According to Facebook, “Engagement is a foundational concept in marketing that involves moving the hearts and minds of your target audience. Since the advent of online advertising, clicks have been viewed as proxies for the traditional notion of engagement.” As a result, Facebook’s engagement rate metric, which measures the number of unique engaged users (clicks) per unique user reached, was central on Facebook Insights and became a top KPI for many brands. If you followed this, you probably have created most of your reporting around click-based engagement and developed and updated your content strategy around click-based engagement performance.

But now, Facebook is changing those recommendations based on new information and research they have conducted. As a result they will be rolling out new additional metrics for measuring post success. These updates haven’t rolled out yet, and we don’t have an exact date for when they will. Initially, this probably sounds pretty annoying (we agree), but in the long run, we think these updates could lead to a more accurate and insightful way to publish content and measure success. 

In this post you’ll find a thorough explanation of the changes, and how they might affect you as a brand. If at any time during your read-through of this post you feel scared, alone, confused, or motivated to work with a team of people who publish a blog post like this… email us. 

Part 1: The Opportunity Gap

Close your eyes and imagine how you engage with Facebook.

How often do you actually click on ads or content on your news feed that is not from your friends and family?

According to ComScore, only 8% of internet users account for 85% of clicks on display ads. That means approximately 90% of people are seeing and consuming the content but not clicking.

Facebook is the same. Only 10% of the Facebook audience is what they define as “clicky.” Meaning only 10% of the entire Facebook population is actually likely to click on or physically engage with the posts that brands put out. So 90% of people aren’t going to click on our branded content…

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That may seem like it sucks, but… it doesn’t. Why? Because it doesn’t mean that the 90% aren’t interested in your post or buying/using your products. They are just engaging with it in a different way. In fact, the vast majority of people who purchase or use your products will do so without clicking on your ads; studies show that more than 90% of offline sales come from people who don’t interact physically with ads during the campaign.

So the question then becomes:

How do we measure the non-clicky 90%’s interest if they aren’t clicking on, liking, commenting on, or sharing a post?

Part 2: The New Engagement

So again, we ask you to imagine your own Facebook behavior. If you’re like the 90% of people on Facebook, instead of clicking “like” (or love) on a brand post, you’re probably hovering over it. You’re scrolling down your news feed and you see something that catches your eye, and your thumb stops for a few moments to ingest the information… right?

Facebook calls this “thumbstopping.” This refers to the fact that your thumb or finger pauses the scroll to ingest the post your phone is displaying.27237e9430580f211880bc5db13fc662f869f6512b0d7187f4e475fc9aa7f250

Now here’s the biggest news of the day: Since 90% of people are hovering over content instead of clicking it, Facebook is no longer considering physical engagement as the top KPI of content performance.

“If we are optimizing for click-based engagement we are only optimizing towards the 10% of users who are “clicky”. If instead we optimize for Brand Awareness we will extend our reach dramatically optimizing on the full 100% (including the 90% “non-clicky” users).”

– Facebook’s CPG Account Management Team

This update aligns Facebook more with traditional TV or print media. There isn’t a place to click on TV and Print ads. You don’t know if someone even watched the commercial or read the print ad. So the value of Facebook advertising can’t just be based on physical engagement.

Part 3: New Metrics

Across digital marketing efforts there are three types of metrics brand’s utilize depending on their objectives:

Based on Facebook’s findings on user behavior with brand posts, they are expanding their offering of Brand Equity Metrics.

Facebook is currently in the process of rolling out a brand new metric entitled “Dwell”. This equates to the total amount of time someone hovered over a post within the Newsfeed. It includes both users who have engaged and not engaged with the content. This metric will most likely move to be the top defining metric of success of content in the future.

Note: Currently “Dwell” is only available in Canvas Ad formats. The average “Dwell” time for a Canvas Ad is 30 seconds, which according to Facebook is above average.

Utilizing the Dwell metric, Facebook was able to, within 99% accuracy, develop 3 new Ad Recall metrics, similar to what Nielson uses for television commercials.

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“So essentially Estimated Ad Recall is like a click for people who don’t click. And it is a more valuable metric for brand advertisers.”

– Facebook’s CPG Account Management Team

Currently, the way you can access these metrics is by setting up an ad or promoted post with brand awareness and reach optimization as an objective. Based on early tests, the brand awareness objective has 60% higher ad recall lift on average than the page post engagement objective.

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This new ad objective is primarily geared towards advertisers who are running brand campaigns and are looking to drive higher Ad Recall and get the best brand awareness ROI. This solution is designed to maximize brand awareness by serving ads to people who are more likely to pay attention.

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Part 4: Where Do We Go From Here?

If you are a page manager and operate your page like the majority of brands on Facebook, you may need to take a few deep breaths and maybe have a cup of tea to calm down. This is a lot, and it has a lot of implications on KPIs, reporting, paid strategy, content strategy, and more. Plus, as we said, if you now feel scared, alone, confused, or motivated to work with a team of people who publish a blog post like this… email us.