Facebook Ad Metrics – what businesses need to know

People often have a lot of questions about Facebook advertising.  Getting it right can enable businesses to achieve a cost effective way to market their organisation whilst delivering outstanding ROI.  With 93% of marketeers worldwide using Facebook advertising on a regular basis[1] it’s no surprise that Facebook are investing in many new ad features and formats.

With more and more businesses flocking to the platform it’s important that they understand how to use and interpret Facebook Ad Metrics to evaluate performance, improve future ad formats and deliver success.  With this in mind we take a look at Facebook’s recent announcement regarding changes to its Ad Metrics tools[2].


Greater transparency

As a response to businesses demanding more insight into Facebook measurement tools and metrics, Facebook have announced a series of ‘new labels’ to clearly show how each metric is calculated. In order to provide more clarity and advice on how you should consider using the information to evaluate your advert performance, Facebook will begin to label some metrics in Ads Manager as ‘estimated’ or ‘in development’.

Estimated metrics are metrics which are based on sampling or modelling of data.  For example ‘Reach’ is described as being the number of people who saw your advert at least once.  Facebook have stated that ‘In order for us to report ‘reach’, we analyse 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’[3].  Estimated data is used widely throughout the advertising industry and is often used as a guide and measurement of success.  So keep in mind that just because it is estimated doesn’t mean that it’s not important, but it is important that the user understands how the data is compiled.

As Facebook advertising evolves they will need to develop and then test new ad metrics to provide the best insights for the customer.  A good example is ‘Estimated Ad Recall’. Facebook states that ‘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 labelled as estimated, and since we’re still gathering advertiser feedback on it, it will also be labelled as in development’[4]. So use ‘in development’ metrics with caution since they present a very different proposition from estimated metrics whose methodology is much better understood.


Removal of unhelpful metrics

With so many metrics available within the Ad Metrics tool, the sheer variety can often cause confusion. Facebook have committed to reduce the total number of metrics to help businesses focus on the more meaningful ones.  In July Facebook will remove approximately 20 metrics which customers have reported as confusing, out of date, or not frequently used.  Removing these types of metrics means that it will become easier for the marketeer to focus on the key metrics which will impact their ad performance.  This will ultimately create a cleaner interface with less noise, which centres on the true measurement metrics that will drive and enhance business performance.


Measurement education

Facebook know and understand that, although they are making changes to their metrics, businesses that choose to advertise across their platform will require further and more consistent education as to what these metrics mean and how they can be used to change or enhance future campaigns.  They have committed to launching an educational program called ‘Measure What Matters’ which will focus on 2 objectives or tracks:

·         Businesses looking to build brand objectives

·         Businesses focusing on direct response objectives

This program will be delivered via In-person events, Facebook Live events and via the Facebook Business website.


As the Facebook advertising arena continues to grow, Facebook will be expected to deliver not only the capability for businesses to market themselves, but also the ability to produce meaningful information which allows its users to evaluate success.  These changes are only the start, but it’s hoped that having fewer more meaningful metrics which users actually understand will in turn help the user to deliver a more coherent and effective strategy.