• Pallavi Tyagi

How to use ad metrics to improve your social media marketing ad performance

Improving your ads, metric by metric


Improve social media marketing ad performance

When running ads on social media marketing platforms, you are inundated with data. There are some primary metrics, which directly affect the performance of your ads. In addition, there is supporting data that provide you information on how to improve your ads. In this post, I will talk about the primary metrics that are used to improve social media marketing ad performance. In the next post, we will look at supporting data and how they can boost the ad performance.


A typical ad report will have these metrics.

  • Reach / Impressions / CPM

  • Click-through-rate / Cost-per-click

  • Results / Cost per result

How do you know when to use which metric? And more importantly, what can do you to improve them? Let's look at each metric individually.


Reach / Impressions

Reach is the total number of people who see your ad. Impressions is the total times your ad was shown. If 1 person sees your ad 3 times, then your ad's reach was 1 and impressions 3.

To increase your brand awareness, you should be showing your ad to maximum people possible within your budget. However, unless your objective is maximum views, these are not your main indicators of success. In most cases, reach/impressions provide guidance on your ad's quality. If your reach is lower than you expected, then there is something wrong with your targeting (too specific) or your budget (too low).

A related metric to them is cost-per-mille (CPM) or cost-per-thousand. This is the amount your ad is spending to get 1000 impressions. If you have defined your target audience very well and are showing them a relevant ad, your CPM will be low.


Click-through-rate (CTR) / Cost-per-click (CPC)

When running an ad which has call-to-action (CTA) button, these metrics will come into play. It is important to remember that the CTR and CPC measure only the clicks and the costs related to the button.

When running traffic ads, the CTR and CPC are primary metrics to look at. These will have a direct effect on how many people visit your website/app.

When running ads with conversion objectives, your CTR and CPC will be secondary metrics only. In those type of ads, your primary objective will be the results.

As with everything else, your CTR and CPC depend on your ad relevance to the target audience. You can measure yourself against the Facebook benchmark CTR and Google Search benchmark CTR for your industry to guide you. The average CTR across industries is 0.9% for Facebook ads and 3.17% for Google Search ads.


Results / Cost per result

These are generic metrics which count the number of desired actions taken on your ads and the cost per action. For a traffic ad, 'landing page views' is the result. For a lead generation ad, 'number of leads' is the result. For a conversion ad, the action taken for the conversion is the result.

Your result cost will be lower for more relevant ads. It will also be lower for ads where the user is required to take a smaller action. So, a traffic ads result cost will be lesser than a lead ads result cost. It's always a good practice to compare ads of the same objective within your ad account.

The result cost is also helpful to compare two different channels, say Facebook and Google. You may find that it costs you less to collect a lead on Facebook, than it does on Google. But you may make more sales from a Google lead. Then, these metrics can be overlaid with your sales figures through that channel to understand your return-on-investment (ROI). If your sales is lesser than the cost to collect leads, then your ROI is going to be negative. In that case, you have to optimise your ads on that channel to reduce result cost.


This post provided a summary of important ad metrics and what they mean for you. In my next post, I will talk further about additional data that can be used to improve social media marketing ad performance. Be sure to come back and read (or listen to) part 2 of this post.

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