Disclaimer – This blog post is an affiliate partnership with Agorapulse. Links and references in this article may be affiliate links which may result in compensation paid to me as a result of your purchase.

How do you know if your Facebook ads are working? And how can you tell if you’re wasting my money or making money on them? How do you calculate your ROI (Return On Investment)?

TLDR; If learning Google Analytics and creating your own UTM tracking links is not your thing, there is a new Social ROI tool that will do it for you!

What Is ROI On Facebook?

Over on Facebook we call this your ROAS (Return On Ad Spend).

For example, if you spend $100 on ads and make $350 in sales, to calculate your ROAS we will divide your sales by your ad spend. In this example $350 / 100 = a ROAS of 3.5

That means you are making back 3.5x what you are spending.

If you’re working with a traditional e-commerce business then you probably have a fairly clear idea on how many people are adding items to their cart, abandoning cart, or checking out resulting in a purchase.

ROI Sounds simple, right?

Yes. Calculating ROI is straightforward. You can see all of this inside of Facebook’s Ads Manager. But what if you’re not capturing the full picture? If you’re just relying on Facebook’s reporting to tell you your result, you may be missing a big piece of the puzzle for two reasons:

1. Facebook’s reporting has become challenging since Apple made data sharing changes with the rollout of iOS14 and up.

2. Not all businesses have a direct sales funnel that can be measured from a Facebook ad to a sale.

But that doesn’t mean you are not achieving an ROI on your ad spend.

What if you’re in real estate? Your clients can’t simply add a house to cart and check out. (Would’t that be nice?). And what if your Facebook Ads are only serving one part of your funnel and it is your sales team who converts those leads into sales?

Or how about this … you’re following the advice of the experts and trying out different images and headlines for your ads but you’re not sure which ones are really working and leading to more results?

Instead we have to rely on alternative ways of tracking our ads and defining success.

My superpower is helping businesses who aren’t sure if their Facebook ads are working. We are going to look at the traditional way of measuring your Facebook ads ROI (Ads Manager), tactics to get more granular (Google UTM link tracking), and a brand new Social ROI tool by Agorapulse that is about to shake things up for how we see results.

Defining Success

First off, let’s start quantifying the success of your Facebook ads as RESULTS instead of sales. Not all of our ads are going to lead directly to sales, but does that mean we are wasting money on them?

Nope! 🙂 It just means we have to stop overlooking the success of ads that are doing the heavy lifting at the top of our funnel. These ads compliment our other marketing efforts and support an ecosystem that leads to sales.

Most of our ad spend for non e-commerce small businesses is servicing the top of the marketing funnel by:

  • attracting attention
  • building brand awareness
  • getting engagement
  • building warm audiences
  • and gaining momentum to start retargeting people with additional ads or marketing

Businesses who can skip all of these steps and go straight to sales are lucky! If I’m selling t-shirts and I serve an ad to a cold audience who have never seen my brand before, chances are still good that I will make sales on a low dollar item that resonates with the people I’m serving the ads to. Simple.

If I’m in real estate and serve ads to people who don’t know me, they are not typically going to pick up the phone right away and book an appointment, or sign up for a free home evaluation on the first time seeing my ads. We have to go through a few more steps of warming up the audience so we can spend our ad dollars more efficiently. There are some nuances to figuring out what ads are capturing attention span better than others.

Measuring this can be a very grey area for marketers to define if the ads are working and if the spend is worth it.

Start by defining WHAT you are trying to measure, then look at the QUALITY of that result.

Video View Example:

If you create a video ad for the purpose of getting video views and serve it to a cold audience of people who don’t know you, then we can’t judge the success of the ad on how many link clicks it got and how many sales we made. We are asking for video views, we created the ad for video views, then we measure the success of the ad based on video views. That ad had one job: capture attention of new people who were unfamiliar with the brand. Did we achieve that? Yes.

But was that video ad successful? We need to analyze it one step further by looking at how long people watched the video. Did they watch 5 seconds and then scroll on past? Or did they watch an average of 50%, 75% or 95% completion of the video? There is a measurable difference in the QUALITY of the video views and there are ways you can tweak your ads, creative, copy, or audience targeting to achieve better results.

Link Click Example:

If you create an ad for the purpose of getting link clicks to your website, we can look at Facebook’s reporting at face value and see the number of clicks our ads are getting. But similar to the video view example, how do we measure the QUALITY of those link clicks?

Video views take place on Facebook’s platform and are considered first party data. It is cheaper and easier for us to achieve results on Facebook when we we are keeping our audience on the platform. But at some point most of us need to spend more money to get people off of Facebook’s platform and onto our website. Tracking this usually involves third party data being reported back to Facebook to inform us of the campaign success. Getting a full picture of link clicks can be a little more tricky since Facebook is no longer getting 100% visibility to what Apple users do once they get to your website. Learn more about it with this video: What iOS14 has done to your Facebook Ads

If Ad Campaign 1 and Ad Campaign 2 are both showing they got 100 link clicks each, are all of those link clicks equal? Not exactly. Similar to the video ad campaigns, we need to dig in a bit deeper to see the QUALITY of the traffic we are sending to our site from Facebook Ads. We want to stop sending traffic to our site that is bouncing off our page 2 seconds after arriving. Instead we want to focus on the ads that are attracting people who are spending a longer amount of time on our site, clicking through to more than one Page, taking the desired actions like subscribing or filling out a form or purchasing.

If Ad Campaign 1 sent 100 clicks to my site from Facebook and the traffic quality was terrible, I would want to stop wasting my ad dollars on it.

If Ad Campaign 2 sent 100 clicks to my site from Facebook and the traffic quality was incredibly successful, I would want to know that so I can scale it up!

But Facebook doesn’t report on the quality of the website traffic on our sites. They used to give us this level of information with the Facebook Analytics tool that was shut down shortly after Apples iOS14 update and the slow decline of access to accurate data. The standalone Facebook Analytics tool is no longer available as of July 1, 2021.

Facebook simply tells us IF the click on the link occurred. What happens after that is not up to them.

Google UTM Tracking Links

One marketing tactic we use in ads to achieve more granular tracking of link click quality is by adding UTM tracking to all of our website links in ads and looking at the results over in our Google Analytics account.

Here are 3 easy ways you can create you own UTM links:

By adding unique tracking links to Campaign 1 vs Campaign 2, I can head over to my Google Analytics reports and see the number of people clicking through on each campaign, how long they spent on the site, if they looked at multiple pages or or bounced off after a short time looking at the page they landed on, what Facebook Ad they are coming from, and if they completed any of the goals on the website such as filling out a form or becoming a subscriber.

Clicks alone are not a good indicator of success. The quality of those clicks paints a much better picture to know what’s working.

If all of this is making your head spin, it’s about to get easier!

Agorapulse just launched their new Social ROI tool.

You can track success of individual campaigns, goals, and ROI in one place with clean, simple reporting without having to learn Google Analytics or how to make you own UTM links!

You can easily see what posts are driving the most sales, leads, and traffic across key social platforms without being a Google Analytics expert. Agorapulse gives you the ability to connect your Facebook ad account and now using their new tool you can also connect your Google Analytics account. See where I’m going with this?

Agorapulse has just created a one-stop-shop to get easy to understand reporting broken down by platform, by goals, by landing pages, by campaigns, and more! You don’t have to be a website or analytics genius to finally see what is working. You don’t have to learn Google Analytics. You don’t have to learn how to master UTM links.

Below is a quick peek inside the tool.

Below is a screen shot of a report inside the ROI tool for a real estate team. Because of Agorapulse’s Social ROI tool we can see what properties are getting more traffic from our tracking links, how many goal completions each is getting, and the dollar value of those goals.

Before you use this tool, I would recommend having some basic items set-up before diving in.

1. Make sure you have Google Analytics installed on your website and that you have admin access to that account.

2. Set up Goals inside of Google Analytics and at least one with a dollar value tied to it.

In the real estate example, our goals include when people fill out a question form on a listing, submitting the contatct us form, subscribing to the email newsletter, or spending more than 2 minutes on the page. You can define your own goals and customize it to your needs.

Ditch the Go-With-Your-Gut Approach For Data & ROI

Agorapulse’s new Social ROI tool is about to make life easier for so many digital marketers who have faced barriers to tracking ROI in the past. I have always said that using UTM tracking is like giving a client my report card to show the value of the investment working for them. Now Agorapulse has made it even easier.

Tracking ROI on Ads

And as for tracking the success of your ads, you can get as granular as you want with your UTM links. I have run experiments where we set up a unique UTM tracking link for each ad image variation in an ad set in order to see which ad variation is pulling better results. That can be tedious. But the results helped us create better performing ads for the audience and prove it beyond a gut-check on what is working. Facebook’s built-in reporting in Ads Manager only tells half of the story.

No matter what combination of tools you are using or how you are building your tracking links, focus on the quality of the results, not just the quantity.

Swift Kick in the Ads

If you are looking for help learning Facebook ads from the ground-up, I encourage you to join us over in my Facebook ads training Membership, called Swift Kick In The Ads.

It is specifically designed to help newbie advertisers learn in an hands-on encouraging environment with weekly access to a Facebook ads expert to answer questions and guide you through the process.

Amanda Robinson

Founder / CEO The Digital Gal Inc.

Amanda Robinson is The Digital Gal. She is widely recognized in the digital marketing industry for her knowledge, training, skills and coaching as a Facebook Ads expert with her Swift Kick In the Ads Membership, her 4 Week Facebook Ads Training Bootcamp, and for her creative chatbot skills. She is an author, international speaker, consultant, and educator who has taught thousands of business owners and entrepreneurs the foundational skills of Facebook Ads. Amanda brings personality and passion to teaching others how to make Facebook ads work for them.

Post Glossary

Return on Investment

Return on Ad Spend

Facebook’s Ads Manager
the tool used to create ads across Facebook and Instagram as well as measure and report on the results of the ads

Top of Funnel
the largest volume of people your brand has reached who can be served the next steps of your marketing depending on their interactions.

Google UTM Links
UTM stands for “Urchin Tracking Module” which is a small snippet of text that you add to the end of your website URL and it acts like an additional set of instructions that inform your reporting in Google Analytics, adding to and customizing your reports to make more sense for your business.

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