Facebook Ads: Which Metrics To Focus On

When reporting on your Facebook ads there are a lot of metrics you could focus on. However, the vast majority of these aren’t actually that important, making it very easy to fall into the trap of concentrating on things that don’t really matter. With that in mind, here are some of the metrics you should focus on as well as some that you most definitely should not.

Let’s start with what’s not worth spending your time over:


Reach, in general, is a metric that is growing increasingly less important, but particularly when looking at advertising. Ultimately, the lack of value in this metric is because it’s directly tied to how big your budget is and how large an audience you want to target - two things that are easily manipulated by the advertiser. If things aren’t going well, all they have to do is increase the budget or loosen the strings on the audience targeting (or both) until the ad is seen by as many people as possible - KPI hit, pat on the back. However, neither of those things are likely to get you any closer to achieving your desired goal. In fact, if you are broadening your audience targeting then you’re going to be targeting less relevant people, who are less likely to convert, taking you further from success.

Additionally, as budget and audience targeting will vary with every ad, and therefore so will Reach, it makes it exceptionally difficult to benchmark this metric for future ads.

The only time you may want to focus on Reach would be if you were running an advert for pure brand awareness with the goal of simply trying to reach as many people as possible and absolutely nothing else. If that is you, then you’re either in the exceptionally luxurious position of having very, very deep pockets with little pressure on ROI or it may be time to reassess your strategy.


If you’re someone who’s focusing on CPC’s then you’ve probably come from a more traditional digital advertising background such as Google Adwords. In those kinds of environments CPC’s really do matter and are worth focusing on, however when it comes to Facebook Advertising, it’s a whole different ball game. The reason for this is that ‘Clicks’, in Facebook terms, can include any click anywhere on your ad. As a result, that could mean a Like, a Comment, a Share, a click-through to your Page or even something like expanding a photo. This means that your CPC is based on a variety of different actions that the user could take, whereas your ad and your goal will likely only want to consider just one of these. Consequently your CPC figure isn’t going to accurately represent the cost of a user completing your goal.


Similar to the above, because of the way that Clicks are regarded by Facebook, your click-through rate will not be directly related to your advert’s goal. In other words, if you’re promoting a blog or a product on your website, your CTR on Facebook will not be ‘% of users clicking through to your website, it’s still going to incorporate all of the other actions too. So your ad may well get a lot of clicks and potentially a good CTR, but if those clicks aren’t to perform your desired action, then you’re over-reporting the success of your ad.

What should you focus on?

Well, in essence, only the things that are directly relevant to the goal of your ad. Typically those are:

Desired Actions

This will depend on what type of ad you’re running, but it could be:

  • Website Clicks e.g. if you’re promoting a blog post
  • Sales e.g. if you’re promoting a product or service
  • Registrations e.g. to a newsletter, webinar or event
  • App Installs e.g. if you’re promoting a mobile app
  • Engagements (Likes, Comments, Shares) e.g. if you’re promoting your (non-link) content to your own fans

Whatever your desired outcome is, this is one of the key things you should be reporting on as it shows you the number of people who successfully converted and completed your goal.

Cost per Desired Action

This is, perhaps, the single most important metric to focus on, as it will be the key to establishing ROI and whether your advert was a success. Of course, things become more complicated for goals such as Engagements or Website Clicks as it can be difficult to assign a monetary value to these, even so, by focusing on your Cost per Desired Action you’ll know how well your ad is performing overall. For desired actions where you can assign a value to them, for example, sales, app installs and registrations then Cost per Desired Action will directly inform you of ROI.

With all of that being said, it’s important to note that I’m not saying to never look at your Reach, CPC’s or CTR’s ever again, just that those are not the metrics to focus on. Instead, focus on the number of users who completed your desired action and what it cost you to get them to do this, that way you begin to accurately report on ROI as well as benchmark, model and build stronger advertising strategies for the future.

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