What Marketers Need to Know About Facebook’s Campaign Budget Optimization
- by Brian Bowman | April 2, 2019
- Facebook Advertising
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Facebook launched Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO) a year ago to give social marketers the option for machine learning to control their budget at the campaign level. When CBO is activated, Facebook can automatically move the budget to the most effective ad set in a campaign and distribute budgets in real-time to increase efficiency.
This allows marketers to run multiple ads within a single ad set. Once CBO is turned on, Facebook will optimize to find the best ads and ad sets based on performance across a campaign. Then, it will distribute the budget to automatically maximize financial results. Campaign Budget Optimization is a powerful optimization tool offered by Facebook to simplify account management and reduce daily tasks for social advertisers.
In this post, we’re discussing what marketers need to know about CBO:
Changes to Facebook Media Buying
It’s no secret that Facebook is evolving, and two key changes will have a significant impact on media buying:
- Facebook is simplifying its optimization algorithm.
- Facebook announced that CBO will become mandatory starting in September 2019.
This means that budgets will no longer be controlled at the ad set level, regardless of if you are using Facebook power editor or a 3rd party bidding tool that has their own rules or algorithm for budget distribution. Marketers will have to adjust how they manage and build Facebook campaigns. Starting in September, Facebook will be the one to decide how to distribute campaign budget across ad sets. In short, marketers will no longer be able to make intraday changes, which will fundamentally change the way marketers buy media on Facebook.
With this move, Facebook is signaling a move to automated media buying and automated management of budget and ad set optimization, much like their biggest competitor – Google’s Universal App Campaigns (UAC). Sometimes, Facebook will “pre-announce” big changes and new features, like hiding device IDs from custom audiences, which allows time for the market to provide feedback and for Facebook to validate their approach and determine if it needs modification. Other times, such as with the “significant edits” roll-out in February of 2018, Facebook will just release the big change and the market is required to adapt to stay current with best practices.
Why Mandatory, and Why Now?
In making CBO mandatory, Facebook is reducing the complexity of media buying to further level the playing field between large and small advertisers. In addition, this appears to be a crucial step towards the simplification of their overall algorithm—moving towards offering a more Google UAC-like product.
With other optimization improvements, Facebook has made it easier than ever to buy media on their network. As they continue to roll out new features, they gain more control over the media buying process and will continue to automate processes; decreasing complexity and increasing efficiency for all advertisers.
How to Be Ready for the Change to Mandatory CBO
On the bright side, marketers will have time to experiment with this feature in preparation. Come September, all campaigns will automatically migrate to CBO, and this will impact how all existing and new campaigns run. So, it is vital to test CBO now to be prepared for this transition.
Of course, there’s always a way around rules. For a short while after the September rollout, you could “game” Facebook’s CBO requirement by restructuring accounts into thousands of campaigns with only one ad set—grabbing back granular control over budget allocation. There are, however, a few challenges with this approach:
- You will be fighting Facebook best practices. As we’ve seen time and time again, their best practices do work over time.
- You will take a large number of significant edits across your entire account.
- Facebook could potentially cap the number of campaigns that you are allowed to have in an account, and you have to rebuild again and then take the significant edits.
Our key takeaway on this transition is to take advantage of the months between now and September to gain a full understanding of how to use CBO efficiently across your accounts. Test and re-test structuring campaigns so you are not penalized with the mandatory migration in September.
There is still a huge potential advantage to CBO. If marketers embrace CBO, it will be easier to maintain accounts, which means they may be able to hire lower-cost staff to manage Facebook campaigns. This ultimately redirects capital back into top-of-funnel marketing.
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