How to Create Facebook Reach Ads Using the Reach Objective

There are 13 different Facebook ad objectives and each has its place. But sometimes you just want to get your message out to as many people as possible, and that’s what Facebook reach ads are for.

Facebook ad objectives are split into 3 categories: Awareness, Consideration and Conversion:

Ads Manager Campaign Objectives

Reach falls under the Awareness category and because of that, it is rarely used. Most Facebook advertisers want immediate sales or at least link clicks, and aren’t too bothered with awareness.

That’s shortsighted in my opinion and I would recommend that you dedicate some of your ad budget to building a brand on Facebook, but that’s another topic entirely.

The reach objective can raise awareness for your company or it’s products, but it can also help you meet your short term objectives as well.

Campaign objectives such as conversions, instruct Facebook to generate as many conversions as possible. This means that Facebook’s algorithms will try to workout who is most likely to convert, and serve your ads to those people.

The problem is that those people can be much more expensive to advertise to than others in your target audience and Facebook has a tendency to show the same people your ad again and again.

With the reach objective, you can ensure that a much higher percentage of your target audience sees your ad.

This has a number of important applications that I’ll get to later, but first let’s go through how you create a reach campaign…

How to create Facebook Reach Ads

Start by going into Ads Manager and click the Create button to create a new campaign:

Create Facebook campaign button

That will bring up a window that looks like this:

reach campaign objective

Here you obviously want to select the Reach objective. Then simply scroll down, give your campaign a name and click Continue:

Reach Facebook campaign objective

That will take you to the Ad Set creation page:

Facebook ad set creation

Here you enter your targeting criteria, placement options and budget as usual. For more information on Facebook targeting, check out this article.

The differences between reach campaigns and other campaign types are found in the Optimization for Ad Delivery section at the bottom. Scroll down to it and you will see something like this:

reach ads optimization for ad delivery

First, you can decide to optimize for reach or impressions:

reach or impressions

Reach is what Facebook recommends and I would agree. With the reach optimization selected Facebook will show your ad to as many people as possible.

With the impressions optimization on the other hand, Facebook will deliver your ads to people as many times as possible. This means that certain people are likely to see your ad more often, instead of the impressions being shared more evenly across your target audience.

The next thing you need to decide is your frequency cap.

Frequency Cap

Facebook ads frequency cap

Here you decide how many times people within your target audience will be shown your ads within a certain time-frame.

Setting an appropriate frequency cap is very important.

Too high and you’ll run into ad frequency issues. Too low and you won’t generate many impressions, particularly if your targeting a narrow audience.

The number you select here is highly dependent on your circumstances. Your budget, the size of your audience and what you’re offering, are all major factors.

For example, if you want to advertise a 5-day holiday sale, then you probably want to use a high frequency cap. That way, you can make sure people are aware of your sale by showing them your ad multiple times. And you don’t have to worry about ad fatigue because of the short time window.

With larger audiences, a lower frequency cap is more appropriate as it ensures a larger number of people will see your ads.

Facebook defaults to 1 impression per person every 7 days, and that isn’t a bad place to start.

If you find that you’re not reaching as much of your audience as you would like, then your can increase the 7 day time window.

Alternatively, if you notice that you’re not spending your daily budget, you can increase the impression number.

Once you’ve decided on your frequency cap you can scroll to the bottom of the page and select Continue. That will take you to the ad creation page where you can create your ad as you usually would. For ad inspiration check out these 11 examples of successful Facebook ads.

When to Use the Reach Objective

I mentioned at the beginning of this article that you can use Facebook reach ads to achieve both short term and long term goals. Well here are a few examples where you might want to use the reach objective:

Small Ad Budget

If your Facebook ad budget is quite small relative to the size of your audience, Facebook reach ads might be the way to go.

Facebook’s optimization process needs quite a lot of data to work properly. For example, Facebook say that they need 50 conversions or more in a week, to properly optimize for conversions.

Depending on what you’re offering and the size of your budget, that may not be possible.

Small, Local Audiences

Business that advertise to small and/or local audiences can benefit from using Facebook reach ads.

When you’re advertising to a small audience (let’s say 50,000 people or less) you cannot afford to have the majority of your ad impressions go to a small percentage of your target audience. You need to reach as many people in that audience as possible.

This is particularly important for local businesses that cannot target other audiences.

Prevent Ad Fatigue

Facebook audiences do not change very quickly. Which means that ad fatigue can be a real problem if your ads are shown to the same people, too many times.

When I see ad frequency reach 2.0-2.5, I usually start to see a drop off in results, when targeting cold audiences.

You can stop this from becoming an issue with a frequency cap.

Timely Offers

I’ve already mentioned this, but it’s worth repeating here. If you’re running a timely offer then the reach objective can deliver much better results than the alternatives.

Offers with a time limit, such as holiday discount sales, work very well because they instill a sense of urgency with your target audience.

But this only works if people within your audience actually see your ad. And you don’t have long to tell them about it.

I nearly always use Facebook reach ads for flash sales or timely offers. That way, I can make as many people aware of the sale as possible.

Your Turn

How have you used Facebook reach ads? Did they perform better or worse than other ad types?

Let me know in the comments section.

  • July 2, 2018

    Hi Ben, I run a very successful Stop Smoking Seminar here in Ireland and the UK.

    We host the seminar in various venues.

    Our advertising has been via the local regional papers, however, I am now looking at the Facebook ad set up and learning as I go.

    My concern regarding the Facebook ad set up has to do with the OBJECTIVE of such.

    I can’t see how one could effectively and specifically ‘target’ as I’m sure Facebook would have no idea who smokes and would therefore require our expertise.

    I have used the REACH objective with some success, but can only put in the AGE and LOCATION of where we are conducting the upcoming clinic.

    Will Facebook penalise us because of a lower RELEVANCY score due to such – or do they account for this when one uses the REACH objective?

    Excellent article!


      • July 2, 2018

        Thanks a million Ben for your prompt reply. Really appreciate that.

        As I’m very new to all this, was just wondering would Facebook penalise us because of a lower RELEVANCY score due to the fact we have no way of knowing who ‘smokes’ and who doesn’t (and I’d assume Facebook can’t be sure either) – or do they account / understand this when one uses the REACH objective?

        Thanks so much Ben.


          • July 4, 2018

            Thanks Ben for your input.

            I really appreciate it.

            Wishing you every success.



  • December 3, 2018
    Shafiq Raduan

    Hi Ben, since my audience is small about 15k to 20k. I’m interested to use Reach Objective, can i ?

    Is it relevant to use Reach for size audience 150K above? I’m running with small budgets only, USD 5 per day like that

  • May 21, 2019

    Hello, Great post! I would like to do retargeting ads and us Reach in a “Drip” FB campaign… The problem is, my audiences won’t be very big as a result. I say maybe about 100-150 (Not K) :), just 1 hundred to hundred 50… I tried with showing my ad 2 times per day, but it’s not showing the ads to people…

    Should I do reach campaigns to cold audiences to build this up and be really aggressive with it?

  • May 21, 2019

    Also noticed that FB won’t allow you to change the frq cap once the add has been created :/

  • May 23, 2019

    Hello , Ben . I just want to first say ‘ thank you ‘ for the help you provide.
    Here’s my question: I’m starting a lead generation company for chiropractors. And honestly, my head is about to explode from info . Overload!
    When running a campaign for leads , would you choose the ‘ reach ‘ objective over traffic & conversions?

      • May 23, 2019

        also I’m testing a new strategy . It’s a text -to-enter campaign. So for example , text ‘ health’ to 345345
        What objective would you use for a strategy like this ?

  • May 23, 2019

    What’s up Ben ! What frequency cap do you use when getting leads for a Local business? 1 every 7 days ?

  • September 11, 2019

    It’s for a local business- what do you mean by tracking ?
    When someone texts in that keyword, it automatically stores there information like a CRM. Would that be sufficient tracking or better if FB tracks it ?

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