Home » Blog » Facebook Lead Generation VS Conversion Ads | Which To Use?

Facebook Lead Generation VS Conversion Ads | Which To Use?

With almost 3 billion users,1 Facebook is an advertising powerhouse that has become a crucial tool for Australian businesses. But the might of their advertising system makes it complex and challenging to use, with a variety of advert types to choose from, many which sound the same. One of the most common confusing examples is lead generation and conversion ads, which sound similar but are very different. That’s why in this article, we compare Facebook’s lead generation vs conversion adverts, to clarify the key differences between the two, so that you can choose the right ad for your campaign.

What are Facebook lead generation ads?

Facebook lead generation ads are adverts that allow you to collect people’s contact information directly in Facebook, as a way to generate qualified leads. Before these ads, if you wanted to collect people’s information, you’d have to direct them to a website landing page and have them fill out the form there.

People are often hesitant about filling out forms, especially on mobile, where they tend to be difficult to use. The main idea behind Facebook’s lead generation ads is to make the form super easy for the user—it’s specifically designed for mobile users (the ad only shows on the mobile app), they can complete it without leaving the app, and many of the fields are automatically populated with their information from Facebook itself. So they’re presented with a form that’s already half done and very easy to use, which reduces the friction massively, and usually leads to more completions. Once you know how to create Facebook forms, you will get access to tons of quality leads.

Facebook lead generation ads are suited to any scenario where the user fills out a form, but these are some common examples:

  • Requesting a quote for a product or service
  • Requesting a demo of a product or service
  • Signing up for a newsletter
  • Downloading a piece of gated content
  • Registering for an event
  • Requesting a product sample
  • Entering your postcode to find a nearby shop

New call-to-action

The advert comes in three parts: a “sponsored” advert that looks like an organic post, the form itself, and a “thank you” message that appears when the form is completed. The sponsored advert is the same as other types of Facebook ads, which looks like a regular post that uses text, an image or video, and a call-to-action (CTA) button.

facebook ads lead generation vs conversion media heroes ad
Step one: sponsored ad in the newsfeed

When the user clicks on the CTA, the “Instant Form” pops up. This can be customised for the type of information you need, with options for multiple choice questions, conditional answers, time and data selectors, and more. It can also include a pre-page that gives the user more useful information, or helps persuade them to complete the form. Finally, the information that you present can be dynamic, based on the pages and groups that the prospect has liked on Facebook. When combined with Facebook’s finite targeting, this makes the advert even more precise and powerful. If you combine this with persuasive advertising principles, you may have a winner.

facebook conversion ads lead gen ad
Step two: intro page before form

difference between lead generation and conversion in facebook media heroes ad 2
Step three: the form

If the advert and form are enticing enough for the user, and they happily swap their personal information, the final section shows a “thank you” message where you can show your appreciation for their interest, and let them know next steps. It can also include another call-to-action button, which might direct the prospect to your website or another promotional page, and also a “call us” button where they can immediately call you if they wish.

facebook lead generation thank you
Step four: thank you page

When the form is completed, the prospect’s information can go to a couple of different places. If you use a CRM like HubSpot (learn how to set up Hubspot here), and it’s connected to Facebook, the information goes there and can be treated as a qualified lead. If you do things manually, you can access the information in Facebook’s Ad Manager under the “Lead Centre,” which contains every lead you’ve generated so far. Leads can then be downloaded as a spreadsheet, and used by your sales and marketing teams.

For costing, Facebook calculates and charges for the cost per lead when people complete the form. If you’d like to learn more about budgets for Facebook ads, check out our Facebook advertising budget article.

New call-to-action

What are Facebook conversion ads?

Facebook conversion ads are adverts that encourage you to complete a particular action, like buying a product, watching a video, or visiting a page on your website (Facebook calls these “conversion events”). This type of advert almost always directs you away from Facebook, usually to your website.

As with every Facebook ad, conversion ads look very similar to regular posts, but have a “sponsored” label at the top to let people know it’s an advert.

Conversion ads have a lot more flexibility than lead generation ads, because the purpose of the ad is to entice the user to click, rather than encourage them to complete the form. You can have adverts that use single images or videos, or multiple images or videos that display in a carousel. You can promote collections of promote, each with their own image, information, and call-to-action button, and you can even create polls.

facebook lead generation vs conversion atlas
Facebook conversion ad that uses a single image. Image from Duct Tape Marketing

facebook lead generation vs conversion ads lunya
Facebook conversion ad for a product collection. Image from Duct Tape Marketing

When someone completes the goal (conversion) for your ad, like clicking on the link to your website, Facebook classifies this as a lead, and so calculates and charges for the cost per lead when this happens.

On a related note, you can improve your conversions with CRO marketing.

The difference between lead generation and conversion in Facebook

The main difference between lead generation and conversion ads in Facebook is what you want the user to do. For lead generation ads, you want them to fill out a form, whereas for conversion ads, you want them to complete a particular action like clicking on a link, buying a product, or watching a video. So if you need the user to give you some information like their contact details, you’ll want to use a lead generation form (discover some more lead generation strategies here). Otherwise, a conversion ad should do the trick.

Aside from that, the other notable differences between the two adverts are the types you can create, with conversion ads allowing many more different types like carousels, collections of products, and polls. Lead generation ads, on the other hand, only allow images and videos (which makes sense because you want them to click through to the form, not starting interacting with carousels or videos).

Facebook Ads lead generation vs conversion

Here’s a breakdown of Facebook Ads lead generation vs conversion, with the features of each:

Lead generation ad

Conversion ad



No website needed


Shown to non-mobile users
















Dynamic messaging



Requires Facebook Pixel



Want to know more about what makes a good and terrible advert? Check out our article on bad Facebook ads examples.

Facebook lead generation vs conversion ads—summary

In the Facebook lead generation vs conversion ads comparison, there’s one clear difference between the two. Lead gen ads are for collecting information in a form, and conversion ads are for getting clicks, watches, or other desirable actions. Facebook’s adverts can achieve an impressive return on investment, so both advert types are valuable when used in the right way. Best of luck with your campaign!


  1. • Facebook MAU worldwide 2021, Statista


If you’re interested in learning about how to measure your campaigns, check out our article on the 5 Social Media Advertising Metrics You Need To Measure. We also wrote an article about Boosting Posts On Facebook.