With the social giant’s lat­est qual­i­ty, engage­ment and con­ver­sion rank­ing met­rics, we’re final­ly head­ed toward trans­par­ent ad per­for­mance.

The fol­low­ing is a guest post from Orlan­do Rios CEO of dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing agency Drop­kick Ads.

It’s always made sense. The thought of being able to direct­ly see how your ad cre­ative is per­form­ing against your com­pe­ti­tion seems like it would be the most impor­tant met­ric giv­en the struc­ture of self-ser­vice ad plat­forms.

With ad plat­forms like Face­book, adver­tis­ers are bid­ding on impres­sions against com­peti­tors for the same tar­get­ed audi­ence. The more valu­able the audi­ence and the desired action are, the more an adver­tis­er can expect to pay to dis­play their ad.

Enter your competitor’s bet­ter ad cre­ative, web­site and prod­uct — and you’re pay­ing more while get­ting worse results.

So if what adver­tis­ers pay for their ads to be dis­played is direct­ly tied to their com­pe­ti­tion, why are we only see­ing inter­nal-based met­rics like clicks and impres­sions?

We’re only see­ing half the pic­ture, lead­ing to unnec­es­sary guess­work when it comes to ad cam­paigns.

Facebook’s not-so-relevant relevance score

In 2015, Face­book launched its ad rel­e­vance score met­ric to pro­vide bet­ter insight into ad cre­ative and tar­get­ing per­for­mance poten­tial.

Based on pos­i­tive ad inter­ac­tions on ear­ly impres­sions, Face­book would give your ad a score between one and 10. Receive a 10 and you could be con­fi­dent your ad is on tar­get. Get clos­er to a one and you’d bet­ter rethink every­thing.

While the met­ric pro­vid­ed some insight into ad per­for­mance that wasn’t pre­vi­ous­ly avail­able, it still didn’t give enough detail, as admit­ted by Face­book ear­li­er this year.

This has led to Facebook’s April 30 replace­ment of the ad rel­e­vance score with three new met­rics: qual­i­ty rank­ing, engage­ment rate rank­ing and con­ver­sion rate rank­ing.

Comparison is the thief of joy — and the best metric

Facebook’s new trio of met­rics are tied by one com­mon thread: They’re all scored based on how your ads com­pare to your com­peti­tors’ tar­get­ing of the same audi­ence.

While the new qual­i­ty rank­ing is still based on users’ pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive inter­ac­tions with the ad, each ad’s per­for­mance is no longer iso­lat­ed. Get bet­ter engage­ment com­pared to your com­peti­tors and get a bet­ter score.

With­in Facebook’s ad deliv­ery sys­tem, it’s always been about the amount you’re bid­ding and the qual­i­ty of your cre­ative in com­par­i­son to your com­pe­ti­tion. Hav­ing the abil­i­ty to read­i­ly see at least a lit­tle bit of that data uncov­ers a new lev­el of trans­paren­cy.

Why it all matters

Most adver­tis­ers blind­ly trust their ad deliv­ery to Face­book. They select some tar­get audi­ences, upload some cre­ative, set a bud­get and let it run.

But blind faith sim­ply isn’t enough. Savvy adver­tis­ing and smart ad spend­ing means tru­ly under­stand­ing what makes an ad suc­cess­ful — and we deserve to have the met­rics nec­es­sary to make informed those deci­sions.

Facebook’s lat­est met­ric roll­out is a small step into more trans­par­ent data on how cam­paigns are being deliv­ered and ranked with­in the auc­tion. This fur­ther under­stand­ing of ad qual­i­ty in com­par­i­son to com­peti­tors will help all adver­tis­ers present bet­ter per­form­ing and more appeal­ing cre­ative.