Whether you’ve launched your first or fiftieth Facebook Ad campaign, the do-or-die metrics that define your success remain the same.
Let’s start with the facts. Facebook is an insanely targeted form of advertising. If you really know your customers, you can use Facebook to engage them and compel them to action.
It’s also one of the cheapest forms of advertising out there. You can literally spend just $5 and reach a targeted audience of 1,000.
But as with other digital marketing tactics, the ONLY way to ensure you are getting the true benefits of Facebook is to measure the right metrics.
No matter how amazing your campaign seems to be performing right now, you need to monitor these essential metrics and KPIs to inform your future strategy and get the best return on investment.
Dive in and discover the Facebook KPIs to steer your Facebook advertising campaigns, and how to decode some of those stats to produce better results every time.
Introduction to Facebook Ad Metrics
Measuring the right Facebook ad metrics can make or break your campaigns.
It means you can weed out the posts that are not engaging with your audience, while also identifying the more successful posts so you can replicate them for Facebook campaigns in the future.
If you track the right Facebook metrics from the start, you can save a lot of time and money. They show you whether it’s worthwhile continuing with a campaign, or whether there’s an opportunity to get even better results when you scale and invest more budget into it.
And it’s not just about making on the spot sales – Facebook ad metrics also helps you build long-term customer loyalty.
By looking at comments and feedback to ads, you can create customer-centered service, get to know your customers better and boost loyalty.
That can help you build long-term customer value.
The Number One Rule of Facebook Ad Metrics
Before we dive into the Facebook Ad Metrics, there’s one rule you need to know:
Don’t get fixated on the vanity metrics.
Sure they’re essential numbers to consider in any social media marketing strategy.
However, they only truly matter in the context of your overall objectives, so don’t let them drive your campaign direction.
When we talk about vanity metrics, we’re talking about Likes and Reach.
First, let’s talk about LIKES.
Okay, you might have thousands of people like your campaign. But that doesn’t mean they are converting.
And if the goal of your campaign is to acquire customers, then likes mean nothing and your campaign has tanked.
But as a side note, having some likes on your posts can add simple social proof that builds on the credibility you already have.
The other vanity metric is REACH.
Again, reach doesn’t really mean anything. Your campaign can reach thousands of people, but if they’re not converting, what’s the point?
If you’re generating millions in video views, but no one converts, what’s the point?
For example, Buffer ran ads at $5 and achieved a reach of over 7,000. BUT their click-through rate was only 0.95%.
We’re not saying you should disregard reach completely. If you aren’t reaching enough people, maybe your ad isn’t even being delivered. So, low reach could be a signal of other issues.
There is one way reach can be helpful. Let’s say you’re trying to A/B test different Facebook ads. You need to have enough reach and produce enough results for it to be a conclusive experiment.
So, what metrics should you pay attention to?
Let’s dive in….
How do you track metrics in Facebook Ads?
Just like with other digital marketing campaigns, Impressions measure how often your ads were in front of your target audience.
Think of an impression as the number of times an ad is on screen for the first time.
So, if an ad is on screen and the viewer scrolls down, but then they scroll up to the same ad, that’s 1 impression.
If the same viewer sees the ad again later in the day, that’s 2 impressions.
Here’s the tricky part:
A video is NOT required to start playing for an impression to be counted for video ads.
The impression is counted when a video is on screen.
Engagement Rate and Cost Per Engagement
The Engagement Rate tells you how your Facebook post or campaign resonates with your audience.
Strong engagement on your Facebook posts can maximize your reach.
When your posts are engaging, people are more likely to share them with their followers and tag their friends in the comments. So you reach a wider audience and attract more potential customers.
To measure engagement, look at Post Engagements, which are the total number of actions that people take regarding your ads on Facebook.
Actions might be:
Reacting to the ad
Sharing the ad
Claiming an offer
Viewing a photo
Playing a video (for 3 seconds)
Clicking on a link
When you know the engagement, you can compare it to other campaigns and ads.
Next, see what the cost per engagement is by taking the total amount spent on the ad and dividing by the number of engagements.
Reach is the number of people who have seen your ads at least once.
This is different from Impressions, which includes all views – even if your ad has been seen multiple times by the same person.
For example, you could have 10 impressions but only one reach on an ad. So you can assume this one person is very interested in your ad!
Reach is a great metric to measure, as it shows you how many people were exposed to your ad during a campaign.
People might not engage with the ad in the ways outlined above, but that doesn’t mean that they haven’t seen your message.
Reach is easy to track in Ads Manager.
Go to the campaign, ad set or ad, then look at the reach column to find out the number of people who saw your ads at least once.
Page likes and followers
We’ve already talked about how you shouldn’t focus on vanity metrics, but they are still helpful to track so long as you use them in combination with other metrics.
Likes and follower numbers indicate how willing someone is to stay in touch with your brand and how interested they are in what you have to offer.
Sure, they might engage with the ad, but if they hit the Like or Follow button, you know they want to hear more.
So, if your ad has the Send Message button as the call to action, Facebook has a special metric to help you measure your ad’s effectiveness.
It’s called the Messaging Conversations Started metric.
The messaging metric shows you the number of times two-way messaging conversations are started in Facebook Messenger, Instagram Direct and WhatsApp Business, either when people clicked a button in your ad or clicked your ad in a messaging app to send a message to your business.
The Messaging metric includes:
Conversations with people who have never sent a message to your business before
Conversations with people who haven’t sent a message to your business within the past 7 days but have re-engaged with the conversation.
The relevance score is a rating from 1 to 10 by Facebook that demonstrates how well your target audience is responding to the ad.
Your ad needs to receive 500 impressions before the score is generated, with 10 being the highest.
The score is a good predictor of advertising success on Facebook. Ads with low relevance scores (4 or lower) are unlikely to generate the results you want, especially not in the long term.
Whereas if your relevance scores are consistently around 8 or higher, you can expect to receive an incredible CPA (cost per action - more on this below).
What influences the relevance scores?
The most important factors are positive and negative feedback from your target audience.
Positive feedback is anything to do with your desired action. If your campaign has a goal to generate link clicks, then every link click your ad gets is seen as positive feedback.
Negative feedback is when your ad is being hidden or flagged by your target audience as something they don’t want to see.
Facebook Video Metrics
Video ads on Facebook have a whole other range of metrics to help you measure their success. Take a look:
This metric tells you the total number of times your audience watched your video for at least 3 seconds.
Your Facebook video view result gives you a good picture of how your video performed.
It goes beyond reach, so it’s not about how many users saw your video in their Facebook newsfeeds but how many of those people watched the video.
Facebook offers different metrics: 3-Second Video Views and 10-Second Video Views.
Both of these metrics now only count unrepeated seconds watched. In other words, if someone rewinds the video and watches the seconds again, it doesn’t count as another view.
However, it can be deceptive.
So let’s say you have thousands of views on your 1-minute video. But then you dig deeper and see that only a tiny proportion of those are watching your video past 3 seconds.
Your campaign may not be as successful as you first thought.
That’s why you need the next metric…
These metrics tell you how long people watched your video for:
2-Second Continuous Video Plays - number of times the video was played for 2 continuous seconds or more.
3-Second Video Plays - number of times the video played for at least 3 seconds, or for nearly its total length if shorter than 3 seconds.
ThruPlays - number of times the video was played to the end, or for at least 15 seconds.
Video Average Play Time - the total watch time of your video, divided by the total number of video plays (including replays).
These are important metrics to watch as they can tell you lots about your video marketing.
For example, if people are dropping out quickly, it may tell you that your video is not hitting the spot with your audience or not engaging them quickly enough.
So if you can see that people are mostly watching for under 5 seconds of your 1-minute video, you know that video engagement or length is something to review.
This Facebook video metric is one of the most valuable when it comes to optimizing your video ad campaigns, as it shows you when viewers start to drop off when viewing your video.
In other words, you can see whether you are retaining your audience.
The best part is you can even pinpoint where in the video people have started to disengage.
When it comes to the crunch, are your Facebook ads bringing in actual results? Are they generating leads, sales and revenue? These metrics will tell you the answer.
Cost per result
This is also known as Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC).
If you’re trying to sell products, you simply need to measure the total number of sales you make. Then, you can divide this by the amount you’ve spent on Facebook ads to find out the cost per sale.
The cost per sale metric tells you how much you’re paying for each sale.
Let’s say you’ve spent $5,000 on Facebook ads and had 100 people click on the ad and buy something, your cost per conversion would be $50.
What’s acceptable for a cost per sale?
You might run an eCommerce site that sells products for $200, so a cost per sale of $50 is a good result.
But if your products only cost $10, a cost per sale of $50 means you need to optimize your Facebook ad campaigns to lower the cost.
How can you lower your cost per sale? Use A/B testing to experiment with ad copy, messaging and headlines. See which combinations deliver the lowest cost-per-sale.
Also, make sure your ads have a high relevance score.
It’s not all about the sales.
If you have a service business or your product is a high-value purchase, the goal of your Facebook ad campaigns is to drive leads in the first instance.
So, you need to measure the number of leads and cost per lead in order to measure the success of your lead generation efforts.
Cost Per Click (CPC) and Click Through Rate (CTR)
You’re probably already familiar with these two metrics if you run digital marketing campaigns. These are common metrics used across different digital channels.
Cost per Click tells you how much you pay when someone clicks on your Facebook ad.
Cost Per Click = Advertising Cost / Total Number Of Clicks
CTR measures the percentage of times people saw your ad and clicked on it.
Click-Through Rate = Total Number Of Clicks/ Total Number of Impressions (how many times people saw your ad) x 100.
With Facebook, there are two types of CTR.
Go to Facebook Ads Manager and you’ll see two CTR columns:
CTR (All): Measures all clicks within the ad.
CTR (Links): Measures only clicks on links within the ad.
When Facebook talks about link clicks, it could be any of the following:
Click on an image or call-to-action button within an ad that uses the traffic goal
Click on a URL link in the ad’s text description
Click on ad formats taking the user into a full-screen experience, such as lead forms
Clicks to websites and app stores directly from the ad’s links when the ad is in the news feed
When they talk about ALL clicks, it includes link clicks as well as clicks on other parts of your ad, such as clicks through to a Facebook page or clicks to expand a photo or video to full screen.
You’re aiming for a high CTR.
If people are seeing your ad but not clicking, it means they’re not interested in what you have to offer. So, either your targeting is wrong, your message is wrong or your call to action isn’t driving people to click.
But don’t assume that a high CTR means your ad campaign is perfect. People might be clicking through on your ad but not converting – so you need to consider CTR alongside your number of leads and sales.
Always look at both CPC and CTR metrics together, as they provide a general indicator of your campaigns’ appeal.
Conversion rate tells you what percentage of people who click on your ad go on to make a purchase or become a lead.
No doubt about it - the conversion rate is one of the top metrics you need to track for your Facebook ads campaigns. After all, the whole point of your ads is to convert as many people as possible – whatever that conversion might be to your business (ebook download, purchase, free trial registration, and so on).
Before you can measure conversions (and convert anyone), you need to set your conversion event.
Create separate ads for each goal, and work out where they fit into the Facebook marketing funnel. Then, focus on tailoring ads to each stage of the funnel so it nurtures and converts.
Conversions could be sales, like for this ad:
Or downloads, like for this ad:
Only by measuring your conversion rate can you work on increasing it.
That might mean tailoring your offer to provide giveaways or free trials, or optimizing your landing page for conversions.
Remember, to always A/B test your ads to see what settings and creatives get the best conversion rates.
ROAS is the most important metric to measure with Facebook campaigns.
ROAS is pretty much the online advertising equivalent of return on investment (ROI).
It’s the one metric that measures your Facebook advertising success and tells you whether your digital marketing dollars are delivering positive revenue results, or if you’re just sinking the budget.
Here’s how to calculate ROAS:
Take the total revenue generated from your Facebook ads (your return) and divide it by your total ad spend.
Let’s say you spent $5,000 dollars in a month on Facebook ads and they generated $20,000 in new sales. That’s a 4x ROAS.
Before you can measure ROAS, you need to set up a Facebook tracking pixel on your site. This will track conversions linked to your ads, so you can see exactly how your ads are performing and the impact of your Facebook advertising on your sales and revenue.
For example, if you’re an eCommerce site owner using Facebook ads to increase product sales, you need the eCommerce event actions set up: add to cart, initiate checkout, and purchase.
So, when someone clicks on your Facebook ad and adds a product to their cart, that triggers the Facebook Pixel to report the action that has taken place.
Or let’s say you’re a service-based business, you could track conversions according to how many people visit the “thank you page”, after completing an enquiry form.
Are you spending a considerable budget on Facebook ads? We’re talking about thousands per month.
If so, this metric is for you.
Frequency is the average number of times each person saw your ad, on average.
So, a frequency of 3 means that, on average, each individual who has seen your Facebook ad has seen it three times.
Why does it matter?
The more times someone sees your ad, the better awareness and recall they have.
Then, the more likely they are to click on your Facebook ad or take another action, like click on your search ad or display ad.
For a branding campaign, you want to aim for a high frequency to drive recall.
But there’s another side to frequency you need to be aware of.
For a lead generation or eCommerce campaign, a lower frequency is actually better.
Research by Adspresso found that a frequency of 9 increases cost per click by up to 160%.
In other words, if someone has seen your ad nine times, they would have clicked already or really have no desire to click.
Image credit: Adespresso
So, it’s time to change up your creative to prevent ad fatigue. You might also optimize your targeting to exclude people who have already seen your ad and are getting annoyed.
You can actually use Facebook ad automation to manage your campaign when your frequency starts to rise.
Number of link clicks and pageviews
We’ve put these metrics together for a reason – you need to look at them both to get a good idea of how your campaign is performing.
The number of clicks tells you the number of times someone has clicked on your Facebook ad. The more clicks you get, the more likely it is that people are interested in your offer. They want to find out more.
Here’s the thing – they don’t have to click through to your website.
An ad click means any action someone takes within your ad. Even if they just expand the ad to read more.
What do you do with this metric?
First, compare your ad clicks to your conversion rate. If your clicks are high, but you’re not converting visitors, work on optimizing your landing page.
Then look at the cost of your ad clicks for different ads. Are some ads generating a lower cost per click than others? Use these insights to optimize your ad campaigns.
Overall cost per result of each campaign
The Cost per Result metric is the average cost of your ad based on the result you want.
You could define the result as a sale, download, lead generation, or another specific business goal.
Here’s how you calculate the metric:
Cost Per Result = Total Amount Spent / Total Number Of Results
In the example below, the Cost per Result is £0.39.
Image credit: Moz
Compare your Cost per Result on a campaign by campaign basis, so you can see which campaigns are performing best.
If you see that the Cost per Result suddenly soars, you can quickly do something about it.
Over to You
Want to get the best return on your Facebook ad investment? You must measure these do-or-die metrics. But more importantly, you need to take the analytics and turn them into insights to optimize your campaigns.
The first step for every ad campaign is to figure out what you want your ads to accomplish, then use your metrics to provide the answers.
See every ad campaign as an opportunity to learn more about your audience, what works and what doesn’t.
This approach isn’t just for Facebook ads – it applies to every part of your digital marketing strategy.
Measuring and analysing the right key performance metrics helps you craft a killer Digital Marketing Game Plan every time.Find out how by downloading your free Digital Marketing Game Plan now.