[SMK] Social Media Knowledge


Facebook’s Latest Ad Budgeting Update

Facebook Ads Default To Campaign Budget Optimization From September

An important change is rolling out in September related to the way Facebook and Instagram advertisers set campaign budgets.

Starting in September, new and **existing** campaigns will be migrated to Facebook’s automated campaign budget allocation system, which optimises campaign budgets across an advertiser’s ad sets.

Facebook says that advertisers will set one central campaign budget for all ad sets, and it will 'automatically and continuously' distribute budgets in real-time to top performing ads.

The change builds upon Facebook’s existing budget optimisation tool which launched twelve months ago, in January 2018. The feature is currently optional and is notable at the Campaign level when setting up Facebook or Instagram ads using Facebook Ads Manager.

The update is really this optional feature becoming mandatory for all. Check out the visual above for an idea of how it is supposed to function.

Just Trust Facebook’s AI & Everything Will Be Fine

In theory, by allowing Facebook’s machine learning to allocate campaign budgets, this should result in more outcomes per campaign, at a lower cost.

You see, Facebook is omnipotent and sees and knows all.

Except apparently when it comes minor things like user privacy abuses and genocide.

As with all significant updates, there will be winners and, not losers, but those who will groan:

  1. Winners

    • Facebook ad beginners
    • Marketers who currently spread budgets too thin across underperforming ad sets and audiences
    • Marketers wanting to test and trial different audiences
    • Marketers more interested in reach and awareness or ‘top of the funnel’ ad objectives 
  2. Those Who Will Groan

    • Intermediate users who have already trialled and found the performance underwhelming
    • Advanced users who know don’t need Facebook to tell them how to spend their ad budgets
    • Advertisers who have high performing facebook ad funnels in place already
    • Performance advertisers with lots of sophisticated custom audience targeting in place

The SMK team, alas, falls into the ‘those who will groan’ category.

Having trialled the feature on many different occasions through 2018 (with SMK and many, many training clients), it doesn’t quite do what it says on the tin.

If it did, we would be stoked. We like things that work.

On numerous occasions, we have seen campaign budget optimization underperform when compared to more manual campaign activity for intermediate/advanced users.

How Does Campaign Budget Optimization Impact You?

For the uninitiated, there are three tiers in a Facebook (and Instagram) ad campaign, with different aspects defined at different levels, loosely translating as below:

  1. Campaign

    • Set objective
  2. Ad Set

    • Audience
    • Placements
    • Budget/schedule
  3. Ad

    • Copy
    • Creative
    • Destination links

To date, Facebook and Instagram ad budgets get allocated at the ad set level, whereby advertisers choose how much to invest in each audience they create.

In shifting budgets back to the campaign level, and allowing Facebook’s AI to determine how and which audience to invest in, it takes away a degree of control from advertisers.

However, since its initial announcement, Facebook has modified things slightly, stating that while advertisers cannot control budgets at the ad set level explicitly, they can impact it with ad set spending limits:

‘If you set a minimum spend limit, Facebook will aim to spend that amount. If you set a maximum spend limit, Facebook will not exceed that amount.

For control freaks and advanced users, this is a welcome move.

Whether advertisers are happy or not with this change they have to go along regardless, so it probably makes sense to start trialling the feature now. Rather than in September.

Get used to it, start debugging your campaigns and make whatever adjustment are needed.

Beginner level advertisers should be pleased that they have fewer clicks in campaign development.

Facebook just needs to ensure that in the next seven months the feature gets improved enough to keep intermediate and advanced level users sweet.

Especially with Google, YouTube, LinkedIn and Amazon fluttering their eyelashes…



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