.

Naturally you want to make sure you’re giving Facebook the best chance to optimize your ad sets for you. To do that, you need to get your optimization settings right.

That means:

  • Optimizing for a conversion event that’s as low in your funnel as possible, while also making sure you get at least 15-25 of those conversions per week.
  • Optimizing your ad delivery to help Facebook show your ads to the segment of your audience likely to perform the desired action
  • Selecting the conversion window that suits your sales funnel and not just selecting one that is right for someone else

Have you tried changing your optimization settings? What was the result? Let me know in the comments below.