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January 24, 2017
Social Media  |  8 min read

How to Interpret Your Facebook Ad Metrics

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Kamila Gornia

As a beginner advertiser, you might experience a lot of confusion when it comes to running your Facebook ads successfully.

One of the biggest questions my students ask me is this: How do I even know my ads are working? (By the way, here’s a great resource that addresses that in detail.) What do I track? Which metrics do I pay attention to? 

In this article, I’ll share the most important metrics to pay attention to, as well as which metrics people say you should pay attention to, but in reality are usually just vanity numbers (unless you’re a pro-ninja advertiser that spends boatloads of money on ads each week).

Let’s start with some of the most important metrics:

Cost-per-action (CPA)

For any conversion-based campaign, where your objective is to collect leads, registrations, or something else, this is the main metric to pay the most attention. 

This is called “Results” in Facebook’s lingo, but it is changed up based on what you are tracking. If you are optimizing for leads, then your Ad Manager will say “Leads,” and so on.

results cost.png

The Results column tells you how many results you have, while the Cost column tells you how much you are paying per result.

This is what I care about the most—the Cost column. That’s the cost-per-action (or cost-per-lead, per registration, etc). If the cost is low, I celebrate, I’m happy, and I don’t change up too many things.

If the cost is high, that’s when I dig deeper into other metrics to understand why. Obviously, the cost is relative and it differs and varies a lot based on the type of offer, the audience, type of traffic, industry, and more. 

Click-thru rate (CTR)

This is the second metric I pay a lot of attention to. It basically tells you how often are people clicking on the ad in relation to seeing it in their feed.

To view this metric, select the Column “Performance and Clicks” and then scroll all the way to the right. There will be two CTR columns.

performance and clicks.png

You want to focus on the very last one, on far right, which focuses on link clicks CTR, not ALL clicks (which includes any and all clicks, not necessarily those that click to visit the website or landing page you are aiming to drive traffic to). 

I like to keep my CTR around or above 1 percent for cold audience traffic. For warm traffic, that percentage should be higher. 

If your ads are expensive, this can be a big tell-tale sign as to what the problem is. Is it the ad or the landing page, that’s causing the high costs-per-conversion or cost-per-clicks?

Cost-per-click (CPC)

Speaking of cost-per-click, this metric is mostly used when using website clicks campaigns (traffic objective rather than conversions). There are many reasons why you would use this objective. When traffic is the main objective, you do not see the results in terms of conversions or actions taken on the default report.

That’s when we begin looking at the cost-per-click. How much does it cost you to send one view to your website? This should be as low as possible. 

I don’t look at this unless I am running website traffic ads. If your goal is to get leads, I recommend avoiding this objective unless you have a deeper strategy for using it and would consider yourself more advanced, otherwise, you may end up spending more money overall.

Link clicks

This is the metric that tells you how many times your website link has been clicked. 

This is an important one, and it’s important not to be confused with clicks (all), which just tells you how many total clicks there were (including clicks on the ad, to “read more,” to leave a comment, etc). This tells you if people are actually going to your webpage.

Now, here are some metrics I don’t really pay attention as much to unless something funky is going on:


This is the number of people who have seen your ads. It’s the cousin to “Impressions” which basically tells you how many total times your ad has been viewed.

I don’t look at this number as much unless it is very low when it shouldn’t be. I’ve had my clients and students come across this issue a lot lately, where their cold audience ads are getting little-to-no reach. It shouldn’t be happening. So at that point, I would look to see what’s going on. Why is the reach low? 

If the reach is increasing, and it’s a fairly big number (for a fairly big audience), you have nothing to worry about. This is going to be reliant on your audience size and daily budget, of course, so any simple blanket advice doesn’t apply here. But if you are setting your ads up properly, you shouldn’t be having issues with this.

Relevance score

This metric basically tells you how relevant your ads are to your audience. Are people engaging with the ad? Are they clicking on it or saving it? Or are they flagging it as inappropriate? Based on these, plus many other actions, Facebook then tells you the relevancy.

This might be against what you’re used to hearing, but I frankly don’t care too much about this metric. If my cost per lead is low? Great! In fact, I often see ads that have a high relevance score have an excessively high cost per leads, whereas those with lower scores, cost very little. So, since I really care most about money in and money out, I don’t care about this as much as people might claim you should.

In order to see your Relevance score, you have to look at your ad level in the Ad Manager. So, click on the Campaign, then the Ad set, then you’ll be able to see it on the right side next to each ad. 

Performance relevance.png

Anything above six is great.

As long as your ads don’t have a relevance score of three or less, you’re unlikely to get flagged.

Cost-per-thousand (CPM)

I don’t really care about this number, like, ever. Does this make me a bad marketer? I don’t think so. I’m all about simplicity and knowing how much I spend per thousand impressions isn’t going to tell me much. I consider this a vanity metric unless you’re doing something very specific that requires your attention on it.


This is a metric that tells you how many times your ads are being seen by people. In order to view this, you have to click on “Columns” and then select “Performance and Clicks.”

performance and clicks fre.png

I don’t usually track this, especially if my cost-per-lead is low. And it’s usually not a big deal, especially if you are running ads to a large cold audience. However, once you start seeing your ads increase in cost, it’s a good idea to check this metric to see why the cost may be increasing.

If the ads have been running for a while, it could be that they are being shown too many times in front of people and the audience is becoming exhausted. It might be time to switch up the target audience or change the image to freshen it up. 

I hope this article gives you some insight into the truth behind what to track and what to not worry about. Facebook ads are an art and a science, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes. 

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Kamila Gornia.jpeg

Kamila Gornia is the “Blow Up, Scale Up” Marketing Strategist who helps passionate entrepreneurs to get seen and get paid online so they can become thought leaders in their space. She specializes in Facebook Ads, sales funnels, and lead generation through strategic personality-based profit systems.

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