If you’ve read our past posts, you know we’re big fans of the business-oriented improvements Facebook has been making, and how effective a well-managed Facebook business profile can be. So when Facebook announces sweeping changes to how it scores ads, we’re paying attention!

Specifically, the “ad relevancy score” used by Facebook will be no more. The shift will be complete by April 30th, and the score will be replaced with metrics that are hopefully more useful to marketing teams going forward. Let’s take a look at the relevancy score, and what Facebook metrics you can start using instead.

What the Relevancy Score Did, and Why It’s Being Replaced

For those who haven’t run many widespread Facebook advertising campaigns, the relevancy score was a number between 1 and 10 that Facebook assigns to the ad after it has been “served” or shown 500 times. Facebook takes these results and then makes predictions about how well the ad is going to do – specifically, how the audience is likely to respond, how probably it is that they’ll interact with the ad, and if the audience is likely to take any negative actions against the ad, like blocking it. Basically, it’s a summary of how well crafted the ad is, and how accurately the ad is targeted to a particularly audience.

The relevancy score is important, because Facebook uses it to make decisions about your ad. A score close to 10 means that the ad is expected to perform very well and will probably have a noticeable impact. A score closer to 1 means Facebook thinks it’s a poor ad, and they may charge you an extra premium for keeping the ad in front of eyeballs. The relevancy score can also change from day to day, so large Facebook campaigns often keep a close eye on it.

All this is changing now, because Facebook has realized this is a pretty opaque way to handle things. It’s difficult to distill all predicted audience reactions down into a single point, and not at all informative to businesses that are trying to improve their advertisements. So Facebook is replacing the score with three different rankings – quality, engagement rate, and conversion rate.

Quality Ranking

This reflects how the perceived quality of an ad compares to other ads that are competing for the same types of audience. In other words, how well does the ad stack up against similar ads that will be appearing at the same time and to the same sorts of people? Facebook only has so much real estate, after all.

Engagement Rate Ranking

Engagement rate rankings compare the expected engagement rate compared to competitive ads targeted at similar audiences. Here, engagement rate appears to refer to how people interact with the ad. Do they click on it to learn more or follow a link? Do they try to hide the ad, or are they willing to at least let it be present?

Conversion Rate Ranking

Conversion rate compares your ad to others with similar optimization goals and audiences. Conversion appears to take engagement rate one step further and view final conversions – if the ads resulted in a completed call to action, or a purchase product, or so on. This is, of course, very handy for examining ROI, especially in regards to competitive ads.

Using the New Rankings

Obviously, these rankings will be able to provide more useful information for businesses that want to improve their Facebook ads and could use some extra direction to that end. How exactly these rankings will break down and be used is still up in the air – we’ll know more when the implementation is complete.

However, we do know that, like the relevancy score, the new rankings will kick in after 500 impressions, although they are still predictions rather than analysis of actual past results (Facebook may be incorporating some past results into its scoring, but is careful to always note that the ranking is about expected performance). We also know that the three ranking diagnostics with be available as defaults in the Performance section of Facebook’s ad analysis, and that you can add the rankings to custom columns if you like to build your own analytics.

And there’s the big question – will Facebook be using these rankings to create extra charges or change fees? We don’t know…not yet. It’s likely that Facebook will try to optimize its ad fees based on all the information possible, but they are keeping the process as hidden as possible for now.

Other Important Ad Changes

Facebook is also making a number of other ad improvements to the overall process, generally increasing efficiency and helping businesses make better decisions. For example, Facebook allows you to gauge the “potential reach” of an ad campaign to see how many people it could reach. It’s now improving the process by narrowing down the results to only users who have been shown an ad within the past 30 days – removing those who are much less likely to see the ad at all. Facebook has gotten into trouble over this feature in the past, so it’s a good sign that they are willing to make changes like this!