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Are you new to running Facebook ad campaigns, or are you an experience advertiser who is unclear on what metrics you should be measuring and how you can use your metrics to optimize your ad campaign results and even optimize the results you get per dollar spent?

In this blog post I'll walk you through the metrics you should track, why they matter, and how you can use these metrics to get better results with your ads and even save money by getting better results from your ads per dollar you spend.

Which KPI's Matter for My Facebook Ad Campaign?

The answer is that it depends on the type of campaign objective you're set. Most of these KPI's are universal to any Facebook ad campaign, and for a few the name of the metric you're measuring changes depending on your campaign objective, but the guiding principles that I'll explain remain true, no matter what your campaign objective may be.



No matter which type of campaign you're running, conversions are king. If nobody is actually downloading your premium content offers or buying your product then your campaign has an Achilles' heel, no matter how good the rest of your metrics may be.



Depending on the ultimate goal of your campaign, you may not be all that concerned about engagement, but even if it isn't the goal of your campaign, you should still measure it. If nobody ever likes, comments on, or shares your ad how interesting could they have possibly found it? Your goal isn't just to produce ads that get clicks and conversion, you want to produce social content that people want to interact with and share with others who could benefit from it.



This is the number of times your ad was displayed (not the number of unique people who saw it, that's Reach). In order to put your objective metric (website clicks, downloads, etc) into perspective, you need to understand how many times it was displayed. If 10 people converted on your ad that may be great if it was displayed to 200 people in your target audience, but not so great if it was shown to 2 million. 


[Insert Objective] Rate

Here's where that perspective we get from impressions becomes really useful. By dividing the number of times your ad campaign objective was met by the number of impressions that ad received you can get a percentage that you can compare to other ads, as well as previous and future campaigns to understand how individual ads, target groups, and campaigns stack up. This allows you to make an apples to apples comparison to learn which of your content and audiences are your winners and losers.

This metric will change depending on the type of campaign objective you've selected. If you were running a website clicks campaign, the metric you would use are website clicks to get your Click-Through Rate, if you were promoting a mobile app, the metric you would insert into the equation is downloads to get your Install Rate, etc.


Engagement Rate

Technically Engagement Rate is part of the last metric, because you can create Facebook ads with engagement as an objective. To get engagement rate you would use the same formula (objective/impressions = X as a percentage).

The reason I'm breaking it out into a separate metric is because even if engagement isn't your campaign objective, having this metric will still allow you to make those apple to apple comparisons between your ads and campaigns, to understand which of your ads are most engaging and which of your audiences is most engaged with the ad content you're creating. 


Cost Per [Insert Objective]

To find your cost per [insert objective], simply divide the total cost of your ad (or ad set, or campaign, depending on what you want to know) by the number of times you met your campaign objective in that ad, ad set, or campaign.

This helps you to understand how your budget is being spent across your ads and it also helps you understand how well your ads performed (more relevant ads will generally pay a lower cost per click, because Facebook's ad auction doesn't just reward the highest bid, it balances the interests of both advertisers and users).


Why Should I Care About Those Kpi's?

Beyond the obvious reason, that you need to know how your campaign performed so you know how you did and can report on that to your boss or your client, there are a few more reasons for you to care about these particular KPI's.


Optimizing Performance

Metrics like [Insert Objective] Rate and Engagement Rate help you dig deeper into not only how your campaign performed as a whole, but also add context. The ability to compare ads to ads, ad sets to ad sets, and campaigns to other campaigns allows you to really understand not only what results you got, but whether those results were "good" compared to your past and future results. 

A metric like engagement or website clicks is very dependent on spend. If you spend $50 in one campaign and $500 in another, obviously the second campaign will have better results and if you compared both campaigns one to one, the second campaign would seem to have performed better, and it may or may not have, what actually changed is how much money you spent.

However, if you compared Engagement Rate or Click-through Rate instead, you now remove ad spend as a skewing factor. If a higher rate of people who saw your ad clicked it in your $50 ad campaign compared to your $500 ad campaign, you'll be able to tell that the ads from the $50 ad campaign were better, just by having these two simple to calculate metrics.


Optimizing Ad Spend

Ad performance isn't the only thing you want to optimize. If you could get more results for the same amount of money for your Facebook ad campaign, you would want that, right?

This is where that bit about how Facebook's ad auction isn't a traditional, reward the highest bidder auction becomes important. You don't just care about optimizing results because it means you get to report better numbers, you care because it saves you, your employer, or your client money.

Facebook's ad auction balances the interests of both advertisers and its users. This means that even if you outbid other advertisers, if your ads are poorly received by your target audience they will appear less often and you'll pay more per impression or per objective met than advertisers whose ads are getting more positive reactions from their target audiences.


How do you know if your ads are being poorly received?

You used to have to piece this picture together from several different metrics (that are still available to you today if you want to take a deeper dive, and I do recommend it, since you'll be able to see how your target audience is reacting to your content), but things have changed a lot since I wrote that blog post in 2012, and now Facebook gives you 3 easy metrics, Relevance Score, Positive Feedback, and Negative Feedback, that help you understand at a glance how each of your ads were received by your target audience. 

The lower your negative feedback and the higher your relevance score, the less you'll pay per thousand impressions or per objective met for your Facebook ads. These 3 metrics are only available at the ad level, and you can learn how to find them here


How do you actually optimize your relevance score?

The most important thing here is getting your target audience right. No matter how great your content is, how actionable, useful, and unique it may be, if you're targeting people who don't care about it, then it's going to get negative feedback, and that is going to drag down your relevance score.

Once you've got a solid target audience for your ads, you want to turn your focus to your content. These are the three pillars you should strive for:

  1. Actionable - Someone who reads your content should walk away with an understanding of the subject you were covering and how they can get started with implementing your ideas. If you don't give them enough information to get started on their own then they may not be able to, and no matter how great the info was, they're left hanging with no idea what to do with it.
  2. Useful - You also want to make sure that the content you write is actually useful. Even if your content isn't a groundbreaking new revelation, if you can explain it in more detail than anyone else, if you can add a new perspective to a subject that your target audience would appreciate, if you can build on what's already out there in a useful way, then your content will be valuable to your target audience.
  3. Unique - Nobody wants to read a rehash of what 100 other people have already said. This doesn't mean that you can't cover a topic that other people have, but it does mean that if you do, you need to add new information, a new perspective, or take a deeper dive into the subject than others have before you. Avoid mind sucking off of the work of others, write from your own knowledge and experience (though don't be afraid to cite others to backup your statements when appropriate), and of course if you have the opportunity to be the first to write about something that your target audience would be interested in, jump on it while you can.


With these KPIs you'll be able to understand how your campaigns performed, how that performance relates to past and future campaigns, and you'll be able to optimize those results and even optimize the results you get per dollar spent. 


This blog post is based off of content from our guide to Creating a Facebook Ad Campaign. It's a premium, step-by-step guide that makes building successful Facebook ad campaigns easy! If you'd like to learn more about building campaigns, the various options and settings, and learn from our tips and in-depth explanations along the way, purchase the guide!

It includes the PDF guide, a full set of walkthrough videos, and an Excel spreadsheet full of tools that will help you build better campaigns faster and with more consistency.

Post by Zachary Chastain
July 14, 2016