How to Improve Your Facebook Ad Relevance Score

Written by Charles Ngo
Written by Charles Ngo

“I love burning money and reaching fewer customers,” said NO AFFILIATE EVER.
But here’s the thing: If you’re advertising on Facebook and getting a low ad relevance score, you’re really living by that crazy talk.
You’re burning money.
As Facebook has matured as an ad platform, it has pushed the development of the Ad Relevance score.
What is this score?
It’s Facebook’s method of measuring your ad’s overall quality and relevance to people. It’s sort of like Facebook’s version of “Hot or Not?”

Facebook wants to create a better experience for their users, and this includes showing them quality ads.
They’ll incentivize you for this: the better your relevance score, the lower your overall costs and the more reach you’ll have per dollar spent.
The scale runs from 1 to 10, with 1 being very bad (kill it now!) and 10 being amazing (scale up if your return on ad spend is high).
A “good” Relevance Score can be thought of as anything between 7 and 10. (the higher the better of course)
So a Relevance Score of 1 is bad… but what does that mean?
Basically, it means your ad doesn’t make sense for the audience you’re showing it to. It means that your ad is irrelevant to the people you’re targeting. It also means that you’re going to have to fork out some extra dough if you want Facebook to keep showing it.
A score of 7 or higher means your ad is being shown to a receptive audience who actually care about what you’re advertising.
They’re loving what you’re serving, and because Facebook typically thinks about their users’ experience, they’re willing to charge you less to show your ad to people.
It’s simple: you need to improve your relevancy scores if you want to be more profitable on Facebook.

The Voodoo Magic Behind the Relevance Score

So, how does Facebook calculate the Relevance Score?
It’s primarily by the expected positive and negative feedback. (Not the actual feedback)
How does Facebook arrive at this “expected” estimate?
By observing feedback from those served the ad. After your ad has been served 500 times or more, it’ll then be assigned a Relevance Score.
If you have a low budget, then it might take a while (500 impressions) before you see your score.
Where things hit “Voodoo Shaman Land” is when you try to understand the Relevance Score more granularly.
The score is not based on actual feedback in the sense of likes, comments, shares and so on. If your ad gets 10,000 likes, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to have a high relevance score.
Instead, Facebook is calculating your audience’s anticipated response based on your campaign goal and targeting.
It’s an algorithm that predicts performance.
It’s trying to measure how likely the next person shown the ad will take the desired action (a positive thing) or request your ad be hidden or flagged (a negative thing).
However, even if you knock your ad out of the park and hit a Relevance Score of 10—your score can still change on a day to day basis.
If you’re constantly showing your ad to the same audience without them taking action, that frequency can erode your score.
So how can you get to that magic 10?

A High Relevance Score Starts with Proper Planning

What’s the best way to drive people to take action on your ads?
Knowing them inside and out. If you know your target audience, you can create ads that absolutely crush it.
I’m not just talking about age, gender, and occupation, but their fears, problems, pain points and internal conversations. You should even know the sites they visit, the magazines they read, the foods they eat.
Before you spend a single cent, you need to spend some serious time building out your buyer persona.
One easy way is to use their own tool: Audience Insights.

You need to know your target audience like the back of your hand because this will drive the positioning of your ad copy, your creative, and the action you’re asking them to take.
If you plan correctly to understand who you’re trying to reach, you’ll create a truly relevant ad… which translates to more results for less cash!
Use flex targeting, behavioral targeting, and lookalike audiences. The more targeted your audience is, the more Facebook will see that it’s relevant.

Use Great Images That Stop People In Their Tracks

A person can’t have a positive interaction with your ad if they don’t stop to read it. You need to use a “Pattern Interrupt” to snap them out of their social media coma.
An image which qualifies as a Pattern Interrupt is anything that shocks someone out of their news feed scrolling daze.
It’s something that grabs attention because it’s so visually enthralling or captivating.
Now, this doesn’t mean use cheap tricks like disgusting images of rotted food with bugs crawling all over. You may be flagged for being too shocking and it’s probably not relevant to what you’re advertising.
Angular lines and high contrast colors are a great way to make an image POP out of the newsfeed. Purple Mattress achieves this to GREAT effect with this ad:

Notice the tilted off-axis “Approved” badge, the high-contrast purple and white, the angular sheets… and oh look, a FREAKIN SASQUATCH!!! Talk about an A+ ad.

Use Better Copy

Great copy isn’t when your audience understands YOU, great copy is when your audience feels understood BY YOU.
It’s not just about clearly communicating your message. Going back to the point about creating your Buyer Persona, it’s about showing your audience you get them.
Ever had a salesman completely ignore a concern you raised? Something like:
You: “I’m not sure I like red…and why does the interior smell like dog?”  
Oblivious Salesperson: “Aren’t these some nice rims?!”
Your ad copy needs to address the pain points of YOUR AUDIENCE.
Also, your copy needs to disqualify the wrong people. In other words, you want to weed out the people who aren’t in your target audience.
You’re not trying to resonate with EVERYONE. Instead, you want to be the perfect fit for your ideal audience. Don’t be shy. Get to the point on EXACTLY who it’s for.
Facebook will use responses to your ad to determine who they should show it to. If unqualified people are responding to your ad, you’re wasting cash.
Another tip is to consider your landing page. Facebook’s bots will crawl your pages to see what kind of language you’re using.

So imagine your ad copy is selling lipstick, but your landing page doesn’t have any beauty or lipstick keywords. It will negatively affect your score.
Write a little bit for the robots.

Use Videos

Sometimes an image isn’t enough to captivate your audience. Consider tapping into the power of video.
You needn’t go overboard by creating a Michael Bay-esque production complete with explosions and car chases.
Sometimes, a simple black and white video of you scrolling through your offer page is enough.
Remember though, you need to create something captivating and worth stopping their news feed scrolling for.

Split Test Your Ads

If you’re a newbie to advertising, split testing is simply testing variants of the same ad with different variations across the copy or creative. You run the ad variants to gain enough impressions to be statistically significant, and then from there, you use the data to pick the winner.
Generally speaking, you can afford to have a wider variance in the beginning because you’re “buying data” and figuring out what works. As you optimize and get things dialed in, your variations will become more narrow.
To automate this process, it’s not uncommon to use tools like AdEspresso to generate a large variety of ads to split test far more quickly than doing so manually.

Study Your Winners

Sometimes you stumble into “magical formulas” in terms of your ad creative, ad copy, etc.
When you have a “winner” which is truly outperforming the rest of your ads, you should try to break it down and understand why it’s succeeding.
Once you form a hypothesis, test it on your next ad. See if you can dial into the right ingredients to hit another ad out of the park.

Refresh Your Ads

Sometimes, the ad is great on every level, but your audience is sick of seeing it. You might need a new angle, offer, or method of presenting your message.
Or you might simply need new creative. Perhaps your audience resonates more with images of wiener dogs versus chihuahuas.
But if you notice your Relevance Score starting to erode week after week, it might be time to refresh your ads.You should systemize this process.

  1. Update your ads every “X” days.
  2. Update your ads every time the CTR drops below “X”.

Initiate a New “Learning Phase”

Facebook recently unveiled the inner workings behind a cornerstone feature in their ad algorithm: the “Learning Phase.”
Facebook describes the Learning Phase as:

“When we start delivering your ad set, whether at the start of a campaign or after you make a significant edit, we don’t have all the data necessary to deliver it as stably as possible. In order to get that data, we have to show ads to different types of people to learn who is most likely to take the action you’re optimizing for (your “Optimization for Ad Delivery” choice). This process is called the “learning phase.

Once we have the data we need, the learning phase ends and your ad set should experience fewer performance fluctuations. (That said, it’s useful to keep in mind that delivery will get even more stable as we collect more data beyond the learning phase.) At this point, you can make an informed decision about your ad set. If you’re satisfied with your results, you can let it keep running or increase its budget. If you’re unsatisfied, you can edit the ad set to try to improve its performance, or pause it.”

If you have a new ad that’s doing exceptionally well, duplicate it on the ad set level while it’s still winning. This will create a new variant based on the audience it was aggregating, only with similar characteristics to the winning formula.
You’re initiating a new Learning Phase with variables skewed towards a variety of positive traits. We can’t possibly know all that’s going behind the scenes of Facebook’s Algorithm, but doing this while your ad is winning gives it a fresh look at dialing into what works.

Can You Say Relevance Score?

If your Relevance Score is low, you’re wasting money that could be spent on launching other campaigns.
While a high Relevance Score doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to run a profitable campaign, a low Relevance Score is a pretty sure indicator that you’re going to lose money.
In the show Breaking Bad, Walter White was all about getting the right ingredients to make the perfect meth.
If you’re going to succeed as an affiliate, you need to go all Walter White when it comes to creating your ads. You need to find the perfect ingredients for that high relevance score.
If you don’t, you’ll be the one hearing the knock instead of being the one who knocks.
Featured Image by Paha L

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                The posts published by Charles are prepared and analyzed, including the author’s own experience…

The posts published by Charles are prepared and analyzed, including the author’s own experience…

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