With all the Facebook ad metrics available, it's hard to know which to focus on. Learn the top 6 most important metrics (and the 3 you can forget) in this guide.
There are about as many Facebook ad metrics as there are stars in the sky—which makes knowing which metrics are actually important incredibly difficult (especially for beginners).
In this article, we'll break down the top 6 metrics that are important for your ads and why they're important, as well as list the main 3 metrics you can forget about entirely.
Let's get started!
How to track your metrics in Facebook Ads Manager
Before we dive into which metrics you should track and why, it's a good idea to first look at how to analyze your Facebook ad campaign data. And a good place to see that data will be inside the campaign view of Ads Manager.
When you first log in, Facebook will have a pre-defined list of performance metrics in its default view.
This default view will contain information about delivery, bid strategy, budget, results, reach, impressions, CPA, amount spent, end date, frequency, and unique clicks.
All in all, most of these are useful and will be listed in our top metrics to track below—however, some will also be on the unimportant list (more on that in a second).
Facebook does provide us with some other pre-made metrics if we're looking for more specific information.
To access these, simply click on the 'columns' link underneath the ads tab.
Here you'll see a list of different Facebook ad metric breakdowns that focus on specific points of information. Those interested in engagement, for example, would find the Engagement view useful as it contains information on your post likes, comments, saves, shares, and page likes.
If that isn't enough for you (or you don't see what you need), you can also customize a specific view to fit your needs by clicking Customize Columns at the end of the list.
As you can see, you can find any metric known to man (and Zuckerberg) here. If you want a specific breakdown of each conversion event, for example, this would be the place to find it.
There's even a way to add your own custom metric to your reporting as well:
In the example above, I've created a formula to give us a breakdown of revenue by unique clicks.
You can also break down all this information further if needed. Under the 'breakdown tab', you'll see the list of additional options to view your results with:
By Time. View your results by day, week, 2 weeks, or month.
By Delivery. You can focus on a different subset of campaign data by using delivery to break down the data by things like age, gender, time of day, country, platform, and placement. It’s important to note that since the release of iOS 14, this feature is more limited than what it used to be—meaning advertisers are not able to see demographic breakdowns of website conversions, revenue, or ROAS.
By Action. Here, you can break down the different types of actions a bit more in detail. You can view things like what type of post reactions you received (Like, Haha, Wow, etc.), if your video was played with the sound on or off, or a breakdown of each card in your carousel.
The clear winner here for usefulness is the Delivery section, in my opinion. This is useful for things like:
- Viewing your results by platform and device type to see if your audience has higher engagement with certain devices or placements (Instagram, etc).
- Checking to see if video, static images, or carousels performed better with media type
- Breaking down performance in geographic areas if using a wide location target audience (though this is also limited by iOS 14)
Feel free to experiment with both the metrics you view and the available breakdowns to get clearer insights into your ad performance.
Now that we've learned where to view your results, it's time for the star of the show: which Facebook ad metrics matter and which don't.
3 Facebook ad metrics that only distract you
You may think you need to have the highest score in every possible metric to be successful with Facebook ads - but you couldn't be further from the truth. There are several metrics that are not as important as Facebook makes them out to be.
I for one love to rant endlessly about Facebook ads, so let's start off with one I hate the most.
Estimated ad recall lift
For most advertisers, this metric might be something you've never heard of (and for good reason, in my opinion). However, you may have seen a poll on your Facebook newsfeed asking if you remember seeing a brand's ad:
This poll is part of the estimated ad recall lift metric.
In short, the estimated ad recall lift is calculated as 'the difference between the predicted recall of people who saw your ads and the number of people who didn't see your ads'. You'd see this metric when using a video in a campaign or using the Brand Awareness objective.
Facebook gathers the results for this metric by asking users to fill out polls like in the example above and combining it with 'machine learning data' for an end result. They don't explain what components the said machine learning takes into consideration.
If it sounds sort of convoluted and confusing to you, you're not alone. Facebook's own documentation even states that this metric isn't as clear cut as others:
Estimated ad recall lift is labeled as an ‘estimated’ and ‘in development’ metric. This means that we are continuously improving our calculation methodology, and, as a result, we recommend that you should only compare this metric across campaigns running simultaneously.
Given that information, we have to put this data point in the garbage ignore pile. While having a memorable ad is a good sign that your campaign will perform well, it's best to take this metric with a grain of salt.
If you see your ad has a great click-through rate, your conversions are high, and your CPA is where you want it to be, there's absolutely no reason to change your campaign to improve this metric.
Next up is impressions. Facebook defines impressions as the number of times your ad was seen in total by everyone in your audience. Keep in mind one person can have multiple impressions (views) of your ads, so it's not reflective of how many people have seen your ad, just the total number of views.
Some of you might gasp because impressions didn't make the 'important' cut, but there's a solid reason behind it: As long as our ad is delivering (and you see your impressions go up), you don't need to worry too much about it.
While it's important that your ads are being delivered and seen, there's no set number of impressions your ad needs to meet in order to be successful. We also shouldn't consider it a 'north star' metric or one to solely base our judgment of performance on.
That being said, when you're debugging your campaign performance, if you noticed few impressions on your campaign overall, it could be a sign something is misaligned within your budget/bid that's preventing you from winning the ad auctions and having your ads delivered.
Should you monitor impressions? Of course. But it shouldn't be considered one of the top metrics to judge your campaign performance.
Ad Relevance Diagnostics
Previously, Facebook used a metric called the Relevance Score to determine how relevant your ad was to the audience you were targeting on a 1-10 scale. In order to make this a bit more actionable, Facebook replaced this metric with an entirely new system called ad relevance diagnostics.
While the goal is overall the same, this new system allows you to view the quality of your engagements, conversions, and overall ad.
Unfortunately, the new system they created is more complex than a 1-10 scale, and has a swathe of different outcomes and troubleshooting tips depending on which part of the score you're struggling with:
While it's true that having a good-quality ad typically results in better conversions and performance, it's actually not necessary to have the highest scores across these specific categories to meet your own advertising objectives.
Ironically, you may see your ads performing very well while having low scores in any of these areas.
To drive the point home, Facebook specifically mentions that this metric should only be looked at to diagnose underperforming campaigns and not successful ones:
High relevance is correlated with high performance, but it's not always the reason for high performance. As such, use ad relevance diagnostics to diagnose underperforming ads – not to optimize ads that are already meeting your advertising objectives. Achieving high ad relevance diagnostics rankings should not be your primary goal, and doesn’t guarantee an increase in results.
Like impressions, if your campaign is achieving a significant amount of conversions, meeting your ideal cost, and generating clicks, it's better not to lose sleep over low scores in any of the three categories.
The top 6 crucial Facebook ad metrics you must track
After sifting the duds from the winners, let's dive into the most important metrics you need to track to be successful with your Facebook ads.
Cost per result
Cost per result (CPR) is the average cost per action (CPA) you want from your campaign and is related to your campaign setup. For lead generation campaigns, your cost per result would refer to your cost per lead. For video views, cost per video view.
It's calculated as the amount of money you've spent divided by the total number of results.
Why it's important:
After all is said and done, your team will likely want to know two things - the number of results you had and how much it cost to achieve them.
Your CPA will also give you critical information like:
- Which audience or creatives are giving you the most result for the cheapest price
- Which elements of your campaign you should remove from your focus
- Where opportunity exists within your audience targeting
Given that the cost of advertising can outweigh your return if you're not careful, ensuring you're meeting your goals within budget is critical for your success.
Cost per result benchmarks
It’s difficult to know what sort of costs to expect, especially if you’re just starting out. Luckily Madgicx sees around $9.6B in ad spend pass through our system every year, so we have some benchmarking data available to help you budget accordingly.
While there are a lot of available goals to cover, we’ll focus on the most popular ones in this article. The first of which is the cost per lead.
The cost per lead fluctuates drastically during the year and has some of the biggest peaks and valleys of any charts in this post. We see highs of around $153.48 for leads during peak advertising seasons, and around $51.16 after that season ends.
We broke this data up into quarters for a view of how the year performs overall:
Q4 (and Black Friday/Cyber Monday in particular) are jam-packed with ads from eCommerce advertisers pushing their holiday campaigns. The more traffic Facebook has, the more expensive this option becomes.
The average for this figure across the timespan above is $81.
Cost per purchase is next up to bat. Here, we don’t see as drastic of a change as in the previous graph, but we still see a significant change in highs and lows.
Here, we were able to see highs of around $64.01 per purchase and lows of $29.94.
The average for the time span above is $46.55.
Cost per conversion
While CPA looks at the main goal of your campaign, you can actually track the cost of other conversions that may be happening within your campaign.
For example, a traditional eCommerce ad would likely fire off the following conversion events as the user progresses through checkout:
- View page
- Add to cart
- Add payment information
Cost per result would refer to the purchase event, which is of course the most important goal for us. But looking at the cost per conversion for the other events in this campaign can be very useful for determining where we could improve our efforts.
Your cost per conversion is calculated as the amount spent divided by the number of conversions.
Why it's important:
If you see your cost per conversion along your entire funnel is high, it's likely the audience you're targeting isn't suited for what you're trying to sell. Likewise, cost per conversion issues across your ads can mean that your creative, ad copy, and images need more work.
Cost per conversion benchmarks
Just like for the CPR metrics, there are a ton of conversions you can track with your Facebook ads. Let’s focus on cost per add to cart and cost per landing page view.
The cost per add to cart saw highs of around $11 and lows of $3.80.
The average cost of add to cart actions across the timespan above was $7.55.
The next item here is the cost per landing page view. This data set saw highs of $1.83 and lows of $1.05 with a little fluctuation in between.
The average cost of landing page views across the timespan above was $1.50.
You probably get it by now—conversions are important. It shouldn't be surprising then to see conversion rate in this list.
Conversion rate is calculated as the number of people who clicked on your ad and then took your desired action, displayed as a percentage.
Why it's important:
Since the goal of your campaigns is to get as many results as you can, the conversion rate is extremely important in determining how successful you are at getting your audience to take that action.
Monitoring the conversion rate can help:
- Provide you information on your ability to convert your overall traffic for your audience segments
- Determine benchmarks on how much traffic you need to achieve x result
- Show you where along your funnel dropoff occurs so you optimize that portion further
Overall, cost per result/conversions, as well as your conversion rate, should be your 3 main staples when trying to determine what is going right (or wrong).
Return on ad spend (ROAS)
On theme with our conversion obsession is also our cost obsession—and no other metric more clearly states this than the return on ad spend or ROAS.
Return on ad spend is different from the cost per result in that it tells us how much money we made vs the cost that we incurred to generate that revenue. It's calculated as the website purchase value divided by the total amount spent.
For example, if we have achieved $20k in revenue from a campaign and only spent $5k, our ROAS is 4. This means for every $1 we spent, we actually made $4.
Why it's important:
The reason why this metric is important is that it gives us a direct figure for how much return we see on our ads and is one of the clearest ways you can determine if your campaign was a true success by revenue standards.
Just like with the cost per result/conversions, ROAS is great for determining which campaigns generated the best results - in this case, the most revenue per dollar spent.
ROAS here didn’t fluctuate as much as some of the other data sets on this list and kept fairly consistent across the time frames. We saw highs of 2.03 and highs of 1.88.
The average ROAS across the time span above was 2.
Outbound click-through rate (Outbound CTR)
No true list of Facebook ad metrics is complete without looking at the click-through rate. However, we want to take a look at outbound click-through rates in particular.
The normal click-through rate of clicks on your ad regardless of if they are on or off of Facebook’s site. That means someone who has clicked on your ad and gone to your Facebook business page would be counted in this figure.
Outbound clicks, however, are only counted when a user is leaving Facebook (to visit your website, for example). For those with a traffic goal, tracking outbound CTR would be a more specific and insightful data point.
Outbound CTR measures the number of people who have clicked on your ads and have left Facebook, divided by the number of times your ad was seen, expressed as a percentage.
Why it's important:
Outbound click-through rate makes the list of top performance metrics for one major reason - it's the best way to determine if the creative you're serving to your audience is actually interesting to them at all.
The click-through rate is useful for:
- Determining which ad creative is most appealing to your target audience
- Seeing if your audience targeting is actually aligned with the product or service you're offering
If you have a low CTR, chances are either your ad copy needs to be reworked to relate the value of what you're offering, or your audience needs to be narrowed to those who would benefit most from your solutions.
Outbound click-through rate benchmarks
For outbound CTR, we found benchmarks that ranged from .99% at the most to .61% at the lowest.
All in all, the average outbound CTR factoring in all of the percentages above is .79%.
Last (but certainly not least) in this article is the engagement rate. The engagement rate refers to the number of people who are engaging with your ad (likes, clicks, shares, comments, etc), expressed as a percentage.
Why it's important:
Along with click-through rate, engagement rate is another great way to determine if your audience is actually interested in your ad campaigns. While click-through rate solely focuses on clicks, engagement rate also factors in social proof as well.
While it's good to track clicks separately, engagement on your ads is also important as the more positive social proof an ad has, the more users are likely to try out your brand for the first time, and it can also increase your overall reach.
How to track Facebook ad metrics with Madgicx
We've learned what metrics are important for success, but setting up a specific dashboard and extrapolating all of this data can be a terribly tedious process. Facebook has a great spreadsheet-like layout, but for visual learners like myself, a little more information is always needed.
Luckily, we have several tools here to show you the metrics you need to focus on in a clear and actionable way.
Facebook's Ads Manager’s dashboard is stuffy, to say the least. With Madgicx's Facebook Ads Dashboard, you'll get visual insights into the key performance metrics that matter for your success.
Madgicx also goes above and beyond what you can see on Facebook by helping you break down your results by funnel stage so you can take a more accurate look at your overall performance, tailor your strategies better to each audience segment, and allocate your budget accordingly across all stages.
Just as the name implies, Madgicx's Ads Manager 2.0 is an all-new way of making the management of your ads easier and better than ever.
With Ads Manager 2.0, you can view performance data across all of your assets and filter them by things like conversion rate, amount spent, or ROAS.
This gives you the ability to view everything in one place instead of having to sift and sort through endless column breakdowns and campaign tabs.
Ads Manager 2.0 also has a built-in trends analyzer that will display the performance of your campaigns, audiences, and ads over time so you can action any issues the moment they arise.
Having stunning charts and graphs is absolutely useless unless you have (accurate) data to display in the first place.
Given that the iOS 14 changes have significantly impacted advertisers' ability to track their results post-click, it's more important than ever to set up a multi-channel tracking system and cover all your bases.
Luckily, Madgicx's Cloud Tracking service can help you do just that.
The Madgicx Cloud Tracking team will set up every facet of tracking available, including:
- Server-Side Tracking
- Offline Conversions
- Google Tag Manager/Google Analytics
- Meta Pixel + Conversions API
- Structuring UTM tracking parameters
In short, we'll ensure that the data you have in your system is both accurate and actionable.
We often think of Facebook and Google as siblings who are always fighting for the best seat at the dinner table—but these two systems on their own contain a treasure trove of data that best works together. Which hasn't been possible until Madgicx Metrics.
With this tool, we close the gap between Google Analytics and Facebook’s tracking to get a holistic view of your advertising performance from start to end—all in one dashboard.
What you might not know, is that in addition to the data loss from iOS 14, it can take up to 72 hours for any conversion data to appear from those audience segments, ensuring you're missing out on critical cost data.
But with Madgicx, you can set up automation based on real-time data from Google Analytics and ensure you’re spending your dollars wisely.
Today, we've covered the top 6 Facebook ad metrics that matter, why they're important, and which 3 you should forget about altogether. We've also covered how you can find those results in Facebook Ads Manager, as well as how Madgicx can do all that and more. ;)
Now you should be fully prepared to be able to analyze and optimize your campaigns for the key metrics that truly matter and ensure you reap a generous ROAS in the process.
Tory is a digital marketing specialist and the current Marketing Manager of Breadcrumbs.io. She's been featured in various high-profile marketing blogs like Hootsuite, AdEspresso, and Databox and holds certificates for both Google and Facebook Ads. In her spare time, she gardens and paints from her house in the Florida panhandle.