Over the past few months, Facebook has been slowly releasing the new “Inspect Tool.” For the first time, you can get insights into the auction, including auction competition, audience overlap, and audience saturation. This is a really exciting release.

What Is It?

If you’re familiar with Facebook Ads Manager, this is an enhanced version of “Delivery Insights” with the addition of new graphs, and the flexibility to look at the data in a variety of ways for deeper analysis. If you’re not familiar with Ads Manager, this new tool is a window into Facebook’s auction providing you with various data points on competition and saturation to better scale and manage your campaigns.

Breaking It Down to 4 Key Components

1) Audience Competition

The audience competition graph shows the daily rate at which competition in the auction changes relative to your bid. Facebook calculates a competitive bid for a given day as the bid you would have needed to win the cheapest 1% of the auctions you lost. That daily competitive bid is then compared to the average competitive bid for the reporting window selected. Put simply, it helps assess periods where you’re bidding higher than you would normally in order to win more auctions.

Facebook considers the change between your bid and the average competitive bid to be significant if it’s over 20%. This graph becomes extremely beneficial when trying to assess budgets during highly competitive periods on the platform (i.e. Q4) or for diagnosing changes in performance. A core benefit here is that fluctuations in CPM are no longer the sole indicator of changes in competition, which are typically unreliable with so many variables – changes in targeting, new audience launches, placement expansions, etc.

Check out the example graph below. The blue line represents auction competition, where you can see the line go up during highly competitive periods and decrease back down as the competition abates. This provides a strong visual representation of audience competition over a certain time period.

Facebook Inspect Tool Audience Competition Graph

2) Audience Saturation

The audience saturation graph takes a look at the relationship between frequency and CPA. The graph itself only reports on lifetime frequency, which isn’t super helpful. However, the valuable data next to the graph includes the First Time Impression Ratio and Lifetime Reach (pictured below).

Facebook Inspect Tool Audience Saturation Graph

First Time Impression Ratio tells you what percentage of your daily impressions are from users who are seeing your ads for the first time, while Lifetime Reach tells you the number of users in the audience who have seen your ads at least once over its runtime. Together, this data allows you to:

  1. Easily identify audience saturation
  2. Identify key opportunities for lookalike expansion and consolidation
    • If the % of First Time Impressions is declining for your top 1% LALs, then that’s an indication you should start expanding your testing to larger percentages.
    • Similarly, if your top audiences are seeing declines in First Time Impression Ratio and perform similarly, then consolidating those audiences will free up budget for additional testing, as well as improve performance of that targeting

3) Audience Overlap

For the first time, you can assess audience overlap across your entire account. The audience overlap graph shows how often your ad set ends up in the same auction as another ad set from your account.

This tool is great for diagnosing changes in performance due to overlap, as well as regular monitoring and maintenance of overlap in your account. While Facebook recommends overlap under 30%, we recommend keeping overlap close to 0% to minimize double bidding and to more easily measure and attribute performance across campaigns.

Facebook Inspect Tool Audience Overlap Graph

4) Overview Graph

All of the above culminates into an overview graph that allows you to look at various metrics together to better understand their relationship and impact on overall performance. The overview graph allows you to select different metrics to deepen and customize your analysis to suit your needs. These metrics include:

  1. CPA
  2. Conversions
  3. Spend
  4. Reach
  5. First Time Impression Ratio
  6. Auction Overlap
Facebook Inspect Tool Overview Graph

We recommend utilizing the inspect tool on a regular basis. Gain valuable insight and familiarity into what is going on in the auction in order to better understand market conditions and to position yourself for efficient scale. If you haven’t checked out the inspect tool yet, be sure to do so!

*Facebook Ads Help Center