The following is a guest post from Orlando Rios CEO of digital marketing agency Dropkick Ads.
It's always made sense. The thought of being able to directly see how your ad creative is performing against your competition seems like it would be the most important metric given the structure of self-service ad platforms.
With ad platforms like Facebook, advertisers are bidding on impressions against competitors for the same targeted audience. The more valuable the audience and the desired action are, the more an advertiser can expect to pay to display their ad.
Enter your competitor's better ad creative, website and product — and you're paying more while getting worse results.
So if what advertisers pay for their ads to be displayed is directly tied to their competition, why are we only seeing internal-based metrics like clicks and impressions?
We're only seeing half the picture, leading to unnecessary guesswork when it comes to ad campaigns.
Facebook's not-so-relevant relevance score
In 2015, Facebook launched its ad relevance score metric to provide better insight into ad creative and targeting performance potential.
Based on positive ad interactions on early impressions, Facebook would give your ad a score between one and 10. Receive a 10 and you could be confident your ad is on target. Get closer to a one and you'd better rethink everything.
While the metric provided some insight into ad performance that wasn't previously available, it still didn't give enough detail, as admitted by Facebook earlier this year.
This has led to Facebook's April 30 replacement of the ad relevance score with three new metrics: quality ranking, engagement rate ranking and conversion rate ranking.
Comparison is the thief of joy — and the best metric
Facebook's new trio of metrics are tied by one common thread: They're all scored based on how your ads compare to your competitors' targeting of the same audience.
While the new quality ranking is still based on users' positive and negative interactions with the ad, each ad's performance is no longer isolated. Get better engagement compared to your competitors and get a better score.
Within Facebook's ad delivery system, it's always been about the amount you're bidding and the quality of your creative in comparison to your competition. Having the ability to readily see at least a little bit of that data uncovers a new level of transparency.
Why it all matters
Most advertisers blindly trust their ad delivery to Facebook. They select some target audiences, upload some creative, set a budget and let it run.
But blind faith simply isn't enough. Savvy advertising and smart ad spending means truly understanding what makes an ad successful — and we deserve to have the metrics necessary to make informed those decisions.
Facebook's latest metric rollout is a small step into more transparent data on how campaigns are being delivered and ranked within the auction. This further understanding of ad quality in comparison to competitors will help all advertisers present better performing and more appealing creative.