Facebook, bring back the Quality Score!
Published: October 7, 2013
Author: Dennis Yu
Do you remember when Facebook had a quality score back in 2009? It was on a scale from 0 to 1,000, much like a batting average.
And it was primarily based on CTR, much like Google’s version. We used to call Google’s version their “Profitability Score”, since a higher CTR, all else equal, meant more revenue for Google.
Both Facebook and Google seek to maximize their CPM — more revenue per thousand impressions. The optimized CPM bidding does this automatically.
A week ago, Facebook quietly announced this News Feed change that penalized advertisers who had too much negative feedback.
If you haven’t had a chance to review it in depth, I’ll save you the time: Facebook is putting stronger weighting on negative feedback to the point where your ads might not show. This is separate from ad disapproval (usually because of the 20% text rule, the “nipple rule”, or promoting banned products) and account disapproval (cloaking, too many rejected ads, stolen credit card usage).
Watch both your CTR and negative feedback — look in your insights and you’ll notice they trend together. But try to keep keep negative feedback to less than 1/2% of all actions.
Finally, Facebook is penalizing advertisers who don’t micro-target. This will be especially true for mobile News Feed ads — which is the sacred of the sacred space. (Spam users in the right-hand side all you want.)
So if you’re not getting as many impressions or clicks as you once were, this could be why.
If you’re a performance advertiser, this means you must bid oCPM or CPC against a conversion, which means that Facebook will take a more active role in choosing what sub-audiences within your target to hit.
You might be targeting male and female 18-36 for your dating site, but Facebook may notice that males 18-24 are more likely to convert and have less negative feedback.
So look at your CPAs to see if they’re changing.
We know that Facebook has painstakingly considered the balance between the advertiser’s needs and that of the user.
But to do this properly, they’ll need to bring back the Quality Score. There’s not a simple way now to know how you’re performing as an advertiser from Facebook’s point of view.
Sure, you can look at average position, CTR, CPC, and conversion rates. But if you also advertise on Google, wouldn’t you want a Quality Score on Facebook as well? I’d want the same as Google — by CTR, relevancy, and landing page (among many factors).
Readers, would you want a Quality Score to help you troubleshoot under-performing ads?