Test Results: Add To Cart vs Initiate Checkout vs Purchase Facebook Events

I decided to launch the Facebook test – a Purchase Vs AddToCart optimized ad set, with a daily budget of 500 Eur for an eCommerce store. We targeted the same audience, with the same creatives. This is TOFU campaign setup with the main goal to attract more new audiences for the brand.

Before we will check the results of this A/B test, let’s try to understand which objection we can use if we run an e-commerce store. 

Facebook breaks objectives up into three categories, with various options under each:

One of the biggest mistakes you can make with Facebook ads is choosing a campaign objective that doesn’t align with the results you want to achieve. This puts your campaign at a disadvantage right from the start.

The objective you select conveys information to Facebook about your campaign goals and what action you want people to take after they’ve seen your ad. Based on this information, the algorithm will show your ads to the people in your target audience who are most likely to take that action. If you choose the Traffic objective, for example, Facebook will prioritize showing your ads to the people in your target audience who tend to click links.

So this is why, if you are running an ads campaign for an e-commerce store you need to choose conversion-based campaigns.

So why not just set everything to Purchase, because that’s ultimately what you want out of this, right?

The answer, according to Facebook, is that it requires a minimum amount of 50 conversion events every week in order for ads to be effective. 

Now give me an answer – can your business generate 50 Purchases every week from a Facebook campaign? If you are watching this video – probably not. 

But can your business generate 50 Add To Carts weekly? 


Maybe it’s better to use add to cart conversion event for your campaigns? So that’s going to get out of the learning phase faster, and that’s going to help Facebook optimize your campaigns better?

This makes sense in theory, but in practice, very rarely when AddToCart outperforms Purchase. Except you are not selling high ticket products and I will tell you about it later. 

So when you’re running conversion campaigns with the purchase event, you may well see a “learning limited” warning. Don’t let that discourage you from going with that setup. 


Ok, Let’s look at the test results. We spent a little more than 6k euros on this test and believe the results are impressive.

So, as you can see we spent almost the same budget. 

Add To Cart Optimized Campaign Purchase Optimized Campaign
Amount Spent: 3187,79 Eur Amount Spent: 3013,74 Eur

One important piece of info – This is a Top Of The Funnel campaign and this isn’t a cheap product. This is a high-ticket product that cost between 200 and 400 euros. 

  • We reached the same number of people.  
  • And we showed them almost the same number of times. 
  • So the CPM of these campaigns is the same. 

Add To Cart Optimized Campaign Purchase Optimized Campaign
Reach: 113 178 Reach: 103 354
Frq: 1,77 Frq: 1,77
CPM: 15,92 Eur CPM: 16,50 Eur
Link clicks: 1261 Link clicks: 1018
CPC: 2,53 Eur CPC: 2,96 Eur

But, here’s where it gets interesting.

Price per click and number of clicks as you can see is different

The number of content views is also different and so, is the cost. 

And as we can see, our first campaign with add-to-cart optimization brings more results in this step. 

And… In the next step checkout initiation. 

Add To Cart Optimized Campaign Purchase Optimized Campaign
Content Views: 211 Content Views: 172
Adds To Cart: 82 Adds To Cart: 45
Cost per ATC: 38,88 Eur Cost per ATC: 66,97 Eur
Checkouts Initiated: 64 Checkouts Initiated: 24
Cost per CI: 49,81 Eur Cost per CI: 125,57 Eur

But look at this:

The second campaign with the purchase optimization – brings more sales. And better ROAS. 

Add To Cart Optimized Campaign: 19

Purchase Optimized Campaign: 32

That is. 

If I was selling a cheap product, at this stage I will definitely switch off a campaign with AddToCart optimization and run only a purchase campaign. 

But if you are selling high-ticket products, you need to make decisions based on all metrics including google analytics metrics. 

For example, in this split test campaign, I can see positive triggers that help me make a decision to keep going with this campaign because at the BOFU this campaign brings me a cheaper purchase. 

I noticed that tik tok creatives work well in facebook ads, so I recommend you to read this article: Best Perform TikTok Ads Examples. How to copy them

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