Facebook ad reporting change aims to help advertisers optimize campaigns for actions beyond Likes

Advertisers will soon be able to measure a wider range of actions that consumers take after seeing an ad on Facebook, including comments, shares, app use and Credits spent, according to a spokesperson from the social network.

Previously, it had been difficult for marketers to understand what sort of effect their ads had beyond building a fan base since Facebook did not provide information about what users did after they clicked on an ad. This change seems to be part of a continued push to de-emphasize Likes as a campaign goal, and instead encourage marketers to focus on engagement within the platform.

Despite the new wording, today’s announcement does not mean Facebook will begin selling ads on a cost-per-action basis. Based on mock-ups provided by Facebook, advertisers will see a new metric in the ad dashboard called “actions” in place of what had been called “connections.” For example, with a page post ad — those derived from posts a brand made on its fan page — advertisers will now be able to see a breakdown of how many Likes, comments and shares the post received from users who saw the ad (see example below).

Under the old system advertisers could only get data about the number of people who Liked the page as a result of the ad. They could visit a separate page insights dashboard to see the total Likes, comments and shares for a post, but there was no way to distinguish which actions came organically versus through paid media. This latest change helps close that gap and could be particularly useful for Ads API partners that help advertisers optimize their campaigns. Facebook also tells us that developers will be able to measure and optimize for actions within their apps, including making purchases or any other Open Graph action. Advertisers will define what actions they want to optimize for through the API, and this could later be added to the self-serve tool, similar to what we saw in a beta version that Facebook has been testing.

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