The roll-out of Facebook’s new Ads Manager platform came with some major changes that paid social media buyers are growing accustomed to. But one of the biggest changes to its analytics was made without a word about it from the social media giant – the disappearance of the “Engagement Rate,” metric, now replaced by a “Results Rate.” In order to explain the differences, let’s go back to Facebook Ads 101 and review some definitions (all coming directly from Facebook):
- Engagement Rate – The percentage of people who saw a post that liked, shared, clicked or commented on it.
- Results Rate – The number of results you received, divided by the number of impressions.
- Impressions – The number of times a post from your Page is displayed. People may see multiple impressions of the same post.
- Reach – The number of people who received impressions of a Page post. Reach might be less than impressions since one person can see multiple impressions.
Changing the percentage rating from Engagement to Results is a smart move, and it makes sense. If your ad objective is Page Likes, for example, seeing the percentage of people who took this action will be more helpful to you than the percentage of people who engaged with it. Essentially, the “Results” can be replaced with whatever your objective was when you made the ad buy (i.e. Page likes, video views, etc.).
But your objective doesn’t seem to be the only thing changing in the percentage algorithm. I’ve always considered the Engagement Rate metric to be slightly ambiguous – Facebook doesn’t specifically state if it uses reach or impressions to determine the percentage. However, since the definition states that it’s a percentage of people who saw a post, and not the number of times a post was seen, I have always considered reach to be the metric used in the algorithm. The definition for Results Rate is much more clear – Facebook is using impressions to determine the percentage, meaning both sides of the equation have changed in the Engagement-to-Reach algorithm swap.
Personally, I prefer a method based on reach over impressions. Here’s why: Let’s say I am served a promoted post by Warby Parker, and I comment on it. Now say I’m served that same post again tomorrow – am I likely to comment on it again, or even engage in some other way when I’ve already seen it? Probably not. If the Results Rate were calculated based on people (i.e. me), then it would be a higher (and in my opinion, more accurate) rate than if it were calculated based on the number of times I’d seen the post.
What’s your opinion on the change in metric and algorithm? Do you see a benefit to using impressions as a metric instead of reach? Do you like the term Results Rate? Let’s discuss! Tell me in the comments below.