Facebook Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO) Will Be Mandatory

 In Facebook, News, Social Media

For most experienced Facebook advertisers, a campaign setup is fluid and similar each time.  Crafting an ad campaign’s optimization structure is very much the soul of Facebook.  However, this week Facebook has announced that Campaign Budget Optimization (also known as CBO) will be mandatory starting this September.  Before going into how this affects the Facebook Advertising Community, let’s dig into what Campaign Budget Optimization is and how this will affect you.

What is Campaign Budget Optimization?

Facebook is an efficient advertising method, but to run ads efficiently takes both experience knowing what’s worked in the past and employing new methods to optimize your campaigns.  Campaign Budget Optimization is one of these emerging optimization methods.  Before CBO, optimization was done on the Ad level, meaning that you could put your ads into one Adset and let the Facebook algorithm allow the ads to compete.  Or, you could use Dynamic Ads to delivery your advertising efficiently en masse. Eventually, Facebook’s algorithm determines where the most opportunity lies for your campaign objective (sales, leads, clicks, etc.) and delivers the most spend to that result.

The same goes for Campaign Budget Optimization taking the same cadence: Set up your Facebook adsets and let them compete.  The result?  Looking at the image below that Facebook uses to depict how this works, you’ll see the budget is now set at the campaign level similar to how adsets would be set up.  This is meant to not only help you spend more efficiently, but also limit spend where opportunity lies.

Does Facebook Campaign Optimization Work?

In short, no.  Or… sort of.  Despite Facebook touting this as a positive, we’ve seen limited success with Campaign Budget Optimization but do also see the positives as we consistently work it into our campaigns.  The difference from what we’ve seen is running campaigns typically lend experience to the campaign manager and just like anything history repeats itself.  Why would this help me if I already know where to spend our dollars?

For most, Facebook is a user-friendly platform that allows individuals and small businesses to self-serve with no experience but with limited results.  The key for experienced agencies with digital teams is to develop their “secret sauce” and methodologies that deliver results.  CBO doesn’t deliver the control needed by an agency like Social Fire Media and certainly goes against the practices we’ve built up.  Control and testing is key to run ads efficiently, but so does your digital marketing plan.  After all, content, audience and end product are the three main pillars of any campaign.  While Campaign Budget Optimization plays into one cog of the whole advertising solution, it is just a minor factor and it is meant to help.

We Tested, Here’s The Results

Looking at a campaign with a significant amount of spend we tested CBO vs manual and here’s the results in the screnshot below.  The adsets had the same spend within .5% of budget:

Overall, we were able to get 10 more purchases pursuing optimization on our own accord while Campaign Budget Optimization was very much even to our own efforts (we still won).  With that said, we did slightly better over the long haul with this but CBO performed closely to this.  While this is one scenario, this is not indicative of how CBO will perform for everyone.  Overall, the results are good enough to warrant continued testing.

Is Campaign Budget Optimization A Good Or A Bad Thing?

A simple hypothesis would be “Facebook wouldn’t implement something that would hurt us, would it?”.  Again, no.  Facebook’s main goal is to delivery the best experience to users on the platform and be as equally proficient on the advertising side to play into that.  This is a tough balancing act to keep both the consumer (its user base) and advertisers looking to make a return for themselves/clients.

With that said, let’s break down how this will likely benefit us all.  Some solutions CBO would offer are as follows:

  • Less audience overlap but forcing budget away to similar audiences.  Typically in an optimization scenario, there’s only one or two winners.
  • Audience optimization based on real-time events.  Holidays or seasonality lend themselves better to certain audiences.
  • Less wasted spend.  Allowing Facebook to self-run its own best practices for you.
  • More inventory. Or, more inventory?  We don’t know if this will prevent advertisers from misusing the platform and running less ads to the same budget simultaneously.  This plays into…
  • Lower delivery costs for the ad community.  Ultimately a world where optimization is coming from the top down allows Facebook to control its efficiencies better and (hopefully) benefit ad campaigns as a result.

This is not to say there aren’t negatives associated as mentioned above.  Whether this helps or hurts ad performance for any line of business is yet to be seen.  Talks with Facebook have told us that this is overall a positive working solution for many business verticals.

Is This New?

Again, no.  Google has employed the same optimization methods for at least a decade.  The benefits are likely to benefit ad inventory, control bidding costs and most importantly save the advertiser and end client wasted ad spend.  A common gripe we hear self-advertisers or smaller clients say when running their own ads is “where did my ad dollars go?” or “it didn’t work on Facebook”.  The list of abuses of the platform goes on and on.  From a self-starter perspective, this is a positive.  Users are benefited by an easier-to-use platform with less decisions and strategy needed.

If a business is experienced with Google, then this should be more in-line with the traditional method of keyword advertising and make the transition to something more familiar.

When Will Campaign Budget Optimization Become Mandatory?

The change will take effect in Q4 or beginning in September of 2019 for some ad accounts.  The process will get slowly rolled out thereafter.  If your campaign or client is affected you will be most likely be notified through support or your rep that the change is coming.  If you’re unsure, reach out to Facebook about this change.

In the meantime, begin practicing with Facebook’s Campaign Budget Optimization to get ahead of the curve.

What’s been your experience with CBO so far?  Comment below!

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