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Monitoring the Campaign

A woman takes off her glasses while looking at a computer screen.

Monitoring a campaign is as crucial of a step as campaign ideation and creation. Keeping tabs on campaign performance allows you to gain valuable insights on what is working (or not), make adjustments if needed, and maximize its effectiveness.

Here are some guidelines for using Ads Manager to monitor campaign performance:

  • Once the campaign is launched, look in Ads Manager to see how the campaign is performing in real time. The interface allows tracking of all types of communication metrics including impressions, reach, frequency, clicks, engagements, video performance, and more.
  • Ads Manager enables viewing of this data aggregated to the campaign level or drilled down to see performance at the ad set or individual ad level.
  • Depending on the campaign objective selected, different metrics will hold a higher importance. For example, if the campaign objective is video views, metrics around how many people started watching the video and how many people completed watching the video will be key for the campaign.
  • Other key metrics to always review are the CPM and cost per result. These are indicators that the campaign is performing efficiently. When these metrics are high, it could mean that your audience size is too small, the desired audience is in high demand with advertisers, or the audience is difficult to reach. When the cost per result is high, it could also mean that the campaign content is not resonating with the selected audience or that there is a barrier preventing the audience from taking the desired action.
  • In addition to the campaign performance, the campaign should also be monitored for audience comments and reactions.

Community Engagement, Combatting Misinformation

Another important part of monitoring a campaign is community management. Just like you monitor and respond to organic content; you should apply the same practices and rules to your ads. Depending on your budget and objective, the amount of engagement and comments can be much higher than on organic posts.

If you have a dedicated Community Manager, make sure to notify them of the campaign and its launch date.

Some things to look for include:

  • Are the reactions positive?
  • Are there comments on the ads that need a response?
  • Are there spam comments or comments that provide misinformation? These should be removed or responded to with accurate information and resource links.
  • Consider what your community management policies are and apply them to the ad campaign.

Depending on what you are advertising – for example, if it is a sensitive topic or one that is generating a lot of negative comments or misinformation – you might also choose to turn comments off. When CARE ran campaigns promoting information on the COVID vaccination, several countries chose to do this.

Best Practices Applied

CARE USA also used the “Choose Who Can Comment” feature after learning the hard way upon campaign launch that the politicized nature of the COVID vaccine in the U.S. context would generate hundreds of negative/anti-vax comments. Limiting who could comment protected people from misinformation associated with the vaccine.

How Monitoring Engagement Can Drive Higher Campaign Success

Another reason to monitor engagement is to be able to adapt the campaign in real time. Comments that are occurring on the ads might inspire you to create an additional ad. Or you might inadvertently have a misspelling in the ad copy or a link that is no longer working.

Actively monitoring the campaign and adjusting based on real-time performance can help to strengthen the campaign. CARE Bangladesh closely monitored comments during a phased campaign around antenatal care. In the first phase of their campaign, the team saw a clear theme around misinformation related to getting a C-section and going to doctor appointments. The team took this insight and adapted the third phase of the campaign to combat common myths. By using social listening to develop campaign messaging and creative, the third phase of their campaign saw the highest levels of ad recall, the most engagement, and significant changes in knowledge surrounding the importance of antenatal care.


CARE Example

By monitoring creative performance weekly, CARE UK was able to refresh creative assets in real time. In their 2022 summer campaign promoting COVID vaccination and boosters, CARE UK noticed that many people in the United Kingdom were asking how many shots were needed for full vaccination. Taking these audience comments into account, CARE UK designed a second round of creative responding to this confusion. Because of cross-country connections, they took inspiration from a similar ad that CARE Pakistan developed. This ad went on to have the highest click-through rate in CARE UK’s campaign.

Impact Measurement

Measuring the efficacy of an online SBCC campaign can be challenging. With offline programming, individual program participants can be surveyed before and after an intervention to understand how much progress your program made with that population. Online, we have to look for other measures. It’s critically important to think through evaluation strategy as part of the campaign planning process. As mentioned earlier, campaign design needs to align with the way it will be evaluated.



Option 1: Outbound Links

In some of CARE’s campaigns designed to reduce COVID vaccine hesitancy, the ads were optimized for clicks out to an external website. These websites provided information on how to schedule COVID vaccine appointments in the local community. CARE’s campaign landing pages linked to Ministry of Health sites where individuals could schedule vaccine appointments. CARE did not have access to the Ministry of Health website statistics to know how many individuals who clicked out to the CARE landing pages went on to make vaccine appointments. For each individual ad running in the campaign, CARE could track the percentage of the audience that saw each ad and understand how many were motivated to click through to the vaccine landing page. CARE could then understand which ads were driving the most traffic to these external sites and invest more in the most successful ads.

Option 2: Brand Lift Studies

If you are working on Meta platforms such as Facebook or Instagram, you may be able to use Meta’s Brand Lift Survey (BLS) tool. This tool uses post-campaign survey questions to assess potential changes in knowledge, attitude, and behavior among audiences who were exposed to the ads against audiences who were not exposed. Typically, a benchmark for success using Facebook’s lift study tool is to achieve a +2 point lift or better.

If using the self-service version of the BLS, it requires a campaign budget minimum of $30,000 USD as well as previous and consistent monthly ad spending. In addition, to the budget requirements, the BLS requires a minimum audience size of approximately 1 to 2 million, depending on the population size of the country where the ads will run. If the campaign is not meant for an audience of that scale, Meta’s BLS tool may not be the right measurement tool as it is unlikely to return statistically significant results.

While Meta’s brand lift tool was informative, it posed a few measurement challenges, including:

  • BLS required a large reach to ensure results were statistically significant. This scale proved challenging for CARE country offices who did not have a large enough population on the Facebook platform. The scale required also proved challenging when there was a desire to personalize messaging or to target specific, even smaller audiences.
  • BLS worked well when a campaign was focused on a singular message. Because each survey recipient only sees one question, campaigns often did not show positive BLS results when the campaign incorporated multiple themes. For example, if a campaign had one ad that focused on mask wearing and another ad that focused on social distancing, there was often little to no lift in either one or both questions. This was particularly challenging for campaign designers, as there was often a desire (and need) to talk about multiple themes.
  • The campaign objective selected within Facebook’s campaign management tool can change BLS and overall campaign results significantly. For example, during a large-scale, global COVID campaign, CARE observed that campaigns that used an “Engagement” objective were memorable, seeing an average of 12 percentage points more in ad recall, while campaigns with a “Reach” objective saw an average of 6 percentage points in ad recall. On average, campaigns with an “Engagement” objective also saw higher average lifts in attitude and behavior questions. A “Traffic” objective regularly saw click-through rates (CTR) above one percent (1%), but consistently struggled to reach the scale needed for a BLS. These aren’t official insights, merely observations from a limited data set.

Because CARE’s SBCC campaigns did not have a clear, trackable online (or offline) conversion that could be directly attributed to the campaign ads, it is also unclear if BLS results are true indicators of behavior change. For example, while traffic campaigns typically reported poor BLS results, they often had high conversion rates where people clicked out to a site where they could book a vaccine appointment. Do BLS results correlate to offline actions? Due to the nature of the SBCC campaigns, we were unable to definitively answer that question.

Throughout the pandemic, CARE benefited from Meta’s support in crafting customized brand lift study questions. The self-service tool does not have health questions as options. Moving forward, we might recommend using the self-service BLS tool quarterly to check your assumptions, gather insights, and adjust your approach for the next quarter. Click here to see if you can work with a Meta representative on a brand lift study.

Option 3: Pre/Post-Campaign Surveys

If you do not have access to Meta’s brand lift study tool, there are several other ways to use Meta ads to conduct surveys. One way to do this is by using the Lead Gen Ad Format.

Since Khmer, the official language of Cambodia and the main language spoken by garment workers, was not available in Meta’s brand lift tool, CARE Cambodia tested “lead ads” in an innovative way to recreate Meta’s brand lift study experience. Each lead ad showed one question (similar to Meta’s UX) and the ads were targeted by demographic/age and split into test and control groups, to easily identify and codify responses. Using this ad format was a scalable and cost-effective way to recreate an online survey experience.

Another way to do this is by creating a survey using Google Forms or a survey tool like Survey Monkey or Qualtrics. Then you can utilize traffic ads to drive specific audiences to complete the survey.

Explore the Playbook

Previous chapter: Campaign Set Up

Dive into the steps you’ll need to take to build your campaign on Facebook or Instagram using Facebook’s Creative Hub and Ads Manager platforms.

Read chapter 4
Next chapter: CARE Case Studies

Read about CARE’s most memorable campaigns and what made each of them so unique.

Read chapter 5