Connect with us

Communicate Online | Regional Edition | Advertising, marketing, public relations and media in the Arab world and beyond

Communicate Online | Regional Edition | Advertising, marketing, public relations and media in the Arab world and beyond

Experts reveal why changing Facebook ad metrics make sense

Facebook

Digital

Experts reveal why changing Facebook ad metrics make sense

Recently, Facebook announced some changes to its ad metrics. It is now labeling some metrics in Ads Manager as estimated or in development, to provide more clarity on how they are calculated and how advertisers should consider using them. These labels will appear in tool tips within the Ads Manager reporting table and in the customize column selector for ads running across Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network.

What’s new?

When Facebook provides real-time results, it often uses sampling methods that allow it to instantly model metrics at scale. By labeling metrics as estimated, advertisers will now know when these methods are used. For example, reach is an estimate of the number of people who saw an ad at least once. In order for Facebook to report reach, it analyzes the number of people who see an ad multiple times, de-duplicate them and then calculate the total number of unique people in real time. To do this quickly, it samples the data and will therefore label it as estimated. This is also how reach is calculated for ads on TV and across other digital platforms.

“For example, estimated ad recall lift is a metric used by brands to understand the differences between people who can recall a brand after seeing an ad compared to those who have not seen an ad. This kind of automated measurement is still new and requires both polling and machine learning. Because we use sampling to determine this metric, it will be labeled as estimated, and since we’re still gathering advertiser feedback on it, it will also be labeled as in development,” the company said in a blog post.

Doing away with the old

In July, it will also remove approximately 20 the old metrics based on feedback from marketers, which found that these metrics are “redundant, outdated, not actionable or infrequently used”. One such metric is ‘social reach,’ which shows the number of people who saw an ad with social information above it, such as noting a friend who also likes a certain brand. “We’ve heard from you that this metric isn’t meaningfully different from the reach metric, and we know that the insight drawn from it doesn’t indicate a business outcome,” said the statement.

Expert views

We spoke to two experts in the region to understand their views on the changes:

KHALED AKBIK, DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL, OMD

Which metrics are now available and what impact will this have on clients’ business?

Facebook continues to evolve its approach to measurement as they recently revamped their metric structure to increase business relevance. The key metrics Facebook reports on remain largely unchanged. What they did is remove some insignificant ones.

Businesses won’t be impacted per se, but measurement will become clearer for many businesses that are challenged by the abundance of metrics provided on social platforms. Updates like this should simplify the way they assess their ad performance and clarify what’s being measured and what’s estimated.

Please specify the exact metrics and how it will help with measurement?

Reach is one metric Facebook recently declared to be “estimated”. According to Facebook’s statement, “For example, reach is an estimate of the number of people who saw an ad at least once. In order for us to report reach, we analyze the number of people who see an ad multiple times, de-duplicate them and then calculate the total number of unique people in real time. To do this quickly, we sample the data and will, therefore, label it as estimated. This is also how reach is calculated for ads on TV and across other digital platforms.”

Another key metric Facebook touched upon is ‘Ad recall lift,’ which is a metric used by brands to understand the differences between people who can recall a brand after seeing an ad compared to those who have not seen an ad. Facebook has recently declared this as “estimated and in development”. According to Facebook,  “this kind of automated measurement is still new and requires both polling and machine learning. Because we use sampling to determine this metric, it will be labeled as estimated, and since we’re still gathering advertiser feedback on it, it will also be labeled as in development”.

The way the metrics are measured and calculated doesn’t change. What changed is how they’re labeled. As such, this doesn’t have a direct impact on measurement itself, however, it does put matters into perspective in terms of knowing which metrics are 100 percent accurate and which ones are indicative. Ad recall lift is something brands recently have been placing a lot of importance on, and now we know that we need to treat these metrics as guidelines to grade the performance of marketing dollars.

With ‘reach’, we’ve always known in the industry that reach is estimated. Now Facebook made sure this is explicitly declared to avoid any confusion and to maintain full transparency over how metrics like reach are calculated.

Which metrics are removed and if this will (or not) affect measurement and how?

Facebook provides the most comprehensive set of metrics compared to other social platforms; there are simply too many to list. While this may be great in providing flexible ways we can slice and dice our performance metrics, it sometimes challenging to determine the difference between them or what value they exactly add to a campaign outcome.

Facebook has recently surveyed its clients to see which metrics they prefer to use and have decided to make some of its metrics redundant accordingly. Metrics like, ‘Amount Spent Today’ and ‘Button Clicks’, both of which are covered through other available features/metrics, like the ‘Dynamic Date Selector,’ which allows us to compare results across different date ranges and ‘Link Clicks’ or ‘Event Responses’ respectively, which are a lot more widely used.

What do you think of this move?

We’ve always known that some of these metrics are estimated and/or under development. Facebook has been highlighting the importance of adopting Reach & Frequency and Ad-Recall as primary measurement to how successful awareness-based campaigns are. There will also be potential for another wave of enhancement in methodology in the future.

SIMON JENKINS, GLOBAL SOCIAL DIRECTOR, HAVAS MEDIA MIDDLE EAST

Which metrics are now available and what impact will this have on clients’ business? 

Facebook has recently introduced a new set of metrics within Ads Manager in a move described at providing “more insight into measurement tools and metrics”. Any changes that Facebook’s measurement team implements will undoubtedly be under intense scrutiny considering the highly documented issues surrounding their ‘inflated’ metrics, which the company admitted to in a series of announcements throughout 2017. The new metrics introduced provide advertisers with ‘estimated metrics’. The hope is that these will “provide guidance for outcomes that are hard to precisely quantify” – a bold move to provide ‘estimated insight’ given the recent demand across the industry for fully transparent, hard Ad metrics that cannot be disputed. One of the metrics introduced within Ads Manager includes Ad Recall data; usually something that is agreed pre-campaign(s) between advertisers, agencies and Facebook based on spend levels. In theory, it’s a much-desired metric to show the differences between users who can recall a brand after being exposed to an ad, compared to those who have not. However, this metric is provided as an estimate – something that can provide guidance, but ultimately not convey concrete data.

Which metrics are removed and if this will (or not) affect measurement and how

As well as the addition of new metrics, Facebook had removed old metrics (classed as redundant and outdated). Included within this are social reach metrics – “showing the number of people who saw an Ad with social information above it, such as noting a friend who also likes a certain brand”. Facebook’s decision to remove this was based on the infrequent use by advertisers. Given the fact you can fully customize your Ads reporting structure by adding/removing particular metrics, this is a pure cleansing exercise to tidy up unwanted or unnecessary metrics. As advertisers focus more on the ‘harder’ metrics (that can ultimately prove commercial value), we’ll continue to see these softer reporting aspects disappear.

What do you think of this move?

At this stage of rollout, the go-to response is to remain somewhat indifferent to these newly introduced metrics. We are already looking at forthcoming campaigns to use as testers to include the newly released metrics. Once we’ve done this and ingested the data, we will make decisions on whether there is sufficient insight to provide our clients with.

Continue Reading
You may also like...
Click to comment

Leave a comment

More in Digital

Trending

To Top
Download

To download a part of or the entire whitepaper, please fill in the below form, and a representative will be in touch with you.


X