NEW FACEBOOK ADS METRICS · 10-MINUTE READ · By Misty Faucheux on April 2 2018.

Over the past few years, Facebook Ads has become one of the major advertising outlets for businesses of all sizes. Yet, for many of us, some of the metrics have never been 100% clear as to how they’re calculated and – frankly – what they exactly mean. So, our explanations to our clients and stakeholders were often murky at best.

To improve the overall usability of Facebook Ads Manager, Facebook has taken steps to simplify its metrics and make them clearer to their advertisers. Now, some metrics will be labeled to provide more clarity on how Facebook calculates these metrics.

What Can You Track in Facebook?

Before we dive into the latest updates, it doesn’t hurt to have a refresher on the types of metrics that you can actually track in Ads Manager. For anyone who runs AdWords or Bing campaigns, you are probably already familiar with most of these. Yet, there are some differences between the platforms. Facebook metrics include the following:

  • Impressions
  • Reach: Number of people who saw your ads at least once
  • Amount Spent
  • Cost per Result: Similar to CPA or CPL
  • Link Clicks: How many people actually clicked on the link in your ad
  • Video views
  • Website Purchases Conversion Value
  • Website Purchases
  • Website Leads: For example, form fill outs.
  • Post Engagement: How many people engaged with your post
  • Mobile App Installs

While many of these are pretty straightforward in how they’re calculated, others are not so clear.

Why Are These Metrics Causing Confusion?

For many long-standing metrics, we understand how these stats are determined. For example, impressions are calculated by multiplying the number of times your ad is shown by the Average Persons, with the Average Persons being the number of people “on average” that will be exposed to your ad. While impressions is still in some form an “estimated metric”, it is an accepted estimated metric. What made many of the Facebook metrics so confusing for many was that advertisers didn’t know if they were looking at an estimated metric or an exact figure.

Add to that this: Many of the metrics Facebook had included in Ads Manager simply were to many marketers “redundant, outdated, not actionable or frequently used”. These 20 ad metrics included social reach, which showed the number of people who saw an ad with social information above it. For example, the ad could have shown that a user’s friend had liked the brand being advertised.

While on one level this provided some useful information, it simply wasn’t enough for the average advertiser. Plus, there really wasn’t anything really actionable about this metric. Insights for insights sake doesn’t exactly help us advance our ends of improving ROI and getting new customers.

If you’ve been into Facebook Ads Manager recently, you’ll already see where they have updated their platform with the new changes. So, these poorly embraced metrics are already gone. If you happened to be one of the few marketers that actually enjoyed seeing these stats, then you’ll sadly be disappointed. For the rest of us, it is refreshing to have a cleaner, more streamlined account.

Facebook will also be launching in the next few weeks a new initiative called Measure What Matters, which is designed to help advertisers determine which metrics to measure and how to improve their campaigns.

What Are the New Labels?

Now that we’ve gone into what Facebook has done, it would be helpful to explain some of the new labels. From the screenshots, you can see a couple of these. For example, if you hover your cursor over Reach, it will now open up a window that explains what it is and how it’s calculated. You’ll see an explanation that “This metric is estimated”.

If you click on “estimated”, it will take you to the Advertiser Help center where you’ll see the following definition:

Estimated metrics

Facebook estimates some metrics using sampling or modeling. Estimated metrics can provide directional insights for outcomes that are hard to precisely quantify. They may evolve as we gather more data.

So, for every metric that is estimated, you’ll see this label. Facebook itself provides the below information to better explain one of its metrics:

For example, 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 labeled as estimated, and since we’re still gathering advertiser feedback on it, it will also be labeled as in development.

How Can This Help You?

The major benefit of these new updates is that they add more clarification around what was once a very confusing platform. In the beginning, trying to figure out how Facebook metrics matched up to commonly used ones took some time, and we weren’t even sure if what we were doing even made sense. Reach and People Taking Action have always been especially problematic stats for some of my clients because they wanted to often know how this related to actual numbers of people. Now, it will be easier to explain that this is simply an estimate – and we have Facebook there to back us up on this.

I think it will be extremely helpful to include these labels in your reports, especially for stakeholders who aren’t as familiar with advertising. For example, if you’re pulling numbers into a template like the Facebook Insights Reports in Google Data Studio using a third-party tool like Supermetrics, be sure to customize the template with the labels.

Then, I would personally have a refresher with clients or stakeholders, especially if you’ve been running their campaigns for a while. The more clarity that we can bring to our reporting, the better it is for us, especially in terms of overall transparency. I think these changes are good for Facebook and for us. It will be interesting to see how the new Measure What Matters initiative will also improve Ads Manager, but this is a good step for Facebook.

About Misty Faucheux


Misty Faucheux is an Integrated Online Marketing Specialist at Faucheux Enterprises and a guest writer for Supermetrics. She is a digital marketer, specializing in SEO, SEM, content marketing/writing and social ads. Misty helps companies develop a cohesive online marketing strategy that directly addresses their overall business goals and objectives. You can find her on TwitterLinkedInInstagram and Flickr.


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