A Guide to Custom Metrics in Meta Ads Manager

Meta Ads Manager and Ads Reporting provide access to countless standard metrics. But there are times when the metric you need isn’t available, and a custom metric can be created using a formula that combines existing metrics.

In this post, let’s get you started with creating your own custom metrics…

Access Custom Metrics

Custom metrics can be used in either Ads Manager or Ads Reporting.

Within Ads Manager, click Customize Columns from the Columns dropdown menu.

Customize Columns

If you’ve ever created custom metrics before, they will appear at the top. Otherwise, click the link next to the search bar to create a custom metric.

Custom Metric

You’ll then see the following…

Custom Metric

We’ll get to this in a moment. You can also access this from Ads Reporting.

From the pivot table on the right, select the Metrics tab. Scroll down to Custom Metrics, and you can click the button to create one.

Custom Metric

The process of creating a custom metric will look the same, regardless of whether you’re in Ads Manager or Ads Reporting. The metrics that you create can be used from either location.

Create a Custom Metric

Now let’s create that custom metric.

This process uses formulas. All you need is some basic math knowledge to create a custom metric.

Custom Metric

It could be as simple as Metric 1 + Metric 2 or a much more complicated mathematical formula like ((Metric 1 + Metric 2)/5)*Metric 3. Custom metric possibilities are limited by your own math skills and the metrics available.

To build your formula, you can simply type it out directly in the text field. When you start typing the name of a metric, the autocomplete will come up for you to select it.

Custom Metric

You can also use the Select Metric drop-down menu to find what you want to use.

Custom Metric

There are popular metrics at the top, followed by metrics grouped by category. As an example, here’s what you see for Performance.

Custom Metric

In addition to Meta’s standard metrics, you can use standard events, custom events, and custom conversions.

Custom Metric

After you create your formula, you’ll need to name the metric…

Custom Metric

Select a format (don’t forget this!)…

Custom Metric

Include an optional description…

Custom Metric

And then determine who can use it. Options are only you or everyone who has access to the business.

Try Popular Formulas

On the right hand side, Meta includes several very basic formulas that you can use.

When you click any of these, the formula is automatically added to the text field. Here are examples…

Impressions to 3-second video plays rate

What percentage of impressions results in at least a 3-second video play?

Custom Metric

Impressions to post engagements rate

What percentage of impressions results in some sort of engagement?

Custom Metric

Link clicks to landing page views rate

What percentage of link clicks results in a loaded landing page?

Custom Metric

Video plays to link clicks rate

What percentage of video views results in people clicking links?

Custom Metric

Link clicks to purchases rate

What percentage of link clicks turns into purchases? This is one way to measure Conversion Rate.

Custom Metric

Other Examples

I have a collection of custom metrics that I use that range from the very basic to super complicated.

50% Scroll vs. Landing Page View

What percentage of landing page views results in a 50% scroll of the page? This requires a custom event.

Custom Metric

Cost Per Video Plays at 95%

Amazingly, this metric doesn’t otherwise exist.

Custom Metric

Website Engagement Score

This one is a bit over the top, but it attempts to weight the value of certain actions on my website (mostly custom events).

Custom Metric

There are several more, but most are only valuable for me because of the custom events that I use.

The need for custom metrics can come from the fact that a basic metric just doesn’t exist (like the Cost Per Video Plays at 95% metric). Or it could be something that’s much more customized to your own needs.

Formula Errors

The biggest issue I’ve had with custom metrics is that custom events can break the formulas. But, I believe I understand why — it’s due to the way that I name custom events.

Notice that all of my custom events that are multiple words and numbers include spaces in them.

Custom Metric

This isn’t unique to custom events since you’ll see the same thing with standard events and other basic metrics.

If I try to create a formula based on a custom event that includes spaces in the name, I’ve seen one of two things happen. Either it breaks into multiple metrics or it looks like this…

Custom Metric

In either case, the metric doesn’t calculate.

But, if I use a custom event without a space, it works as it should…

Custom Metric

As I said, this bug is unique to custom events. If I use standard events (on the left) or even custom conversions (on the right) that have spaces, they work fine.

Custom Metric

So, this bug is indeed unique to custom events. It’s also entirely possible that this isn’t a bug that impacts everyone, but it’s always been an issue for me.

There are two potential solutions:

  1. Create a custom conversion mapped to the custom event
  2. Stop adding spaces in your custom event names

Of course, the second option is fine going forward, but the first fixes events that you already have.

Meta also lists out several other potential formula errors that, frankly, I’ve never run into before. Some are basic math errors (dividing by zero), but I either don’t fully understand some of these errors or I just haven’t run into them. But, maybe you have…

  1. You need at least two metrics and one symbol in a formula.
  2. You need to ensure that all formulas follow a mathematical order from left to right, starting with brackets, order of powers or roots, division,
  3. multiplication, addition and subtraction.
  4. You cannot place two opening parentheses (( and two closing parentheses )) next to each other.
  5. You cannot use the parenthesis symbol after a number or another parenthesis.
  6. You cannot use the parenthesis symbol after another symbol.
  7. You cannot use another metric or closing parenthesis ) before a metric.
  8. You cannot place two symbols right next to each other.
  9. You cannot divide by zero.

Should You Use Custom Metrics?

I feel like the custom metrics feature is one that mostly goes unused, but that’s primarily because the typical advertiser doesn’t know that they exist. They may not be the secret to amazing ad performance, but they can simplify the interpretation of results.

You can get away with never using a custom metric. But, there’s also something kind of cool about creating metrics that you may be the only one who uses. You can create metrics that are unique to the things that you care about and measure performance.

Okay, look. I may just judge you if you never create a custom metric. Typically, it means that you care just a little bit more about measuring what’s important.

Your Turn

Do you use custom metrics? What are examples of some that you’ve created?

Let me know in the comments below!