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5 Facebook Metrics Expert Marketers Track (And Why You Should Too)

Katherine Hunter-Blyden
Katherine Hunter-Blyden

Expert marketers know there are a few additional metrics that will give you a deeper understanding of how your Facebook ads are performing.

Whether you are using Facebook ads for advertising today or thinking about it in the future, there are a few key metrics that you must consider when measuring your ad performance. Reach (the number of people who saw your ad) and impressions (the number of times your ad was on a screen) are basic metrics that every advertiser uses to measure Facebook ad performance. In fact, Facebook includes these metrics, along with budget and amount spent, in the default view of its ad manager tool.

Expert marketers know there are a few additional metrics that will give you a deeper understanding of how your ads are performing. This article outlines five key metrics.

Click-through rate

The click-through rate (CTR) measures the percentage of times that people saw and clicked on your ad. This metric is calculated as the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions. Essentially, it is a measure of relevancy. If your ad is relevant to the audience that sees it, then they are more likely to click on the ad. More clicks give you a higher CTR.

To increase your CTR, use compelling ad copy and images, and continually test the performance of your ads. Try running several creatives with one small change in each to optimize CTR. For instance, run identical ads with five different images. Note how the CTR varies between the ads, and turn off the lower-performing ads to improve your overall CTR. The same strategy can be used by changing your ad audience using location and other Facebook audience parameters, such as age, gender or relationship status.  

Cost per result

Cost per result is a metric based on your desired objective. If your objective is to get a viewer to click on your ad, the cost per result is the cost per click. If you are running an ad campaign to get responses for an event, your cost per result is the cost per event response. It is a measure of cost efficiency (and how much you pay) for your desired outcome. It can be helpful for setting bid objectives for future campaigns and for comparing outcomes of campaigns with similar objectives. This metric is calculated as the total ad spend divided by the total number of results.

To improve cost per result, use similar tactics as noted above for the click-through rate. Just be sure to focus on the change in the objective you wish to measure and not just clicks. For instance, let's say you set up a webinar on your website and decide to promote it on Facebook. You set up a Facebook tracking code to measure the number of complete registrations on your webpage that come from your Facebook ads. In this case, the cost per result is the cost per number of complete registrations. A complete registration is called a conversion, as you are measuring the number of Facebook users who convert on your website.

Unfortunately, there is no standard cost per result to benchmark against. The metric is dependent upon your objective. It is a good idea to set a target cost per result so that you can determine whether Facebook advertising is working efficiently. In the example above, if your webinar is priced at, say, $59 per registrant, and you want a 50% profit margin, your target cost per result would be $29.50. Determine and use your target cost to monitor the results of your campaigns.


Frequency measures how often a person sees your ad. Marketers use this metric to control ad fatigue. Ad fatigue happens when a target customer grows tired of your ad as a result of seeing it too frequently. As ad fatigue sets in, your ad becomes less effective. Fortunately, Facebook allows you to use a frequency cap to set a maximum number of times an individual sees your ad in a given time frame. This metric is calculated as impressions divided by reach.

While the metric is easy to understand, frequency is a somewhat complex metric. On the one hand, we know that customers need to see a brand repeatedly – up to seven times – to recall it, consider it, and ultimately buy it. On the other hand, seeing an ad too many times leads to ad fatigue. The current best practice is to set a frequency cap of two for a campaign that runs at least two weeks, although this practice will vary depending on the size of the target audience. A higher cap may be warranted for longer running campaigns. Advertisers can also use retargeting to manage frequency on and away from the social site.

The target cap for Facebook is lower than what is typical of traditional media. Facebook users can rate a campaign as annoying or irrelevant, and Facebook will reduce the number of impressions an ad gets if negative ratings get too high. Obviously, this outcome is highly undesirable. For this reason, the safe bet is to monitor the frequency and adjust campaigns if needed.

Cost per page like

Cost per page like is a key metric when your objective is to grow your following on Facebook. It gives you some measure of how much you are spending on awareness. Keep in mind that followers on Facebook are not customers. And Facebook's algorithm controls how much of your content will be delivered in your followers' feeds.

There are a few things you can do to improve your cost per page like. First, develop and post outstanding relevant content. Many users will determine to like (or not like) your Facebook page after visiting it through a linked ad. Good relevant content will produce more page likes. Secondly, know your audience. Targeting the wrong audience or too broad an audience can reduce page likes per impression, which will drive up your costs. Make the most out of your advertising budget by talking to the right audience segments.

Cost per page like is not an appropriate metric to use for campaigns with other objectives. For instance, if you set up a Facebook pixel to track website conversions, this metric may be outrageously high even if you are getting the desired number of conversions.

Video average play time

Facebook has several video metrics that can help you understand how interesting your video content is to your target market. Video plays tells you how many times your video starts, regardless of the length of time the viewer watches it. It is an impression metric for video. However, given that Facebook’s default setting for video is autoplay on, Video play includes views of individuals who do not actually watch your video. Video average play time is a better metric for understanding consumer interest. While video play excludes replays, this metric includes replays of video content.

Ultimately, you can use the video average play time to determine the best length of your video content. It can also help you determine how much time you have to make a good impression on a viewer.

When advertising with Facebook, outline your objectives, and measure the results of your ads. Be sure to track the appropriate metrics to ensure your campaigns meet desired outcomes. With this approach, you will be following your ad performance like an expert marketer in no time.

Image Credit: mangpor_2004 / Getty Images
Katherine Hunter-Blyden
Katherine Hunter-Blyden Member
Katherine Hunter-Blyden is the founder of KHB Marketing Group, a strategic marketing consultancy. With over 20 years experience in marketing, Katherine develops integrated traditional and digital marketing plans, including email, search and social media marketing, for her clients.