If you run Facebook ads, you will probably agree that they are mildly addictive. It’s easy to waste a lot of time obsessing over your increasing CPC, and trying to understand why people won't click on your ad with the cute kittens if you display it on the right column.
Facebook’s own reporting tool, with its near infinite possible combinations of column sets, metrics and dimensions, doesn’t do much in the way of helping either. So in order to make the lives of marketers easier, we decided to make a short list of metrics to view with your breakfast.
Why breakfast? Because breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Skip it and you will surely be hangry all morning. The same applies to metrics – if you keep track of the ones that matter, you'll save yourself from headaches and confusion.
Guess who didn't view metrics with their breakfast this morning?
Mo' Metrics Mo' Problems
CTR, CPM, CPC, reach, impressions, clicks, unique clicks – the list goes on, and on, and on. These are the metrics you are shown everyday on your Facebook ads dashboard. They are important metrics, but most of the time they can’t exactly help you understand if you’re achieving the goals of your campaigns. If you base your campaign optimisation decisions on these metrics alone, you are unlikely to obtain the results you want. Why? Because these metrics only scratch the surface – you might have a high click-through rate (CTR) and a low CPM or cost per click, but are the people who are seeing and clicking your ads actually doing what you want them to do?
Then what SHOULD you be looking at?
Conversions/Actions - Some call them conversions, Facebook calls them actions. All that matters is: why did you start the campaign in the first place, i.e. what did you want to achieve? Facebook currently allows you to choose from the following: 1) Clicks to website 2) Website conversions 3) Page post engagement 4) Page likes 5) App installations 6) App engagement 7) Event responses 8) Offer claims
Did you start your campaign because you wanted more page likes? Then the number of likes each ad generated is what you want to be looking at.
Are you doing it for more sales or sign ups from your outbound landing page? Then you should be tracking your conversions with Facebook’s conversion pixels.
Or if you just wanted to raise general awareness about your website, are people clicking on your link?
Define what the goal of your campaign is, and keep track of it. It may seem very obvious, but this can be easy to forget!
Cost per Action (CPA) - Alright, so people are doing what you want them to – clicking the link, liking the page or installing your app. But how much is it costing you?
I very recently started an ads campaign, and have analysed it using Driftrock's OpenBook tool. If you look at the screenshot below, you can see that the 35-44 age group has generated more conversions than the 45-54 group (41 vs 26).
Looking only at the number of conversions (the desired action), I would say that ads for the first age group were performing better than the second. However, if you look at the CPA, you can see that those 26 conversions actually cost me less (per conversion) than the 41.
Nevertheless, the CPA doesn’t give you the full picture either. If you compare the 25-34 and the 45-54 groups, they have the same CPA, but the first group generated a higher number of conversions. This means that looking only at actions and cost per action is not enough.
Spend - Enter…spend! In the example above you can see that the spend for one group is significantly higher than the other, which will influence the CPA. Ideally, these three metrics (actions, CPA and spend) should be looked at together, so you can get the big picture.
How much are you spending on each campaign/ad/target group? Is a big portion of your budget going to ones that are under-performing? If so, maybe you should stop running them and allocate more budget to the ones that are performing well.
Frequency - Frequency is the average number of times a person saw your advert. The ideal frequency will depend on your audience – if they don’t know you already they might take a little longer to react to the ad than, for example, your fans, so a slightly higher frequency is acceptable.
However, has your advert been seen 6.2 times and not been yielding the results you want? Then it is probably performing poorly and it might be the right time to refresh it or pause it.
So by now you should be able to tell if people are clicking, viewing, engaging, and how much it is costing you. What you don’t know is if this Facebook ads thing is actually making you any money. You know what they say – if it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense. Therefore, the fifth important metric you should be looking at is:
Revenue/Conversion Value - If you are using Facebook conversion pixels with value, you can track how much the leads generated through your ads are spending on your pages. You can also do this using Goals on Google Analytics.
Ultimately, it all comes down to the bottom line and your Return on Investment: you need to know if Facebook ads are worth it for you, and this metric will help you understand that.
Are there any other metrics you find useful to track for specific types of campaigns? Share them in the box below!
TL;DR? While marketers have a plethora of shiny metrics to track Facebook ad performance, there are 5 that matter the most: Actions, Cost per Action, Spend, Frequency and Revenue/Conversion Value. These metrics provide you a pretty good overview of your Facebook ads and tracking them regularly will save you time and trouble.
If you're running Facebook ads campaigns, you can sign up to OpenBook for free for some pretty cool insights into your campaigns!