This week, Facebook updated the way CPC is calculated to discount any impact from likes, shares and comments. From now on, only clicks to websites and apps and on the Shop Now button will factor into the CPC calculation.
And you know what? It's about damn time!
Just this spring, 'Facebook Likes' topped my hit list of the six most useless marketing metrics that needed to die. Likes are a terrible way to measure organic engagement (what does a Like actually tell you??) but they were even more terrible in ads, where you actually had to pay for them.
Instead, Facebook is going to focus on actually helping advertisers meet their specific objectives, like driving people to a website or converting a prospect to a buyer.
Likes had just become so meaningless; people Like all kinds of content with no intent of ever interacting with the brand again, or visiting the site, or becoming a customer. However, just because they're cut out of the CPC calculation doesn't mean you shouldn't care at all about making Likeable ads.
This is what Facebook says about the new CPC calculation:
"We're updating CPC to only account for what we call "link clicks" - i.e., the clicks related to certain ad objectives:
●Clicks to visit another website
●Call-to-action clicks that go to another website (i.e., "Shop Now")
●Clicks to install an app
●Clicks to Facebook canvas apps
●Clicks to view a video on another website"
Yet they also said, "If an ad has lots of likes and shares, that's a signal of high-quality content being delivered to the right people. This positive signal helps ads perform better at auction, and advertisers can still bid for engagement clicks (including comments, likes and shares) by choosing other optimization options if they wish."
So Facebook Likes won't cost you, but unLikeable ads still may. See, Facebook uses an algorithm to determine the Relevance Score for each ad (it's basically a Quality Score measurement). This determines the placement and cost of your Facebook ad.
Facebook's removal of Likes from the CPC calculation doesn't completely devalue Likes on ads. Rather, they're now an opportunity for savvy marketers to drive their costs down and ensure better placement at no additional cost.
So what should you do next? Facebook says:
●If you buy through a Facebook interface (like Ads Manager or Power Editor): You don't need to do anything right now. They'll share further information about the updated CPC's implementation in our interfaces. They'll also provide messaging in the interfaces themselves once the change has occurred.
●If you buy through a Facebook Marketing Partner: You should speak with your Marketing Partner to understand when they'll be implementing the new API with updated CPC.
●If you buy through the API: You can begin buying ads with the updated CPC today (July 8) in v2.4 of the Ads API. If needed, you can continue using the existing CPC definition until October 7. After this date, only the updated CPC will be available.
And for my part, I recommend that you continue optimizing your ads for Likes, Comments and Shares, because these are still the ways in which content extends its organic reach. If no one engages with your ads, you're going to have crappier placement and pay more for each click.
In this way, great Facebook ad strategy will still very much have Likes top of mind -- even if Facebook's CPC calculation doesn't.