Facebook advertisers keep in mind – Facebook announced today that it is changing the way it displays estimated audience reach for ads, moving from more specific reach estimates to general categories of potential reach.
Currently, when you start posting your Facebook ad, Facebook will display a ‘Potential Reach’ with a fairly certain number of people your campaign is likely to see, based on the targeting criteria you choose.
Now Facebook is reducing it:
“In order to make the presentation of these estimates before the campaign consistent, we change the Potential Reach and Interests into ranges instead of specific numbers, in which way the estimated daily results are already presented. The ranges are also in line with the way pre-campaign estimates are presented on other platforms in the advertising industry. As part of this update, we will also change the name of the potential reach to the estimated audience size.”
As you can see here, the new screen of the estimated audience is wider, with the number of potential reach in this example covering a potential deviation of 10 million users. Not all estimates will be that broad, but the basic premise is the same – Facebook will now show you a much more general estimate of reach, as opposed to specific numbers, based on your targeting criteria.
The new screen will be used for ‘Potential Reach ‘,’ Estimated Daily Results’, and for interest categories in estimating the number of people who might have a particular interest.
So why the change?
Facebook doesn’t say exactly why it’s updating its numbers, but it does provide some hint of an explanation in the Help Center’s audience size estimate:
“The estimated size of the audience is not an intermediary for monthly or daily active users on Facebook, nor an engagement. (Facebook’s quarterly earnings announcements provide this information.) Estimates are not designed to match population, census estimates, or other sources. ”
Facebook usage statistics often come from these estimates, as an indicator of region-specific figures or insights into people interested in a particular topic, or perhaps those who fall into a particular demographic category. Maybe Facebook is simply trying to avoid misinterpretation by eliminating the use of these numbers to misrepresent such data.
It is also possible that the numbers could be affected by Apple’s recent changes in in-app tracking, although in most cases the numbers used in this context come directly from Facebook, so they will not be affected by the change.
In any case, this is another element to consider when accessing your Facebook ads – while this explanation of how it estimates potential reach is also interesting:
“In cases where a person has linked their Facebook and Instagram accounts in Account Center, their Facebook and Instagram accounts together will count as one account for ad evaluation purposes. If a person has not linked their Facebook and Instagram accounts in the Account Center, their accounts will count as multiple accounts for ad evaluation purposes.”
This could have a significant impact on ad reach data, and could be another reason why Facebook is moving away from more specific figures, according to more general estimates.
Here you can read more about calculating the estimated size of the audience on Facebook.
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