Now we’ve covered the various ways to build Facebook video ad campaigns, the best campaign objectives, how to manage your ads, and the different types of video campaigns, it’s time to go deep on analytics.
In this chapter we’ll dive into what reporting looks like in the Facebook Ads Manager, how to view the different types of key metrics and how to interpret them, and how to create custom reports out of all this data. We’ll also examine how a Facebook pixel could be used in reporting, how to run A/B testing, split testing within Facebook, custom parameters, and much more.
If you need a reminder of how some of these various elements work, like the Facebook Ads Manager (Chapter 3), Facebook pixel (Chapter 4), or what dynamic creative is (Chapter 5), visit them for a refresher.
Reporting in Ads Manager
We did a full walkthrough of the Facebook Ads Manager and its various elements in Chapter 3. Now we’re going to focus specifically on the analytics included and how to use them to interpret the performance of your ad campaigns.
There are a lot of key metrics to see in Ads Manager, especially when you’re running multiple campaigns. The ones you’ll want to pay attention to also depend on where in the funnel your campaign sits. The metrics will be a bit different depending on whether you’re running an awareness, consideration, or conversion campaign.
We’re going to walk you through all of those, but first let’s make sure you’re in the right place in Ads Manager to find your key metrics.
In your Facebook Business Manager account, first click on Campaigns, where you can see a list of all the campaigns you’re currently running or have run in the past.
From here, click into your Ad Sets, which house all your ads. This is also where you’ve set your interests targeting, custom audience targeting, where the ads will run (Facebook, Instagram, or both), and where you’ll set your budgets.
You’ll be doing a large amount of budget analysis and analyzing audience performance.
Key metrics for understanding your results
The results you see in your Ad Results section depends on the objective you chose when you created the campaign. They’re contextual. For example, if you’re tracking the number of purchases, this is where you’ll be able to see exactly how many sales you made, as well as numbers for reach and impressions. From there, you’ll be able to assess what the cost to you is for each purchase made, or cost per click (CPC).
Relevance score: A measure of audience fit
Relevance score is a big deal when it comes to analyzing campaigns. Basically, the higher your score is, the less CPM (cost per thousand impressions) you’ll be paying.
Use this score to gauge exactly how relevant your ad is to the audience you’re serving it to. Generally you want to see this either remain high or continue to rise throughout the life cycle of your campaign. It’s worth noting that having a high relevancy score on an ad doesn’t mean it’s going to stay that way. You may have to continually tweak and retarget your ad campaigns in order to keep a consistently good relevancy score.
In the simplest terms, your Facebook relevancy score is just a marker of how relevant your ad is to the audience engaging with it. If it’s anything less than seven, you’re going to want to make some tweaks to either your ad or your audience parameters to make sure you’re getting the best return on your ad budget.
When your relevancy score starts to nosedive, you might be hitting what we call creative fatigue. This is when your ad is being seen by the same people over and over again and they are no longer reacting to it. For example, if you’ve served your ad to 8,000 people, but have made 9,000 impressions, it means there’s a small group of your audience who have seen the ad twice. If that frequency increases even more, it becomes less and less likely people will click on your ad, because they’ve seen it too many times.
Measuring engagement for awareness campaigns
To help understand whether your content is engaging your audience and how they’re consuming it, you’ll need to dig into the Video Engagement section. This will help you understand how many views of differing lengths you’re receiving, along with the cost per engagement.
If you’re running an awareness campaign, your goal is to get people to watch the whole video or at least half (more is definitely better in this situation). So if your video views decrease from 100% to 25% over the length of your video, it’s a great indicator your video has a great hook but gets less interesting towards the end. You can also see exactly where the drop-off occurs. Look at what’s happening in the video at the drop-off moment and have a think about how you can improve your video at that point.
Traffic metrics for consideration and conversion campaigns
For consideration campaigns, you’ll be most focused on traffic metrics. You’ll be looking to see how many people are clicking through from your ad to your website. Look again to your relevancy score and CPM – both are huge indicators of how much you’re paying per 1,000 impressions – as well as for cost per click (CPC). In general, the smaller your audience (500K is considered small), the higher your CPM will be. For audiences of this size, $35 per impression is a common price.
When you have a much larger audience (in the millions), your CPM will be lower. A price of $7 per impression is reasonable for an average campaign. Typically you only see those types of CPMs where you’re optimizing toward video views because the objective isn’t focused on conversion.
Basically, the wider your target group, the lower the cost for your CPM. It’s easy to see the results from Facebook ads (especially if you’re tracking with a pixel), because you can see exactly how many people clicked through from the ad to your website.
Conversion on Google vs. Facebook
Don’t be alarmed when the click-through of your Facebook ads are lower than your Google ads.
Your baseline with Google ads should be 2-3%. With Facebook ads, average campaigns are under 1%. This is because Facebook ads are disruptive while Google Ads are contextual.
The solution? Use your Facebook ads as your baseline, not your Google ads.
So what drives click-through rates? With conversion campaigns, you’re generally seeing a good click-through rate (0.5-1%) because you’re already focusing on people who are likely to convert.
People who focus on micro-content and really dial in their targeting can see their conversion rates skyrocket. If you’re also driving people toward blog content or something that’s not specifically signup-related, your CTA is usually something like ‘Learn more’ or ‘Read now.’ Because this is a low-pressure ask, you’re likely to see a higher conversion rate, around 1.5-2%.
Creating custom reports
The numbers served up as standard by Facebook aren’t the ones you need the most. Custom reports give you the ability to see the numbers that matter most in one place. They give you the ability to examine your different campaigns in a more surgical and efficient way.
To create a custom report, you’ll need to be in the Facebook Business Manager. Choose the ad set you’d like to analyze, then select Performance. You can then customize what you see by turning columns on or off. New columns can be added by using the search function.
Once you’ve created a report, the rule of thumb when analyzing your data is to begin at a high level and then zoom in. In practical terms, this means look at your campaign data first. Then check your ad sets. Lastly, analyze your individual ads.
Monitor the right clicks
It’s easy to be misled by looking at the wrong click data. You have three to choose from: Clicks; Clicks [all]; and Outbound Clicks.
- Clicks. Shows click-through and is most important for consideration and conversion.
- Clicks [all]. Tells you how often your ad got a click. Useful for awareness.
- Outbound Clicks. Shows how many people made it to your site. This is even more valuable than Clicks. You’ll find it here: Performance > Clicks > Search for Outbound Clicks
Custom reports for awareness campaigns
For awareness campaigns (at the top of the marketing funnel where you are introducing your brand), you’ll want to focus more on other metrics, like the number of video watches. There are lots of available metrics here, but the ones we most recommend looking at are 3-second video views and 10-second video views.
Getting 3-second views on your video ad is pretty easy — people will do this whether they mean to or not because of autoplay. The 10-second view stats, however, show you who actually deliberately stopped and watched your ad. You can see at what point they’re engaged and where their attention drops off. This is invaluable.
As you’re running different videos, you’ll be able to see from a 3-second and 10-second video view, when and where your average drop-off happens. This will help you craft more engaging videos in future.
Custom reports for consideration campaigns
Custom reports for consideration campaigns should consist mainly of reporting on outbound clicks and how many users actually landed on your web page. There are many times that clicks on Facebook don’t tell the full story because users can click an ad but exit before the landing page has been fully viewed. When focusing on consideration campaigns, it’s best to use the standard Performance and Clicks template that Facebook provides, but you should also add some custom columns as well. We recommend pulling Outbound Clicks and Outbound CTR as well – to see how many users actually clicked out to your web page. An additional metric you pull as well is the Landing Page Views metric. The main difference between an outbound clicks and a landing page view is that the landing page view only displays when someone has fully loaded a web page. Comparing outbound click and landing page view metrics gives you great insight as to how many users are intentionally clicking your ad to see what was advertised to them.
Custom reports for conversion campaigns
Regardless of whether you’re a global company or a smaller company marketing within one local area, the most important metrics to pull have to do with conversion goals. Conversion goals are what you’re looking at when you’re at the bottom of your marketing funnel and in a conversion campaign, after both the awareness and consideration campaigns. No matter what your conversion goal may be (sign-ups, purchases, or free trials), you’ll need to have your conversion goal set up before you launch any ads.
The key metrics attached to conversion campaigns are link clicks, CTR, and your cost per click, per purchase or per result, as well as relevancy score. All these metrics help to give you a good gauge on what’s working or not.
Another key metric to look at is purchases, particularly with a conversion-based campaign.
Exporting your data for later
Go into Reports (the far column on the right side of your Ads Manager view) and click ‘Export Table Data’. This option allows you to export right into a CSV file. Now you can save this report and update the date range to the most current whenever you want to pull a new report.
When customizing these reports, it is recommended that you always include an ad set name, campaign name, and ad name. This way you have the data of all campaigns and ads you’ve run in one place. Then you can use pivot tables to aggregate this data (rather than trying to add it up yourself) when you want to look at things like the performance of a mixed-targeting test that spans across two or three different campaigns.
Another good thing to customize is the breakdown — you can see this option under the Reports tab. This is especially useful if you’re running global campaigns, as the breakdown will allow you to view results by country. This is helpful when creating pivot tables. To create pivot tables that help you interpret your data, you’ll want to pull as many key metrics and results as you can. Then you can pick and choose which data you want to include in the pivot tables.
The value of breakdown reporting
Breakdown reporting allows you to see the performance of your campaigns sliced in different ways. You may be overpaying by targeting Instagram on iOS devices, for example.
You wouldn’t know this by just looking at your ad, ad set, or campaign performance.
Within the breakdown, you can see performance broken down by device, demographics, platform, geography, etc. This will allow you to adjust your targeting to lower your cost per conversion.
Compare your audiences after export
When you’re dealing with global campaigns or you’ve got different audience groups, exporting your data will make analysis easier.
In Ads Manager, it’s not possible to compare campaigns with different audiences.
Export your data so you can break down your reports between global and US audiences (for example) and see the performance of all similar ads within the different audiences you’ve set up.
Using the pixel in reporting
In Chapter 4, we introduced Facebook pixels and explained how essential they are for audience creation and retargeting. Now we’re going to walk you through how to use one in your analytics reporting.
This is relevant primarily for your conversion campaigns because you need to know if your audience bought (and for what value). For consideration campaigns, it’s also useful to know what happened after the click (but is less important as purchase is not the sole purpose of the campaign). For that reason we’ll only be looking at using a pixel in conversion campaigns.
Pixels and conversion campaigns
In conversion campaigns, you’re going to need to see the number of purchases coming through and where they came from so you can actually measure the ROI of your campaign. It’s hard to get this information without pulling in your pixel data. Without it, you’d have to resort to uploading offline conversions.
This poses a problem with accuracy because Facebook optimizes in real-time, so you’re going to have lagging data. A pixel will track whenever someone converts and then Facebook will update it immediately. It’s super-important to have this tracked because as you start to get more and more conversions, Facebook will get smarter in finding similar people to convert at the cost you’re targeting.
When you have offline conversions and you don’t have a pixel installed, you end up with a one-day data lag after uploading all your offline conversions every day. You’ll be cheating yourself of Facebook’s built-in ability to report real-time data on all your ad campaigns.
The bigger the gap you have between uploading these offline conversions and your real-time data, the more difficult it becomes to optimize your ads. But don’t fret! Having a pixel integrated is what will save you so you can do things like optimize toward purchases.
When you have your pixel properly set up, you can do key things like pull your total purchases, the cost of the purchases, and your purchase conversion value. That way you can find out how much your purchase conversion value is versus the actual cost per purchase and your ad spend.
Pulling this data then allows you to optimize your components and break down the ad spend and budget. To give you an example, if you’re an e-commerce business and you have products ranging in value (say from $10-$100), you need to look at your purchases data en masse. Then you can see that one ad campaign resulted in 50 purchases while another only had 25. But what was the value of the purchases?
You need to also pull in purchase conversion data value so you can drill down and see that the 50 purchases were for $10 items, while the 25 purchase campaign was all $100 items. Now it’s clear which one had better ROI.
Warning! If you don’t have your pixel set up properly to pull in the right conversion values and you’re operating blindly, you could actually be optimizing it toward the wrong campaign. Make sure you’re optimizing your campaign toward the highest ROI rather than the highest mock conversions.
Now you know the fundamentals of campaign analysis, it’s time to look at how you can tweak and test campaigns. While we often think our first idea is the best, it’s usually not. A/B testing is a foolproof method to determine which video ad, copy, and CTA work best for your audience and your aim.
Put simply, an A/B test is a way to try out more than one version of the same ad, but where you’re only changing one of the variables. Maybe you’re testing out two different headlines, or entirely different ad body copy, a photo with people and one without, or even a different CTA.
It’s important that you test those against each other and find out which is the winner at a statistically significant level.
Luckily, Facebook has a tool that takes most of the pain out of A/B testing and helps you build split tests inside the Ads Manager.
Let’s say you’re split testing and targeting all of the United States. Facebook will make sure that the two versions of your ad get bucketed into two groups: A and B. Next it ensures that everyone in group A does not see the ads that group B does and vice versa. The result is an siloed test that doesn’t have any cross-contamination.
When it comes to split testing tools, you have a lot of options. In the past, it was necessary to use third-party split testing tools to compare content in Facebook, but now Facebook has the best tools.
Why is Facebook better? Because they have the ability to ensure the audiences you’re testing your experiment with aren’t exposed to the ‘control’ test you’re running. No other ad tool can do this because Facebook is the only one that has the ability to split their user base to avoid contaminating your test audience.
Creating a split test
- Open up a new campaign.
- Select Conversions as your campaign objective.
- Turn on the option to create a split test.
- Under ‘What do you want to test,’ select your desired category (e.g. Creative, Audience, Delivery Optimization – this is asking if you want to enter a target bid or use Auto Bid. Auto Bid allows Facebook to determine what the best CPA is for your ad.
- Choose your placement – Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, or third-party advertising.
- Select how many different ad sets you want to test. We recommend using two so you can make the variables minimal. This will make it easier to determine what is causing the conversion lift to increase.
- Click Save to Draft.
- From your campaign dashboard, go into Ad Sets, where you’ll be able to see results from your tests.
Be sure to keep the same audience for both ads, otherwise there are just too many variables that could change the performance with your ad sets.
Imagery and copy
Make sure you’re choosing a conversion event to test against with these split tests. If you’re testing for purchases, you’re keeping all your ad variables the same (audience, conversion goal, etc), only maybe you’re swapping out the video but keeping the same headline and ad text.
At the end of the split test you’ll know which video is getting the most conversions and therefore is the winner. That’s the video you’ll want to keep running with for your ads.
If you’re not seeing a huge difference with swapping out videos, do more tests where you’re changing one thing at a time: headline, text, if you’re running it in the News Feed, Stories, or as a sponsored post. Take the winning video and match it with the winning headline — rinse and repeat.
You want to test continuously for the whole time you’re marketing — it doesn’t end until the ad campaign ends. Constantly refreshing your output helps you avoid creative fatigue with your viewers and makes sure your ad performance continues to improve.
A dynamic ad enables you to test your ad without running through all the time-consuming tasks we outlined before: testing headlines, copy, creative, placement, as well as continuously setting up new ads and ad sets.
Instead, you can run all the ads at once as a set – choose up to five videos with five different headlines, five different sets of text, and five News Feed descriptions. You can then run A/B tests using dynamic creative.
The major advantage of using this method is that it saves time. You’re basically letting Facebook’s algorithm automatically optimize your ad by choosing the best text, headline, creative, etc. You can then run your dynamic ad through all your ad sets – this is much less laborious than manually running it through all your different audiences. Then Facebook will run the different variants into various ad sets and find the best-performing ad from those different variants for that audience.
If you run a siloed test with one specific audience, you can’t always predict how the same test will perform against a different audience. But with dynamic ads, you’re using creative that’s more focused on the fact you’re working with several different audiences.
Dynamic creative approval time
Dynamic ads can take longer for Facebook to approve than your regular ads. Allow time for that.
A day (24 hours) is the norm, but it can take up to two days.
When you’re creating your dynamic creative, it’s important to make sure you include a conversion event such as signup. Then make sure you turn on the switch for dynamic creative. Next, choose your audience, select any detailed targeting you want to include, and create your ad.
You’ll be able to test up to five different variants (creatives, headlines, even CTAs) and see which performs better. This is a super-powerful tool that allows you to get as much learning as you can, especially if your CTA is flexible. Dynamic creative can actually help you dictate what type of CTA you use on your website.
Facebook will work its magic with your dynamic creative ad sets and optimize all ads toward the conversion event you chose. For example, if you chose purchases as your conversion goal, it will optimize the best-looking ad that is driving the most purchases for different cohorts, and then serve it to different audiences based on what is performing better.
The only thing it won’t do is tell you when your dynamic creative ad has reached statistical significance. This is because it doesn’t apply here — the ads run continuously until Facebook determines one of them is the winner. Then it will just keep running the winning ad and stop showing the other ones. For this reason, it’s best to split test within Facebook since it doubles down on showing the winning ad.
The most important A/B variables
When you’re running A/B tests, some variables are likely to have more impact than others. The most important variables are at the top of this list and those with the least impact are at the bottom.
- Call to action
- News Feed description
Including UTMs is super important within Facebook. UTMs are tags you can include in the parameter section of your Facebook ad. They send information back to your analytics platform and track where that traffic source is coming from. So if you use Google Analytics (or any analytics tool that allows you to bridge all of your marketing campaigns together) UTMS are very helpful for finding out what’s working and what’s not.
If you’re using Google Analytics as your hub to measure the performance of AdWords, Facebook, and all your other advertising platforms, it’s really important that you include UTMs. You’ll want to know more than that the traffic is simply coming from Facebook, because Facebook conversions are only one primary indicator of what’s working.
You can also see how much traffic is coming from multiple ad campaigns. For example, if you were running a Black Friday campaign, an evergreen demand generation campaign, and a Christmas campaign, you can easily see which is generating the most traffic back to your website.
How to UTM your campaigns
- Start by creating a UTM for your campaign. Use a tool like this one.
- Go into the Tracking option for your ad.
- Under UTM Source, you’re most often going to select Facebook.
- Under UTM Medium, select Cost Per Click (CPC).
- Name your UTM campaign. This is really important — it’s a way for you to track what type of campaign you’re running as well as to give yourself an indicator of the type of campaign it is or the audience you’re tracking. Just be aware that your audience can often see this information when they click on your ad, so don’t name it anything weird.
- UTM Content: This is part of the URL parameter where we suggest you indicate what the ad ID is. You can choose an alternative, but ad ID is great because you can track which ad is performing well on Google Analytics if you’re trying to connect the two data points together.
- Attribution window: this is what Facebook uses to give credit to conversions. One example of this is the seven-day click window — this means that for seven days after a user has clicked an ad and then converted or made a purchase, the ad set is getting credit for that purchase.
Custom parameters within UTMs
We discussed setting up customer parameters back in Chapter 4. Here’s one we like to use when creating UTMs.
Ad ID is a useful parameter to have within your UTM content. Under Tracking in Ads Manager, you can choose that Ad ID is pulled for every single one of your ads and automatically placed within your UTM content. You don’t have to manually copy and paste it, which is nice. To learn more about setting this up, go to Help and search for ‘custom parameters’.
To see more custom parameters, go down to the tracking section of your ad and hit Build a URL Parameter This will open up an iframe of dynamic parameters you can use and the different UTMs you can include them in. The list of dynamic parameters that you can include are:
- Campaign ID
- Ad Set ID
- Ad ID
- Campaign Name
- Ad Set Name
- Ad Name
Word to the wise: be careful when working with something like Campaign Name, as whatever you name it will often be customer-facing. If you name your campaign something like ‘High-Value Customers’, your customers might be offended when they see it.
There are many other parameters you can play with here. Some of them Facebook doesn’t even tell you about. To discover them, dig into the Facebook API documentation.
Measure the right metrics and change your tactics, not your strategy.
The right KPIs depend upon your goals and in which part of the funnel your activity is taking place.
For tactics at the top of the funnel (awareness), metrics like reach, engagement and shares will help you understand how effective your content is. Bottom of the funnel tactics will require you to consider click rates and conversions/sales.
Understanding your metrics will help you judge the quality of your tactical choices. You’re always free to change your tactics. But they must always be in line with your strategy, which you don’t want to change — unless it’s very clear over the long term that it’s simply not helping you get to where you want to be.
If you’re using UTMs across multiple platforms like Facebook and AdWords, you’ll need decide how to handle attribution. Do you attribute your sales to the platform that created awareness with a customer, or do you attribute the sale to the platform that drove the conversion? In short, do you credit your sales to the first-click or the last-click in the buyer’s journey?
As a company, you’ll have to decide which one to look at by thinking about which brings more value to the customer and which has more of an effect on the conversion. Is it the ad that gets them to convert after clicking on it, or does the ad bring awareness and make them convert afterwards? It’s a bit of a chicken-or-egg scenario.
One way to decide is by looking at your sales process. If it has multiple customer touchpoints over 14 days, then first-click might make more sense because you want to see what brings them on board in the beginning. You’re not as concerned with last-click because you already have email marketing going out to them and you’re not going to lose them because they’re clicking away from your one ad.
On the other hand, if you only have a one-day conversion window where someone signs up for a free trial or a new account, you typically convert them after just 2-3 days. You’d want to attribute last-click because your conversion window is very small and you want your last ad to be the thing that converts them.
Relevance score. Use this as your guiding light. The more relevant a campaign, the lower your costs. Keep your campaigns fresh to keep this score high.
Metrics are campaign-specific. For awareness campaigns, follow your engagement. For consideration and conversion campaigns, track traffic.
Customize your reports. The payoff is greater insight. Save your reports, you’ll re-use them regularly.
Split test everything. From creative, to copy, to CTA, to audience. Test everything for the best ROI possible. Let dynamic creative do the heavy lifting.
UTM across platforms. If you can’t attribute a purchase to the platform (Facebook, AdWords, etc.) that triggered it, you’ll waste money on unnecessary campaigns.