If you’ve been sitting on the sidelines trying to decide if Facebook advertising is right for your business, there’s no time like the present to jump in and give it a try. As with any performance based advertising campaign, you won’t know unless you test it, then measure and optimize accordingly. Before you get started, there are a few campaign performance terms you’ll need to be familiar with. If you have experience with display advertising, you’ll recognize a couple, but others are specific to Facebook ads.

Reach & Facebook Ads

Reach is the number of individual people who were presented your Sponsored Story or ad. Reach is important for measuring how many people had the opportunity to see your ad. While Facebook targeting can be incredibly valuable for reaching the people most likely to buy your product, having a reach that’s too small will limit your ability to get in front of those potential buyers.

Frequency & Facebook Ads

Frequency is simply the average number of times each person was presented your Sponsored Story or ad. Frequency is important to monitor in your Facebook campaign to stay ahead of ad fatigue. Ad fatigue is caused when individuals see your ad too many times and become "blind" to your ad and simply ignore it. If you’re paying for your ads on a CPM basis, showing an ad too many times means you’re wasting ad spend. And if you’re paying on a CPC basis, you’re wasting opportunities to present an ad that’s likely to draw attention and get a click. You should strive to keep your frequency to about 5 or fewer as a starting point and refresh your ads regularly. Over time, you’ll be able to measure ad fatigue for your own business and will know that when frequency reaches X it’s time to refresh your ads.

Social Reach & Facebook Ads

Social Reach measures the number of people who saw your Sponsored Story or ad along with the names of their friends who liked your Page, RSVP’d to your event or used your Facebook application. If you’re not advertising a Page, event or app – for example, if you’re driving people to an offsite conversion page – you won’t have social reach data. A high social reach will improve your click-through rate and conversions, as people are more likely to notice, click, and convert on an ad that’s been “endorsed” by their friends. This is the real power of social advertising.

Connections & Facebook Ads

Connections indicate the number of people who Liked your Page, RSVP’d to your event, or installed your Facebook application within 24 hours of your first Sponsored Story or ad impression. Again, if you’re not advertising a Page, event or app, you’re not going to see Connections data. Connections are a good indication of how strongly your ads and Page, event or app resonate with people. If a large percentage of people are converting quickly after seeing your ad for the first time, that’s a good sign! You should try variations of that ad with similar targets.

Testing the Facebook Ad Waters

So now you have some of the basic performance measurements that are unique to Facebook advertising. So what are you waiting for? Jump in and give it a try! And if you have thoughts, ideas or comments about the performance data you’re seeing in your own Facebook campaign, we’d love to hear about them in the comments section below.