Facebook has taken its fair share of heat this year and last. Despite the struggles and criticism, the more-than-decade-old social network is still a go-to platform when it comes to digital marketing.
A consistent complaint Facebook has gotten is on the validity and accuracy of its measurement methodology. Marketers have been clamoring for more clarity when it comes to understanding the effectiveness of their ads over the last few years. Just last fall, Facebook drew criticism after research found that reach reported on the social network’s platform was bigger than population data according to the US Census.
Amidst the criticism, Facebook isn’t standing idle. Along with many other initiatives that the social media giant has rolled out this year, Facebook announced changes to the way ad metrics are reported.
If you’re an advertiser, these updates are crucial to understand. Here are critical points of emphasis that can help you improve your analysis of Facebook metrics.
Ad metrics are now labeled as estimated or in development.
This is perhaps the biggest change by Facebook. This update, however, can help advertisers make better choices when it come to establishing key performance indicators for their campaigns.
What are estimated metrics? According to Facebook, they’re rough measurements generated by sampling and modeling. Sampling methods allow Facebook to “instantly model metrics at scale.”
Here is an example Facebook offered explaining perhaps one of its most scrutinized estimated metrics:
For example, reach is an estimate of the number of people who saw an ad at least once. In order for us to report reach, we analyze the number of people who see an ad multiple times, de-duplicate them and then calculate the total number of unique people in real time. To do this quickly, we sample the data and will therefore label it as estimated. This is also how reach is calculated for ads on TV and across other digital platforms.
Below are a handful of estimated metrics (click here to see a more thorough list from Facebook):
- Amount Spent
- Cost Per 1,000 people reached
- People Taking Action
- Unique Clicks (All)
- Unique CTR (All)
In development metrics are either new or in testing. Their results may change as Facebook makes updates to how they’re measured. Facebook stated in development metrics are tested for a minimum of at least 60 days.
Here is the example Facebook used to describe one such metric that fits the in development category.
For example, estimated ad recall lift is a metric used by brands to understand the differences between people who can recall a brand after seeing an ad compared to those who have not seen an ad. This kind of automated measurement is still new and requires both polling and machine learning. Because we use sampling to determine this metric, it will be labeled as estimated, and since we’re still gathering advertiser feedback on it, it will also be labeled as in development.
Noted below are metrics that Facebook labeled as in-development.
- 2-Second Continuous Video Views
- Card Views
- Cost per 2-Second Continuous Video View
- Cost per Estimated Ad Recall Lift (People)
- Cost per Landing Page View
- Cost per Store Visit
- Cost per Unique Landing Page View
- Estimated Ad Recall Lift (People)
- Estimated Ad Recall Lift Rate
- Landing Page Views
- Messaging Conversations Started
- Store Visits
- Unique 2-Second Continuous Video Views
- Unique Attention Impressions
- Unique Attention Impressions Rate
- Unique Landing Page Views
Some metrics are on their way out.
If they’re not helpful in ways that benefit marketers, certain Facebook ad metrics will simply go away. In fact, the social network said that it has plans to remove at least 20 of them this summer due to being redundant, outdated or a variety of other factors.
One of the metrics that’s on it’s way out is social reach. This measurement shows how frequently people saw an advertisement that also included a comment from a friend. Facebook found that this metric was too similar to its standard measure of reach.
Here is the complete list of metrics that are being removed:
- People Taking Action
- Cost Per Any Action
- Amount Spent Today
- Button Clicks
- Canvas Component Time Percentage
- Carousel Card
- Link Click Destination
- Mobile App Actions Conversion Value
- Page Mentions
- Cost Per Page Mention
- Page Tab Views
- Cost per page tab view
- Positive Feedback
- Negative Feedback
- Social Reach
- Social Impressions
- Social Clicks (All)
- Unique Social Clicks (All)
So what should marketers be measuring?
Despite these changes, there are a handful of metrics that every marketer should always pay attention to. Regardless of ad type, here are three measurement types that are important to monitor in Facebook ad campaigns.
Impressions: The total number of times your ad was served. It’s a much more accurate measure of determining whether your ad is being seen than reach.
Cost per 1,000 Impressions (CPM): How much it costs to serve your ad at least 1,000 times. This number can vary depending on the days and times you’re running the ad.
Cost Per Result: How much you’re paying Facebook to get the result you’re seeking. These are some examples. Say you’re running a lead campaign, paying close attention to the cost per lead would be a critical measure of the campaign’s success. The same logic would apply to monitoring engagement campaigns, where cost per engagement should be closely examined.
Do you need help running or strategizing your advertising on Facebook? Awlogy can assist with that. Reach out to us today for more help.