Editor’s Note: This post has been updated with new links and fresh content to better serve readers like you. 🙂
Original Publication Date: July 31, 2017
The Facebook relevance score is a 1-10 metric that shows your audience’s reaction to an advertising campaign.
As you might have expected, a high relevance score can make your Facebook ad campaign amazingly successful…
…and a low relevance score may lead to Facebook restricting your ads’ reach.
For a while now, Facebook has been trying to make its relevance score reflect every ad’s quality more accurately.
This is why Facebook marketers can benefit from knowing how exactly the Facebook relevance score is calculated, how it affects the ads’ reach, and how a high relevance score can lower the campaign’s CPC and CPA.
In this guide, you will find out why the Facebook relevance score matters. More importantly, you’ll learn how to ensure that your ads get a 5-point or higher score on the 1-10 scale.
What Is Facebook Relevance Score? (And Why It Matters)
Facebook first introduced the relevance score back in 2015.
The social media platform understood that in order for its advertisers and users to be happy, it would make sense to serve people the ads that are most relevant to them.
With multiple advertisers trying to reach overlapping audiences, the one with the highest bid and also the most relevant ads would win.
According to Facebook:
“Your relevance score estimates how well your ad is resonating with the people you want to reach. The higher your ad’s relevance score, the better it’s considered to be performing.”
Ads with the relevance score of 1-3 are estimated rather irrelevant to your Facebook campaign’s audience. Ads with scores of 8-10 are evaluated as highly relevant to your audience.
Facebook calculated relevance scores on several factors, including:
- How well your ad is performing – is it bringing the conversions you’ve optimized for?
- Positive feedback from people who see your ad – app installs, clicks, video views, etc.
- Negative feedback – e.g. when someone clicks “I don’t want to see this” on your ads
You can check your Facebook ads’ relevance score in Facebook Ads Manager reports by selecting the “Performance and Clicks” standard report.
As you select the “Performance and Clicks” report, one of the columns will display your relevance score. Note that you need to watch the ad-level reports (not campaign or ad set level) to see the relevance score of every ad.
Benefits Of A High Facebook Relevance Score Include:
- Reaching a wider audience at lower costs.
- Measuring A/B tests of several ad designs/copy at once.
- Monitoring the relevance score and use it for campaign optimization.
- Using the score to discover the perfect target audience.
AdEspresso set up an experiment to measure how relevance score affects the ads’ cost-per-click.
One of their Facebook ads had the relevance score of 2.9 points.
The other ad had the relevance score of 8.0 points.
And guess what? The ad with a 2.9-point relevance score brought in an average cost-per-click of $0.142, while the ad with an 8.0 score had a CPC of $0.03.
So, to summarize, the Facebook ad variation with a higher relevance score resulted in over 400% better ROI.
What Is a Good Facebook Ad Relevance Score?
When AdEspresso analyzed 104,256 Facebook ads to find an average relevance score, they discovered that most ads fell into the 6-10 point category.
However, many also scored between just 1 and 3 points.
Perhaps the most fascinating discovery in AdEspresso’s study is that the cost-per-click falls significantly even if the relevance score climbs to two points instead of one.
There’s a huge difference between irrelevant ads’ cost-per-click and the CPC of ads with a 9 or 10-point relevance score.
Here’s the full breakdown of Facebook relevance scores and the average advertising costs related to them.
What are all these results telling us about the perfect Facebook relevance score?
Well, there are a couple of key takeaways here:
- A 1-point relevance score has a pretty damaging effect on your campaign’s ROI.
- If you’re able to raise your relevance score to 2-4 points, you’re already improving your chances for better results.
- Relevance scores between 5-8 points will get you good results. And the higher scores you can get, the better.
- A 10-point score isn’t unusual for well-targeted and relevant ad campaigns. Maxing out your relevance score can improve your results and advertising ROI exponentially.
How to Get Higher Facebook Relevance Scores
If you’ve read this far, this question is probably haunting you right now.
But here’s the real question on the table: How do you make people love your ads?
A high Facebook ad relevance score comes down to three things:
- Targeting the right Facebook audience
- Offering something of value to your audience
- Making your ads eye-catching and attractive
Up next, we’re going to share the top 27 hacks that put these rules to work and produce skyrocketing relevance scores.
1) Understand Your Target Audience
When it comes to PPC advertising platforms, Facebook offers some of the most granular options for reaching the right target audience.
From Saved Audiences to Lookalike Audiences and Custom Audiences, you’ll have the opportunity to reach both new audiences and the people already familiar with your brand.
All things considered, finding the right Facebook target audience is paramount for getting high relevance scores.
- Day in the life
- Keywords and phrases
- Engagement scenarios
Once you’re able to communicate the daily obstacles and interests of your potential buyers, you’ll also find it easier to put together new audiences on Facebook.
2) Create Advanced Facebook Audiences
When creating new Facebook marketing audiences, don’t let yourself be limited to Saved Audiences. These interest-based audiences are easy to create, but not necessarily the most efficient.
Targeting large cold audiences (500k+ people) is a surefire recipe for low relevance scores.
Fortunately, there’s no need to go down that path.
You can benefit from Facebook’s Lookalike and Custom Audiences by setting up efficient remarketing campaigns, successful brand awareness campaigns, and more.
Moreover, Facebook recently added a new option called Value-Based Lookalike Audiences.
Value-Based Lookalike Audiences let you target people who are most similar to your current customers with a high Lifetime Value (LTV).
This is the next evolution of the regular Lookalike Audiences that let you target people who are most likely to convert on your offers because they resemble a set of your past converters.
Tip: If you want to learn more about creating Value-Based Lookalike Audiences, read Facebook’s guide on the topic.
3) Segment Your Target Audiences
Advanced Facebook audience knowhow creates the opportunity to set up a large number of high-ROI audience segments.
Think of it as building your audiences out of small Lego blocks instead of full-sized bricks.
For example, instead of promoting a blog article on productivity at work to a large Saved Audience of people with a general interest in productivity, you could advertise the article to your past blog readers who have read articles on related topics in the past.
You can also use the mille feuille Facebook ad strategy to create granular audiences.
Mille feuille is a dessert that translates to “a thousand layers” in English. Here’s how the mille feuille tactic works:
- You create a Facebook Custom Audience.
- Add additional targeting criteria by creating a Saved Audience that includes your Custom Audience.
Advanced Facebook targeting lets you segment your ad audiences into smaller segments and deliver them highly relevant ads and offers.
4) Target People Who Already Engaged with Your Ads
If your goal is to improve your Facebook relevance score, it would make sense to advertise to people who are likely to engage with your ads.
And as it happens, you can do exactly that. All you have to do is create a Facebook retargeting audience of people who previously engaged with your Facebook posts or ads.
For example, you could reach people who:
- Visited your Facebook page
- Engaged with specific posts or ads
- Clicked on a call-to-action button
- Sent a message to your page
- Saved a page or any post
This tactic is great for promoting blog content on Facebook like Ahrefs does.
You can also target people who have previously liked or clicked similar posts or ads related to your Facebook page.
The same tactic can be applied to the Video and Canvas ads you’re promoting via Facebook’s ad network.
Tip: If you’re remarketing to engagement-based Custom Audiences, make sure your audiences are large enough to be worth the time required to set up and segment your campaigns (at least 200 people per audience).
5) Exclude Converters from Your Target Audience
If you keep showing your Facebook ad to a person who’s already converted on it, they might get annoyed. They might even hit the “Hide ad” button to get rid of it.
Even worse, the annoyed audience member might check the “It’s misleading, offensive or inappropriate” box.
That’s the opposite of a relevance score improving hack. Accumulating negative feedback can damage your Facebook ad’s relevance score.
The easiest way to keep this bad-case scenario from happening is to exclude converters from your Facebook campaign’s audience.
For example, if you’re promoting a free eBook and someone downloads it, you can take an additional step to exclude them from the ad’s audience.
Here’s how to exclude past converters from your Facebook audiences:
- Create a Facebook Custom Audience of people who have visited specific web pages (e.g. your download thank you page or a blog article).
- Use the EXCLUDE feature when setting up your ad campaign’s audience to stop targeting people who have already converted on this particular offer.
Once you’ve excluded converters from your Facebook ads audience, all of your budget will go toward reaching the people who haven’t yet converted, helping to lower the CPC further.
6) Don’t Forget to Optimize Your Facebook Post’s Audience
While Facebook only shows the relevance score of your ads, engagement levels also affect the organic reach of your Facebook page posts.
If you want your posts to reach more people, you should consider optimizing the post’s target audience.
Automated Audience Optimization is a fairly new feature that only a few advertisers are using. (And now you get to be one of them!)
When adding a new post to your brand’s Facebook page, you can click on a little target icon. This lets you choose the preferred target audience for each particular Facebook post.
Once you click on the icon, a new pop-up window will appear to optimize your post’s target audience based on their interests.
You can also set audience restrictions to tell Facebook who is allowed to see your posts. For example, you can set the age, language, and location of a post’s target audience.
How To Activate Automated Audience Optimization
If your Facebook page has more than 5,000 likes, Audience Optimization should already be active on your account.
If your page has fewer than 5,000 likes, click the “Settings” tab in the top right corner of your Facebook page. From the “General” tab, you’ll see a row for “Audience Optimization for Posts.”
Click on “Edit” and check the box to activate the Audience Optimization. Then, hit the “Save Changes” button.
The next time you’re sharing an update on Facebook, apply the Audience Optimization to reach the fans most interested in your post.
7) A/B Test Your Way to The Right Audience
If, after all these hacks, you’re more confused than ever about finding the perfect Facebook target audience, consider running an A/B test.
When you’re testing Facebook ads, you can experiment with different audiences on the ad set level.
For example, AdEspresso did an experiment to tes three Facebook Lookalike Audiences of varying sizes:
- 1% of people in the U.S.
- 5% of people in the U.S.
- 10% of people in the U.S.
After analyzing each campaign’s results, here’s what they found:
- 1% Lookalike Audience cost-per-lead: $3.748
- 5% Lookalike Audience cost-per-lead: $4.162
- 10% Lookalike Audience cost-per-lead: $6.364
As you can see, even testing different variations of the same Facebook audience type can result in different engagement levels, CPC, and relevance score.
Best Practices For A/B Testing Multiple Facebook Audiences
- Create at least two target audiences with little or no audience overlap.
- Use the EXCLUDE feature to exclude Custom audiences (to avoid audience overlap).
- Keep each test audience large enough to deliver sufficient results. An audience of 1,000 might not be the best idea to split test against an audience of 400,000.
- Test with different audience types: Saved Audiences, Custom Audiences, Lookalike Audiences.
Tip: When evaluating the ROI of multiple Facebook audiences, look at the cost-per-conversion first. Only then, proceed to additional metrics such as relevance score, CPC, CTR, etc.
8) Match Your Ad Offers with the Audience
The key to higher Facebook ad relevance scores is creating and delivering ads that resonate with their audiences.
But what’s the key to creating Facebook ads that resonate?
I would argue that it all starts with understanding your Facebook marketing funnel and the PPC channel temperature.
When targeting cold audiences, offer them low-commitment ads and content such as guides, eBooks, blog articles, etc.
If you’re retargeting people who have already shown interest in your product by visiting your landing page, you can address them with a more sales-focused offer.
9) Improve Your Facebook Ads’ UVP
If you want a person to click on your Facebook ad, you need to give them a good reason to do so.
After all, they’re investing both time and attention by clicking your ad.
This is where your unique value proposition (UVP) enters the game. Your value proposition should emphasize the benefits of your product or service that are relevant to the target audience.
For example, Jobbatical’s UVP is centered around working abroad and living in a new city. That could be a highly attractive offer to Jobbatical’s target audience – digital nomads.
Once a person finds your offer interesting, they’ll click on your Facebook ad to find out more.
And as you already know, click-through-rate is one of the ingredients of your Facebook ads’ relevance score.
10) Write Irresistible Headlines
Your Facebook ad headline is one of the first ad elements to catch the viewers’ attention.
Headlines can have a huge effect on your ad’s click-through rate. In other words, the right headline can make or break your campaign.
Tip: Write headlines with odd numbers. Outbrain’s research shows that headlines with odd numbers have a 20% higher clickthrough rate than headlines with even numbers.
That’s why, as you may have noticed, we always prefer to keep our blog posts exhaustive and use headlines with odd numbers. (It’s also why this post doesn’t have 26 hacks to improve your Facebook relevance score.)
11) Make Your Ad Copy About the Customer
When writing Facebook ad copy, think about your customers. What’s relevant to them?
For example, Google’s Facebook ad emphasizes that their offer is about you, you, and only you.
However, you don’t need to take this suggestion that literally. What customer focus really means is that you should always consider what will make your target audience interested in the offer.
Here’s another example by Metrilo, promising to help coffee store owners sell more:
Think what are the greatest problems but also dreams of your potential buyers. Then, show how your product can improve their lives.
12) Make Your Ad Copy Highly Actionable
Using action verbs in your Facebook ad copy can help you engage a larger percentage of ad viewers.
The decision-making part of our brain also happens to be the most primitive, making it act on simple and actionable words.
That’s why you should test including action words such as:
For instance, Blue Bottle Coffee‘s Facebook ad just says “Try It For Free” in the headline. The rest of the text supports that action by explaining the coffee’s unique value.
Buffer put together a massive list of 189 magnetic words that can help you create highly converting Facebook ad copy.
13) Play With the Sense of Urgency
An article in the Wall Street Journal suggests that it takes about 20 minutes for the power of excitement to pass.
This means that you need to convert people fast while they’re still excited about your offer.
To add a touch of urgency to your Facebook ad copy (and make more people engage with your ads), try these hacks:
- Define clear dates, e.g. “Today only” or “Offer ends in 24h.”
- Offer a significant discount, e.g. “Get 60% off today.”
- Keep your offer simple and brief.
- Place your offer in the ad’s headline or the image.
HubSpot, for example, offered a limited-time 20% discount on their growth stack. The entire ad is focused on creating urgency. The copy even starts with the words “Don’t miss out!”
Here’s another wonderful example by Groupon, mixing multiple hacks together for the ultimate click and sales magnet.
Getting people to act on your limited-time offer gets even easier if you remove any potential obstacles, such as shipping costs.
14) Experiment with Calls-to-Action
When A/B testing Facebook ads, SaaS startup Scoro discovered that the ad with the “Sign Up” CTA outperformed the ad with the “Learn More” CTA by 14.5%.
Your Facebook ads’ call-to-actions could potentially affect your relevance score, helping to increase the engagement rate.
- What is my prospect’s motivation for clicking this button?
- What is my prospect going to get when (s)he clicks this button?
You’re looking for a CTA that matches your Facebook ad audience’s motivation. For example, when promoting sales in their online store, ASOS uses a “Shop Now” call-to-action button.
Tip: You can include calls-to-action in your ad copy, and even in your Facebook ad’s headline.
15) Create Highly Visible Ad Images
Consumer Acquisition has found that images are arguably the most important part of your ads. They’re responsible for 75%-90% of your ad performance.
And by ad performance (e.g. number of clicks), we also mean the Facebook ad relevance score.
To make your Facebook ads easy to notice in the newsfeed, you can create highly colorful and contrasting ads like Asana…
…Or go the other way around with Udemy’s approach. They use simple designs with a white background to catch the eye when they appear between images of friends and other brands.
Tip: Notice how much more advertising real estate Udemy’s ad takes up? You can also test longer ad copy to see whether it helps improve your relevance score.
16) A/B Test Your Way To An Engaging Ad Layout
The best way to find out what your Facebook audiences like is to show them multiple ads and measure the click-through rates and relevance scores of each variation.
When A/B testing your Facebook ad elements, follow these three rules:
- Test one ad element at a time. Having too many varying options will lead to diluted campaigns and you won’t have enough results to conclude the test results.
- Start strong. Begin by testing the ad elements that you think have the highest impact on your ads’ engagement rate.
- Use the right campaign structure. Place all ad variations inside a separate ad set.
In addition to your ad design, value offers, and ad copy length, you can also test eliminating text boxes like Intercom has done.
Tip: If you want valuable insights from your Facebook tests, put them through an A/B significance test to determine if your results are valid.
Although these tests do not directly affect your relevance score, they can have an indirect impact by improving your click-through rate.
17) In-Image Ad Copy
If the image is one of the first things people notice about your Facebook ad, it may pay off to include your key message in there.
Upwork’s Facebook ad delivers the key value offer right in the ad image: “End payment headaches.”
Don’t forget about Facebook’s rule of keeping ad images light in text. If your ads contain too much text, Facebook can restrict its delivery, which can result in a lower relevance score and fewer engagements.
Tip: Before uploading your ad image to Facebook, run it through the Text Overlay Tool.
For example, Upwork’s Facebook ad example above scored a high text level, so it might not reach as many people’s newsfeeds.
18) Include CTAs in Ad Images
Another element worth trying in the ad image is a call-to-action button to indicate that your Facebook ad is clickable.
A compelling CTA button can go a long way to help you achieve higher Facebook relevance scores. Remember, more ad clicks results in higher relevancy.
Marketo is using in-image text and a CTA to engage more people and, hopefully, drive more clicks.
Tip: When including a call-to-action in your ad image, use a contrasting color to make it highly visible.
20) Use The Most Relevant Facebook Ad Type
When setting up your Facebook ad campaign, you’ve likely noticed a wide selection of different ad types:
- Link Click Ads
- Video Ads
- Multi-Product (Carousel Ads)
- Dynamic Product Ads (DPA)
- Facebook Lead Ads
- Canvas Ads
- Collection Ads
- Stories Ads
- Page Like Ads
- Boosted Page Posts
- Page Post Photo Ads
- Page Post Video Ads
- Event Ads
- Offer Claims
- Local Awareness Ads
Finding the right Facebook ad type that brings up the best in your promoted offer is one of the keys to a higher relevance score.
To find the best Facebook ad type for your campaign, you could experiment with different ad types by running a split test.
Before that, however, you should consider suitable ad types in the context of your ad’s key messages. Then look for the ad type(s) that will effectively communicate your offer.
For example, when advertising multiple products or features, you might use a Carousel Ad to display multiple image cards within a single ad.
Here’s a Facebook Carousel Ad example by Gusto:
Tip: Before you create the visuals and copy for specific Facebook ad types, check out their specific size and character limits. AdEspresso’s Facebook ad types guide has those details.
21) Create Video Ads Instead Of Image Ads
In the past few years, Facebook video consumption has skyrocketed.
As of 2018, Facebook continues to dominate YouTube in the battle for mobile video views.
Facebook did a case study with Refinery29 where they compared the results of two different campaign tactics:
- The first campaign employed creative and images focused strictly on generating subscriptions.
- Over the same period, the other campaign featured “sequenced” ads that started with the brand story, then provided product information, and invited people to sign up at the end of the cycle.
Refinery29’s landing page traffic ultimately increased by 87% and subscription rates increased by 56% among those who saw the branding video first.
If you want to increase your Facebook ad relevance score, try introducing video ads to your campaign mix with the goal of improving the CTRs.
Tip: Wistia discovered that as your video length increases, engagement drops.
That’s why we recommend keeping your Facebook video ads under 2 minutes. Also, try to make the first 30 seconds of video so good that people will want to watch the rest.
22) Create Location-Specific Ads
If you’re selling a product or service that’s more relevant to people in specific locations, you may want to try a Local Awareness campaign.
For example, UGG Australia wanted to encourage people to visit specific stores, so they used Local Awareness Ads to encourage San Francisco residents and tourists to “Walk, Skip or Dance to 437 Sutter Street.”
According to Jim Davis, VP of consumer engagement at UGG Australia, the ad campaign resulted in a 3X return on ad spend.
The Local Awareness Ads have two main features, making it easier for people to engage with the ad:
- Map cards: These share locally relevant details about your business. The card includes a map pin for your business location, distance to business, hours of operation and a link for directions.
- Call-to-action button: Select the right CTA, e.g. Get Directions, Call Now, Learn More, and Send Message.
23) Select the Most Relevant Ad Placement
According to AdEspresso’s data, the cost-per-click of your ad campaigns can vary by more than 550% depending on your choice of ad placements.
Currently, there are nine (!) different Facebook ad placements available in the Ads Manager:
- Desktop Newsfeed
- Mobile Newsfeed
- Right-hand Column
- Instant Articles
- In-Stream Videos
- Suggested Videos
- Instagram Feed
- Instagram Stories
- Facebook Audience Network
To see your top-performing ad placements, log in to Facebook Ads Manager. Use the Breakdown menu to segment your campaigns by Placement.
Sadly, Facebook won’t reveal separate relevance scores for every ad placement, so you’ll need to measure every ad placement performance based on other metrics, e.g. CPC and CTR.
Based on these results, you can take steps to optimize your ad campaigns. Common improvements include:
- Increasing your bids on the top-performing ad placements.
- Creating additional ad campaigns that target your best-performing ad placements.
24) Uncover the Best Advertising Time
There’s a good chance that your Facebook ad offers aren’t relevant to people 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
For example, B2B audiences may not be interested in buying new services and tools during the weekend.
To see which weekdays contribute to the most conversions at the lowest CPA, go to your Facebook Ads Manager reports and use the Breakdown menu to break down your campaigns by Day.
Now you can see which weekdays resulted in most conversions at the lowest cost.
In addition to measuring the cost-per-acquisition, also check your ads’ click-through-rate. Don’t forget that CTR is one of the metrics Facebook uses to calculate your ads’ relevance score.
You can set up a custom Facebook advertising schedule during the campaign setup process by checking the “Run ads on a schedule” checkbox.
Next, you can select the weekdays and times of day you’d like your ads to be delivered.
Tip: Another benefit of using the custom delivery schedule is that people will see your ads less often and won’t get bored with them as quickly.
25) Optimize For The Right Conversions
One of the three Facebook relevance score factors is your ad campaign’s performance.
To calculate this metric, Facebook looks at how many anticipated conversions your campaigns bring.
Note that the relevance score has a smaller impact on advertising costs and delivery in brand awareness campaigns, since those ads are optimized for reaching people, rather than driving a specific action like app installs.
If your Facebook advertising goal is to get link clicks or convert people on your offers, you should select the campaign objective that’s closest to your own.
This way, all the technical and visual elements of your Facebook ads are optimized for achieving a common goal. Consistency helps with a higher relevance score and, hopefully, leads to more conversions.
26) Avoid Facebook Ad Fatigue
Ad fatigue happens when people in your target audience has seen your Facebook ads so many consecutive times that they grow tired of them. Maybe they even get annoyed.
Once ad fatigue kicks in, several things can happen:
- People stop noticing your Facebook ads in their newsfeed. This will also lead to fewer reactions and engagement.
- People stop clicking on your Facebook ads. There goes your high relevance score.
- Your ad campaign’s costs skyrocket. That’s also the result of a decreased relevance score.
The easiest way to predict the ad fatigue is to monitor your Facebook ad frequency, or how many times an average audience member has seen your ad.
To check this metric, go to the Facebook Ads Manager, click on a campaign, and select the Delivery view in the reporting section.
You should be able to see the ad frequency on a campaign, ad set, or ad level in the reporting table.
Tip: Try to keep your Facebook ad frequency under 2-3 points. When working with Facebook remarketing campaigns, however, you can let your ad frequency go higher. Keep in mind, though, that just because something is relevant doesn’t mean we need to see it 20 times.
27) Introduce New Ads to the Mix Frequently
Another way to keep your Facebook relevance score up is to constantly add new engaging ads and offers to your Facebook campaigns.
That’s also one of the best Facebook ad strategies for fighting ad fatigue.
For example, SaaS startup Scoro tested tens of different ad copies and designs over the course of a year to keep their audiences engaged.
You can place new ads in your existing Facebook campaigns or set up new campaigns that only include new designs or offers. By adding variations, you can discover what conveys relevance in a visual way.
Make it a habit to develop a couple of new designs or offers every couple of months to keep your idea muscles and relevance scores in shape.
Final Words on Facebook Relevance Score
While Facebook relevance score is inarguably an important campaign metric to measure, don’t forget to check other important factors such as the cost-per-result of your ads.
“While understanding relevance scores has real benefits for advertisers, it’s important to keep this metric in perspective. Relevance scores should not be used as the primary indicator of an ad’s performance. As has long been the case on Facebook, the most important factor for success is bidding based on the business goal you hope to meet with an ad.”
We’d be thrilled to hear about your findings on the relevance score and what hacks you use to increase the score. Leave us a note in the comments.