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    Facebook Ads

    Quick Guide to Analyzing Facebook Ads Performance

    My first foray into Facebook ads was back in 2008. Even then, Facebook offered an extremely easy way to start advertising to your perfect audience. But while it was easy to create ads, measuring and optimizing their performance was much more difficult and I was always left wanting more data, like what was available in AdWords.

    But recent changes to Facebook's reporting have made it much easier to access the different levels of data you need to make informed decisions. In this post, I'll give you an overview of Facebook Ads dashboards and reporting to help you get familiar with the analysis that guides your optimization efforts.

    Facebook ads sidebar Facebook Ads are laid out fairly simply and the three key areas we’ll analyze are campaigns, ads and the new reports.

    Facebook Campaign Performance

    Facebook Ads Campaigns

    The campaign view is very simple and should provide a birds-eye view of your account performance split up by campaign. Here are the metrics presented:

    • Results - The number of actions as a result of your ad. The results you see here are based on your objective (applicable to recently created ads only).
    • Cost Per - The average you paid for each action according to your objective.
    • Reach - The number of people who saw your ads.
    • Start Date - The date a campaign is eligible to start running.
    • End Date - The date a campaign is scheduled to stop.
    • Budget - The maximum you’re willing to spend on each campaign, per day or in the lifetime of the campaign.
    • Remaining - The amount still left in this campaign’s daily or lifetime budget.
    • Total Spent - The total you’ve spent on this campaign during the dates selected.

    Your campaigns house your ads and are where you set your budget. Your optimization goal is to allocate money towards your best performing campaigns, according to your objectives.

    Facebook Ads Performance

    Facebook Ads Campaign View of Ads

    Clicking into a campaign will present the performance of each ad in your campaign. Here are the metrics you'll see:

    • Results - The number of actions as a result of your ad. The results you see here are based on your objective (applicable to recently created ads only).
    • Cost Per - The average you paid for each action according to your objective.
    • Ad Reach - The number of people who saw this ad.
    • Frequency - The average number of times each person saw your ad.
    • Clicks - The total number of clicks this ad received. This can also include Page likes, event joins and app installs that came from your ad.
    • CTR - The percentage of time your ad was clicked when it was shown.
    • Avg. Price - The average price you paid for each action, each click or each time the ad was shown 1,000 times.
    • Total Spent - The total you’ve spent on this campaign during the dates selected.

    Your ad must capture the attention of your audience and compel them to click. Since your ad is competing with clever Buzzfeed articles and pictures of friends on vacation, it really has its work cut out for it. Test new ads frequently and compare their performance to find the winners. Your optimization goal is to pause weak ads and fund those that perform best.

    Optimization Examples

    When analyzing your ads, you'll want to compare each ad's metrics to others in the campaign. Here's a few examples of what you could find:

    • Low CTR – This means people aren’t clicking on your ads when they appear. This could be because your ad isn’t capturing their attention, or it may be irrelevant to the people you're targeting. Try creating new ads that are more compelling, or modify your targeting settings to reach an audience that's more receptive to your offer.
    • Low Impressions – This means your ads aren’t running very often. It could also be because your bids are too low or your target audience is too small. Try raising your bids in order to top competing advertisers, or try relaxing your targeting to increase its size.
    • High Average Price – This means your cost is too high for the amount of actions you’re earning. This could be because your bids are too high and/or your actions are too infrequent. Try reducing your bids to lower your overall cost, or create new ads that are more up-front about your offer in order to limit clicks from people that won’t take action, thus increasing your actions and lowering your cost. This post will help you qualify customers with your ads.
    • High Frequency - This means your ad is being shown to the same person many times. This could be because your bids are too high or your target audience is too small. Try reducing your bids to show up less frequently, or try relaxing your targeting to increase its size so your ads reach a wider group of people.

    Keep in mind that targeting is set on the ad level, so the ad's targeting must be considered when looking at its performance.

    Graphs

    Facebook Ads Line Graph

    While the tables present aggregate performance data for a given time period, they fail to show you how metrics fluctuate over time. Because of this, it's helpful to review the line graphs to see how and when a metric has changed. Look for peaks, valleys and trends to measure the impact of changes you've made, along with any affects of seasonality or changes in the competitive landscape.

    Facebook Reporting

    Facebook Ads Reports Home

    Facebook’s new reporting interface provides access to previously unavailable metrics and offers many new ways to slice and dice your data. Follow these steps to access and create custom reports:

    1. From the Reports page, click Edit Columns in order to customize the data.
      Facebook ads edit columns buton
    2. Select a Column Set to get started with a report template.
      • General - This report provides a general overview of your performance details.
      • Page - This report focuses on the impact your ads have had on your Page.
      • Offsite - This report focuses on ad clicks.
      • App - This report focuses on the impact your ads have had on your apps.
      • Conversion - This report focuses on the impact your ads have had on conversions.
      • Demographic - This report breaks down ad performance by age and gender.
      • Geographic - This report breaks down ad performance by country.
      • Placement - This report breaks down ad performance by placement and device.
    3. Customize your reports by selecting Dimensions (rows) and Metrics (columns).
      • Data Aggregation - Choose which levels of your account should be segmented (e.g., by Campaign).
        Facebook Ads Report Data Aggregation
      • Data Breakdown - Choose how the report should be further broken down (e.g., by Country).
        Facebook Ads Report Data Breakdown
      • Metrics - Choose which performance metrics you’d like displayed as columns (e.g., Cost Per Page Like).
        Facebook Ads Report Metrics

    Recap

    Make an effort to examine the metrics available for each of your ad types and compare the performance of the different ad copy, images and targeting to draw conclusions from the data. Also try breaking down your data in new ways for additional levels of detail. Lastly, explore the different metric columns and read their tooltips to get familiar with what they reveal and your Facebook ad optimization efforts will be a breeze!