If you have been running Facebook ads for a while – you may have noticed that some campaigns and ads perform better than others. They may even have completely different price, reach and sales – even if they look very similar. Now, you may think “all my ads are good quality, so why does my audience prefer some ads more than others? And how can I tell which ads are likely to perform well?”. Let’s show you the truth. 

Facebook is very concerned with keeping their users’ News Feed as relevant and qualitative as possible – users should see content that they care about, and are more likely to engage with. Ads are no different, and need to blend in flawlessly with other content in people’s News Feeds. Facebook know it may be tricky as an advertiser to know which ads are most relevant, which is why they introduced the ad relevance score in 2015.

What is a relevance score?

The relevance score is a metric visible in your ad results (after the ad has reached over 500 people), which indicates the quality of your ad according to Facebook (and your audience). 

The score can be between 0 and 10, where you should always aim to reach 10. It’s designed to give advertisers an explanation for their ads’ performance – as well as intended to “lower the cost of reaching target audiences when the objective is to get them to perform a specific action [ads with high relevance scores are more likely to be served than other ads targeting the same audience].” Source.

Feedback matters

In short, the relevance score is calculated based on expected positive and negative feedback from your audience. As explained by Facebook:

“Your ad’s relevance score is based on positive and negative feedback we expect from the people seeing it, based on how the ad is performing. It is calculated differently depending on your objective (e.g. clicks to website or video views).

  • Positive feedback. The number of times we expect people to take a desired action such as share or like your ad, or help you achieve your objective, such as visiting your website.
  • Negative feedback. The number of times we expect people to hide your ad or indicate a negative experience such as choosing not to see ads from you.” Source

In short, Facebook uses many factors to determine the expected feedback on an ad – including targeting, ad images and text, run time and CTA (call to action). Note that relevance score is calculated different for the various objectives (eg. video views matter more in campaigns using the video view objective).

Have a look at some of the examples from Facebook below, to help illustrate how small changes to an ad can improve quality score dramatically:

Take control of your performance

Now that you understand what the relevance score is and how it’s calculated, it’s time to look at how you can improve your own campaigns. If you are hitting all your KPIs, maximizing your ROI, and overall nailing the campaigns – you probably already have great relevance scores. However, if you feel your campaigns are not living up to their potential, keep reading. In general, the two main factors you can work on to improve your ad’s relevance score are targeting and ad creative. Here are some things to remember:

Know your audience and be specific with your targeting

Before running a campaign you need to know who your customers are, and where to find them. If you’ve never done audience research, this is a good time to start! Some things to consider may be demographics (age, gender, location), pain points (what problems can you solve for them?), and customer feedback. Once you know this information, you can create targeted and relevant audiences for your campaigns! Try to narrow your audience (be careful not to go too small!), for instance men & women, of all ages, living in the US is an extremely broad audience; women aged 25-45, interested in fitness and living in NYC may be much more relevant, depending on your product. Source

Think about your ad’s image and message

Images make up a large part of Facebook ads, and are often the first thing users notice when scrolling through ads in their News Feed and on Instagram. Videos capture attention even quicker than images, so consider using this to improve results. There are many useful guides online on how to produce great looking videos and images, including our blog posts on good Instagram content here, and optimizing your videos here. In general, pictures should be good quality, simple, and relevant to what you are promoting. Facebook also grades your images based on how much text they contain, so stay within the recommended maximum 20% text overlay. Read more about Facebook’s ad image rule here.

Also consider how your message resonates with your audience – how would you react if you were a potential customers and saw the ad? In addition to the message, consider adding a CTA (call-to-action) button to give users an even better reason to take an action (thus improving the relevance score). Source

A/B test your ads

We can follow best practices all we want, but sometimes audiences will react to ads in ways we could never imagine. Maybe that slightly inappropriate, yet hilarious, image worked great with one audience, but absolutely bombed with another. It happens all the time. Because of the unpredictability of Facebook you need to test both images and text to find out what is working and what is not. Try showing different ads targeting the same audience, or the same ad to different audiences. Look for patterns in your existing campaigns, to learn what works and not, and duplicate this in future campaigns for better performance.

Refresh your ads

Some advertisers believe that campaigns will work as long as they set them live and leave the ads running indefinitely – without testing neither creatives nor targeting. This is a bad strategy, and is a sure way to receive a low relevance score. Running Facebook campaigns is hard work, especially due to the constant stream of new and interesting content constantly being uploaded online. Over time, audiences that responded well to an ad in the past may grow tired if they keep seeing it. This is called ad fatigue, and is a terrible experience for your audience – directly affecting your relevance score. Keep an eye on your run schedule, as well as frequency and relevance score. If frequency increases and/or relevance score drops, pause the campaign and refresh the content (new ad and new campaign) for your audience. Over time, keep analysing your campaigns and look for opportunities for new audiences you can display your ads to.

Talk to experts

We at Singlot have run many campaigns for clients, and have good experience in analysing campaigns, as well as keeping high relevance scores. Contact us for a chat about your campaigns, and let’s help you optimize your performance!