Facebook Advertising The Difference Between Website Clicks and Website Conversions

One of the questions that I get asked often when people are starting a Facebook ad is which Objective they should choose, Website Clicks or Website Conversions.  The language on the Facebook objectives area has changed a little – you have to choose either “Send people to your website”, aka Website Clicks, or “Increase conversions on your website”, aka Website Conversions.

In this article I’ll show you the differences between the two, and which one works best for your situation.

Choose your Facebook Marketing Objective

The first step when you launch a Facebook Ad from either the Ads Manager or the Power Editor, will be to choose your objective.

Facebook Ad Objectives

At first glance, the “Increase conversions” sounds like the better option.  Who doesn’t want actual conversions rather than just website traffic.

What You Need BEFORE You Choose Website Conversions

Well there are a few things you need to have in place before you can select the website conversions option:

  1. You must have the Facebook Pixel from your Ads Manager installed on your website.
  2. You have to have a “thank you page” that indicates that the “conversion” is complete.
  3. You have to have either a Standard Event or Custom Conversion set up on that “thank you page” so that Facebook knows that the conversion is complete.

So let’s unpack this a little.

The Facebook Pixel is a bit of code that is tied to your Facebook ad account that you install in the <head> </head> area of your website.  If you aren’t sure how to do this, talk to your webmaster and they should be able to help you.  Also look at my post on the Facebook Pixel.

If you are sending someone to a page on your website where they can optin to your newsletter, get something for free, sign up for a webinar, or purchase something, then you should have a “thank you page” that is on your website.  That means that after they sign up, they get redirected to a page that says something like “thank you for your order” or “thanks for signing up”.

It has to be a page on YOUR site, not something auto generated by your e-mail system or shopping cart system.  Because that thank you page also has to have your Facebook Pixel on it.

So if you are able to create your own thank you page, then the next step is to make sure you tell Facebook what conversion you are optimizing for.

The way you do that is to either place some additional code on the thank you page with one of the Standard Events on it or to use a Custom Conversion for the thank you page.

The Standard event code is just one additional line that gets added into the Base Pixel code and you can choose whichever code makes the most sense for the type of conversion.

Standard Events

Or the alternative is to create a Custom Conversion with an exact match to the thank you page.

Facebook Ads Custom Conversions

Now you are ready to create a Website Conversion ad.

The Differences Between Optimizing for Clicks or Conversions

Depending on your situation, you may not be able to choose to optimize for conversions because you can’t place the pixel on the website or in the thank you page.  These situations include:

  • Sending people to purchase your product on Amazon
  • Sending people to signup for a webinar if you cannot place the pixel on the signup or thank you page
  • Sending people to sign up for an event through a 3rd party event signup page
  • Sending people to any site other than your own

So in that case, you will just have to optimize your ad to get the most Link Clicks.  And that can be ok if that’s your best option.  What that means is that Facebook will show your ad to people within your original targeting demographics you specify, who are ALSO more likely to click on links

Facebook ads optimize for link clicks


If you are able to set up a Website Conversion ad, then you will first have to choose the Conversion you are optimizing around from the drop-down menu.  What this will do is to tell Facebook what the “conversion” is for this particular ad.  The ad will also track other conversions that may occur if you have a multi-step process and you have other pixel events that happen as a direct result from this ad traffic.


Facebook Ads website conversions


Then the default setting for the ad delivery will be set to Conversions.  Which means that your ad will be shown to people who are more likely to convert and are also within the demographics you have specified in the targeting.  I find this to usually be the best way to optimize your ads (but there can be exceptions).


Facebook Optimize for Website Conversions


If you have created an ad with the objective of Website Clicks, you can still track conversions by selecting your pixel in the Ad section of the setup.  But I have definitely found that it’s best to set up a Website Conversion ad if you can.  You will get cheaper website clicks, but I usually find I get cheaper conversions when I start with a Website Conversion ad.

Track Conversions on Facebook Click ad


Lead Generation Ads

Just a quick word about getting and tracking conversions from a Facebook ad.  If you aren’t able to set up the pixel, and you are giving away something for free, you can use the Lead Generation ad as an alternative to be able to track conversions from the ad.  This is a more manual process since the leads will come in to the back end of your Facebook Page.  But it may be something worth exploring so you know exactly the cost of your optins from your Facebook ad campaign.

Facebook Lead Generation Ad


Lead Generation Ads are slightly more complicated to set up since you need to create the Lead Form but it can be worth it to track your effectiveness.

Facebook ads are an extremely powerful and highly trackable marketing tool!  I recommend using the Website Conversion objective whenever possible because I’ve seen much better results from that ad type.  But it does take a little more setup in the beginning.  Share your questions and thoughts in the comments below!

Website Conversion Ads

Need to know more about Facebook Ads?  Join my course, Facebook Advertising Secrets!

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