Facebook user acquisition automation has been a numbers game for a long time. People managed the numbers, largely, back in the old days, like 2017. At Consumer Acquisition, we managed campaigns with an intra-day bid management system. It worked with the velocity and accuracy of a trading desk. We would edit budgets and placements and tweak audience targeting several times a day to maintain ROAS.
All that changed in February 2018. Almost overnight, the duopoly’s algorithms evolved into something sophisticated enough to take over humans’ jobs. Google took back all control all at once at first, and then dolled it back to us slowly. Facebook took the opposite approach, starting small. And has been incrementally nudging us all toward the near-total automation we’re at now.
This has had a profound effect on user acquisition advertising and user acquisition managers. Now we have fewer levers left to achieve results than we used to have. And yes, the automation has taken a lot of work away from us. It’s made entire industries (like adtech) increasingly obsolete. As a result, it will probably shrink the size of many UA teams.
But, while some things are being taken away, other opportunities are opening. Creative strategy, development, and testing actually end up being the primary driver of improvements to ROAS. Those things are still best done by humans.
In the following pages, we’ll review how we got to this point of automation. And how it’s affected Facebook user acquisition performance and management. Also, what UA managers should do to evolve into this very new environment. As well as elevate their level of UA techniques to become skillful masters. It’s an exciting time to be in user acquisition, but it demands a great deal of agility.