Before you post your next Facebook ad…

Are you finally thinking of taking that social media leap, hitting that ‘create ad’ button, hoping it’ll take you to the other side? Or have you already done that a few times, and have mixed feelings about it? Well, if you have stuff that people can benefit from, it can only be good to get it in front of those people.

But before you go ahead creating your first or third or fifth Facebook ad, there are a few Facebook ads behind-the-scenes stuff you can benefit from knowing.

With Facebook taking the fancy of marketers all over the world, the advertisements are no longer just about you paying up, setting the bid, and facebook showcasing you in front of the audience you pick. Facebook is now, more-than-ever-before, concerned about serving their users with the most relevant content, and that’s true even for the Facebook ads.

How does Facebook figure what’s relevant and what’s not? It’s a score called ‘Total Value.’ Your ad’s ‘Total Value’ or TV can determine whether you’re paying $2 or $10 per action/event. So how’s it calculated? In simplest terms it’s-

Total Value = Bid + Estimated Action Rate + User Value

Let’s go a little into all three of these factors that constitute the TV- Bid, Estimated Action Rate, and User Value.


It is the maximum amount of money you agree to pay up for a user action/event like clicking or viewing. There are three ways you can bid-

  1. Lowest cost bid (Automatic bidding)- You let Facebook bid for you. Facebook lets its AI engines to decide what would be the best bid you should make.
  2. Lowest cost with bid cap- You set the maximum bid that your ad will make.
  3. Target cost- Also called ‘Average bidding,’ you set a target cost and ask Facebook to optimise the bids to make them stable to fit in your target cost.

Different types of ads can benefit from different kinds of bidding, but in my opinion when you’re starting off an ad, automatic bidding is the best way forward. Believe me, Facebook wants to give you better results for lowest cost possible, for the simple reason that they want you to come back. Hence they develop these complex AI systems to get you the most efficient bid.

Estimated Action Rate

Estimated Action Rate is about what actions users are likely to take upon seeing your ad. This score shapes up while your ad is active. It takes into account various factors like-

  1. Likes and Comments on your ad will have an impact on this score. The more engaging your ad the better this score will be.
  2. Any negative feedbacks like if someone has hidden the ad etc. will hit your ad performance hard. The bad impact that a negative feedback will have will be way more than the good impact a like or share will have.
  3. Your account’s history is also taken into account by Facebook to develop this score.
  4. The things that no one knows. Yes, the black box is a part of the Estimated Action Rate as well.

The ‘Estimated Action Rate’ aggregates into a relevance score which you can check about a week (or sometimes less) into an ad, as that gives Facebook enough time to gather information to ascertain this number. A low relevance score means that you need to fine tune your ad better.

User Value

Finally, user value establishes the quality of post-click experience of the users. If a customer spends a lot of time on your landing page, the user value goes up.

For eg. if your lead converts, and at the thank you page you’ve got a lot of valuable content for the user, and the user dives into that content, user value will shoot, and your conversion cost will drop.

To conclude, Facebook wants to control the before, during, and after (Bid, EAR, UV) of you ads in order to make sure that its users get the most relevant content in front of them. If we can join hands with them to provide just that, the results could be sweeter. If not, then we might end up paying much more than we want to, or for that matter, more than what Facebook wants us to.

I am Vikas. I write about all things social media, esp. interested in social media content, and ads. You can reach me at
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