Facebook Clarifies Ad Metrics

Posted on March 6, 2018

From reaction emojis to newsfeeds, it feels like Facebook is always offering upgrades and changes to the site. Just recently, the social network announced that it plans to update its Ads Manager.

This is great news for frustrated brands who have had nothing but bad luck trying to interpret the metrics. Facebook says the renovation will remove approximately 20 metrics that are “unhelpful,” while labeling some metrics as “estimated” or “in development.” This new reporting system will appear in tool tips within the reporting table as well as in the customize column sector for ads running in all sectors of Facebook, including Instagram and the Facebook Audience Network.

So what do these new terms mean and, more importantly, what do they mean for your brand? How does this change reporting and allow us to interpret the data we get from our ads? Read further to discern what these big changes mean.

Defining “Estimated Metrics”

According to the new system, estimated metrics will be those based on modeling or sampling. Facebook implies that these can aid in defining outcomes that are too difficult to accurately quantify.

In essence, reach is an estimate of Facebook users who saw the ad one or more times. When reporting reach, the metrics of the number of people who saw an ad multiple times are analyzed. Those numbers are then de-duplicated and calculated with the total number of unique views in real-time. Because this needs to be done quickly, the data is sampled and therefore labeled as “estimated.” Ads on TV and across other digital platforms are also calculated in this fashion.

Defining “In Development”

As the name suggests, when metrics are labeled as “in development,” they are either being tested or new. For instance, brands can use this metric to understand the difference between users who can recall a brand after seeing an ad compared to those who have not actually seen the ad at all. Automated measurements such as these are new and therefore require both machine learning and polling.

More often than not, when sampling is used to determine a metric, it will be labeled as estimated, but when advertiser feedback is still being gathered, it will be labeled as “in development.”

Removal of 20+ Ad Metrics

Brands who regularly use Facebook for advertising are probably well aware that some of the metrics weren’t very helpful. For that reason, over 20 ad metrics previously included in Facebook ad data, will be removed in July. Marketers have recognized these metrics as not actionable, infrequently used, outdated, and/or redundant.

One of those metrics on the chopping block is Button Clicks. For those unfamiliar, Button Clicks metrics show the number of times Facebook users click on the call-to-action button on your ad. Yet, reporting Button Clicks is redundant since these clicks are reported in the Links Clicks or other metric such as Event Responses and Offers Saved.

Measurement Training

If you’re still feeling left in the dark when it comes to understanding the ins and outs of Facebook ads, you’re not alone. Facebook knows that this stuff is pretty complicated, which is why they are launching a program called “Measure What Matters” in less than a week. This program offered on the Facebook Business site and Facebook Live, will cover branding oriented campaigns as well as measurement for direct response campaigns.

While advertisers are used to working with estimates, there’s no doubt that the level of uncertainty in Facebook ad analytics has been way too vague for far too long. With Facebook now explicitly pointing out which metrics are an estimate, which are in development, and which are both, advertisers can get a better handle on the success of their advertising efforts. Hopefully making these tweaks will increase advertisers’ confidence and restore faith in Facebook’s numbers.