Understanding the New Connections, Reach and Audience Funnel Data in Facebook’s Ad Manager

The following is an excerpt from the Facebook Marketing Bible, the comprehensive guide to marketing and advertising your company, app, or brand using Facebook. The full version of this article, available through a Facebook Marketing Bible subscription, includes detailed strategies for using the audience funnel and reach data that Facebook recently added to its Ad Manager to run more effective advertising campaigns.

Last week, Facebook’s Ad Manager began showing several new types of data that can help advertisers — if they know how to use them.

Most importantly, advertisers can now see post-impression conversion data about what kind of social actions have been taken within 24 hours of a user seeing an ad. By optimizing for these “connections”, as they’re called by the Ad Manager, rather than cost per thousand impressions (CPM) or cost per click (CPC), Facebook advertisers can better ensure their ads for Facebook properties are generating a return on investment.

Facebook now provides data on an ad’s reach, or how many unique users of a targeted audience see an ad, in the data charts and the audience funnel. It also shows the frequency of a given ad, denoting the average number of times each person you reach saw your ad.

Here we’ll explain strategies for creating and tracking ad campaigns that produce high social action conversion rates, explain how to control your reach, and walk-through using frequency to recognize when to rotate ad creative.

Optimizing for Connections

One of the columns in the data provided by the Ads Manager is Connections. This denotes how many people Liked your Page, installed your application, or RSVP’d for your Event within 24 hours of seeing the ad. If your advertisement is designed to drive these types of conversions, you want to work towards achieving the lowest cost per connections, not the lowest cost per click.

This is because an unqualified click, one from a user with no real interest in your Page or application, doesn’t create a return on investment. To go even deeper, a connection’s true value is based on the worth of that user. You may be able to drive a lot of clicks, or even a lot of connections for a low price by targeting less desirable demographics, such as young users in developing countries, but these won’t give you as high a return on investment as fewer connections from people with a need for what you’re advertising and the money to pay for it.

To hone in on the demographics that produce the most Connections, first run a test of your ad that is targeted very broadly by demographic. Include all possible age groups, genders, countries, relationship types, languages, education backgrounds and work histories. If what you are advertising appeals to certain interest demographics, consider running a version of the test which a few dozen relevant keywords as targeted interests.

Since your ads will be targeted at a wide, inclusive audience, Facebook won’t charge a very high CPC, making these types of campaigns good for testing. The longer the test the better, but those with smaller budgets should test until they generate at least 100 connections.

Then go to the Reports tab of the Ads Manager and export reports with the Report Type set to “Responder Demographics” and “Responder Profiles”. Analyze these reports looking for trends in the demographics and interests that were common to those that formed connections with your advertised properties. Then run individual campaigns targeted at these demographics and interests segments.

For instance, if many of your connections came from users age 25-30, target that age group. If many came from a specific state, target individual campaigns at that state. If many had one interest you targeted but not another, target that interest in its own campaign.

Access strategies for using the Ads Manager’s audience funnel and reach data, as well as Sponsored Stories and Facebook’s other social ad units in the Facebook Marketing Bible, Inside Network’s complete guide to marketing and advertising on Facebook.