Summary: Facebook announced today that they’ll be making several changes to the way they report on “Relevance Score” in their ads manager. These changes are a great thing for advertisers, allowing you to closely diagnose opportunities to improve your ads.

First, what is Facebook’s Relevance Score?

Just like Google Ads has their Quality Score metric, Facebook has their own “Relevance Score” metric. The relevance score metric aggregates various ad quality and relevance factors to give you an idea of how relevant your ads are to the people in your target audience compared to other ads targeting that same audience.

It’s important to note that relevance score is an output, not an input. In other words, Facebook aggregates the factors and converts them into the 1-10 scale in order to give you a general idea of your ad’s relative relevance. However, when your ad enters an auction, the 1-10 number is not part of the “total value” calculation that determines which ad gets shown. Because of this (and the fact that the number is relative), Facebook doesn’t recommend focusing too much on raising your relevance score. They do, however, recommend using it to get a sense of your ad’s relevance, and then focusing on improving your targeting and creative.

Let’s talk about improving your Facebook Ads

Before we get into the actual changes, I wanted to take a second to talk about some of the way we think about improving Facebook ads. For a while now, we’ve been preaching the importance of making sure your ads, audiences and landing page experience work together to improve your ad performance. Too often, marketers focus on just one of those aspects, expecting that one aspect will secure their ad campaign’s performance. But when your ad creative, your targeted audience, and your landing page experience/conversion rates all work together, that’s when the magic happens with Facebook ads.

Ok, so what’s new with Facebook’s Relevance Score?

In a nutshell, Facebook are now breaking down their relevance score reporting (previously a single figure) into more granular parts, specifically reporting on 3 metrics. In their own words:

The diagnostics are:

  • Quality Ranking: How your ad’s perceived quality compared to ads competing for the same audience.
  • Engagement Rate Ranking: How your ad’s expected engagement rate compared to ads competing for the same audience.
  • Conversion Rate Ranking: How your ad’s expected conversion rate compared to ads with the same optimization goal competing for the same audience.

Ad relevance diagnostics are default columns in the Performance column preset but must be added manually to custom column presets. To ensure ad relevance diagnostics are accurate, ad relevance diagnostics aren’t available for ads with fewer than 500 impressions.

These metrics will help you diagnose underperforming ads across the 3 dimensions of relevance: quality, engagement and conversion. Reviewing the diagnostics together gives you more insights than reviewing each diagnostic individually.

Looking at each of those in more detail:

Quality ranking explains how your ad’s perceived quality compared to ads competing for the same audience. Facebook will measure ad quality through feedback from people viewing or hiding the ad and assessments of clickbait, engagement bait and other poor user experiences.

Engagement rate ranking explains how your ad’s expected engagement rate compared to ads competing for the same audience. The expected engagement rate calculates the likelihood that a person will click, react to, comment on, share or expand an ad. Engagement-baiting (for example, asking for likes, comments, and so on) will not improve your ad’s performance.

Finally, conversion rate ranking explains how your ad’s expected conversion rate compared to ads with the same optimization goal competing for the same audience. The expected conversion rate calculates the likelihood that a person who viewed your ad will complete your optimization goal. For example, the optimization goal for a campaign with the Video views optimization goal would be 10-second video views.

Why you should care

This is a great step forward for Facebook and its guidance for Facebook marketers. The new, granular approach to reporting on relevance should offer advertisers more nuanced insights into predicted performance and where to focus optimisation efforts.

Again though, remember… relevance score is an output, not an input. Don’t look to improve these metrics simply for having the highest score possible; but looking at these metrics to get more of the results you care about or to lower the cost of those results is definitely where it’s at!

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