Facebook’s Brand Awareness Objective Explained

In the past, driving brand awareness through Facebook posed interesting measurement challenges. Brands were left with click-through rate (CTR), engagement rate (ER), and impressions as the benchmarks for success—proof that “brand awareness” was on the rise. While these metrics are adequate proxies from which to build a baseline, they have limited correlation to real business outcomes.

The solution: Facebook’s Brand Awareness objective. (Also available on Instagram.)

Brand Awareness Objective: Quality Time With Your Ads

In 2015, Facebook answered the call of many social advertisers by unveiling its Brand Awareness objective. The long anticipated addition included two new optimization goals: brand awareness and reach as well as a new reporting metric called “estimated ad recall lift.” Combined, companies have been leveraging this objective to maximize the number of users across Facebook’s ecosystem who will recall an ad they saw.

Optimization Goal: Brand Awareness

Brand awareness optimization comprises two proxies: reach and attention, which Facebook uses to optimize the ads. This optimization helps ensure ads are being served to people who are more likely to spend time with them and recall them later.

Optimization Goal: Reach

Reach optimization allows brands to maximize the number of unique people who see their ads during a specific period of time, while also capping the frequency of impressions for each Facebook user. For example, setting the reach to one impression per day means that Facebook will serve no more than one impression per user per day across all placement types selected: Facebook, Instagram, and Facebook Audience Network (FAN).

Estimated Ad Recall Lift

Estimated ad recall lift is a reporting metric that tells brands how many people are estimated to remember their ad within 2 days based on information Facebook has collected. Facebook has studied the correlation of attention (time spent viewing), reach, and ad recall. When put into practice, this metric can provide brands useful insight into how well a campaign is “breaking through” or “resonating” with an audience.

facebook's brand awareness objective

3 Keys to Increasing Brand Awareness and Shifting Brand Metrics

1. Frequency Depends on the Campaign’s Flight

One of the reasons advertisers are so eager to take advantage of Facebook’s Brand Awareness objective is because it offers more control over the frequency and duration of their ads. This gives them a lever to control the estimated ad recall lift, which is something they weren’t able to accurately report on using metrics like impressions and CTR.

With that in mind, when selecting an ad’s frequency, remember to keep the flight duration in mind. If running a month-long campaign, selecting a frequency of one impression over the course of the campaign likely won’t be enough to drive ad recall. Instead, Brand Networks recommends experimenting with different frequencies and audience sizes until you’re consistently delivering at least four or five impressions per person over the course of a one-month campaign. When in doubt, reduce your audience size by adjusting targeting, and focus on creating a higher average frequency. This will increase ad recall, albeit with a smaller audience.

2. Creative Should Be Memorable

While the technical aspects of Brand Awareness ads are critical to their success, creative plays an equally important role in making sure your audience remembers your ads.

The Content Services team at Brand Networks recommends keeping Brand Awareness ads concise. Let branding serve as the focal point. Leave nothing to the imagination and make the ad’s purpose clear—the more time someone has to spend trying to understand it, the less effective it will be.

3. Test Different Creative Styles

At times, following a road less traveled can be a good thing. Consider veering from traditional ad formats when you think of driving ad recall, and instead try Link Page Posts, similar to Direct Response Ads, to drive clicks off of the platform. This can result in more time spent with your campaign and can help improve recall and other brand awareness objectives.

The NBA’s Golden State Warriors came to Facebook to grow worldwide brand awareness. Using distinctive creative, including Link ads, the campaign resulted in a 53% increase in their international fan base.


When it comes down to it, the success of any campaign relies on brand awareness—and luckily for you, Facebook’s Brand Awareness objective provides a lot of leverage to make that happen.

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