14 Facebook Ad Metrics that Actually Matter (and 4 You Should Just Ignore)

When people are finally able to get their ads up and running, and then they actually have some data to look at, it’s exciting! So it’s not uncommon to see posts in the Absolute FB Ads Support Group that say something like, “I ran my ads and reached a gazillion people and got 300,000 video views for $0.02 each! That’s good, right???”

Sometimes, though, I have to be the bearer of bad news. I’ll point them in the direction of the chapter on reading your reports, and then they’ll come back and say “Oh. Well I only got a handful of conversions and they were $10 a piece.”

Ouch.

This is something that really pisses me off about Facebook ads: they highlight the numbers that are going to make you HAPPY (or at least optimistic) about your campaigns, and they hide the ones that show you what really happened to your hard-earned money.

(When I say “hide” I mean that they aren’t on display as soon as you open up the Ads Manager. If you know where to look, which is behind the Columns button, then the important metrics are easy to find. And I’m going to help you get there!)

So real quick, here are the metrics I DON’T care about almost ever:

  • Reach. Unless you’re spending a LOT of money on ads each day, then your reach simply doesn’t interest me. What I do want to know is what percent of those people are actually responding to your ads. And I hate to break it to you, but that percentage is always going to be reeeeeally small compared to your theoretical reach. So if you’ve reached 120 people with your ads and are worried why no one has signed up for your webinar yet, it’s because 120 people is the Facebook ads-equivalent of, well, NOBODY.
  • Clicks. Regardless of the kind of ads you run, you’ll invariably get a ton of clicks that don’t matter. Yes, there is such a click, especially the ones on the name of your page, on the Like button, or on the See More button if you’ve got some long ad copy. Since your objective is probably to get people over to your site, then most of those clicks are irrelevant. This is just another case of Facebook trying to boost your ego with meaningless stats. Ignore it.
  • Video Views. Alright, this metric is kinda important if you’re running video ads. But a view is not necessarily a view, OK? Facebook counts a view as anyone who watched your video for 3 seconds or more. And since videos often autoplay in your News Feed, my passive non-watching could be counted as a view if I don’t scroll past it fast enough. There are other more important metrics to consider for video ads, so keep on reading.
  • Relevance Score. Ever since relevance scores were introduced, people have been worrying about them big time. But more often than not, you can’t glean a ton of info from these numbers. I’ve seen ads that are performing better than others that have a comparatively low relevance score. Does that mean I’m going to pause the better performing ad? Hell no. I generally ignore this metric.

So then which metrics actually DO matter?

If we were working on your campaigns together, there are about 14 metrics in total that I would make sure we were looking at. I’ll give you an explanation of each one below, but first you should know how to actually find and analyze the metrics that I’m talking about.

To take a look at the numbers that can actually tell you something useful, go to the Ads Manager and click on the Columns button. Then select Customize Columns. metrics-customizecolumnsIn there you can remove the metrics you don’t want to see and search for and select the ones that I indicate in the lists below.

metrics-choosecolumns

Once I’m looking at that collection of data, I hit the Breakdown button and choose Placement to see whether my ads did better on mobile or desktop. You can also look at the breakdown by age, gender, country, state (they call it Region) and more.

What follows is an explanation of each of my most valued metrics, and how they fit together to tell you what to do with your campaign next.

For Lead Generation Campaigns

Here are the important metrics for any campaigns that are driving traffic to a sign-up page of any kind:

  1. Impressions: the total number of times your ad was shown. This is different from Reach, which is the number of individual people who have seen your ad.
  2. Cost Per 1,000 Impressions (CPM): the average cost to show your ad 1,000 times. Think of this as Facebook’s price tag; it varies depending on the demand for the audience you’re targeting at the time you’re running ads. Note: it may be cheaper to run the exact same ad on one day compared to the next. You don’t have much control over this, but you may notice that some audiences net higher CPMs on a regular basis. It’s all about supply and demand, baby, so make sure you’re always testing out different audiences.
  3. Frequency: the average number of times each individual has seen your ad. Calculated by Impressions divided by Reach. This is an important metric to pay attention to to make sure you’re not oversaturating your audience with your ads. I like to keep my Frequency under 4 for ads being shown in the News Feed and under 8 for ads shown in the Right Sidebar.
  4. Amount Spent: how much you’ve spent running your ads so far. This is set by you in the Budget section of your ad sets.
  5. Click-through Rate (CTR) Links, a.k.a. Website CTR: the percent of people who saw your ad and clicked over to your opt-in page. Calculated by taking the number of Link Clicks and dividing it by Impressions.
  6. Link Clicks: the number of people who clicked on your ad and were directed to your opt-in page. This is a good metric to use to estimate the number of people who visited your opt-in page (unless you’re sending people to the same opt-in page from all different sources, which I don’t recommend).
  7. CPC (Link): the average cost of each click from your ad over to your website. Calculated by taking the Amount Spent divided by the number of Link Clicks.
  8. Leads: the number of people who signed up on your landing page after clicking on your Facebook ad. (If you set up your conversion tracking pixel with the category Registrations instead of Leads, than you should be looking at Registrations, not Leads.)
  9. Cost per Lead: how much each sign-up has cost you so far. Calculated by taking the Amount Spent and dividing it by the number of Leads.

What to Do With That Data:

Cost Per Lead is your most important metric. If your leads are more expensive than you’d like – I try not to pay more than $2.50 per lead – then use these numbers to figure out why they’re so high:

  • Divide Link Clicks by Leads to find your landing page’s conversion rate. If it’s below 30% there are lots of things you can do to try improving it.
  • If your CTR Links number is low (below 1%), either your ad creative isn’t compelling or you’re targeting the wrong audience.
  • If your CPM is high, you should try out a different audience.

For Campaigns to Make Sales

Whenever I’m trying to use ads to make sales, here are the metrics I pay attention to (many of which are the same as above):

  1. Impressions: the total number of times your ad was shown.
  2. Cost Per 1,000 Impressions (CPM): the average cost to show your ad 1,000 times.
  3. Frequency: the average number of times each individual has seen your ad.
  4. Amount Spent: how much you’ve spent running your ads so far.
  5. Click-through Rate (CTR) Links, a.k.a. Website CTR: the percent of people who saw your ad who clicked over to your sales page.
  6. Link Clicks: the number of people who clicked on your ad and were directed to your sales page.
  7. CPC (Link): the average cost of each click from your ad over to your website.
  8. Checkouts: the number of people who converted to customers from your ad. This requires you to have set up conversion tracking on the “thank you” page people see after completing their purchase. More info here.
  9. Cost per Checkout: how much each sale has cost you so far. Calculated by taking the Amount Spent and dividing it by the number of Checkouts.

What to Do With That Data:

Here your priority is how many Checkouts you got and the cost per each. Ideally your Cost Per Checkout is a lot lower than the actual price of your product.

Unhappy with your results? First, make sure you understand that selling cold on Facebook is VERY difficult, which is why I use strategies like this one if I want to make sales. Then I’d do this:

  • If your CTR Links number is low (below 1%), either your ad creative isn’t compelling or you’re targeting the wrong audience.
  • If your CPM is high, you should try out a different audience.
  • Look at the overall sales conversion rate of your sales page using Google Analytics. It’s possible that Facebook ad traffic isn’t interested in opening their wallet to you, but that warmer traffic from your blog or social media is more willing to buy. If that’s the case, trying a retargeting strategy to show Facebook ads to your previous site visitors

For “Content Awareness” Campaigns (a.k.a. driving traffic to specific blog posts):

  1. Impressions: the total number of times your ad was shown.
  2. Cost Per 1,000 Impressions (CPM): the average cost to show your ad 1,000 times.
  3. Frequency: the average number of times each individual has seen your ad.
  4. Amount Spent: how much you’ve spent running your ad so far.
  5. Click-through Rate (CTR) Links, a.k.a. Website CTR: the percent of people who saw your ad and clicked over to your sales page.
  6. Link Clicks: the number of people who clicked on your ad and were directed to your sales page.
  7. CPC (Link): the average cost of each click from your ad over to your website.
  8. Leads: the number of people who opted in for some free content on your site after clicking on your ad and landing on your blog post. (If you set up your conversion tracking pixel with the category Registrations instead of Leads, than you should be looking at Registrations, not Leads.)
  9. Cost per Lead: how much each sign-up has cost you so far.

Pro Tip: Running content awareness ads without paying attention to people’s actions on your site is a waste of your money. Are people clicking on your ads, reading your posts but then leaving your site? That would tell me that your site needs to be optimized to capture more sign-ups (and doing some work on this will pay off in the long run, I promise).

The good news is that adding custom conversion tracking to your content awareness campaigns will give you all the info you need to know. You may find that some of your blog posts net you a lot of sign-ups, as was the case for this Facebook ad campaign I ran!

What to Do With That Data:

Aside from the number of Leads your Content Awareness Campaign got you, here’s what else to consider:

  • If your CPC (Link) is higher than $1.00 (the maximum I’ll spend on clicks over to my blog posts), then checkout your CTR Link number. If it’s lower than 1%, either your ad creative isn’t compelling enough, or you’re targeting the wrong audience with those ads. I’d try testing out a different topic with the same audience first, and then looking for a new one if the CTR doesn’t improve.

For Video Ads

  1. Frequency: the average number of times each individual has seen your ad.
  2. Amount Spent: how much you’ve spent running your ads so far.
  3. Video Views: the number of times your video has been viewed for 3 seconds or more. Yes, I know I included this in my list of the metrics that DON’T matter, but you should include it here so you can get context for the rest of the numbers.
  4. Average % of Video Viewed: what percent of your video was actually seen by all the people who “viewed” it.
  5. Video Views to 75%: what percent of people who “viewed” your video actually watched it until the 75% mark. (That’s almost as good as watching it to the end, don’t you think?)
  6. Link Clicks: the number of people who saw your video ad and clicked through to your site. They might have clicked on the link that you can add at the very end of the video, or the one you included somewhere in the post.
  7. CPC (Link): The average cost of each of those clicks over to your site.
  8. Leads: the number of people who opted in for some free content on your site after clicking from your video ad over to your site. (If you set up your conversion tracking pixel with the category Registrations instead of Leads, than you should be looking at Registrations, not Leads.)
  9. Cost per Lead: how much each sign-up has cost you so far.

Some people have found that video ads have worked wonders in terms of driving traffic over to an opt-in page and converting visitors. Most people I’ve spoken to, however, have gotten loads of views but not that many clicks to their site.

The good news, however, is that Facebook will give you an audience of people who “viewed” your ad. If you like, you can choose to retarget those people with other ads, perhaps regular link ads, to promote your free content or product. I do this on a regular basis for myself and my clients – check out this quick video training for a few examples of when to implement this. 

What to Do With That Data:

Take a look at a few numbers to see how you can improve this campaign next time:

  • If the Average % of Video Viewed is low, the beginning of your video may not be compelling enough to grab people’s attention and hold it. Or your video may be simply too long; even an engaged viewer can only hold on for so long.
  • Check out your Cost Per Lead. If it’s lower than your average cost per leads for non-video campaigns, keep running this video ad! If you’re getting more expensive costs per lead, don’t despair. Those videos views may work in your favor if you retarget those people with a specific ads for something they can’t say no to. After all, if they’re watched your video, even if it’s just a part of it, they’ve already started the process of getting to know you.
What am I missing? Are there any metrics that aren’t on my list that you depend on in judging the health of your campaigns?

Let me know in the comments below!

Discover the specific Facebook and Instagram ads I use every month for myself and my clients in this free masterclass: clairepells.com/optin-5ads