Before we jump into the Facebook metrics experts say really matter, let’s pull back and define the nebulous “most effective” as it relates to this particular article. Here, we mean most effective to be those ads that are putting pennies in the piggy bank. Or rather, contributing hundreds and hundreds of dollars to your company’s profits and helping ROI skyrocket.
Sure, sure, reach and impressions shouldn’t be ignored, but emphasizing them over much more important metrics like conversions is so … 2006. And warning: Facebook will lead with the most positive metrics. So when you log into Ads Manager, you’ll see that you got a gazillion impressions, but you’ll have to go digging to uncover the fact your campaign is running at a $25 CPC for a $17 product. (Want unbiased reporting you can easily interpret? Try AdStage Report!)
Now, let’s take a look at the metrics that will help you create the most effective Facebook ads.
We’ll start toward the top of the funnel with click-through rate. This number is the clearest indication that people care about what you’re showing them. And a few factors go into making them care: if they’re in the target audience, if the ad creative is compelling, and if the offer is enticing.
So if lots of people are clicking through, you know you can cross off any or all of the above requirements. But how many is “lots of people?” Our Q4 2018 Benchmark Report found a median CTR of 1.46% for Facebook.
What to do if your Facebook CTR is unspeakably low in comparison? Start by checking your targeting. Location, age, and gender are the basics, so take the time to play around with Facebook’s detailed targeting – custom and lookalike audiences. Here, use the categories to drill down on your ideal customer profile, and Pro Tip: look for audiences with intersecting interests. So if you’re selling an organic coffee subscription service, don’t look for people who like “organic,” and separately, people who like “coffee,” instead, put your money toward people who like organic coffee.
From there, take a look at the creative itself. Does it stink? If you’re not sure, you can A/B test it in a mini-campaign, workshop it in the office, peruse Best Of lists for inspiration, and anything else that might be helpful in improving a sub-par ad. In this same vein falls any offers that are included in the ad. And if not an offer, a clear CTA. Do people even know what to do with the ad?
This is one of the most down funnel metrics you can track especially if you’ve set your conversion metric to focus on making a sale. A sales conversion is the most definite indication that a marketer has succeeded in their job and directly contributed to ROI. There’s a lot you can do with conversion tracking once you’ve installed Facebook’s pixel, but here, we’re focused on the feedback loop that will help you create the best ads. In other words, the ads that converted into a sale, and the ones that fell short.
There are lots of events you can tell Facebook to track – add to cart, page views – but we care about purchase, so make sure that’s what you have set up in Ads Manager (again, it doesn’t hurt to track other events, but don’t put all your eggs into a basket that doesn’t directly correlate to a purchase conversion).
From there, take a look at the ads that aren’t converting and determine what you can do to change them. Is the imagery not speaking to your intended audience? Is the ad creative off-topic to what you’re advertising? Is there not enough information (or too much information…)? Is the CTA non-existent, hidden, or confusing? If you’re struggling to pinpoint the problem, take a look at the ads that are doing well. Are there any strong elements you could pull over to your other ads? If one ad, in particular, is performing terribly, it may be time to kill it altogether and put that budget behind what is already working.
Cost per conversion/result
Facebook calls this metric “cost per result” since there are so many types of conversions you can track. And then Facebook defines “result” as “The number of times your ad achieved an outcome, based on the objective and settings you selected.” It’s a pretty simple calculation to get this number – your total amount spent divided by the number of results. This is a powerful number to use to compare performance between campaigns, and it helps you identify bid caps on future campaigns.
There are a lot of factors that go into this particular metric – auction bid, target audience, optimization types, the ad itself, and scheduling. Because there’s a lot that goes into it, there’s not one lever to adjust if you discover your costs are higher than you want. Like with many of the other metrics, you’ll want to check your audience targeting, play around with bid caps, and make sure your Facebook pixel is set up correctly. When it comes to adjustments you can make to creative, testing is key here. If you have 5 ads running, drop the lowest three and go all-in on the top two. Or, take the time to decipher what is working, and how that can be replicated in the whole ad set.
Relevance Score is an advanced metric not everyone is paying attention to. It's Facebook’s way of giving you the most cohesive indication of how Facebook expects an ad to perform based on factors like ad creative, targeting, and how similar ads have performed in the past. One very important thing to note is that this number is not scoring the creative itself, but rather what an audience thinks of your creative. As people start interacting with the ad in negative ways like hiding it, or positive ways like clicking through, Facebook updates the Relevance Score. If you have a low Relevance Score, Facebook will ding you for it by increasing your CPC as a result of low CTR.
So, how to get that Relevance Score up? Make sure you’re not bombarding people with the same ad. We’ve written about this before in Facebook Ad Fatique: How To Keep Your Ads Fresh. Make sure your ads are speaking to the correct audience. The easiest way to double check that is to hold your ads next to your buyer personas to see if the imagery and messaging matches with what your targeted customers want to hear. And, you can try dayparting to give yourself a better chance of delivering your message at the exact right time. (Read more about dayparting here, and FYI – AdStage can automate your dayparting for you.
Remember, if your creative is underperforming, don’t go wild on just one of the metrics. They are all inter-related, so by ignoring the others to focus on one, you’ll just end up hurting that one in the end, too. Look to the data for clues, then make small creative tweaks as you move your needle to a happier state.