Advanced Facebook Ads: View Performance by Placement and Demographics

Advanced Facebook Ads: View Performance by Placement and Demographics

[AUDIO VERSION: I also recorded an audio version of this blog post. Click below to listen. Let me know if this is something you find helpful!]

I conduct several one-on-one coaching sessions every week, and each time I ask my 45-minute client whether they use the ad reports. More often than not, the answer is, “Ummmm… what?”

As a result, I regularly take 15 minutes in these sessions to create a saved report that they can use in the future. Time and time again, these people are blown away by the information available to them.

But most advertisers don’t realize this information even exists. When used, you can optimize your ads for age, gender, country and placement.

In other words: Get better results and stop wasting your money on placements and demographics that aren’t working.

Facebook Ad Reports

If you monitor the performance of your ads diligently, you can limit waste and focus budget on what is most effective. Your results will differ depending on the audience and placement of your ads.

This is done through split testing. In the past, the only way to accomplish this was through creating many different ads for age groups, gender, country and placement. But that’s no longer required.

The magic is found within Facebook’s ad reports. The old version of these reports was more or less worthless. As a result, advertisers ignore them. But an update last year makes them one of the most powerful tools in an advertiser’s tool box.

On the left hand side of your Ads Manager, click on Reports…

Facebook Ad Reports

The default report isn’t particularly useful, and it’s why most advertisers don’t dig in more. It provides 17 columns of data for all campaigns run during the past seven days:

  • Start Date
  • End Date
  • Campaign
  • Reach
  • Frequency
  • Impressions
  • Clicks
  • Unique Clicks
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR)
  • Unique Click-Through Rate (uCTR)
  • Spend
  • Cost Per 1,000 Impressions (CPM)
  • Cost Per 1,000 People Reached
  • Cost Per Click (CPC)
  • Actions
  • People Taking Action
  • Page Likes

It’s not that this information is all worthless. It has value. But it’s information overload.

I prefer a report with a minimal number of columns focusing on your desired action.

For example, here are the columns I’d recommend for a Page Likes report:

  • Start Date
  • End Date
  • Campaign
  • Frequency
  • Spend
  • Page Likes
  • Cost Per Page Like

That’s 10 fewer columns, and it focuses on the metrics that truly matter to the objective of your campaign (Page Likes).

Edit Columns

You can take control of your ad reports with the help of a simple button: Edit Columns.

It’s at the top left of your report, next to the Add Filters button…

Facebook Ad Reports Edit Columns and Add Filters

Click that beautiful button and you’ll get a dialog that looks like this…

Facebook Ad Reports Edit Columns Dialog

By my count, there are 148 different columns you could choose for your report. That’s a lot!

Of course, you don’t want all of them. You shouldn’t even want 17 of them. But the right data should be available to you depending on the type of report you want to run.

You just need to find it!

Data Breakdowns

The true goldmine — and the motivation behind this blog post — is found in the Data Breakdowns section.

Facebook Ad Reports Data Breakdowns Default

By default, Facebook doesn’t select any of this data. That’s why most advertisers don’t know it exists!

But click on any one (you can only select one at a time) and see how your ad is performing based on…

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Age and Gender
  • Country
  • Placement
  • Destination

Add a column for age…

Facebook Ad Reports Edit Columns Age

Facebook will break down performance based on the age of your audience:

  • 13-18
  • 18-24
  • 25-34
  • 35-44
  • 45-54
  • 55-64
  • 65+

As you can see in the example above, I was focusing on the ages of 25-44 and getting the most success from the 35-44 age group.

Add a column for gender…

Facebook Ad Reports Edit Columns Gender

Facebook will break down performance based on the gender of your audience:

  • Male
  • Female
  • Unknown

I was seeing the best results from women, though it’s not a significant difference.

Add a column for age and gender…

Facebook Ad Reports Edit Columns Age and Gender

Facebook will break down performance based on the age and gender of your audience:

  • Male 13-18
  • Male 18-24
  • Male 25-34
  • Male 35-44
  • Male 45-54
  • Male 55-64
  • Male 65+
  • Female 13-18
  • Female 18-24
  • Female 25-34
  • Female 35-44
  • Female 45-54
  • Female 55-64
  • Female 65+
  • Unknown 13-18
  • Unknown 18-24
  • Unknown 25-34
  • Unknown 35-44
  • Unknown 45-54
  • Unknown 55-64
  • Unknown 65+

In the example above, the unknown and male groups tended to be most expensive, while I was getting the best results from women aged 35-44.

Add a column for country…

Facebook Ad Reports Edit Columns Country

Facebook will create a column for countries, generating a row for each country served an impression. In my example above, it’s most expensive to get Page Likes in Canada and US and cheapest in the Netherlands and Ireland.

My favorite option, however, is adding a column for placement…

Facebook Ad Reports Edit Columns Placement

Facebook will break down performance based on the placement of your ad:

  • Right Column Ads on Desktop Computers
  • Right Column Ads on Home Page for Desktop Computers
  • News Feed on Desktop Computers
  • News Feed on Mobile Devices

As you can see in my results above, I’m getting the best Cost Per Page Like in this report on mobile devices. This has not always been the case. It’s why you constantly monitor your results!

Finally, you can add columns for destination. Facebook will highlight where someone went as a result of your ad. This could be your page, a custom tab or a link.

Save Your Reports!

Once you’ve created this awesomely helpful report, it’s important that you save it for later. Otherwise, Facebook won’t keep it for you, and you’ll need to start over every time!

Click the Save button…

Facebook Ad Reports Save

Name it something you’re remember later.

Every time you come back to your ad reports, Facebook will show you that same, lame, default report. But your saved reports will be available within the Reports drop-down at the top.

Facebook Ad Reports Saved

Your Turn

The Edit Columns button within your Facebook ad reports will save you a whole lot of time and money if used appropriately.

Are you using these reports? How are you using them? Let me know in the comments below!

  • Mitch McCargar

    Thanks Jon. I knew this was available but I was having trouble actually getting the reports I wanted. This is a huge help man

  • Tudor Pangal

    I’ve been using it for a while to figure out the age and gender that converted best, but never took the time to save it, so I keep going back to selecting columns every time. Now that was silly. :) Thanks for breaking it all down for us Jon.

  • Jörg Strotmann

    Absolutely fab Jon!

  • Jason HJH

    :) Indeed, thanks for the reminder haha. I’ve been using this for the longest time and I love it!

  • Josh P Greenberg

    I’m always slightly obsessive about checking these ads reports and it’s pretty much thanks to some of your blog posts on what metrics are important to look at. It’s easy to get information overload and throw the whole thing out the window.

    I was always wondering though, if Facebook doesn’t serve up the ad (say one ad has reach of 45K while another in the same set has 1,000) does that mean FB is flat out telling you which is most effective? It makes testing creative difficult when the sample size isn’t close to the same.

    • Jon Loomer

      Facebook automatically optimizes, and this is also based on budget. You may not have the budget to support running that many ads. I generally trust Facebook’s optimization, but you can force Facebook to run an ad by placing it in a separate ad set if you desire.

  • Simona Goldin

    This is GOLD! Thank you!

  • Shane Massingham

    Great post John…
    I like to use these reports to show my client ways I have been improving there ads ROI. Do you know how I can use the reports share link to have clients view the saved report?
    I run my clients thru my ad account and they get an error and cannot view the reports from the link generated..

  • Avtar Ram Singh

    Fantastic stuff Jon. This should be required reading for absolutely anyone who is running a campaign on Facebook ads and trying to optimize. I do this once a month, but I think I should switch to doing this once a week at least and fine tune ads all the time. Just have to make time for it I guess. Great information in here and a very neat guide. :)

  • Guest

    Hi Jon, this is fantastic, thank you. However when I add in the different columns it only allows me to add in one rather than all of the above mentioned re Only Age and Gender, Country Placement OR Destination. Is this as I haven’t upgraded to the new FB?

  • Roger Pol

    Jon, your site looks cleaner. What font type and size you use. Looks like verdana 18. did you customize the theme?
    Great information too.

  • Michelle Pescosolido

    Great freaking post ;)

  • Aileen Hernandez Irias

    Excellent article! Thank you. I love the examples that you give from your own stats. That is very helpful.

  • Aileen Hernandez Irias

    Jon, if possible, could you provide a print button from your blogs? I love to print your articles and keep them as resource material. Thanks!

  • Tom Leonard

    Great information! I wasn’t paying attention to that all-important FILTER button before and was creating separate ads for testing. This will (very obviously) be a lot easier. And the data will be much more useful. If you don’t test, you don’t know what is working. Thanks again.

  • Sibi

    Thank you Jon. I know this is gonna save me precious dollars.

  • nathanlatka1

    Absolutely must have material. Thanks for putting together Jon!

  • Gracious Store

    The more I read your posts the more I change my perception about Facebook as a marketing platform and the more I am drawn towards ads on Facebook.

  • Mostafa

    Simona Goldin is right this is worth gold … thanks for this info
    but let me mention to a new facebook app called zosocial it’s wilco de kreij’s app
    for contests and it can help you to grow up your facebook page fans with contests in smart way
    take a look here

  • Neil Smith

    Jon – your site has helped me get started with Facebook Ads quickly – thanks – but I always have this nagging question: isn’t letting Facebook optimize campaigns for us meant to do away with this need to target segments and check demographic reports? I find them fascinating, but if I have a product or service that is equally applicable to men and women of all ages then I should just let Facebook try to find the most effective targeting to reach those people – no? Or am I missing something? Perhaps, once I have the demographics that respond best I can switch to a very specifically targeted CPC campaign and get a better ROI? I’d appreciate your thoughts.

  • ErikHegely

    Thanks Jon, this was a great piece of advice!

  • ignaceblanco

    @jonloomer:disqus Is there a way to make sure ads only go on Right Column Ads ON HOME PAGE for Desktop Computers? I’m getting better results with that than with non home page ones…
    Many thanks.

  • Roman Edward Tlustý

    Soustavně hledám místo kam vkládat nejlépe své příspěvky aby měly co možná nejproduktivnější účinek a přinášeli užitek veřejnosti . Přeji vám všem hodně zdraví v novém roce i se svými spolupracovníky v našem Brašnářství R.Tlustý & spol.

  • DJ

    Thanks for your help John! I do have one question about this data. When I look at my data, there seems to be a discrepancy in some metrics. For example, for one ad, if I look at the impressions in the “age and gender” display for newsfeed, I get a total if 105,364 but if I look at the data for impressions for “placement” under newsfeed, I get a total of 105834. Can you help explain this? We have some that are the same data that is the same but some with discrepancies and we can’t identify why the data seems to be different in some areas.