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Facebook’s Relevance Score Changes the Facebook Advertising Landscape

By February 19, 2015 No Comments

Facebook’s ad platform continues to mature. Last week, they announced the Relevance Score. This score attempts to tie the cost and visibility of ads to the relevance to the user base. Here’s a look at why Facebook implemented the Relevance Score, along with how it works, and the effect it will have on your Facebook marketing efforts:

Why Relevance Scores?

There are several ways to bid on Facebook advertising. Some involve simply paying for exposure in terms of guaranteed views (i.e., number of impressions or number of Facebook users reached). In those cases, Facebook will make their money regardless of what you advertise.

However, the ad costs associated with other bidding options are tied to the ad’s success. For example, two companies are targeting the same audience with ads, and both bid a maximum of $0.50 per click. If Company A’s ad is much more compelling than Company B, resulting in a much higher click rate for A than B, then Facebook will, in turn, make more money from Company A’s ad. So which of the two ads do you think Facebook would prefer to show? The answer is obvious, right?

Facebook also doesn’t want to deliver ads that after they’ve been clicked on, don’t deliver what they promise or are otherwise irrelevant. They prefer to show ads that encourage positive interactions (likes, comments, shares, etc). So the Relevance Score is meant to reward good ads and penalize bad ones. Relevance scores impact the cost and exposure of these ads.

How Do Facebook Relevance Scores Work?

  • The Relevance Score is generated on a per-ad basis based on the ad’s positive and negative interactions. Positive interactions are as you’d expect: likes, comments, shares, etc. Negative interactions would be things like complaints or hiding ads.
  • The higher the Relevance Score, the less the ad will cost and the more exposure your ad will receive. The less relevant, the more it will cost and the less exposure the ad will receive.
  • Remember, if you have bid for guaranteed views (based on reach or frequency), relevance scores will have no impact. Similarly, Relevance Scores will have a smaller than normal impact for brand awareness campaigns that are designed to reach a broad audience.

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How Will Facebook Relevance Scores Impact Facebook Marketing?

If you’ve properly targeted your audience, and your ad delivers what the audience expects, then you’ve done your part. But your ad competes in the Facebook ad space marketplace against other ads, each with their own Relevance Scores. Those with better scores than yours will tend to have lower costs and better exposure, while those with lower Relevance Scores will generally pay more than you, and receive less exposure. Lesson: stay on target, and delight your audience with great follow-through and engaging ads.

Thoughts, questions, or concerns about Relevance Scores? Let us know what you’re thinking.