Reach 5 Times More People with Your Facebook Ad

You don’t even have to make a new ad. All you have to do is change one setting!

There is a setting in the Facebook Ad Set called Optimization. It defaults to “Optimize for Engagement” when you boost a post. If you change the setting to “Daily Unique Reach” or “Impressions” you’ll reach many more people. In my case I reached 5 times more people when testing 2 similar ads showing to the same audience and spending the same amount on both. (See example below).

The “Optimize for Engagement” setting makes your ad show to people who are more likely to do just that. “Engage” with your ad. In other words people who are more likely to comment, share, and like your ad are the ones who will more often see your ad. Changing the setting so that your ad shows to people no matter how much they tend to “Engage” with posts allows your ad to be seen by more people. It’s not a bad thing to leave the setting at “Optimize for Engagement”. It’s just that you can reach more people with the other settings.

Everyone wants to reach more people with Facebook Ads. You should also want to reach the right people at the right time. This is where targeting comes in. But that’s another subject. We’re talking about reaching more people. Of course we’ll still want to narrow the audience to a reasonable number. For example limit by location and maybe by age or gender.

Facebook Ads For Local Businesses with Local Customers

For small local businesses an awareness ad campaign is often used. An awareness campaign means getting the word out to people that you exist. Branding your business is another way to say it.

With all the powerful things you can do with Facebook Ads targeting and retargeting which is often the focus of most of the tutorials you’ll find on Facebook advertising the general awareness campaigns still have their place. If your business is new or just not very well known you can benefit from general awareness advertising. Billboards, radio ads, and TV ads cover a lot of people and are often awareness and branding types of advertising.

Facebook Campaign Objectives

When you create a Facebook Ad from the Ads Manager your first choice is the “Campaign Objective”. When you boost a post the “Campaign Objective” called “Post Engagement” is automatically selected for you. Once you have finished creating an ad campaign you cannot change the “Campaign Objective”. If you want to change it you have to start over by creating a new campaign.

Two “Campaign Objectives”, one called “Reach” and the other called “Brand Awareness” both provide a similar result to the process described above. One big difference is that these objectives don’t not allow your ads to shown in the right column on desktop PCs. They do however offer an option called “Frequency Capping”. Frequency capping allows you to specify a number of days before the same person sees your ad again.

The optimization setting options vary depending on which Campaign Objective you are using.

Reach vs Engagement – My experiment

I used 2 similar Ads with $10 Ad Spend for each Ad on the same Local Audience of 17,000

Ad 1
Campaign Objective = Post Engagement (Automatically set when using the boost post button)
Optimize for Engagement (Ad Setting)
Engagement = 34
People Reached = 611

facebook optimization setting

Ad 2
Campaign Objective = Post Engagement (Automatically set when using the boost post button)
Optimize for Reach (Ad Setting)
Engagement = 26
People Reached = 2738

facebook ads optimization setting

With the default setting of “Post Engagement” on a boosted post I reached only 611 people. I reached 2738 people with the “Optimize for Reach” setting. That’s because Facebook didn’t try to find people who would engage, it just tried to find as many people as it could within my audience and budget.

Who Will You Reach with Your Facebook Ad?

Your objective is to reach as many people as you can within your audience without having Facebook try to pick and choose who might be the best people. So you may reach many people who are not the ones you need. But remember, this is a branding/awareness type of ad campaign. Your goal is to reach more than you need so you don’t miss anyone.

Is this really the right way to use the “Reach” setting?

If you read other articles written by Facebook advertising experts about the Reach setting, they’ll usually say to use it only on small retargeted (custom) audiences. This makes sense for businesses that are advertising to large audiences covering large geographic areas because it would be a huge waste of money to show your Ads to everyone in those large audiences.

If your audience is very large, like several hundred thousand or more, it would get very expensive and inefficient to use the “Reach” setting. If this is the case you should use a custom audience. For example people who have visited your website recently. The reason is that you know these people will be more responsive and so it’s not a waste of money to show your Ad to all of them.

But for small local businesses with local customers it makes sense to use the Reach setting. With a small,¬†local business with local customers your audience is not going to be very large because you’ll be limiting your Ads to people in your local area. You’ll still be wasting a little more money showing your Ads to non potential customers, but you’re going to get more exposure.

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  1. tm on July 12, 2017 at 1:43 am

    I find that interesting, I’m really trying to understand how to create an ad with my exact pixel data… can we target the ad only to people who have performed a certain action, tracked by the pixel, on our facebook page/website?

  2. Jeff on July 12, 2017 at 9:45 am

    Yes you can target facebook ads to people who have engaged with your facebook page and posts AND you can target Facebook ads to people who have visited your website, or specific pages on your website (this is where the pixel comes into play). The pixel is only for tracking people on your website, not tracking Facebook engagement.

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