How to Define Success on Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads can be an unbelievably complex system. Figuring out whether your ads were successful or not can be just as complex as actually running a successful campaign.

At a first glance at your Ads Manager reporting tool, some users take the data at face value without breaking it down to see what it means. They sometimes see that they got conversions, ignore the rest of the data, and check out.

In reality, defining and monitoring success on your campaigns takes more than just seeing if you got clicks, or how many impressions your ad got. It can be hard to determine which metrics and stats are more important when measuring success on your ad campaigns. That’s why we’re here.

Why Some Metrics Carry More Weight

Just like with everything else on Facebook Ads, there are a lot of options when it comes to the reporting tools and metrics Facebook offers advertisers. You can view the number of conversions, frequency, reach, cost per impression, cost per click, and on and on.

Some of these metrics matter a great deal when it comes to defining success on Facebook Ads. Some don’t matter nearly as much as you’d think.

Ultimately, if you’re placing too much emphasis on the wrong metrics, you probably aren’t running the best campaigns. This means that you’re probably losing money. That’s the last thing you want.

So which metrics are the ones you should be paying the most attention to? I believe it’s these 4 metrics that best help you define success on Facebook Ads.

1. Actions Taken/Conversions

It makes sense that seeing whether the actions you want taken on your ad are happening is an important part of monitoring your ad campaigns. And yes, this is one of the most important metrics to look at when you’re evaluating your ad’s success.

These actions can include website conversions, clicks to a website, likes, engagement, app downloads, and more. Whatever objective you first choose when creating your campaign will be determined (and state) what action you want users to take on your ad.

The reason for this is obvious: even if you’re getting great CPM (cost per thousand views) and great reach, what does it matter if no actions are being taken on your ad?

For a lot of campaigns, seeing the number of actions taken (conversions) can be found after you’ve installed Facebook’s Conversion Tracking Pixel. If you’re targeting engagement, Facebook’s Ads manager has a section all about engagement.

Ultimately, this is one of the most important metrics to look at. I’m not going to argue with that. But it isn’t the only one that you should be looking at. There’s a lot of factors that affect overall success of your campaign, including how much you’re paying for these conversions.

2. Cost per Conversion

In the ads reporting tool in the Ads Manager, you can see exactly how much each conversion is costing you. This is important for obvious reasons—as great as conversions are, you shouldn’t be paying more than they are financially or socially worth.

When your ads don’t target sales, which have an easy-to-determine monetary value, determining the “worth” of an objective can be difficult.

After all, while spreading awareness of your products and brands is always good, if you’re paying more for sales, leads, or e-mail sign-ups then they are worth financially, your campaign isn’t as successful as it could be.

To adjust costs on your campaign, you could try adjusting your bidding strategies or targeting criteria.

While overall cost is important, it tends to be a better evaluation of success on Facebook to look at cost per action instead of cost per click or cost per mille.

3. Relevance Scores

This is a relatively new metric we’ve only had for a few months now. Your relevance scores can tell you a lot about how Facebook is prioritizing and pricing your ads.

While relevance scores were an invisible tool Facebook was using behind the scenes for a while, it’s now been rolled out and shared with advertisers.

Relevance scores tell you how relevant Facebook perceives your ad to be to your audience, and this affects how much they show your ad, the priority they give to it, and the cost. A high relevance score means you don’t have to bid quite as high for your ads.

Relevance scores are still a new metric, but any time Facebook offers us a new tool like this, it’s something to keep an eye on.

4. Frequency

This is a metric that is often ignored. It shouldn’t be. When it comes to understanding how to define success on Facebook Ads, frequency may tell you more about how people are responding to your ad than you’d initially think.

Frequency tells you how often users see the same ad. Have you noticed on Facebook that you get shown the same ad over and over and over? Do you ever click? Eh, sometimes they wear you down. More normally do you? No.

Ideally, your frequency will be 1. If it’s two or even three, that’s ok (unless the ad seems to be otherwise suffering in the other important metrics, too). If it’s higher than that, though, you may want to take a look at your ad campaigns—if you’re paying (or even just spending time) to show ads over and over to the same people who don’t convert, that’s not an ad campaign that’s successful.

To find your frequency ratings, you can find it in the ads manager. Select “columns: delivery” and it will be a metric displayed.

Why These Metrics Matter Most

When a lot of advertisers try to define or measure success on their Facebook Ads, they’ll take a look at a lot of other metrics, too: CPC, CPM, reach, impressions, etc.

While factors like impressions and click-through rates do matter, ultimately they aren’t as essential for most advertisers when they measure and define success on Facebook Ads as the metrics we’ve talked about above. Knowing what matters most for your business will help you define success on Ads for yourself, and help you to continue to improve your campaigns.


Which metrics matters most for your business? How do you define success with Facebook Ads?