February 20, 2023

5 Key Metrics That Are Often Confused In Ads Manager

5 Key Metrics That Are Often Confused In Ads Manager

We are massive advocates for spending some budget in your social strategy to create ads and engage with a larger audience. However, it is super important to note that the metrics that are important in Ads Manager are often vastly different to what you would report on from your organic channels.

Don’t get us wrong, your organic social strategy is incredibly important for your brand and ticks a number of boxes in the way of building and engaging with your community, showcasing your brand personality and acting as basically a second website.

But at the end of the day, the most effective way to scale your revenue is to reach a wider audience with content and messaging that encourages a conversion, whatever that may be for your brand.

But creating ads is only one piece of the puzzle. Once the ads are live you need to be able to know how to read, review and optimise your ad performance if you want to get the maximum return on your investment.

There are over 200 metrics that you can use to review your ad performance in Meta Ads Manager – that’s alotta numbers. While it is easy to get overwhelmed, it is important to recognise that not all these metrics are going to be relevant to achieving your objectives.

The main thing to consider before launching any campaign is to set clear goals of what you are trying to achieve and then decide what metrics you need to nail in order to achieve your returns.

There are, however, some common metrics that almost every advertiser will need to keep an eye on. Unfortunately, to the untrained eye, the presentation of these metrics can often come across as confusing and you might get stuck scratching your head on why two metrics that should seemingly be identical are so radically different.

It’s all about the slight nuances.

So let’s look at the top 5 metrics that are incredibly important to most campaigns, and the subtle differences that you can account for when you are reporting and optimising your ad performance.

Reach vs Impressions

This number is a big one. Literally. The reach and impressions metrics are guaranteed to be the highest number in all of your reporting. This data indicates how many times your ads have been seen. The common thought when looking at these numbers is ‘why are my impressions so much higher than my reach’?

Simple. Reach is the tally of the number of unique people that have seen your ads, while your impression count is the number of times your ad has been served.

For example: if your ad has been seen by 100 people and each person has seen your ad twice, your reach will equal 100 and your impressions will equal 200. An easy way to keep an eye on this without getting bogged down in the large numbers is to check your ‘Frequency’. Frequency will give you an average number of times each person has seen your ad. Meaning, in the above example, the Frequency would read 2.

CPC/CTR (All) vs CPC/CTR (link)

Before we jump into this one, we will clear up that CPC = cost per click while CTR = click-through rate. Click rates are a super important metric to keep an eye on as it indicates how many people are taking action on your ads and not just scrolling by.

What you will notice, is that CPC/CTR (all) will be much higher than CPC/CTR (link). CPC/CTR (all) indicates the number of times your ad has been clicked on, no matter what the click is. It could be a like, comment, video view, link clicks. Anything. CPC/CTR (link) refers to the number of times someone has clicked on the link through to the landing page that you had added as your destination. Link clinks more often than not hold a much higher value than all clicks, as this indicates your ad has done a good job of getting the interest of the prospective customer.

Video play vs Engagement

This one seems obvious, but there is a joker in the pack here that often confuses a lot of people. A video view is counted whenever anyone watches over 3 seconds of your video. There are a number of different video engagement metrics that you can report on, but a standard video play is clocked at 3 seconds. An engagement is counted anytime someone engages with your ad (very scientific stuff).

However, the key thing to note here is that a video play is COUNTED as an engagement. When calculating your engagement, it is important to note the amount of 3-second video views that have attributed to this number, as it could be considered a weaker form of engagement when compared with a like, comment, share or click.

It is also important to know this so that you are not pulling out your hair when your video ad has had 10,000 engagements but only 50 likes while your graphic ad has 100 engagements and 80 likes.

Cost per 1000 people reached vs CPM

Remember when we were talking about reach and impressions earlier – these metrics go hand-in-hand with those massive numbers.

CPM is an abbreviation of ‘cost-per-milage’, which, in a nutshell, means cost per 1,000 impressions, or, as we know now, the cost of you serving 1,000 ads. Cost per 1000 people reached is (you guessed it) the amount that it has cost you to reach 1,000 people. If your frequency (refer to the first point) is at 2, your CPM is going to be half of what your cost per 1,000 people will be.

Link clicks vs unique link clicks

Finally, we look at the classic link click vs unique link clicks. As mentioned earlier, a link click is a super important metric to assess whether your ads have the right creative, copy and call to action to entice someone to want to know more about your product or service and potentially convert.

The difference between these metrics is that a link click will be triggered whenever anyone clicks on the link, no matter how many times they have clicked on it, while unique link clicks will only count each person once, even if they have seen the ad 5 times and click on it every time they see it.


They may seem like the most basic differences, but to achieve great results and the maximum return on investment for your ads, you MUST be aware of what metrics you are reporting on and be absolutely clear on what the data means.

Sam King

Sam King

Digital Marketing Manager

The Facebook Ads expert at SMC and brings 5 years of experience specialising in Social Media Marketing and Strategy. He's orchestrated major campaigns in education, sports, events, and eCommerce, seamlessly aligning digital marketing strategies across sectors for maximum impact.

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