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  • Writer's pictureJason Burlin

How Pixel Based Objective Changed Online Advertising

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

If ten years ago someone told you that today, online ad management would be completely automated, would you believe it? It was hard to imagine that leading advertising platforms would plan to pixel everything and gather extremely targeted data from every valuable website online. 

Every page that you visit, every purchase you make, your interests, your hobbies, they track it all. Of course, there is a cost to it – nobody works for free. Privacy has been dead for a while, and every move we make online is translated into a dollar value, repackaged and sold to advertisers at the right price. As an advertiser, I find it incredible. Let me explain why…

In the early days of Facebook ads, and in traditional PPC, ads were not oriented towards your ultimate goal. If your goal was to get leads on your website, then you would have to optimize your cost per visitor to control your cost per lead, right? The same goes for getting a purchase. Instead of optimizing towards the direct cost per purchase, you would need to optimize towards the cost per click and figure out how many clicks you needed to get a single purchase, which was pretty complex. 

Once pixels were added and the big platforms were able to evaluate what actions users took on and off their websites, they were able to segment users based on their value before an ad was even created. Metrics that were previously used to evaluate performance have become less relevant. 

What difference does it make if you pay one cent per user or one dollar per user if your cost per purchase or cost per sign up is the same? Your only goal is your cost per action.

Additionally, advertisers can segment their users based on actions they take and create an extraordinary filtering system that will only show your ads to people who are likely to match your objective. If you want to drive purchases, it will show your ads only to relevant buyers. If you want leads, it will show your ads only to people who are likely to be interested. 

That’s not all! Think of their ability to optimize and automate the delivery of your ads. By tracking users and creating an unimaginably large pool of user data, on and off their platform, they can optimize your ads towards your final goal. 

If you were managing your own ads you would probably optimize your ads using the wrong metrics. Take this for an example:

Advertisers evaluate their performance based on key metrics. In the last ten years, I’ve tried endless times to figure out how can I lower the cost of my final goal by manipulating the cost of my key metrics. 

The idea was simple:  if I could lower the cost per add to cart or cost per click in half, my final cost per purchase would also be half, right? Wrong! To manipulate the cost of my first metrics, I would have to optimize delivery towards those metrics. I would have to tell Facebook or Google or any other platform, that those are the events that I want my campaigns geared towards. 

Instead of telling them I want purchases, I would have to tell them that I want clicks or lower cost per impressions. Then, they would alternate my ads to give me the best results for those metrics. 

These platforms can optimize your ads for the best performance. They can easily bring me a cheaper cost per add to cart or cost per click, but that wouldn’t lead to a lower cost per purchase. Why not? Because they will simply alter the audience to fit my new goal. 

If I want a cheaper cost per click, they will put my ad in front of people who are likely to click more, but not as likely to purchase my product. Same goes for every other metric besides my true goal.

When I select my final goal as my objective, performance will only be optimized towards the goal. 

Cost per impression or cost per click will become irrelevant and the only thing that will stay relevant is your cost per result, which is your selected objective. Changing your objective towards a first funnel metric will simply change the audience to deliver better results for that metric.

Why is this such great news? The algorithm will automate your targeting and demographics based on performance. 

Once your campaigns are launched and your goals are set, you don’t need to touch a button.

Everything will go on autopilot. The only thing you will need to do is let the ads run and pause or increase the budget based on performance. Think of how much time it saves and how much better your campaigns perform when your ads are optimized towards your true metrics and, most importantly, are managed by a machine.

Pixel-based objective advertising has not only changed the way we manage ads, but it also introduced smart advertising driven by rich data that took performance to the next level. 


Advertising online has changed significantly over the last ten years. Pixels were introduced to track user performance everywhere, and segmentations were created for better performance.

Objective-based ads were introduced to ensure your ads are targeted towards your true goal from day one. 

Manipulating first funnel metrics won’t lead to better results of your final metrics and, because of rich data, your campaigns are optimized automatically towards your final goal. Computerized and pixelized campaign management is on the rise which leads to better and more effective campaign performance.

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Jason Burlin

A seasoned marketer with more than a decade of experience in online paid advertising. Managed more than $150M in ad spend and worked with more than 500+ brands. He is known as the unconventional marketer.

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