If you want to get serious about managing your Facebook ad campaigns now it’s time to figure out the Facebook Ads metrics you should be tracking in 2020.

The more you’re able to successfully track how each ad campaign is doing, the more you can learn from its performance.

But with so many different Facebook Ads metrics available, it’s hard not to get overwhelmed with data.

We’ve been running Facebook ad campaigns since they were first introduced and have managed millions of dollars in ad spend.

Over time, we’ve learned a lot about Facebook ad analytics and how you can use the various Facebook ads metrics to track whether you’re making or losing money on your ad campaigns.

Today we want to share our knowledge with you!

To make your campaigns on Facebook truly successful, you need to learn more about how they actually perform.

Whether you’re just starting out with Facebook ads or experimenting with new refined strategies, you need to know which specific Facebook Ads metrics will help track your success.

You can easily see inbound traffic to your site and maybe receive the occasional comment from a follower, but to get the most out of your Facebook ad campaigns it’s important to know what really works for you.

To start this new decade of Y2K with a bang, we’ve taken our popular guide to Facebook Ads metrics and updated it to include new insights for 2020.

Facebook Ads Metrics Basics (How and Why)

You rely on your Facebook ads to build an audience, attract customers, and ultimately drive relevant traffic back to your site. If you want to get serious about managing your Facebook ad campaigns, it’s time to figure out what kind of metrics you should be tracking.

Without proper tracking and analytics, you’ll never be able to see the real impact your ads have.

That’s where Facebook Analytics comes in.

Being able to set specific goals and calculate the ROI of your ads not only helps highlight the success of your campaign, but you can also use these metrics to gain valuable insight into how Facebook users are interacting with your ads, what works, and what improvements you can make moving forward.

When you’re effectively tracking these results, it will be easy to create more ads that accomplish your goals!

You’ll need to use the Facebook Ads Manager tool to create, send, and manage ad campaigns.

Facebook Ads Metrics - Business Manager

Facebook Ads Manager

The first step in creating a new Facebook ad campaign is to choose an objective based on what you want your ad to accomplish.

We’ve chosen “Traffic” as an example.

Facebook Ads Metrics: Ads Manager Campaign objectives

Campaign objective options

After you’ve published this ad, Facebook Analytics will help you track how well it performs.

Since your goal is an increase in traffic, you’ll be able to see how the ad is sending people to your website, app, or Messenger conversation.

You’ll be able to see the tracking information populate in your analytics dashboard once the ad is live.

Each ad has a number of different metrics available that will help you track performance, identify areas of opportunity, and make decisions about how to run your future campaigns.

Let’s dive into these key metrics and look at how your Facebook ad campaigns are helping you accomplish your business goals.

Your Facebook Analytics Core Metrics

The first thing you need to do once you get serious about managing your Facebook ad campaigns is to decide which Facebook ads metrics you should track.

Facebook automatically provides you with a variety of metrics; some of these are important to keep a close eye on, and others are what we call vanity metrics.

A vanity metric is a metric that generates a big number that sounds great, but doesn’t really provide all that much insight into how a campaign is performing. For example, if you are running a lead generation campaign, the number of impressions for your ad campaign could be very high, but if you aren’t generating any leads, those impressions are worthless.

Any metric can be a vanity metric if you’re not setting specific and measurable goals. There should be actionable takeaways for any goals that you set and metrics that you track.

Here are the metrics that most Facebook ad campaign managers will want to keep an eye on:

Privacy Considerations

After the 2017 Cambridge Analytica debacle, Facebook users are more aware of and potentially more concerned about their private information and how it is shared. This increased awareness means more Facebook users are accessing and managing their privacy settings, leading to more scrutiny on what kind of ads they receive.

This fundamentally changes the relationship between Facebook users and your business. Not only can users control the type of ads they receive, but they also have direct access to their individual targeting information as well.

Facebook ads metrics - Ad category examples

Ad category examples via Business Insider

Facebook users can dive into each category to learn more about what kind of ads they receive as a result. This leads to more potential scrutiny on which advertisers are following Facebook’s best practices and which are not.

Facebook also gives users a way to opt-out of receiving ads from specific advertisers entirely.

The increased focus on how different advertisers are targeting individual Facebook users opens up the potential for backlash if the user is upset about what kind of ads they receive.

Facebook Ads Metrics: Key Takeaways

  • Facebook users have significant control over their ad preferences, which can affect your overall targeting strategy.
  • Awareness of advertising best practices means you need to be careful when building audiences for your ad campaigns.
  • Being able to opt-out of receiving ads from a specific advertiser entirely gives Facebook users complete control of the kind of content they see in their feed.

Clickbait and Low-quality Websites

Providing relevant and helpful information has always been important, and the way Facebook reviews advertiser content makes it imperative that you’re providing the best possible experience for users.

Facebook categorizes clickbait or misleading titles as low-quality or disruptive content. In order to help combat misinformation, they review the website URL attached to your account as well as your content within the Facebook platform. This means that your business needs to follow every best practice Facebook has laid out for website experience.

Websites that Facebook classifies as low quality or disruptive are penalized with decreased ad delivery. Facebook’s examples are very clear in what is acceptable and what is not.

Facebook low-quality or disruptive examples

Following these best practices can potentially lead to a small increase in overall ad traffic as well.

Facebook Ads Metrics: Key Takeaways

  • Ensuring a good website experience is important. Facebook places a lot of priority not only on ad content, but on how user experience extends back to your website or landing page.
  • Clickbait ads are under close scrutiny. You can create enticing and fun Facebook ad titles, but they cannot be misleading in any way.

Cost Per Result

The Cost per Result metric shows you the average cost of your ad based on the result where the result is a custom metric you define based on a specific business goal.

For example, you could set a result that is tied to conversion and count a success each time someone makes a purchase through your website after receiving a specific ad.

Facebook Ads Metrics - cost per result example

Website clicks Cost per Result example via Moz

In this example from Moz, you can see the Cost per Result as £0.39 ($0.52), which is calculated by dividing the total amount spent by the total number of results.

Cost per Result = total amount spent / total # of results

You can adjust the specific settings for a result to learn more about each different campaign you are running.

This is a great way to see the overall performance of each separate campaign at a high level and can be helpful in anchoring your attention to a specific campaign when the Cost per Result starts to decline.

Facebook Ads Metrics: Key Takeaways

  • Tracking ad campaign performance at a high level gives you the ability to see how different types of ads perform in relation to one another, making it easy to find areas of opportunity.
  • By comparing Cost per Result on a per campaign basis, you can easily find out which campaigns are performing best.
  • Setting a metric that is tied directly to a business goal helps frame the success of your ad campaigns in relation to other high-level business metrics.

Ad Impressions

The impressions metric tells you how many times your ad was viewed. If you are running a brand awareness campaign, you may want to keep an eye on this metric as it tells you what your brand name exposure level is. However, just because a person viewed your ad, it doesn’t mean they will recall who you are.

(Image source)

Recall is most important in a branding campaign, and as such, if you are tracking impressions, you will also want to track frequency — which we talk about in the next section.

If you’re running a lead generation or e-commerce-focused campaign, the number of impressions matters even less. In fact, when you run either of those types of campaigns, you might want to see the number of impressions, but there is no real reason to track that number.

Impressions are most important depending on who you’re targeting and the type of campaign you’re running.

If you want to optimize the campaign, use A/B testing to create and send different versions of the ad. Whichever one has the most impressions is the one to use across your entire audience.

Let’s say you track impressions for a week. If exposure increases during that time, you know your ad has a good mix of content and design because they’re getting noticed.

Facebook Ads Metrics: Key Takeaways

  • Every time you share a blog post on Facebook, get your team to share and promote it. This boosts your chances of increasing its reach and the number of impressions.
  • Facebook automatically sets the bidding strategy — depending on your budget and campaign length — to get you the most impressions.
  • Impressions and budget should be similar for A/B tests in order to get accurate results.
  • Track impressions to make sure that customers who see your ad do something about it. Otherwise, the ad isn’t effective.

Ad Frequency

The frequency metric tells you how many times your ad was viewed, on average, by an individual.

For example, a frequency of 5 means that, on average, each person who has seen your ad has seen it five times.

If you’re running a branding campaign, you’ll want your frequency number to be high since that helps recall.

Recall is the ability for a person who saw your ad to remember the company name — and hopefully what your company does. A branding campaign might aim for a frequency of 10 or higher to drive recall.

If you’re running a lead generation or e-commerce campaign, you’ll want to keep your frequency number lower.

Our research has found that a frequency of 9 increases the cost per click by up to 160%! Basically, by the time someone has seen your ad 9 times, they will either have already clicked or demonstrated no desire to click.

We recommend making changes to your targeting or your ad creative so that you are frequently showing your target demographic something new. This beats frustrating them with the same old thing.

Facebook Ads Metrics: Key Takeaways

  • Keep a close eye on frequency to avoid your audience getting banner blindness.
  • Exclude people from your audience who’ve already seen your ad to avoid annoying customers.
  • When frequency gets to 3, stop running the ad and create a new one with a new message and visuals.
  • Use Facebook ad automation to set up rules that help manage what to do when frequency starts to go up. It requires less input from you, which is great.

Ad Clicks

The clicks metric is very important since it represents the number of times someone has clicked on your ad.

You want people to click often since this — theoretically— means that people are interested in what you’re saying in your ad. They want to learn more.

Any action someone takes within your ad is considered a click. This can include clicking a link to your website or liking the ad or even expanding the ad to read more.

You should track your number of clicks throughout the lifetime of each campaign.

The more clicks, the better, because it means people are checking out your content in more detail. The more informed a potential customer is, the more likely they are to turn to your brand when they’re in need.

Facebook Ads Metrics: Key Takeaways

Click-Through Rates

The click-through rate (CTR) metric tells you the percentage of people who click an ad out of all the people who saw the ad.

To find this information, go to the campaign view in Ads Manager. The Facebook analytics for the ad includes two CTR columns.

The first column — CTR (All) — represents all clicks within the ad. The second column — CTR (Links) — represents the links clicked within the ad. Combined, you have more insight into how well your ads are at getting people to click through.

If your targeting and ad quality are on point, you should see a very high CTR. If they aren’t good, you’ll see a low CTR because the people seeing your ad aren’t interested in what you have to say or offer.

Aim for a mid- to high-range CTR. Anything less suggests that your targeting is off or that your ad copy or creatives aren’t enticing. To get some attention, try using bright colors or large, eye-catching keywords in your ads.

Facebook Ads Metrics: Key Takeaways

You can do this by changing the interests or demographics you’re targeting.

This gets them to understand the key points you’re making and increases the chances of them clicking on the ad to learn more.

They cost less and lead to a higher CTR.

  • Be mindful of the language you use to get people to click through.

While “Learn More” has a higher CTR than “Sign Up,” the latter has a higher conversion rate.

Choose something like a testimonial, cliffhanger, or “How To” to get people to take action.

Cost Per Click / Cost Per Impression

The cost per click and cost per impression metrics are pretty straightforward.

Cost per click, or CPC, shows how much you’re paying when someone clicks your ad. The cost per impression, or CPM, shows how much you’re paying per 1,000 views.

Here’s how you calculate them:

  • CPC = advertising cost / total # of clicks

  • CPM = advertising cost x 1,000 / # of impressions

As you adjust your ads based on audience engagement, you should see the CPC or CPM metrics come down over time.

Facebook rewards you with a lower CPC or CPM if it sees your audience engaging with your ads. It tells them that the ads are relevant and making their users happy.

A high relevance score means a lower CPC.

The example above shows that the more relevant an ad is, the less it costs for you to run it.

Test different options to find a version that resonates with your target audience and be mindful of how you match ads to your public.

Facebook uses its ad rewards system because they want happy customers who keep coming back to the platform. If you send lots of irrelevant ads to users, they get frustrated and stop coming back in favor of another social media platform. This doesn’t bode well for you if you’re trying to grow your audience.

Facebook Ads Metrics: Key Takeaways

Users aren’t interested, so to prevent leaving the same ads in rotation, it stops putting them out.

This scenario means that you have a better chance of making more money because it costs less to get people to do something.

Remember, the more people click, the lower the cost of those clicks is.

Conversion Rates

The conversion rate metric tells you what percentage of people who click your ad goes on to make a purchase and become a customer. This is one of the most important metrics since the overall goal of your ads is to convert as many people as possible based on your objectives. Do this, and you can make more sales!

So how exactly do you increase conversion rates?

Let’s say your objective is to increase app installs; an ad like the one above promotes exclusivity. Ads that make people feel like they’re part of something exclusive are more likely to get people to take action. These ads convert more compared to ads that don’t have some kind of emotional component.

It’s important to note that a high CTR doesn’t mean a high conversion rate will follow.

To get people to complete a specific action and convert, your ad needs to be clear on the value and benefits you offer. The more you can get people to see this, the better the chances are of them taking the next step and buying.

Facebook Ads Metrics: Key Takeaways

Make it easy for people to move through the conversion process by including a few simple steps.

Ads sent during peak times — specific days and times — are more likely to see high conversions.

  • Include giveaways where possible.

Our research shows that they increase conversion rates.

Putting ads in front of the “right” people means your chances of boosting conversion rates increase.

Cost Per Conversion

The cost per conversion metric tells you how much you’re paying for each lead or sale.

For example, if you spent $100 on Facebook ads and had five people convert, your cost per conversion would be $20. It’s up to you to know whether this cost per conversion is acceptable or not.

Let’s say that you run an e-commerce store that sells a product that costs $500; a cost per conversion of $20 would probably mean that you are still making a profit on the sale. However, if you sell a product that costs $30 and your cost per conversion is $20, you have a problem and need to do some serious optimization work on your Facebook ad campaigns to bring that cost down.

In the example above, when the image was changed the result was a lower cost per conversion.

Run the numbers to figure out if your ad spend is in proportion to your conversion. If there’s a discrepancy between the two, it’s a good time to either adjust your spending or tweak your ad copy or design to attract and convert more people.

Facebook Ads Metrics: Key Takeaways

The Facebook Ads Metrics Updates You Need to Know

Facebook is constantly rolling out new updates that affect you as an advertiser. It’s critical to keep track of these updates and incorporate them into your strategy in order to stay competitive against other Facebook advertisers.

Here are the most important updates to Facebook ads metrics for 2020.

1. Cross-Account Reporting

Cross-account reporting is a brand-new feature within Facebook ad metrics. It allows you to look at the data for all of your Facebook ad accounts on a single dashboard.

You can find this feature in the ‘Ads Reporting’ section of your Facebook Ads Manager.

Now you can look at your ad accounts as an aggregate and compare campaign performance.

Previously, you would have had to manually build and export a custom report in order to have all this data together.

Similar to the single campaign view, cross-account reporting allows you to choose which metrics you want to see.

You can choose from any of the metrics Facebook tracks, including:

  • Impressions
  • Frequency
  • Clicks
  • Reach (a measure of unique impressions)
  • Click-through rate
  • Conversions

Customizing your reports allows you to focus your attention on specific metrics that are relevant for all of your campaigns.

2. Custom Metrics

Another new feature in the Ads Reporting section allows you to create and save your own custom metrics.

See below a snippet of the Facebook Ads Reporting View:

And this is the ‘Create Custom Metric’ screen.

This feature allows you to tailor your analyses to more narrowly align with your business’s advertising objectives.

For example, let’s say you are tracking a video ad campaign and you want to know how often your video is played at least 50% of the way through, expressed as a percentage of total video plays. Your metric would look like this:

You can mix-and-match any of Facebook’s standard metrics to create one completely tailored to your business’s needs. Once you have created and saved a custom metric, you can set it to be automatically tracked in all of your reports.

Previously to track custom metrics, you had to export your data to a report and perform the analysis by hand. Now, it can all be done within Ads Reporting.

The custom metric feature will be a significant time-saver to any company looking beyond the basic metrics Facebook provides.

3. Improvements in Relevance Reporting

Relevance reporting tells you how relevant your ad is to the people viewing it, which you can use to make changes to your audience or to your ad.

Going forward, Facebook will look at three separate metrics when determining relevance:

  • Quality Ranking: The perceived quality of your ad compared to promotions aimed at the same audience
  • Engagement Rate Ranking: The expected engagement rate of your ad compared to other ads with the same audience
  • Conversion Rate Ranking: The expected conversion rate of your ad compared to other ads with the same audience and optimization goals

You can view these metrics by customizing your Performance column.

By breaking down the relevance score into three separate metrics, Facebook has made it easier for you to see how well your ad is being received by your audience in comparison to similar ads.

By assessing each of the three metrics, you’re able to determine what changes you need to make to your ad to improve your relevance score.

4. Ad Costs are Declining

Impressions for Facebook ads have risen 37% over the course of 2019, and ad costs have dropped by 6%.

According to Facebook CFO David Wehner, the rise in impressions has been mostly driven by ads in Facebook Newsfeed, Instagram Stories, and Instagram Feeds. The drop in ad costs is mainly due to a shift towards advertising strategies that monetize at lower rates, such as Stories ads.

Ad cost is not directly related to the number of impressions, but the drop in ad cost combined with the rise in impressions means you as an advertiser will see a lower cost-per-impression.

According to our research, cost-per-click for conversions has also experienced a dramatic drop, from $2.55 in 2018 to $0.55 in early 2019. Lower cost means optimizing for conversions is an especially cost-effective strategy right now.

How to Use Facebook Insights To Make Better Ads

There are lots of metrics you can use to create ads that get people to do something. But it’s not as simple as finding pretty pictures and stringing together clever copy. Your ad campaigns need a clear objective so that the metrics have a meaning.

If you’re not clear on what you want the outcome to be, it doesn’t matter how good the audience insights look. The insights don’t really tell you anything or give a clear indication of what you can do to make a big impact with your future campaigns.

Facebook Ads Manager lets you create lots of campaigns, which means you can choose more than one objective. This depends on the products and services you’re advertising.

For example, objectives are grouped by awareness, consideration, and conversion. If you’re keen to improve awareness, start with that category and create ads that focus on brand awareness and reach.

Once your ads are up and running, you can track additional metrics to get a more in-depth look at how people are responding.

Click the Columns button in the Campaigns tab to access different report types, which will showcase different metrics.

You can even customize the reports so that you see exactly what you need in order to make decisions.

Next, use your ad sets to create different versions of your ads by tweaking things like the audience, placement, and scheduling. Once you have a few different ad sets ready to go, use Facebook Page Insights to track them.

The data you get from the insights will help you build an advertising strategy that maximizes your ads reach and uptake.

Last (but not least): Ask the Right Questions

Marli Mesibov, Vice president of Content Strategy at the design agency Mad*Pow, recently said that:

Data can give answers, but only if you ask the right questions.

The great thing about Facebook ads is that the analytics are very flexible.

If you can think of a scenario you’d like to test, chances are you’ll find the reports and metrics to help.”

So keep testing variations until you find the right ad set that maximizes how your ads perform.

Start by figuring out what it is you want your ads to accomplish and use Facebook Analytics to get the answers.

By having a clear objective in mind, your analysis has more meaning. It offers insights you can use to build stronger campaigns and convert more people.

Use every campaign as a learning opportunity. What worked and what didn’t? This is the only way your ads will get you the results you want.