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engagement objective on Facebook

Don’t Use the ENGAGEMENT Objective on Facebook! Here’s Why…

As a business owner, it can be very tempting to use the Facebook engagement objective to run your ads.

I get it. You want people to be engaged with your brand.

On the surface, using the engagement objective seems like a really good idea, because people are commenting on and liking your posts. Using engagement campaigns also used to work and sometimes was a good way to warm up your audience before sending them into a conversion campaign. They also used to be great for gathering social proof that you could use in other ads.

But things on Facebook have changed.

Facebook has gotten better at getting people to engage and better at finding the people who will engage. But the price is that the engagement has become more and more negative. It’s far easier to get someone to write a negative comment or click the angry face, then it is for someone to click like, love, or care.

If you attempt to use the engagement objective on Facebook, you may end up with some unintended negative consequences for your campaign.

That means that as a business owner you want to think twice before you use the engagement campaign objective to sell your products.

What Is The Engagement Objective?

Facebook ad campaigns have many objectives that you can optimize to. My favorite objective for almost all campaigns is conversions. The conversion objective lets you get what you probably want the most – which is leads and sales. And you typically get leads and sales at the best price possible with a conversion campaign.

But there are also many other types of objectives on Facebook and engagement is one or them.

Here’s what Facebook has to say about the engagement objective: “The engagement objective is designed to get more people to see and engage with your Facebook post or Page.”

Facebook's definition of the engagement objective

You can create engagement campaigns at the campaign level of your ad manager.

engagement objective in Facebook

When you check off the engagement objective at the campaign level of an ad campaign you will see three additional options for engagement.

  1. Post engagement
  2. Page likes
  3. Event responses
Post engagement

What I’m talking about in this guide is the post engagement option. This is when you have Facebook optimize for people who interact with a specific post.

Problem #1 with Engagement Campaigns: The Negative Comments and Reactions Far Outweigh the Positive Comments and Reactions

Facebook favoring negative reactions

As I mentioned earlier, Facebook has gotten better at getting engagements on ads using the engagement objective. Unfortunately, much of the way they’ve done this is by amplifying the negative voices.

Facebook counts an angry reaction or a negative comment as engagement. There has been reporting that they weight the angry comments and reactions HEAVIER than positive ones, so you are likely to see more negative comments on your posts – especially if you are optimizing for engagement.

As a business owner you know that your reputation is one of the most important assets you have, so you don’t want to have lots of comments on your ads that say things like “never buy from this place” and you don’t want a ton of angry reactions either.

Unfortunately, for most people Facebook engagement posts tend to generate lots of negative reactions and comments, so it’s best to stay away from them.

Problem #2 with Engagement Campaigns: They Can Negatively Affect Your Conversion Campaigns

The second problem that we’re seeing at my agency with Facebook engagement campaigns is not quite as straightforward or obvious.

When you run Facebook engagement campaigns you are training Facebook to present your ads to the wrong people.

The Facebook ad algorithm learns at the account level and will optimize your campaigns over time to the objectives you select.

For this example, lets say that you are running an engagement campaign for social proof and also running a conversion campaign. This is a strategy that a lot of people used to use quite successfullly.

conversions objective

Now though, a lot of the engagement that you get on an engagement campaign is negative and those are not the type of people you want to show your conversion ads to. ‘

That means that you are setting up a situation where Facebook has to go through extra learning to find out who your buyers or subscribers actually are – which burns through your ad budget without getting you results.

You want the most possible bang for your buck out of your ad spend, so it’s important that you make sure that you give Facebook the best data possible to start learning with. When you are using the engagement objective you will often be pointing Facebook to exactly the kind of people that you don’t want to be advertising to.

Problem #3 with Engagement Campaigns: They Can Mess Up a Prime Warm Audience

Another less obvious problem with Facebook engagement campaigns is that they can mess up a warm audience that can potentially convert very well for you.

One of the warm audiences that I usually recommend that people create is a custom audience of everyone who has engaged with your campaign.

When you create your custom audience you can choose the option for Facebook Page, which will pull events from your business Facebook page.

custom audience from Facebook page

Then you can target everyone who engaged with your Page.

Page engagement audience

Normally, this will be an audience of people who are interested in you, your business, and what you have to offer.

But if you’ve been running engagement campaigns that are likely generating a lot of negative comments and reactions because of the way Facebook’s algorithm is set up, then you are going to make this audience much less effective – if it’s effective at all.

Resource: If you aren’t familiar with custom audiences, I show you how to set them up easily in my post “How to Create Facebook Ads Custom Audiences.”

More Free Facebook Ads Training

There is nothing I like better than to see business owners increase their ROI with Facebook Ads. In order to help business owners succeed with Facebook ads I’ve created a FREE webinar training that you can register for here.

Free Facebook ads training

When you attend this webinar you’ll learn:

  • 3 different Facebook ad strategies that we use every day. These strategies have generated millions of dollars in revenue and are tried and proven to work.
  • How to customize the Facebook ads strategy to your particular business. There is no such thing as a one size fits all approach to Facebook ads.
  • How Facebook and Instagram have changed and how to adjust your ad strategy to what works in 2021.

Video Tutorial on Why You Shouldn’t Use Facebook Engagement Campaigns

In this video I break down why you should no longer use Facebook Engagement Campaigns in your business.

The Bottom Line on Why You Shouldn’t Use Facebook Engagement Campaigns

Facebook engagement campaigns used to work well for some businesses, especially when they used them with conversion campaigns. The problem that’s happening now is that Facebook has become better at getting people to engage, but they do it by favoring negative comments and reactions.

Those negative comments and reactions can cause problems for your business when you run this type of campaign. The problems include:

  1. Negative comments and reactions that far outweigh the positive comments and reactions
  2. A negative effect on your conversion campaigns
  3. The likelihood of messing up a prime warm audience

Just because you shouldn’t run engagement campaigns doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t run Facebook ads. This is something you ABSOLUTELY should do. But you should probably be running conversion ads, because they work the best for the vast majority of businesses.

Comments
  • April 28, 2022
    Mikaela

    Thank you! You have just saved this newbie from making a costly mistake. Horrible that Facebook favour negative reactions! Really bad vibes. What is the world coming to… I was going to try engagement to create a warm audience for my conversion ad but I’m having second thoughts now.

    reply
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