Facebook Advertising 101: A Performance Metrics Primer


If you’re reading this article, take a pause and give yourself a pat on the back! You have done the hard work of establishing your goals and audiencebuilt your first ad and learned the best practices to help your campaign stand out. And now, it’s time to see how your ad performed.

Facebook Ads Manager can be kind of an overwhelming place to navigate, but we’re here to walk you through the most important basic statistics you need to know. By looking at these numbers, you will be able to tell how your ad performed and get some guidance on what changes to make next time!

Before you begin, we highly recommend you review Facebook’s helpful resource guide to Ads Manager, specifically, how to use the various reports and filters. While this article will break down key metrics you’ll see, Facebook’s guide will help navigate you around the platform.

What it means: Reach refers to the total number of unique people your ad was deployed to. This number will vary widely based on the size of the audience and the ad’s budget.

What it means for you: Remember that audience you created when you built your ad? Reach lets you know how many unique people saw the ad in that group.

What it means: Unlike reach, which is the total number of unique people who saw your ad, impressions are the total number of times your ad was seen. This means a unique person could see the ad multiple times or that your ad showed up on someone else’s feed because a friend engaged with it. (More on that in a second.)

What it means for you: This number will most likely be higher than your reach and it is a good metric to keep an eye on. However, it doesn’t tell you how many people engaged with your ad—only how many total times it was seen.

What it means:
 In Facebook world, engagement refers to any actions taken on an ad. If someone clicked a link, liked a post, shared the ad or left a comment, that’s engagement. This stat looks at the total amount of engagement actions taken on an ad. 

What it means for you: Engagement is great to see on an ad! This means your ad made enough of an impact on someone that they chose to interact with it. That is a significant accomplishment given how many businesses advertise on Facebook.

What it means: This is the nitty-gritty of it all. This metric lets you know how many people completed the goal you selected when building the ad. For example, if you wanted the user to click a link to your website, this number tells you how many people did just that.

What it means for you: The higher this number, the more your ad encouraged your audience to complete your ad’s goal! This number will likely be low if you are just starting out, but the more you run ads, the more your audience will recognize you and be more likely to interact with your ad.

Cost Per Result (CPR)
What it means: Simply put, this is a calculation that divides the total amount you spent on an ad by the number of people who completed the desired action (the result).

What it means for you: Think of this metric as the average cost per person to accomplish the goal of your ad. For example, if you ran a traffic ad to bring people to your website, CPR tells you how much it cost to have them click the link. If this dollar amount is high, it means fewer people clicked on the ad.

A word on setting benchmarks
Learning about these metrics is a great start, but you may also be wondering what type of benchmarks you should be shooting for. How many results are “good?” How much engagement is considered a “success?”

Sure, you can Google this question and find benchmarks by industry. But these metrics are only an average and don’t take smaller budgets into account. Therefore, the best way to determine benchmarks for your practice is to keep running ads and see what trends you notice. For example, if your ads consistently get around 30 results each time, 30 can be your results benchmark.

Your measure of success is going to be unique to your practice and those benchmarks will change as you run more ads and see continued results. So, don’t be afraid of failure: run some ads and see what happens!

The bottom line: Familiarizing yourself with basic Facebook ad metrics will help your practice improve the performance of the ads you run. Don’t be afraid to run ads several times: by seeing what trends emerge, you can set benchmarks and goals to determine an ad’s success.