High Facebook ad score doesn’t guarantee good ad performance

Facebook introduced a rating mechanism to its ads manager a few years ago (RIP Power Editor, I miss you). It serves a purpose of rating how well your ad is expected to perform and how well it’s going to be responded to. In this post I’ll be talking about one case during which I cared too much about the score and ignored everything else. A story about failure, I’d say.

The story

I’m not sure if you’ve read it, but I have made a particular ad which performed really well. It made me pretty confident and layed foundation for a bunch of other ads I made for The Pride of Taern. Most of them were pretty similar when it comes to format, some were entirely different, but I was usually able to maintain a pretty nice performance and decent conversion rates between 75 cents and $2. However, my Facebook ad score was always between 7 and 9 – I hadn’t been able to score a 10. I was wondering what can I do to increase the score to finally reach a 10. And then it hit me. I had to make a video ad.

I knem that I had no budget and that I couldn’t engage many people in making the ad, so I asked the graphic designer I was closely cooperating with to draw me a bunch of panels showcasing a natural progression. It was inspired by some ads I had seen earlier, the „progression showcase” ones. How your character looks like on level 10, on level 50, 100 and so on. I can’t find these graphics he made, but they were drawn from the 1st person perspective and they kind of looked like the an FPS game, with the sword in your hand and a boss charging at you. I made a short slideshow of them and exported it to avi.

After meticulously preparing the campaign, I uploaded the ad and, after Facebook processed it, I was able to see the score.

Finally, a 10 out of 10.

What happened next?

I was quite excited, which probably isn’t surprising, so I decided to tell my supervisor about it. He congratulated me and I published the ad. And it performed like shit.

As far as I remember, conversion rates reached about $3,70 in the first day, $4,20 in the second day and were higher than $4,50 in the third day. I quickly stopped the ad and never run it again.

The biggest mistake I made was ignoring the fact that the ad itself didn’t showcase many of unique selling points of the game and that it basically ripped off Chinese ads, which, as we all know, isn’t the best thing to do. It was the last time I experimented with the „progression ads” and haven’t used them since, even though the concept seemed pretty cool. It wasn’t brain-dead like some ads we see nowadays and it could entail some sort of storytelling. This wasn’t the case for the public, though.

The outcome

I learned that it’s cool to have 10/10 ads according to Facebook, but a high score isn’t able to compensate for a lackluster ad. It’s ok to kill an underperforming ad and to run a better one. A relatively quick termination was a good action to take, but I should’ve turned it off earlier. It’s better to run an good static image ad than to run a shitty one with video. Finally – looking for inspiration for ads among Chinese games is usually not a good idea.

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