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June 14, 2019

Facebook introduced Campaign Budget Optimization about a year and a half ago as a way to give advertisers better results at a lower cost, by distributing an allotted budget based on the best-performing ad sets. CBO was initially an opt-in feature, but Facebook recently announced it will become the default way to fund campaigns starting in September. It’s unclear just how many advertisers have opted into the feature, so when Facebook makes the switch, it may have a large impact, and even surprise some advertisers (not you!) who missed the news.

Though it may not seem like a big change, being limited to one central campaign budget for all ad sets could have a rippling effect. The good news is that you have time to prepare (unless you’re reading this on August 31st!), and we here at Bamboo can speak to the effectiveness of CBO, when used correctly. When we opted into CBO, one of our clients saw their Facebook install volume shoot up 3x and a 45% improvement to blended CPI.

Read on to learn what you can do now to make Facebook’s switch to Campaign Budget Optimization a seamless one.

Familiarize yourself with CBO

Facebook’s Budget Optimization tool uses an algorithm to automatically optimize your budget distribution across ad sets, but it’s certainly not a set it and forget it tool. The more you understand CBO’s capabilities and limits, the better you’ll be able to work it to your advantage. Here are a handful of tips we’ve come across managing our clients’ campaigns through CBO:

Calculate the correct budget – Since you’re no longer focused on individual ad sets, your math needs to jump up a level. The easiest way to find your campaign budget is by determining what you would ordinarily spend on each individual ad set, and then adding those numbers together to find your campaign total. But remember, what you calculated for the ad sets isn’t the exact number Facebook will spend on it. Instead, the algorithm will take the total allocation and distribute it automatically to the best-performing sets to give you the most bang for your buck.

Select the correct fields – When you’ve selected budget optimization at the campaign level, you’ll notice the customization fields are different than what you see at the ad level. At the campaign level, you have the choice to select a daily budget or a lifetime budget. With a daily budget, you can choose to let the ads run continuously, or set start and end dates. With lifetime budgets, you’ll need to select start and end dates. With CBO, you can regain some lower level control by setting a minimum and/or max spend amount on each ad set based on the budget you set at the campaign level. Doing this ensures all ad sets get some portion of the budget, which is important if you’re testing creative.

Test multiple creativesBecause CBO sends money to the highest-performing ad, all your ads should be different. If your ads are the same, or too similar, Facebook’s CBO algorithm won’t work as designed, and you’ll end up spending money to get unclear results.

You can also poke around in Facebook’s Ads Help Center for Campaign Budget Optimization for information and tips straight from the source.

Start testing now

When the big switch happens in September, you don’t want to be scrambling to catch up, so start making changes now. But, don’t flip the switch all at once. That’s the beauty of easing yourself into it. Choose one campaign and make it your example CBO-run campaign. Use it as a testing ground for other accounts and campaigns, and keep detailed notes you can use to inform the rest of your team.

Also, be aware that the change applies to existing campaigns that are set to run through September. So not only do you need to get into the habit of setting up new campaigns with CBO, but you’ll need to adjust any long-running or evergreen campaigns as well.

Adjust your reporting

Facebook says that advertisers will still have access to metrics on an ad set level, but that they should get used to gauging a campaign’s success “based on the total number of results for your campaign and the average cost per optimization event at the campaign level.” This could indicate that Facebook plans on getting rid of the ad set level data at some point, so we suggest updating your reporting now.

Outline a Plan B

Facebook is asking advertisers to put a lot of trust in their ability to automatically allocate budgets to deliver the most efficient results. One of the biggest cons of CBO is not having influence over the smaller details, so your Plan B is knowing what you do have control over and using those levers to get things back on track.

As we mentioned before, you will have limited control over budgets at the ad set level, so you can play around with adjusting the minimum and maximum spend limits. If things are going totally awry, you can also create a separate campaign for each ad set in order to have full control over the budget at an ad set level. We only recommend this as a last-ditch effort since it’s manually time-consuming and difficult to effectively report on.

Here at Bamboo, we’ve seen first-hand the benefits Campaign Budget Optimization can provide. Start implementing it now, and come September, you’ll be glad Facebook forced you to make the switch.

At Bamboo, we love what we do! If you’re looking for a new growth agency, we’d love to chat. Send us a note below.

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