After the July 2018 release of the Graph API, some Facebook ad metrics will leave our reports forever.
Facebook is removing metrics they consider “redundant, outdated, not actionable, or infrequently used.” What are these metrics and are you going to miss them?
I’ve talked with many business owners and marketing managers, and a large percentage rarely look past high-level metrics.
However, some of us obsessively track specific metrics that align with certain business goals. I once helped a university that cared about increasing reach in Brazil during a two-week period, so I reported on impressions from users based in Brazil– you don’t get much more specific than that. How will these changes affect us? What’s leaving and why? Let’s find out.
Which Metrics Is Facebook Getting Rid of?
To make things a bit easier, I’ve split the metrics into four groups based on key characteristics.
- The redundant metrics
- The not actionable metrics
- Infrequently used and/or outdated metrics
- Hard to track metrics
Redundant metrics aren’t disappearing completely, they are just moving to a different place. If you use these metrics don’t worry, Facebook will still let you get the info you need.
1. Amount Spent Today
To get this metric after the update, use the date selector to select “today” as the date and then use “amount spent” to see your spend.
2. Button Clicks
This metric will be reported on elsewhere—so you won’t miss it.
3. Positive Feedback and Negative Feedback
However, both of these metrics are estimates. The data isn’t straightforward and the algorithm for estimation isn’t clear.
Metrics That Aren’t Actionable
Any metric you track should help you tangibly improve ad performance. If it doesn’t, the metric isn’t actionable.
To make this easier, Facebook is getting rid of these metrics because they aren’t useful for iterating campaign efforts toward success.
1. Actions (as an aggregate metric)
Back in the day, the only thing you could do to a Facebook ad was like, share, comment on, or click it. The Actions metric helped you track these results as an aggregate.
These days, you can do a lot more with an ad and an aggregate number of all user actions doesn’t make sense anymore. It doesn’t help you gain any actionable insights, so Facebook is retiring it.
If you still want to calculate the cost per action, Facebook suggests you formulate your own composite metric “Actions” that makes sense for your business. Thinking through what actions really matter to you is something you can do to ensure that your reporting is actionable.
2. Mobile App Actions Conversions Value
If you want to gain similar insights, assign a value to a specific action rather than to actions as a whole. This will make your reports more accurate and easier to decipher.
3. Social Reach and Social Impressions
These two metrics can be replaced by Reach and Impressions.
Facebook’s reasoning for removing these metrics is that brands cannot control when ads are shown with social information.
If you were to report on this metric, you wouldn’t be able to make changes to your ads using the information gathered. So, while it’s an interesting metric, it isn’t actionable.
Metrics That Are Infrequently Used or Outdated
Now we’re getting to the lists of metrics that may worry you. A metric that is being removed because it’s “infrequently used” means that it was useful to some people, but not to a large enough percentage of Page managers to warrant keeping it in the lineup.
These metrics are not popular enough, and therefore Facebook sees their low usage as a sign that they’re not useful.
1. Canvas Component Time Percentage
This metric “hasn’t been a widely used metric” according to Facebook. Most people are boggled by its name. While you can guess the meaning of a metric like “Amount Spent Today,” this Canvas Component Time Percentage metric is hard to decipher.
First, you have to know what a Canvas is (“a full-screen ad experience” on mobile). Because a Canvas is a multimedia experience, it has many “components.” You might want to know how much time a person spent on each component—what worked and what didn’t?
It so happens that few people found value in digging into the percentage breakdown, and the lack of use for this metric led to its demise.
Advertisers should be asking themselves what it is about a Canvas that is maintaining a user’s attention. This was one of the few metrics that went beyond reach and impressions (capturing attention) to where the attention gets allocated (maintaining attention).
When social media campaign metrics focus too heavily on the more superficial metrics, they only get a superficial understanding of the consumer. We’ll miss you, Canvas Component Time Percentage.
2. Carousel Card Conversion Metrics
If you use ads in the carousel format, you might be interested in not only the engagement on your carousel as a whole but also the breakdown of engagement per carousel card.
While conversion metrics like CTR are going away, link clicks are here to stay. You will just have to calculate the CTR manually now.
3. Page Mentions
Facebook is claiming that Page Mentions is outdated because it “is not indicative of either positive or negative sentiment towards your brand.”
This seems like an insufficient reason for calling a metric outdated, especially if share of voice (SOV) is important to a brand. This might be one of the metrics we miss the most.
4. Page Tab Views and Cost per Page Tab View
Facebook’s reasoning for removing this metric is unclear, saying only that there are other recommended metrics to substitute in reporting and that it isn’t indicative of campaign success. The removal of this metric will likely disappoint users who use tabs strategically.
Technologically Difficult to Track
Sometimes, Facebook has to remove a metric because the technology has changed. The metric is still useful, but because of these changes, it becomes impossible to track.
These metrics are potentially the most painful to lose. So far, only one metric has suffered this fate.
Link Click Destination
According to Facebook, this metric has become increasingly difficult to track due to updates to mobile operating systems. It’s unfeasible, at least for now. The recommendation is to look at Outbound Clicks and Landing Page Views until it becomes possible to report on this metric again.
Are you surprised, sad, or happy to see any of these metrics go? Share your feelings in the comments.