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Diagnosing Facebook Ad Performance

Aitarget examines how a “new relevance score” can be used to diagnose issues with ads, and find a cure for poor performance

In 2019, Facebook has replaced Relevance Score with three new metrics: rankings of Quality, Engagement Rate, and Conversion Rate. If your ads fail to spend estimated budget, or aren’t performing as expected, this trio can be used to diagnose the reasons why.


What are the new metrics?

The new diagnostics reflect users’ reactions to your ads, compared to other ads they see.

  1. Quality ranking: this metric reflects any negative user experiences. The Facebook algorithm checks if your creative contains poor content like clickbait, calls for likes or comments, or low-quality images or videos. It also considers negative responses to your ad (for example, users clicking “Hide Ad”).
  2. Engagement Rate ranking: this shows how often users interact with your ad.
  3. Conversion Rate ranking: this shows the effectiveness of your ad.


How do I find them?

The new metrics are available to view in the Ads level in Ads Manager. Select a standard set of columns in the “Performance” section.



You can also add them through columns settings.


How can I interpret the diagnostics?

Each metric delivers a percentile ranking that reflects your ad’s position among other ads on Facebook that your targeted audience sees. The higher your number, the greater percentage of ads that are considered less effective or lower performing than your ad.



You will see the relevant diagnostics once your ad gets 500 impressions.

  • Above average (55% – 100%): your ad performs better than more than half of all ads on Facebook.
  • Average (35% – 55%): more than a third of Facebook ads perform worse than your ad, but almost half of all ads (or more) perform better.
  • Below average (35% or less): your ad is effectively in the bottom third of all ads. This category is also split for 35%, 20%, and 10% categories. If your ad falls into this final ranking it means that at least 9 out of every 10 ads on Facebook are better.



How does this help me?

The new metrics are particularly relevant for the times when your ads aren’t delivering on your ad campaign goals. When your ads are falling short and things aren’t going the way you’d like, it’s important to know what is happening, so you can work out why, and cure it.

Different combinations of these diagnostics can help determine reasons for inefficiency or poor performance. Let’s take a look at some of the most common examples.


The quality of an ad is questionable


A low Quality ranking can mean users are frequently rejecting your ad; not only skimming past it or ignoring it, but actively clicking ‘Hide Ad’ because they don’t want to see it.

If this is happening, check that you have an appropriate amount of text on your ad image, and that the graphic elements you use aren’t likely to offend users.

These combinations of rankings can also occur if your ad doesn’t match your product, or if it contains clickbait or engagement bait (provocative wording or images aimed at driving up clicks and reactions). Such methods reduce ad value at auction or can even violate Facebook advertising policy. Consequently, your ads get less impressions or could be entirely blocked.

The Cure: Learn how to improve ads quality with Facebook’s recommendations.


The offer is irrelevant


If you’re getting a good conversion rate but poor quality and engagement rankings, this is likely to mean that the overwhelming majority of users reached are not interested in what you’re promoting. Your targeting isn’t working or you’re not attracting the right attention.

The Cure: review your targeting settings and work to attract user attention according to these Facebook recommendations.


Lack of conversions


If your ad had a high-quality rating and engagement rate but conversions are low, this could be a sign that there are post-click issues for users.

The Cure: check how fast your website is loading and whether it is optimised for mobile. Reduce the number of blockages on the user’s journey to purchase (number of clicks required, length and complexity of lead forms, pop-up windows).

Also, ensure you analyse your call to action. Does it give a clear understanding of what happens after a user who is engaged by your ad, clicks on it?



If your ad has a high-quality rating but low engagement and conversion, this is likely to mean that is just isn’t persuasive enough. Users aren’t compelled to make a target action.

The Cure: make sure your call to action is clear and explicit. Target those users who are most likely to convert. If your audience is defined by interests, find more potential customers with the targeting expansion option.

Further ad health checks

You can find other possible combinations of the diagnostics in Facebook’s Ads Help Centre. For complex diagnostics, use the ads delivery and optimisation guide.


Julia Beketova
August 12, 2019

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