A common misconception of paid social ads is that they’re just fluff on top of a more “serious” marketing campaign. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and advertisers who have overlooked the value of Facebook Ads will soon be doing a double take.
Facebook recently rolled out its new Ad Relevance Score (ARS) metric, which will judge whether or not your ad is relevant to your audience. Feeling a bit of déjà vu? You may have used Google’s “Quality Score” metric to get the insights needed to know if you’re leading your clients’ campaigns in the right direction, and this new score from Facebook is eerily similar.
From the perspective of a search marketer, here are five things you need to know about Facebook’s new metric:
1) How ARS is calculated.
According to Facebook’s blog, ARS is calculated on a scale of 1 to 10 “based on the positive and negative feedback we expect an ad to receive from its target audience.” Positive interaction will be dependent on the ad’s objective, along with some other metrics such as conversions and video views. The score will be updated after your ad receives 500 impressions and will continue to be updated as you gain more feedback and engagements. The better your feedback, the higher your score and the lower price you’ll pay for your ad.
2) ARS is not the be-all and end-all of ad performance.
Facebook has made it clear that a high ARS should not be the main goal of any ad, similar to when Google said that the Quality Score shouldn’t be a key performance indicator. This has received some negative feedback, because a low Quality Score or ARS would mean a higher cost. Why wouldn’t marketers want to save a few extra bucks, right? In some cases, optimizing your ad to your relevance score will end up hurting your ROI. For example: Say you’re promoting a sale at your eCommerce shop, and the main goal of your campaign is to generate sales. If you begin running your ad and see a high number of sales but only a mediocre ARS, then you shouldn’t change your ad to fix your score.
3) You can now “know before you go” with a test drive of your ad.
In the search world, we’re always looking for ways to improve our Quality Score. The initial ARS of an ad is calculated after 500 impressions, so you can run your ad, get 500 impressions, optimize, and then do a full rollout with confidence. Since reaching this threshold is pretty easy (relatively speaking), you’re given the ability to do a quick “pre-test” and have a better understanding of what to expect once you unleash your ad in full force.
4) Not all ads will be affected.
Brand awareness campaigns, where the goal is to reach your target audience and not necessarily generate an action, will see less of an impact from ARS. And ads bought through reach and frequency will not be impacted by ARS at all. These types of ads will still be relevant and, for the right client, may be the most effective way to advertise. However, defining an actionable goal from a user (e.g., sign up, purchase, install, etc.) will be the most measurable way to use Facebook Ads and ARS.
5) This will be an important step forward for Facebook’s paid ads.
Pulling back the curtain on how Facebook’s algorithm works is the kind of transparency some advertisers need to clear up skepticism about the measurability of Facebook Ads. If the ultimate decision maker of your marketing budget is on the fence about a paid social ad, showing a high ARS along with your target demographic is a tangible way to prove the ad’s worth. Facebook’s in-depth targeting has always been a huge perk of the platform, but there was never a way to know if your ad was a good fit for the targeting you wanted to use. Now there is a way to conclusively answer the question: “Is my ad relevant?”
The bottom line is: Paid social ads can be a powerful tool to reach your audience. And having access to better metrics is key to understanding their impact. The better you’re able to measure the reach and relevancy of your ads, the more effective your marketing can be.