How and when to use the Facebook Reach Objective

How and when to use the Facebook Reach Objective

Have you tried using the Reach objective? 

Do you want to improve your Facebook ad performance? 

In this article, you’ll learn how using the Reach objective can be more effective at serving ads to your target audiences. 

Reach objective versus other Facebook campaign objectives 

Before we go through the process of using the Reach objective and how it’s can be more successful in comparison to other Facebook campaign objectives, we’ll first go through how your objective impacts your ad delivery to your target audience.  

When choosing your campaign objective, Facebook is able to segment your target audience into different ‘buckets’ based on whether they are likely to meet your objective goals and carry out the action that you are optimising for.  

For example, with the Traffic campaign, Facebook will segment your audience in order to show your ads to users who regularly click on links on Facebook – both ads and organic posts.  

Reach is one of the 13 advertising objectives that you can use on Facebook

Firstly, we need to choose your objective. Usually, your objective will align with the goal of your campaign, such as Traffic to send people to your website and Conversions to generate purchases or leads. 

However, when using the Reach objective, the objective goal is to reach as many people in your target audience, despite the goal of the advertiser being to generate purchases or leads from the campaign. 

When to use the Reach objective 

In order to get the best results from the Reach objective, you want to use it wisely. Typically, you won’t see great results if you use it targeting large audiences such as Lookalikes

For best result, you’ll find the most success with the Reach objective when targeting smaller audiences; this will allow you to reach as many people in your audience as possible and keep your CPM low. 

Another added benefit of using the Reach objective is that you’ll be able to minimise the effect of ad fatigue. Do this by setting a frequency cap at the Ad Set level; We’ll delve more on how to use Frequency capping later in the campaign example. 

When using the Reach objective you can set a frequency cap to help combat the negative impact of ad fatigue.

Here are some scenarios of where using the Reach objective instead of Traffic or Conversions or any other campaign objective would be optimal. 

As with all Facebook ad objectives, you can use the Reach objective to target the three different types of audience temperatures on Facebook – Cold, Warm and Hot.  

However, since it’s best used with a small target audience, you’ll find the most success when using further down your sales funnel when targeting hot audiences, as these are the smallest of all the audience temperatures. 

You can use the Reach objective when targeting all three different types of audience temperature.

Target Cold Audiences 

When talking about cold audiences most people think of Lookalikes. However, using the Reach objective to target these won’t be as effective as using other objectives such as Conversions or Traffic; this is because the size of Lookalikes is too large. Despite the Reach objective producing lower CPMs,  this result will be negatively outweighed by the lower result rate you’ll experience, due to a decrease in click-through-rate (CTR). 

Instead, the Reach objective is a great choice when you want to target a geographically constrained audience such as a local audience since this audience size will be smaller. It’s also one to use if you run a local business, such as a restaurant, and want to reach the highest number of people within a set radius of your location. 

Use the Reach objective when targeting a “cold” local audience within a set radius of your business location.

Target Warm Audiences 

Warm audiences include engagement custom audiences such as video custom audiences and page or profile engagement custom audiences. 

With warm audiences, you’ll have a smaller audience size and therefore the most relevant audience for using the Reach objective by choosing a small time duration window. 

For example, with a video custom audience, you’re able to create the most engaged and responsive small audience possible by choosing the highest level of engagement, 95%, video view, along with a short time duration such as 30 days or smaller, depending on how many daily views you are generating on Facebook or Instagram. 

Use the Reach objective when targeting “warm” audiences such as video custom audiences and page engagement audiences.

Alternatively, with page engagement custom audiences, you’ll want to choose the page/ad engagement condition and then set the time duration to the last 30 days or smaller, again this will depend on how many engagements you are generating per day. 

Target Hot Audiences 

When using the Reach objective, the most effective audiences we’ve discovered are hot audiences of website traffic. These are often the smallest in size, depending on how much traffic your website receives, and are the most qualified and highly responsive since they have previously engaged with your business via your website. 

For example, when creating a website custom audience of all website traffic, choose a short duration such as 3 days to create a very small but highly effective audience. When using the Reach objective, you’ll then be able to serve ads to more of that audience than you would with any other objective. 

Use the Reach objective when targeting “hot” audiences of website traffic via website custom audiences.

Time sensitive offers 

The final scenario of when using the Reach objective is beneficial is when your business or brand is promoting a time-sensitive offer, such as during a holiday season. Whether it be Thanksgiving, Christmas, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, you name it, the reach objective is a great choice. When you run a holiday promotion and want to get it in front of as large a target audience as possible, whilst also doing so in a short amount of time, use the Reach objective.  

Setting budgets with Reach campaigns 

Before we start going through the creation process of a Reach campaign, it’s a good idea to go over some fundamentals: how to set your ad budget, as if it is set incorrectly it will destroy the effectiveness of your campaign

As with all ad set budgets, your daily budget will dictate how much of your audience you’re able to reach, before hitting ad fatigue issues which will cause your frequency to starts increasing (something you don’t want). The larger the daily budget you have, the more of your daily active target audience you’ll be able to reach.  

Set a budget too high and you’ll hit ad fatigue issues very quickly. Set it too low and it will take longer to see statistically significant data.

However, you should note that if you set your budget too high for your audience size, you’ll find yourself hitting ad fatigue issues in a matter of days, whilst your frequency continues to increase above a 2 as well.  

Since we know the Reach objective performs best when used for smaller audiences, it also works best with a small budget size. These won’t be your high spending campaigns like conversion campaigns targeting millions of people.   

A rule of thumb we use for hot audiences is to start at £10 daily budget per 1000 matched people in your target audience. As the audience duration of this audience is normally 3 days, they refresh very quickly and coupled with setting a frequency cap this means the effects of ad fatigue aren’t as extreme as that seen in other campaigns objective types.  

Use Frequency capping to reduce the impact of ad fatigue 

As with your campaign budget, it’s critical to set the right frequency cap in order to ensure your campaign is as effective as possible. The effect of frequency capping is that it allows you to set the number of days which have to pass before someone sees your ad again as well as the number of impressions you want to serve, which will drastically reduce the effect of ad fatigue, resulting in the risk of your frequency increasing being considerably lower than it would otherwise be.  

Using the Reach objective you can set a frequency cap to combat the effects of ad fatigue and prevent your ads being see too many times.

The time duration you set will depend on the temperature of the audience. The hotter the audience, the fewer days you can set as they are further towards the end of the buying decision.  

For example, using a reminder ad, targeting a 3 day website custom audience, we set one impression every 3 days, meaning the ad is shown once in the three days after visiting the website and they then will drop out of the campaign into our other website remarketing campaigns such as 10, 14, or 30 day time durations, with different messaging.  

How to create a Reach campaign that targets only the most responsive people who have visited your website 

Now we’ll go through how to create a website remarketing campaign using the Reach objective that targets a hyper-responsive audience using a reminder ad. 

Note, the ideal audience size is at least 1000 people in your website custom audience. If you have fewer than 1000 people then reduce your daily budget based on £1 per 100 people that are in your audience. 

Make your way to the Ads Manager and in the main dashboard click on Create campaign. Choose the quick creation workflow, name your campaign and from the campaign objective drop-down, select Reach. 

In the quick creation workflow select the Reach objective from the objective drop down list.

Once the Reach objective is selected, leave campaign budget optimisation and the split test feature turned off. Name your Ad Set and Ad and select your Facebook page, then click on Save to Draft.  

When the campaign opens in the right-hand preview, navigate to the Ad Set Level by selecting the ad set in the review panel on the left-hand side or at the top of the creation window. 

Select the Ad Set to navigate to the ad set level of your campaign.

Once at the ad set level, make sure your Facebook page is selected and then set your budget in the budget and schedule section. Use the rule outlined earlier to set your budget based on your audience size.  

In the example, we are targeting a 3 day website custom audience with at least 1000 people in it so we’ll set a budget of £10 per day. 

Set your budget based on the best practice covered earlier in the article.

If you find you are still unsure what budget to set, it is a good idea to set a conservative budget. It is easier to scale up your budget than decrease it and then have to deal with the negative effects of ad fatigue if you set it too high in the first place.  

Next, in the audience section select your website custom audience from the Custom audience field. Then click on the Exclude condition and add in a website custom audience for purchases or leads as we want to exclude people from this audience who are already customers.   

Select your website custom audience from the custom audience field and also set an exclusion for purchases or leads, depending on your business type.

If you want to geographically constrain who your ads are shown to, based on country, leave all other demographic and detailed targeting empty. As we are targeting a hyper-responsive audience of people who have already visited our website, it’s not necessary to narrow your audience further. 

In the Placements section, select Edit placements and choose only Facebook Feeds and Instagram Feeds. Only select Instagram placements if it is relevant to the buyer personas that make up your target audience and they actually use Instagram. 

 Select Edit placements and then choose Facebook Feeds and Instagram Feeds (only select Instagram if it is relevant to your target audience).

Finally, set your frequency cap in the optimisation section. How you set up your frequency capping will depend on the time duration of your audience and how many times you want to serve an impression to someone. Again, it is best to be conservative as you want to make sure you have a balance of being present in someone’s Newsfeed and without annoying them by showing them the same ad again and again. 

In this example, as it is a 3 day website custom audience and we only want someone to see our reminder ad once, we set 1 impression every 3 days. This means that someone will only see our reminder ad once before dropping out of the campaign after 3 days before moving into a different website remarketing campaign. 

Set your Frequency cap based on your custom audience duration. In this example we want to show the reminder ad once to people in three days.

Lastly, move to the Ad Level, by again selecting the ad in the left- hand preview column or at the top of the creation window. 

As this campaign is being served to people who have visited our website in the last 3 days and excludes anyone who is already a customer, and so is only targeting people who haven’t made a purchasing commitment, we want to show them a reminder ad to hook them and bring them back to our website.  

Reminder ads are part of the RTM Method, these are three ad types you can use in your website remarketing campaigns which are highly effective at driving people back to your website and convert them into customers. 

Use Reminder ads from the RTM Method.

 The contents of your ad will depend on what offer you present to your target audience at this stage. For example, it could be an opt-in for a webinar, sales call or a product-based ad offering a first purchase discount, featuring your most popular product or product categories. 

Regardless of the offer, start your reminder ad with a hook and a clear CTA (call to action, such as ‘Shop Now’). Depending on the offer, you can directly link the first sentence of the copy to your product or service as shown in this example from a Gin company below. 

A reminder ad example from a company selling a Gin & Tonic subscription.

In the rest of your ad copy, under the first sentence, state your offer again and any social proof such as “Join thousands of happy customers” and finally state your call to action with a link to the relevant page on your website. 

Next set your creative. We’ve found no specific ad format to work better than others for reminder ads. Therefore, you can use the single image, video or carousel format. It all depends on what creative assets you have in your business.  

In this example, we are using a single image format.  

Complete the rest of your ad by selecting the format, and adding a headline, Newsfeed link description and CTA button.

Finally, as we want this to be a direct response ad with a link to our website click the “Add website URL” checkbox and enter a headline, Newsfeed link description and select the most appropriate CTA button.  

Note: if you are struggling to come up with headline ideas or what to include in the Newsfeed link description, try reiterating your offer or social proof as the URL headline and then a discount code or CTA in the Newsfeed link description. 

Once that is done, ensure that your Facebook pixel is toggled on. If you do forget Facebook will now show you subtext under your ad, when it is live, that the Pixel is turned off. 

Click Review and publish to set your new campaign live. 

Like with any Facebook ad campaign, setting up the campaign is just the beginning. The real work starts when it is live and it gathers data which you can analyse and then make changes, to ensure that it continues to deliver results over the coming weeks, months and years.  


The Reach objective is a great way to hit a large percentage of a small target audience. You can use it to target audiences of all different traffic temperatures but it is best used when targeting Hot website custom audiences coupled with a reminder based ad.  

What do you think?

What’s your experience of using the Reach objective?

Let me know in the comments below!

About Charlie Lawrance

Charlie is an advertising strategist, writer, speaker, and agency owner. He’s the Founder and CEO of Gecko Squared, a Facebook and Instagram advertising agency that specialises in working with high growth clients from around the world including eCommerce, software and professional service businesses. He’s been planning and buying digital media for over 9 years since he started his first business aged just 18. Stay in touch by liking his Facebook Page (Charlie Lawrance).

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