In 2015, Facebook Ads Manager introduced a sweet new feature: the Relevance Score. If you ever wanted to tell at a glance how well your ad fits with its audience, the Relevance Score has you covered.
The metric itself is simple: a score of 1-10—10 meaning that your target audience finds your ad super relevant to their interests and needs.
But what exactly determines your Relevance Score?
Facebook says it’s all about “positive and negative feedback” from audiences, but how do you interpret that to make your ads better?
Here, we break down how exactly your Relevance Score works.
With new targeting features from the past 2 years, we lay down the best strategies to achieve your campaign objective and improve your score.
Already understand how Relevance Scores work? Click here and jump to some strategies to up your score!
What is the Relevance Score and Why Does It Matter?
The Relevance Score is a magic number. It’s a score from 1 to 10 that, at first sight, will let you know how relevant an ad is to its audience.
Note the wording. Relevance, not quality.
The scope of this number is not to tell you how good your image or copy is. The main goal here is to make you understand if your ad’s demographic target is considering your message relevant to them and thus engaging with it.
An ad made by the best designer in the world, with the best copy ever written will still have an insufficient score if it’s promoting women’s clothing and it’s being targeted to male teenagers 13-18 years old.
On the other hand, an ad with a decent design and copy targeted to the perfect audience, will enjoy a healthy Relevance Score.
Here’s an example from Facebook:
You may be wondering, “Why does this matter? It is just a number.” It is much more than just a number. The Relevance Score is the synthesis of many metrics: Engagement, Clicks, Conversions, Click-Through Rate, Negative Reviews. With just one number you can quickly understand if an ad will be a winner or a loser.
The Relevance Score also has a direct link to your advertising cost. When Facebook has to decide which ad to display to a specific user, they’ll always prefer to display an ad which they consider relevant to that user. If yours is not, it’ll quickly become very expensive to advertise.
Don’t believe me? Just Watch.
This Ad we’ve been running had poor targeting and cost us an average of $0.142 per website click. The Relevance Score is 2.9.
This is the same exact ad but targeted to a Website Custom Audience made out of users who visited our website in the last 90 days. The Relevance Score is 8 which leads to a cost per website click of $0.03!
With the same budget we generate 4 times more clicks. 1,103 Clicks to this blog post compared to the 278 of the other campaign. Shares, Likes and Page Likes are through the roof as well! This is just one example of how important the Relevance Score is.
How to Check the Relevance Score
It’s extremely simple. Just go to your Facebook Ads Manager, select a campaign and then an AdSet. In the “Ads” tab, you’ll get a list of ads, each of which will have its own Relevance Score.
AdEspresso makes it even simpler to see your Relevance Score! Just select a campaign to pull up your campaign dashboard.
Once you’ve gotten to your campaign dashboard, simply scroll down. At the bottom is a handy graph of your campaign’s Relevance Score and engagement over time.
To see your Relevance Score for particular ads in your campaign, switch to the “All Ads” view in the campaign’s menu.
For each ad, you can see the Relevance Score in a right-hand column. Let’s move on to figuring out what it means!
Data Time! What Relevance Score Means for You and What Influences It
Now that you have a good idea of what the Facebook Ad Relevance Score is, let’s check some data.
We analyzed a subset of our database: 104,256 ads created through AdEspresso in the 45 days after the Relevance Score was first introduced.
First, we checked the distribution. I would have expected to see a classic bell curve with most of the ads scoring between 4 and 5. Turns out, our customers are amazing and 63% of the ads had a score of 6 or more. 8 was slightly the most common Relevance Score.
It’s great to see most of the ads are targeting a relevant audience.
I’ve already mentioned that your ads’ relevance will impact Facebook’s willingness to display it in users’ newsfeeds and consequently, how much it will cost.
Let’s see some numbers to prove that:
|Score||Ads||CPC||CTR||Avg Shares||Avg Likes||Avg Comments||Avg. Website Clicks|
Exactly what we expected. The higher the Relevance Score is, the lower the Cost Per Click (CPC) is and the better the Click Through Rate (CTR).
The difference is really big if you reach a Relevance Score of 10—the CPC is extremely low and those ads generated a huge amount of clicks.
The next question is: Are the CTR and the CPC so good because of the high Relevance Score or vice-versa? I tend towards the latter.
The Relevance Score is not a standalone metric, like the number of clicks or impressions, it is a calculated one. The Relevance Score cannot affect the clicks that an ad will receive. It’s exactly the opposite.
If a Facebook ad has a great design and is targeted to the right audience, it’ll have a very good CTR and engagement. This will lead to a lower CPC and to a higher Relevance Score.
The Relevance Score is far from useless, and to a certain extent, you can avoid checking multiple metrics and simply focus on the Relevance Score to understand which ads are performing the best.
Finally, here’s a summary of the metrics that most influence the Relevance Score:
- Negative Signals: When a user hides your ad from their newsfeed, that is a strong indicator that you’re not targeting the right audience.
- Campaign Objective: I think this is the strongest positive influence you can get. If your campaign is aiming at likes and you receive a lot of likes, that’s a good sign. The same goes for Conversions, Website Clicks and so on. The better you perform on your campaign’s goal, the higher your score will get.
- CTR: The higher your click-through rate is, the more relevant your ad is considered by Facebook. This is common sense, as no one would click an ad that is irrelevant to them.
- Shares: My theory is that Facebook believes that sharing an ad is the strongest endorsement on its quality. The numbers above seem to back this theory with a pretty strong correlation between the shares and the score.
- Likes & Comments: While the data doesn’t show a clear correlation, I think likes and comments are considered by Facebook as positive quality signals. Comments may be a bit trickier because without understanding the context, it’s tough to attribute them a positive or negative value.
Remember what this is all about: Relevance.
To increase your Relevance Score, you simply have to craft appealing Ads that directly address the needs and wants of your very specific audience.
Here are four actionable strategies to improve Facebook Ad Relevance Score:
#1. Lower Your Ad Frequency
Ever get annoyed by how many times the same ad shows up in your Feed? It’s tempting to just block the thing.
That’s how your viewers feel when your ad frequency, the average number of times a person sees your ad, is too high.
We found that the higher the frequency, the greater your Cost per Click (CPC) and the lower your Click Through Rate (CTR).
The graph below shows our results from analyzing 500 campaigns over a few months. Notice how there’s a steep increase in CPC once the frequency gets to 5.
Once people start seeing your ad too many times, you know it’s time to refresh your design.
There’s no hard and fast frequency to use as a threshold because everyone’s campaign is different, and the frequency is just an average.
But as you edit your ads, keep in mind that you should look for the balance between building an impression on people, while not annoying them through ad repetition.
Keeping your ads fresh is especially important for avoiding getting blocked or “hidden”, which would lower your ad’s Relevance Score.
Another way to keep your ad frequency low is to go into Custom Audiences and exclude people who have already converted to your business.
If your ad objective is to boost conversions, then boosting your ad to people who have already converted may only serve to annoy them.
Frequency is a good indicator of when your ads are on the precipice of getting negative feedback, which lowers your ad’s Relevance Score.
#2. Design Ads Based on Buyer Personas
Increasing your Relevance Score is all about fitting your ad with your audience.
The more detailed your buyer personas, the more you have to work within your ad design towards a niche audience.
Then, figure out your customer’s pain points through customer research, or even through competitive analysis. You can turn these pain points into a strong value proposition to feature in your ad.
The last step is to design your ads for each buyer persona by incorporating those demographic details and pain points.
Below are two example ads that we generated from two buyer personas: a digital marketing agent (left) and a startup entrepreneur (right).
Notice that each ad mentions front and center the specific customer pain point. For startups, it’s growth, and for marketing, it’s time.
With buyer personas in mind, it’s easy to design your ad to provide a unique value proposition for each segment of your target audience.
A well-designed niche ad leads to more click-throughs, in turn increasing your Relevance Score.
#3. Aim at Audiences With Intersecting Interests
Click-through rate factors into your Relevance Score—the higher your CTR, the higher your score.
That doesn’t mean you have to make your ad clickbait, though.
The elegant and effective way to get people to click on your ads is to target people with multiple, intersecting interests that your product represents.
That means if you’re advertising something—say a college football event with free tacos—the trick is to target users who like both football and tacos. Just input the different topics into the Interests section of Facebook’s Ad Manager, and select “all of these” interests to get your intersection.
Targeting users that match all of these interests will whittle down your audience to those who will really get a kick out of your event, and thus are more likely to engage with it via a click or a “Going” RSVP.
A high CTR improves all campaign objectives, whether it’s promoting an event, driving traffic to your site, or smashing product catalog sales.
And guess what? The better your ad achieves your campaign objectives, the higher your Relevance Score.
#4. Run Your Ads at Strategic Times of Day
To improve your Relevance Score, you’ll have to improve your ad timing. That’s because your product is probably going to be more relevant at certain times of the day and not others.
Choosing the best time to run your ads depends on the behavior of your audience segment.
For example, an ad for a hot meal is going to be more relevant for most people around their dinner time than in the middle of the night. Essay editing services are going to seem more enticing to students when they’re staying up at 1AM.
Once you understand your target audience’s behavior and pain points, you can optimize when your ad appears in their Feed.
To get a sense of optimal time to post your ad, use Facebook insights or analytics tools like Hootsuite to check the time stamps on when people are most engaged.
Below, we show how those analytics might look for post engagement:
Once you find your ad’s downtime (when people don’t really engage) you pause your ad for those times.
AdEspresso makes it really easy to do this with the Dayparting feature, which allows you to schedule your campaign’s live hours, within and outside of your time zone.
Not only will this scheduling save you money, it will also ensure that your ads are getting optimal exposure. That boosts your chances of getting more positive customer feedback, which directly boosts your Relevance Score.
There are a lot of metrics that go into your Relevance Score, and it can seem like a lot to keep track of.
Remember that no one nails their ad re-design on the first try. Split-test everything to find what’s optimal for your campaign objective.
That way, you can scale your campaign confidently, based on the best-performing ads with the highest Relevance Scores. For more on how to split-test, we got you covered.
Another thing to remember is: don’t over-obsess on improving your Relevance Score!
In the end, it’s just an estimate of how well your ads resonate with your viewer.
What’s more important are the core metrics that make your business grow.
So if your ad’s Relevance Score is low, but your campaign generates a positive ROI, all the score tells you is you have room to improve!
Your turn now!
I hope this data backed analysis of Facebook’s Relevance Score helped you better understand how it works and how you can benefit from it.
Now it’s your turn to go check your campaigns and improve them.
While you are at it, why not share your findings in the comments below? What is your average Relevance Score, and what worked well to improve it?
Let us know, and we’ll compare findings!