Hands On with ODAX: A Guide to Facebook Objectives

On January 9, I told you about ODAX (Outcome-Based Ad Experiences), which is Facebook’s new campaign objective flow. Going forward, Facebook advertisers will have six objectives to choose from, instead of 11.

Facebook ODAX

I didn’t have the update at the time, so I could only share what was public knowledge. While I’m still waiting on it for my main ad account, I do have access to it from my inactive ad accounts (because of course I do).

The biggest mystery to me prior to getting access was how this impacted ad set options. It’s a mystery no more.

Let’s walk through each objective and how it relates to some minor changes in the ad set.


DESCRIPTION: “Show your ads to people who are most likely to remember them.”


  • Reach
  • Brand Awareness
  • Video Views

You’ll typically use Awareness when actions aren’t a priority (though there are exceptions). The primary goal is to get your ad in front of people and hopefully have them remember seeing it.

Combining Reach and Brand Awareness made sense (these were separate objectives in the old version). The surprise was including Video Views in this group, though it is logical. Videos are great for getting attention, but not always ideal for driving actions.

This is updated in Optimization & Delivery. While “Reach” is the default, there are several additional options:

  • Reach
  • Impressions
  • Ad Recall Lift
  • ThruPlay
  • 2-Second Continuous Video Views
Reach Objective Optimization ODAX

Under the old Brand Awareness objective, the only optimization option was Ad Recall Lift. The old Reach objective allowed for Reach or Impressions. You needed to use the old Video Views objective before to optimize for ThruPlay or 2-Second Continuous Video Views.

Now, all three are combined under Reach.


DESCRIPTION: “Send people to a destination, like your website, app, or Facebook event.”


  • Link Clicks
  • Landing Page Views

You’ll use Traffic when you care more about getting people on your website, app, or Facebook event than having them perform an action once they’re there.

There’s a minor change to the top of the ad set, though it’s mostly cosmetic.

Here’s the old version…

Old Traffic Destinations

And here’s the new ODAX version (no Phone Calls)…

ODAX Traffic

ODAX is missing Phone Calls from Traffic, but we’ll find that later under Leads.

The optimization options will depend upon your Conversion Location. These are unchanged from the prior design.


  • Landing Page Views
  • Link Clicks
  • Daily Unique Reach
  • Impressions


  • Link Clicks
  • Daily Unique Reach


  • Link Clicks
  • Daily Unique Reach
  • Impressions


  • Link Clicks
  • Daily Unique Reach
  • Impressions

Engagement: Genearal Overview

DESCRIPTION: “Get more messages, video views, post engagement, Page likes or event responses.”


  • Messages
  • Video Views
  • Likes, Comments, and Shares

You’ll use Engagement when you want to generate clicks, discussion, and possibly virality, but you don’t care whether these people perform any bottom-of-the-funnel events.

Okay, so this is a pretty complicated update. Previously, you selected the engagement type at the campaign level:

Facebook Engagement Type

With ODAX, this is now done at the top of the ad set (and it’s WAY different):

ODAX Engagement

As you can see, you first select the conversion location among these options:

  • On Your Ad
  • Messaging Apps
  • Website
  • App
  • Facebook Page

And then you select the engagement type below it. And we haven’t even gotten to the optimization yet. That’s a lot!

Let’s break this up by conversion location because there’s a lot to cover here.

Engagement: On Your Ad

If you select “On Your Ad” for the conversion location, you can choose from video views, post engagement, and event responses as engagement types.

ODAX Engagement Types

Following are the optimization options for each…

  • Video Views: ThruPlay, 2-Second Continuous Video Views
  • Post Engagement: Post Engagement, Daily Unique Reach, Impressions
  • Event Responses: Post Engagement, Daily Unique Reach, Event Response, Impressions

Engagement: Messaging Apps

When you select Messaging Apps as your conversion location, you first need to choose an ad type (pick from Click to Message or Sponsored Message).

ODAX Messaging Apps Ad Type

Next, you’ll need to select the messaging apps you want to use (Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram Direct) and the associated accounts.

ODAX Messaging Apps

If you create a Click to Message ad with any of the messaging apps individually (you don’t select them all), you’ll be able to optimize for Link Clicks or Conversations.

ODAX Messenger

I don’t know if this is an oversight, but if you select multiple apps for Click to Message, you can only optimize for Conversations.

Sponsored Messages are only available for Messenger, and they allow you to optimize for Impressions only.

ODAX Sponsored Message

Engagement: Website

When you select your website as the conversion location, you’ll need to choose a pixel and conversion event. What’s interesting is that Facebook won’t allow me to select Complete Registration, Purchase, or Initiate Checkout here. It absolutely makes sense because these wouldn’t seem like “engagement” events, but it’s interesting that Facebook seems to have this (good) control in place.

All of the events that I can select would certainly qualify more as engagement (Link Clicks, View Content, Scroll Depth, Search, etc.).

ODAX Website Engagement Events

What appears here, of course, will depend upon the events that fire on your website.

Once I select one of the available events, I’m able to optimize for Conversions, Landing Page Views, Link Clicks, Daily Unique Reach, or Impressions.

ODAX Website Engagement Optimization

Engagement: App

After selecting the App conversion location, you’ll need to choose your app, App Store, and App Event (sorry, I don’t have an app!).

ODAX App Engagement

You will then be able to optimize for App Events, Link Clicks, or Daily Unique Reach.

ODAX App Engagement Optimization

Engagement: Facebook Page

Finally, if you select Facebook Page as your conversion location, you’ll first need to select the page you’ll want to promote.

ODAX Facebook Page Engagement

The only optimization option is Page Likes.

ODAX Facebook Page Engagement Optimization

Leads: General

DESCRIPTION: “Collect leads for your business or brand.”


  • Instant Forms
  • Messages
  • Calls
  • Sign ups

The most interesting thing about the new Leads objective is that it combines all methods of collecting leads. Previously, “Lead Generation” was only for Instant Forms, Automated Chat, or Calls.

Again, this is the OLD version…

Lead Generation Lead Method

But, with ODAX, you select from Website, Instant Forms, Messenger, Calls, or App.

ODAX Lead Conversion Location

As was the case with Engagement, there’s a lot here to digest. So, let’s break it up by conversion location…

Leads: Website

If you select Website as the conversion location, you’ll need to also choose your pixel and conversion event.

ODAX Website Leads

As was the case with website engagement, Facebook restricts the events that you can select. Among standard events, I’m unable to select Initiate Checkout, Purchase, Search, or View Content (which makes sense since none of these should represent a lead).

Optimization options are typical, providing Conversions, Landing Page Views, Link Clicks, Daily Unique Reach, and Impressions.

ODAX Website Leads Optimization

Leads: Instant Forms and Messenger

Of course, Instant Forms are the historical standard for Facebook leads optimization. You’ll select your page at the top and then can optimize for Leads or Conversion Leads (a rather new development during the past year).

ODAX Instant Forms Leads Optimization

If you select Messenger, you’ll also select your page at the top. The only optimization option, in this case, is Leads.

Leads: Calls

If you want to generate phone calls, this is how you do it. Choose the Leads objective and select Calls as the conversion location.

The only optimization option will be Calls.

ODAX Calls Leads Optimization

Leads: App

The final Conversion Location you can select for Leads is App. Select your app, app store, and app event at the top. You can optimize for App Events, Link Clicks, and Daily Unique Reach.

ODAX App Leads Optimization

App Promotion

DESCRIPTION: “Find new people to install your app and continue using it.”


  • App Installs
  • App Events

While we’re on the topic of apps, let’s move from collecting leads with apps to generating installs and app events. This functions mostly unchanged from the prior App Installs objective.

After selecting App Promotion, you can choose from App Ads or Automated App Ads.

ODAX App Promotion

When using Automated App Ads, you can optimize for App Installs, App Installs with App Events, App Events, or Value.

ODAX App Promotion

For App Ads, you can optimize for Link Clicks, Value, App Events, or App Installs.

ODAX App Promotion

Sales: General

DESCRIPTION: “Find people likely to purchase your product or service.”


  • Conversions
  • Catalog Sales
  • Messages

You’ll recall that previously you’d select the Conversions objective to optimize for a purchase. Facebook has separated value-based from nonvalue-based conversions by using Leads and Purchases.

If you turn on the catalog, you can run Catalog Sales (Dynamic Ads).

ODAX Sales Catalog

Otherwise, Facebook provides five options for conversion locations: Website, App, Website and App, Messenger, and WhatsApp.

ODAX Sales Conversion Location

Let’s cover each individually…

Sales: Website

First, select your pixel and pixel event at the top of the ad set.

ODAX Website Purchase

While I was prevented from selecting the Search event, I found it interesting that Facebook didn’t prevent me from selecting other events (like View content) that aren’t value-based.

Optimization is mostly unchanged from before, providing options for Conversions, Landing Page Views, Link Clicks, Daily Unique Reach, and Impressions.

ODAX Website Purchase

I’m not seeing Value as an option, but I assume that’s only because I’m using a test account (or, at least, I hope that’s why).

Sales: App

If you select App as the conversion destination, you’ll first need to select the app, app store, and app event at the top of the ad set.

Optimization options are App Events, Link Clicks, and Daily Unique Reach.

ODAX App Purchase

Sales: Website and App

This is interesting. It allows you to select both your website and app at the same time. Once you do, you’ll need to select your pixel and app at the top of the ad set.

ODAX Web and App Purchase

Conversions will be the only option for optimization.

ODAX Web and App Purchase Optimization

Sales: Messenger

If you select Messenger as your conversion destination, you will still need to select your pixel and event.

ODAX Messenger Purchase

Your default optimization option will be Conversations, but you will also be able to optimize for Conversions, Link Clicks, Daily Unique Reach, and Impressions.

ODAX Messenger Purchase Optimization

Sales: WhatsApp

The setup for WhatsApp is similar to Messenger, but you’ll need to select your WhatsApp account (assuming you have one).

ODAX WhatsApp Purchase

Optimization options for WhatsApp purchases are Link Clicks (default), Daily Unique Reach, and Impressions.

ODAX WhatsApp Purchase Optimization

Recap: The Biggest Changes

Overall, this is mostly a matter of simplification and streamlining how advertisers go through the campaign creation process. Facebook felt it was getting confusing for advertisers before, so these changes were made.

This is more about “moving the cheese” than anything. There doesn’t appear to be any lost functionality, that I can find.

Is the process easier? Well, the objective-selection process clearly is. But, you’ll also notice that the ad sets are now far more complicated, particularly for Engagement, Leads, and Purchases.

That said, the flow seems clearer. You set your goal (the objective). You tell Facebook where you want to send people. And then Facebook provides optimization options consistent with what you’ve selected.

While that was theoretically the case before, one could argue that it was less logical.

Your Turn

Have you started using ODAX, the new streamlined objective selection process? What do you think?

Let me know in the comments below!