Originally published for LinkedIn, 19 August 2019
If you’ve created a Facebook ads campaign recently, you might have seen something in the set up called Campaign Budget Optimisation. You might have even tried it. But what is it? It’s the next big change in Facebook advertising, so let’s look into what it is, and what it can do.
Facebook’s own definition of Campaign Budget Optimisation (CBO) is “a way of optimising the distribution of a campaign budget across your campaign’s ad sets”. Kinda vague, but basically what Facebook will do is find the best opportunities across your different ad sets and spend budget in the areas where it can get you more results – whether that’s traffic, conversions, video views, or whatever you’re optimising for.
CBO works a bit differently to how campaigns usually run on Facebook, but it’s actually very easy to set up and get running. The main difference is that you set the budget at the campaign level rather than setting individual ad set budgets – set either a daily or lifetime campaign budget, then create all your different ad sets & ads, and off you go.
How it works is super clever, Facebook optimises your campaign in real time on an opportunity-by-opportunity basis. It’s learning and adapting all the time. So, if one day Facebook can get a result from ad set 1, but on the next day it can get more results from ad set 2, it will automatically switch budget to that ad set and bid accordingly. All the heavy lifting is done for you, which in turn saves you a bunch of time.
The entire Facebook ad community is up in arms about CBO. People can’t work out if it’s a good or bad thing, and many of the groups I’m a part of are in daily discussion about how to get the best out of it and how to make it work for them.
The truth is that like everything, it all depends how you use it, and the budget you’ve got available. CBO isn’t a magic wand, it’s a tool that Facebook have implemented to help marketers get more from their campaigns.
The biggest thing to be aware of with CBO is that it’s not going anywhere. Facebook had planned on rolling it out as the default for all campaigns from September 2019, which has now been partially pushed back to April 2020. Ad accounts that are currently using CBO on 100% of their campaigns will automatically be rolled into CBO default from September, all other ad accounts will be moved over to CBO default in April next year.
From my experience of using CBO, it’s a really smart tool and I’ve always got really good results from it, but testing is absolutely vital to making a success of it. CBO does a lot of the heavy lifting for you – it will know times of the day it’s worth showing the ad, it will know if a certain audience is more likely to convert or not, and it will bid accordingly.
Tips & Need to know
- If you make a significant change to the campaign once it has been set live – budget, additional ads, turning ad sets off etc, it does re-set the learning period, which can cause some performance instability.
- Test. Test. Test some more. Then test again. Explore different types of targeting options to see what can work with you. Don’t make assumptions on who is going to convert – Facebook will find out for you.
- Be considerate with the number of ad sets versus your budget – if you’ve only got a small budget, say £200, you don’t really want to run with 10-15 ad sets, because the budget is going to be spread REALLY thin across them.
- In total, you can only have 300 ads in a CBO campaign. Something to be aware of if you’re planning lots of copy and creative options across lots of ad sets.
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