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Facebook announced last week that it’s changing the way it measures cost-per-click (CPC) on its advertising products – it’s done this in order for advertisers to “better understand how their ads perform against their objective”.

Facebook active users may have dropped by 9.2% in the last year across all global regions, however 80% of internet users worldwide have a Facebook account with 42% actively using it. So, even though it’s not the only social media platform engaging with users internationally (Badoo, Sina Weibo and Viadeo all have significant user bases), any changes that Facebook makes will have an impact on how brands plan, manage and measure their paid social media strategies across multiple markets.

With this change, CPC will only account for what Facebook calls ‘link clicks’. ‘Link clicks’ are to be considered as clicks that lead to other websites, install an app or go to a video on an external website. Before this, Facebook would measure “engagement clicks” such as shares and comments.

A statement released by Facebook explained:
“Over the past few years, Facebook’s ad offerings have become increasingly tailored to helping advertisers meet specific business objectives. This update is part of that effort: It’s designed to provide measurement that’s more closely aligned with how advertisers are bidding so they can better optimize their campaigns against their stated goals.

Once this change goes into effect, advertisers who care about link clicks are likely to see better return on advertising spend, since they’ll be paying for only the most valuable outcome. Separating link clicks from engagement clicks (including likes and comments) means your budget will be spent more efficiently no matter if you bid for clicks or engagement.

As a result of this change, some campaign reporting metrics related to clicks may look different. By excluding likes, shares and comments, CPC may increase, but it will also become more valuable as it counts only the clicks you want. Similarly, it may look like your click-through rate has decreased; again, this is because the CTR will no longer factor in the additional clicks.”

Considering the implications of these changes, Nandita Patkar, Head of Paid Media at Oban International says:

“I’m hoping that this segregation will make cost per website click more transparent, as well as give advertisers opportunities for making more informed CPC bid decisions for their chosen objective.

It also appears that engagement actions will still play a role in determining quality score of ads; brands with higher engagement scores will be rewarded even when they are choosing to run website click campaigns.

This will really benefit brands such as the BBC who produce quality content and look to drive already engaged audiences to their websites for further consumption. Performance advertisers should note the value of engagement and strike a balance between a brand’s sales proposition and making a connection with their customers. After all, Facebook is a platform for social living.”