How to Measure Overall Lift from Facebook Ads

You’ve got a big PR push coming. Naturally, you’d like to measure PR’s positive impacts on your other channels. But how?

The best way to measure lift from a PR event is to annotate big press mentions in Google Analytics and then use prior data to establish benchmarks for your main channels. We know PR should have positive impacts – the question is how big.

For one of my clients, we went through this process just before we fired up Facebook Ads, but the question was a bit different then: How much lift will Facebook ads provide to our “organic” Facebook/Referral channel? To answer this, we used Google Analytics to establish a benchmark for Facebook referrals.

Monthly data showed an average of 3 conversions coming in each month from Facebook referrals prior to launching Facebook ads; that was our baseline. After launching Facebook ads on June 26, we saw a steady increase in conversions from Facebook referrals. With a benchmark of 3 per month, you can see that in June we added 11 referral conversions, and in July we added 24 conversions. Of course, we received even more conversions from Facebook’s paid channel, but now we could show with data just how much lift Facebook ads contributed to the referral side of things.


This is the sort of benchmarking you would do for other channels, ahead of your PR effort.

To illustrate, let’s do some benchmarking to measure the impact of Facebook ads on other channels. Using the same custom report in Google Analytics, we set out to find the benchmarks for Direct and Google/Organic. For Direct, we got 121 per month, and for Google/Organic, we saw about 99 per month. Because we’ve annotated our Facebook Ads launch, we can see where the lift began for each channel.

In July, a total of 253 conversions came from Direct. That’s 132 more than our benchmark and a 109% lift — as a result of advertising on Facebook. [One could argue there may be other contributing factors, such as bloggers, affiliates, paid search, etc., but in this case the only new element in the marketing mix was Facebook ads.]


For Google/Organic, we received 175 conversions in July for a 77% lift. Again, this is the effect of Facebook advertising on Google organic search.


For most of us, seeing a lift in one channel as a result of pushing hard on another is nothing new. But the process of establishing benchmarks is not as well understood yet quite simple to do with Google Analytics and some good, clean data.

  • Bilques Smith

    I am curious to know your cost per conversion on Direct FB spend and was it in line with your company’s cost per acquisition?

    • Hi Bilques. Yes, in this case our cost per conversion was in line with the client’s cost per conversion. In fact, it was lower than the client’s target.