How to Improve Your Relevance Metrics on Facebook

How to Improve Your Relevance Metrics on Facebook

Facebook advertising as we know it has existed since 2009, but many dealerships still have trouble with relevance.

Facebook wants your dealership’s ads to be successful. In fact, Facebook provides hundreds of metrics to help advertisers measure the success of their campaigns and improve them over time.

In 2015, for example, Facebook introduced ad relevance scores, which help dealers invest wisely in their campaigns. In 2019, Facebook updated its relevance reporting, replacing the single relevance score with three new relevance metrics.

Why Build Dealership Ads for Relevance?

One golden rule in making Facebook ads for auto dealers is to build for relevance.

Rolled out in April 2019, Facebook’s three new metrics will break down the now-retired relevance score even further than before. Here are the new metrics you’ll see in your Ads Manager:

  • Quality ranking: How an ad’s perceived quality compares with ads competing for the same audience
  • Engagement rate ranking: How an ad’s expected engagement rate compares with ads competing for the same audience
  • Conversion rate ranking: How an ad’s expected conversion rate compares with ads that have the same optimization goal and compete for the same audience

Facebook developed the original, one-digit relevance score to help not just advertisers, but also regular users:

“On Facebook, we try to show people the ads that are most pertinent to them. That’s why we’ve always used relevance as a factor in determining how we deliver ads. Taking relevance into account helps ensure that people see ads that matter to them, leading to a better experience for people and businesses alike.” [Source]

Now, Facebook has created this three-part, more granular ad relevance diagnosis to offer reporting that is “more actionable for businesses”:

“When used together, ad relevance diagnostics will help advertisers understand whether changes to creative assets, audience targeting or the post-click experience might improve performance.” [Source]

Strong relevance metrics can even lower the cost of reaching people, because Facebook always wants to show the right ads to the right users so they’ll continue using Facebook.

Relevance is Not Quality

However, it’s important to note (as Facebook points out) that these three relevance metrics are not a primary indicator of ad performance. An ad with a low quality, engagement rate, or conversion rate ranking can still get plenty of clicks, while an ad with a high rankings might not get many clicks at all. That said, if your low-relevance ad gets plenty of clicks, there is still room for improvement.

Relevance metrics consider both the ad creative and the audience. You could have the most beautiful ad for used SUVs at your dealership, but it will fall flat on its face if you target it too widely — or, worse yet, if you target it to the wrong audience (such as people looking for new sedans).

To help you keep tabs on performance, we narrowed Facebook’s list of performance metrics down to these four metrics that matter.

Why are relevance metrics such a big deal, then? Because they combine many metrics — such as engagement, views, clicks, and reactions — into a few simple-to-understand numbers that can help you identify where you can make improvements.

For us advertisers who are short on time, relevance metrics provide a quick way to compare ads, improve creative, and adjust targeting. This, in turn, helps you maximize your return on investment.

Relevance and Creativity for Auto Dealers

One interesting aspect of relevance metrics is that — as opposed to being strictly regulatory — they can also help dealerships test ad creative options before investing fully in a campaign.

With so many Facebook targeting options at our fingertips today, it makes perfect sense to test the water before diving in.

For example, your store can run ads with different images or text to different audiences in order to learn which combinations will give you the best relevance rankings.

Relevance and Ongoing Improvement at Your Dealership

The other important idea to consider with relevance metrics is that it can help you optimize your campaigns that are already running.

While ad campaigns are live, dealerships can monitor their ad relevance rankings and refresh ads with lower metric scores on the fly.

excited fans attended a relevant concert

How to Reach High Relevance Rankings

Facebook calculates your relevance metrics after your ad has reached 500 people. The score is based on how Facebook thinks your targeted audience will react to your ad based on the engagement of the first 500 people. This feedback includes signals such as shares, likes, clicks, and video views (if applicable).

Consider three key factors that will help you (and Facebook) predict the expected feedback for an ad:

  1. Audience definition
  2. Image quality
  3. Text quality

With these three factors in mind, here is how your dealership can improve relevance metrics on Facebook ads:

  1. Know your audience, and target specifically to them.
  2. Test your dealership’s ads in every campaign.
  3. Use eye-catching images and compelling text.
  4. Keep an eye on frequency.
Homes in San Francisco

Step 1: Know Your Audience, and Target Specifically

Most adults in your area are driving cars, but most drivers don’t want to see your ad. Bigger isn’t better — especially with Facebook ad targeting.

This seems obvious to those of us who subscribe to inbound marketing for auto dealers, but it’s an important point: don’t blast everyone.

Take a look at your current client list to determine:

  • How old are they?
  • Where do they live?
  • How do they finance their vehicles?
  • What other vehicles had they been considering?
  • When did they purchase their previous vehicles (and what were they)?
  • Have they been to your website before?
  • Did they give you their email address prior to the sale?

Answering these questions will help you hone in on the smaller audiences within Facebook and, in turn, boost your quality, engagement rate, and conversion rate rankings.

Don’t forget to use these three main sources of data for your targeting:

  1. Facebook’s core demographic data (age, gender, location, etc.)
  2. Custom Audiences (including retargeting audiences) based on lists from your customer relationship management (CRM) system
  3. Special Ad Audiences based on lists from your CRM and website traffic

Keep in mind that these three targeting data sources can be used independently or with one another.

man looking through microscope

Step 2: Split Test Ads, and Use Your Findings

Nearly every variable within Facebook Ads Manager can be tested.

Not sure how big of a geographic radius to use around your dealership? Make two ad sets with the same ad creative, targeting a smaller radius in one ad and targeting a larger radius in the other. (If you’re not creating ads under the Special Ad Category, you could even exclude the smaller radius from the second ad set, resulting in a geographic “donut.”)

It’s very simple to test creative aspects, too. For example, we found that ads with real vehicle detail page (VDP) images got 74% more clicks than ads with stock images.

While the results are profound, this test was only a matter of cloning an ad set and changing the images within the same campaign. Super easy!

a cup of coffee, journal, and laptop

Step 3: Use Great Content

This seems obvious, but your imagery and text are the key to engagement. Even if you’ve picked the perfect audience, your ad will suffer if it doesn’t capture attention and include a compelling call to action (CTA).

In your text, remember to answer the three main marketing questions:

  1. Why this product?
  2. Why here?
  3. Why now?

These three answers, combined with a compelling, verb-based CTA, will clarify your message and increase your relevance to your targeted audience.

To boost relevance, the image or video in your ad must also engage users. Make sure to include high-quality visuals, such as photos of your vehicles or customers, to relate to your audience.

man walking in front of a patterned wall

Step 4: Keep An Eye on Frequency

It’s annoying to see the same ad over and over in your news feed.

Among the hundreds of metrics Facebook provides for advertisers, frequency is one of the most telling. For auto dealership ads on Facebook, frequency means how many times a person has seen your ad (on average).

In our experience advertising for dealerships, frequency has an inverse relationship with relevance metrics. So, if your frequency is high (generally around seven or more), you can expect your relevance metrics to be low.

In fact, studies by AdSpresso have shown that a higher frequency leads directly to a higher cost per click (CPC) and a lower click-through rate (CTR).

If your frequency gets too high, refresh the design of your ad to make it more engaging.

And, to help prevent showing your ad to the wrong people (thereby driving up frequency), remember to exclude people who have recently purchased vehicles or converted in your database.

Don’t Give Up on Relevance Metrics!

With so many tools, platforms, campaigns, and metrics available at our fingertips, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Resist the “shotgun” approach to your ads, and you will see positive results.

Although these new relevance metrics are estimates, we encourage you to review them frequently and use them to your advantage. Take a look at ads with high relevance metrics, and replicate those for future campaigns.

Also, take a look at your highest-performing ads (based on these four key metrics), and consider how you can improve the relevance of those ads over time. Remember to split test, and use the test results to your advantage.

Need Help With Your Facebook Ads?

9 Clouds has two great Facebook resources for auto dealers.

We have a fantastic (free) webinar on navigating Facebook’s targeting restrictions.

Or, our Facebook and Instagram Ads for Auto Dealers eBook will help you set up your Business Manager account, determine your Facebook ad objectives, and analyze and improve your Facebook campaigns.

Let us know how we can help!