Social media

How to measure and improve social media Ads performance

Measuring social media Ads performance is not only essential for determining the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, it is also the key component to a successful social media advertising strategy.

Social media advertising is a must for any business that exists in this digital era.

If you’re a marketer or a business owner managing your own social media accounts then you know how difficult it is to get the majority of your audience to see your content. This is due to the steady decline of organic reach across social media platforms.

As more brands invest in social media marketing, getting in front of your target audience is becoming more difficult. The reason being, more and more brands are competing for social media feeds placements.

Social media advertising guarantees that your brand gets in front of your target audience.

Social media advertising is without a doubt one of the most effective methods you can use to reach customers online. Advertising on social media is so essential to a modern business that billions of advertising dollars are poured into social media networks year after year.

But just reaching potential customers isn’t good enough and is not the goal. The goal is to reach them and convert them into customers.

And that’s a challenge, creating high performing social media Ads that convert.

But what’s the criteria for high performance when it comes to social media advertising? That’s what we’re going to answer in this article. Not only that, but we’ll also help you analyze marketing data, measure and improve your social media Advertisements performance.

Social media Ads performance

Ad performance is the measurement of how well a paid advertising campaign is performing. When an Advert is run on social media, there are goals and a strategy behind it.

Ad performance looks into how close you are towards achieving that advertisement goal and helps you determine if adjustments need to be made in order to achieve the goal.

Measuring social media Ads performance is not only essential for determining the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, it is also the key component to a successful social media advertising strategy.

For majority of small businesses measuring Ads performance can be a challenge.

With so much data available to analyze, businesses find it difficult to identify which data matters the most. Often, they don’t have the time and resources required to analyze all the advertising data available to them.

As a result, they lose a huge chunk of valuable data and that hurts their advertising performance going forward.

Why is it important to measure Ad performance?

Performance tracking is important to every marketing campaign as it lets you know if your marketing efforts pan out as expected. It even more important when it comes to paid Ads since there’s money on the line.  

It critical for every business, big or small, to have some sort of performance tracking system in place for their advertisements.

Inability to track and measure advertising performance can hurt business performance in a number of ways. For example,

  • You continue to invest on Ads that aren’t working instead of relocating Ad budget and investing more on Ads that perform well.
  • You lose valuable data you should be analyzing to gather insights, help you make informed advertising decisions, and ultimately help with optimizing Ads for better performance.

How to measure social media Ads performance

Ad performance is measured using various social media metrics. Some metrics matter more than others depending on the type of Ad you’re measuring.

For example, if you’re running an Ad campaign to raise brand awareness it makes less sense to measure conversions for that Ad. Instead you should focus on the number of impressions and engagements.

Here’s a detailed list of social media metrics you should use to measure Ad performance.

1. Engagements

The engagements metric tracks how social media users interact and engage with your advert or content. Engagements are a great indicator of how interested your target audience is in your advert.

Engagements are likes, comments, clicks, retweets and shares, pins, and video views.

Why engagements matter

Tracking your engagements helps you evaluate your social media performance. Engagements might not result to sales but they do give you some insights about your target audience.

By tracking your social media content marketing and Advertising engagements you will learn what type of content resonates with your audience. You’ll learn what tone to use to communicate best with them.

You’ll learn what they think about your brand or content from their comments. These valuable insights from measuring engagements will help you create Ads that perform better.

Engagements are not only useful for insights, they’re also great for social proof. For example, if you’re local restaurant and your Ad appears on people’s social feeds with thousands of likes and shares what that tells them is that many people like your establishment, find it cool and interesting. They conclude that you’re proven, trusted and you’re a place to be.

2. Click-through-rate

A click-through-rate, also called CTR, is a metric that tracks how many people click through your social media Ad to get directed to a conversion destination. Typically, a conversion destination is a landing page where users will hopefully go on to complete a desired action like making a purchase.

Why click through rate matters?

A high click-through-rate is a good indicator that your advertisement is performing well.

If people are clicking through your Ad that means the Ad resonates with them. It’s doing a great job of getting them interested in what you’re advertising, and is successfully convincing them to go visit your conversion destination.

A low CTR indicates that your advert does not appeal to the audience you’re targeting. In which case you’ll need to tweak your advert, maybe change your copy and Ad creative, or adjust your targeting.

A high CTR is a sign of an audience’s interest and high Ad relevance. It means people like what they see. And, as a result Ads with a high CTR are rewarded with a lower cost-per-click and get more impressions and better Ad placements.  

How to measure CTR?

You’ll rarely need to manually measure your CTR since most major social media platforms calculate the CTR for you. But the general way to calculate CTR is to take the number of clicks-through received by your Ad, divide it by Ad impressions- the number of times your ad has been viewed, and multiply by 100.

3. Conversions and conversion rate

A conversion is an event where targeted consumer completes a pre-determined and desired action. What counts as a conversion depends on the Ads objective.

For example, say you’re running a Facebook Ad campaign to gain page followers, a conversion occurs when a user sees the Ad and clicks the follow/like button.

Examples of conversions businesses and marketers hope for when they advertise on social media include,

  • Signing up for a newsletter
  • A website visit
  • Getting a lead
  • Making a sale
  • Getting downloads
  • And many more.

A conversion rate is a metric that measures the percentage of people who clicked-through to your Ad and proceeded to convert on your offer.

Why conversion rate matters?

For most marketers, conversions are priority number one as they can directly affect ROI making a conversion rate the ultimate Ad performance metric. A high conversion rate is an indicator of good Ad performance, it means that people want your offer and that you’ve provided a good means for them to get it.

A low conversion rate is a signal that your ad is not closely aligned with your landing page. It means that your Ad is getting a lot of clicks-through but those clicks don’t convert.

A number of reasons could be the cause, it may be that your landing page doesn’t speak to the true value of what you’re offering, or that your landing page is not well designed for that conversion action.

How to measure conversion rate?

A conversion rate is calculated by taking the number of conversions completed, dividing by the number of clicks-through to your conversion destination. For example, if 100 people clicked-through your Ad but only 13 went on to buy what you’re advertising, you would have a conversion rate of 13%.

4. Cost per action/conversion

We defined a conversion rate as an event where one completes a desired action. A cost-per-conversion, also known as a cost-per-action (CPA) is a metric that tracks how much each conversion costs you, and it includes your cost-per-click.

Example, say you ran an Ad with a cost-per-click of R2, but you get one conversion for every 100 clicks. Your cost-per-conversion would then be R200.

Why cost-per-conversion matters?

It important to know what your cost-per-conversion is for every Ad campaign you run. Knowing your cost per conversion not only lets you know how your Ad is performing, it also tells you if the Ad is worth continuing or not.

Cost-per-conversion is a critical metric since it links directly to your Return-on-Ad-spend or (ROAS), which we’ll discuss shortly.

For example, say the product you’re advertising on the above example is priced at R150 while your cost per conversion is R200. That means you spend R200 to make one R150 sale, this is obviously a loss since you’re paying more to get a single sale that pays less, resulting to a negative ROAS.

In such a case the next best thing to do would be to terminate the Ad campaign, or improve the Ad itself and hope for a lower cost-per-conversion.

How to measure cost per conversion?

Fortunately you don’t have to manually measure this metric since most major platforms will calculate it for you.

5. Return on Ad spend (ROAS)

Return on ad spent, or ROAS is marketing metric that measures the amount of revenue a business earns for each Rand spent on advertising. ROAS is very similar to ROI except that ROAS focuses on and measures return and how you’re effectively spending your advertising budget for a single Ad.

ROI is broad metric that covers combined returns from all your Ads. It tells you nothing about the performance of a single Ad.

Why ROAS matters?

Since ROAS focuses on single Ads, it lets you identify which Ads have better returns and helps you decide which Ads to invest more money on.

For example, say you have two Ad campaigns running. Ad #1 has a ROAS of 5:1 and Ad #2 has 3:1. On the first one, for every R1 you spend, you earn R5 while you earn R3 on the second one. A smart decision would be to reallocate your advertising budget and invest more on Ad #1 since it performs better.

Ads that perform well have an ROAS ratio greater than 1:1. A ROAS ratio below 1 means you’re losing money on that specific Ad

How to measure ROAS?

To measure or calculate ROAS, you take revenue generated by an Ad and divide it by Ad budget.

Calculation example: An Ad campaign that generates sales worth R10 000 from an Ad budget of R2000 has ROAS of 5:1. For every R1 you spend advertising, you earn R5 back.

7 ways to improve social media Ads performance.

What does improving social media Ads performance mean? And how do you do it? The answer to the first question is quite simple. Improving social media ad performance means higher CTRs, conversions and ROAS.

The answer to the later question is, there are multiple ways you can improve your social media Ads performance and here they are.

1. Use A/B testing to identify your best performing Ads

A/B testing, also called split testing, is a method of testing multiple versions of a social media advertisement in attempt to identify the most effective individual Ad elements for a particular audience.

To perform an A/B test, you separate your target audience into two groups and show these groups different variations of the same Ad.

After the test campaign has stopped running, you compare the results of each variation to determine which is most effective by analyzing metrics such engagements, and Click through rates.

Why A/B testing matters?

If you have, before, ran social media Ads they most likely were based on assumptions or a blog article you read that told you that video gets 13% more engagements than pictures.

The problem with that is, you don’t know for sure if this holds true for your brand and audience. With split testing you actually test your assumptions first before investing thousands of Rands in them.

What A/B testing does is, it helps you identify the best performing version of your Ad. That is, the version with a high CTR and conversions. This gives you an opportunity to maximize your efficiency, decrease your cost per click and squeeze in more impressions and conversions with your advertising budget.

A/B testing eliminates guessing and assuming what will work better for your brand. A/B testing allows you to find answers to questions like:

  • Which message resonates better with my audience?
  • What content type will engage my target audience the most?
  • Which call to action will results to a higher CTR
  • And many more.

How to A/B test?

Before you get started with your testing you need to first identify which individual Ad element you want to test for.

You should test one variation at a time. For example if you want to identify which content type will be most effective, you should only alter the content type, and not anything else. See the example below.

Other Ad elements you can test for include

  • Content formats
  • Messaging
  • Call to action
  • Ad creative
  • Ad placement
  • Layout
  • Audiences, and more.

Running Ads based on assumption can hurt your brand in big way, especially if you’re just getting started with social media advertising. You’re not sure how your audience responds to different social tactics yet and you might find yourself throwing money on poor performing Ads.

Testing to identify what works best with your target audience will help you spend your advertising budget wisely and enable you to create and run better performing social media Ads.

2. Improve your targeting

Poor audience targeting is sending out your Ads to a broad audience and hoping that it will reach the right people. This approach alone is the reason why most social media Ads perform poorly.

Audience targeting allows you to show your Ads to a group of people you specify by choosing from over 1500 data points. Advertising to a highly targeted audience reduces your reach but increases your engagements, clicks and conversions.

There are multiple routes you can take towards improving your social media Ads targeting.

Use custom audiences for remarketing

The first step to take towards improving your targeting is to gather information on your existing customers and website visitors. This is done by placing a small un-noticeable code on your website called a pixel. This code will collect data on your website visitors and track their online behavior.

A pixel can track everything that a visitor does while on your site.

It can tell you which pages they visited, and how long they stayed on those pages. It can track buttons they clicked on, whether they completed a purchase or not. Since you can tell who recently purchased, you can choose to exclude them on your next Ad campaign.

You can then use this data to target this group of people who have already shown interest in your business. Or, you can use this data to gain a deep understand of your target customers and advertise to people with similar online behaviors.

Integrating a pixel on your website is fairly easy and simple, learn more about how to here.

Once you’ve got your Pixel setup and ready to go, here’s how to use it with Facebook Ads.

  • Go to audiences of Facebook Ads manager.
  • Create a custom audience
  • Select website traffic
  • Select your pixel
  • Setup your targeting rules
  • Give this audience an appropriate name and click create audience.

Target competitors’ fans using Audience Insights

This strategy is more useful to people who don’t have much data about their target audience. All that’s required is that you identify your competitors.

Using Facebook audience insights you can find information on your competitors and their social media followers.

By using this tactic you gather more precise audience insights. You will discover data that you can use to target new followers and customers. This is a great way to start connecting with relevant people on Facebook if you’re just getting started with Facebook advertising.

Here how to access competitor follower’s information on Facebook.

  • Head to Audience insights dashboard, and select everyone on Facebook
  • Under Create audience, start selecting demographics, behaviors and interest that best fit your Customer persona.
  • Go to the Page likes tab to see which pages are liked by the audience you created. Write down this list.
  • Head back to Create audience tab and type your competitor’s name in the interest’s box.
  • Check out the demographics box on the right side to get more audience insights that will help you with your targeting and create a new audience based on these findings.

Narrow your targeting

Narrowing targeting means to get very precise and specific about who you want to advertise to.

Facebook offers three main categories: demographics, interests and behaviors. Within each of these categories are many more targeting options that help you get in front of people who are most likely to convert.

For example, you can choose to target woman between the ages of 30 – 40, who are divorced, living in Pietermaritzburg, that work for government, who’ve recently made a purchase online.

This strategy works best for personalized Ads and very specific products or services. If you’re a business with a broad appeal such as a restaurant or grocery store you needn’t go to all this trouble of getting super specific.

Targeting very specific audiences is guaranteed to get your Ads to perform better since you’ll be connecting with people most likely to be interested in what you’re selling. Audit your current audiences and see if you can’t narrow them any further.

3. Use Landing pages to improve conversions

Landing pages are an essential part to paid Ads campaigns. Unfortunately most small businesses and novice social marketers overlook landing pages and their effectiveness when it comes to getting conversions. All too often they make the mistake of sending prospects to their website’s home page.

This is a bad idea if you’re looking to convert your social media traffic.

A landing page is web page that is designed specifically for accepting social media traffic generated from an advertisement. Typically a landing page is designed to get your prospect to complete some sort of a conversion action, such making a purchase or downloading an App.

Social media Ads with landing pages perform better than those that don’t, since landing pages are designed and optimized for conversions. If you’re running Ads without landing pages, you’re just wasting your clicks, you’ll hardly convert your Ad traffic.

The general rules to creating an effective landing page include:

  • Landing page content mirrors ad content (for text and images)
  • Clear value proposition and call to action
  • Keeping text simple and concise
  • Consider where the visitor is coming from, and ensure user experience continuity.
  • Must be responsive across all devices, desktop, phone and tablet.

Your social media landing pages should cater to the unique needs and mindset of a prospect coming from social media. If you have an offer up for grabs ensure that your landing page clearly highlights the offer you promised on social media.

Don’t send traffic to a normal website home page. Always have a landing page waiting to accept your prospect and optimize for conversions.

4. Use eye catching visuals

Poor Ad visuals might be the reason why your Ad is performing poor, not getting enough engagements, clicks or views. Social media users have short attention span, you have a few seconds to grab their attention and get them interested in what you’re advertising.

A potential customer might scroll right past your Ad without reading it if the image doesn’t catch their eye. If you’re using images for your Ad, select bright, clean, high-quality images. This is what a social media expect to see on the news feed.

Another very important thing to remember is making sure that your visuals, headlines and copy are relevant to your target audience as well as your brand.

Consider personalizing your Ad, make it as though you’re talking to this one ideal potential customer. Although this requires that your Ad is highly targeted and your reach might decrease but you’ll get better results.

Studies show that consumers accept personalized content better compared to branded impersonalized content.

Since social media users have short attention span, if you decide to go with a video for your Ad, make it short. Keep the video duration below 30 seconds. 85% of Facebook videos are watched on mute! So make sure your video does not rely on sound.

Here’s an example of an Ad with great attention grabbing visuals

Visuals are what attract people to engage with posts and Ads on social media. Focus on improving your visuals and watch your social media Ads performance rise.

5. Always include a call to action

You don’t want your audience to wonder about what to do next after engaging with your Ad. All your Ads should have a clear and simple call to action.

Tell your prospects what’s the next step to take if they’re interested on the Ad’s offer. If you’re advertising a product, include a call to action and button that takes them to landing page where they’ll hopefully complete the purchase.

Use the News Feed Link Description to write the description for your CTA. See example below.

One of the smart practices of using the News Feed Link Description area is to address the most common objection to your CTA offer.

Stay focused on one call to action. Keep is simple and short.

6. Remarketing

Remember how we said you can use a pixel to exclude people who have recently made a purchase with you or completed an offer? Of course you do. Well now is the time to target just those people and try to get another sale.

Remarketing is very powerful. If someone has purchased from you and you happen to actually offer a great product or service, they are more likely to come buy again.

This is where remarketing comes in.

You know you products life time, or subscriptions duration. You might want the people who’ve bought from you to come back again or continue their subscription. In this case you want to run Ads re-targeting these people.

Remind them why they bought your service or product in the first place. Offer discounts or anything you can use to keep them coming back.

For example if you’re a hotel you can remarket to people who have stayed at your hotel. To get them to come back you might want to give them a 10% discount on their next two stays at your hotel.

Remarketing campaigns often outperform Ads targeting new customers. Before you spend that money, evaluate if you really need to attract new customers or maybe you’re better off advertising to people who are already familiar with you and trust you. 

7. Use analytics to get insights and optimize Ads

Analytics gives you access to huge chunks of data about your customers, your brand’s online presence, usefulness of different marketing channels and marketing performance.

By making sense of the data available, you gather valuable insights that enable you to make more informed decisions and optimize your social media advertisements.

Look at all your advertisements data. Identify campaigns that perform well and those that don’t. Look at the Ad performance metrics we discussed above to determine where improvements need to be made.

If your social media advert isn’t getting clicks, that means you need to improve your Ad copy or creative. If your Adverts are getting clicks but no conversions, you need to focus on optimizing your landing pages, as so on.

Measure and improve

Social media advertising success is a combination of marketing data analysis, performance tracking, constant optimization and improvements.

To get the most out of your social media investment, set Ad performance benchmarks that make sense for your business—and measure relevant metrics to determine how your Ads are performing.

If you don’t have time or you’re not sure which metrics to focus on to measure and improve your social media advertisements performance, Avuiremedia can help.

Give us a call today at +27 61 469 9273 or contact us online to speak with a strategist about our social media advertising plans and landing page design services.

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