How Does Facebook’s “Relevance Score” Work?

By 3 min read December 9, 2017Facebook Advertising, Marketing Education
3 min read

It’s a question we hear all the time: “How much do Facebook ads cost?”

The answer to that question can get tricky. That’s because Facebook uses an ad auction system to determine the cost of exposure for advertisers. This means your cost for clicks, conversions, and impressions can vary depending on the competitiveness of your industry and target market.

But wait – it gets even trickier. Facebook also uses the relevance of an ad in its auction system. It assigns a custom “relevance score” to each ad, and rewards more relevant ads with increased exposure and lower costs.

Here’s a basic run-down from Facebook itself about how it all works:

Makes sense, right? Facebook wants to encourage advertisers to send the right messages to the right people. When that happens, users and advertisers both win.

It’s a good idea to optimize your Facebook advertisements so they achieve a high relevance score. Here are three great ways to get started.

1) Pick specific Target Audiences and customize your messaging to appeal to them.

Let’s face it – if you’re targeting everyone under 40 in the United States, your looking at a pretty broad crowd. Chances are your ad won’t be relevant to that entire audience.

Try picking a smaller area, narrowing the age group, and defining a couple of other factors like gender and interests. Then, develop ad copy and images that will appeal to those particular personas. Tada! Your ad is now far more likely to be relevant to your target audience, meaning more clicks and lower costs for you.

2) Mix up your ads from time to time to keep them fresh.

Have you ever seen or heard an ad so many times you can’t stand it anymore? You know the one – that jingle that plays on the radio several times an hour, or the outdated TV spot that hasn’t changed in a decade. Advertisers are right to expose people to their message few times over, but overdoing it can have the opposite effect.

Facebook knows that people don’t like seeing the same thing over and over (and over and over…) which is why their auction system will lower your ads relevance score if you don’t change it up from time to time.

3) Use analytics tools to check each campaign’s Facebook relevance score.

When considering the performance of your ad, keeping an eye on the relevance score is a good idea. This will let you know if you are on the right track with your strategy, or if some fine-tuning is needed to lower costs.

The relevance score shows up on your dashboard as a number from 1-10. You want to aim for a score over 7 and avoid anything under 5.

The relevance score reflects how your ad is expected to perform according to Facebook’s algorithm. This is determined by several factors – results so far, the performance of similar ads from others, and the how straight-forward your messaging is for users.

You will see an initial relevance score after 500 people see your ad. As your campaign progresses, Facebook will crunch the new data and update this number. Be sure to keep an eye on it so you know when to switch things up!

What elements of my ad should I consider when trying to improve my Facebook relevance score?

Want to get the best results for the best price? The secret is testing. Try different ads and observe the relevance score of each combination. This can be done using an automated tool like Needls or through manual observation over time.

Don’t worry – “mixing it up” with your ad doesn’t mean “blow tons of money developing brand new creative every couple of weeks.” A simple tweak to any of the main ad elements can be enough to catch someone’s eye. In fact, effective testing can only result from changing one element at a time. This allows you to trace the exact source of your improved results.

Here’s the good news.

Facebook has the same goal as you do – it wants users to respond positively to the content they see.

When it comes to ads, those positive responses can mean big sales for your biz.

So keep the relevance score on your radar: work to create great ads, target audiences effectively, and run ongoing tests. With the right steps, Facebook’s system can help you get killer ROI and grow your brand in an easy, affordable way.

Shauna Vert

Shauna is a data-driven storyteller and content marketing guru. A longtime blogger turned digital strategist, she believes marketing greatness comes from creative ideas, real connections, and giving buzzwords the boot. She can usually be found hanging out at the family farm or tucked away in a local coffee shop, reading about the latest digital trends.

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