I am using this opportunity to remind you about Facebook’s mandatory change coming soon (sometime in the next few months, as early as Feb 2020). This change is the mandatory move away from ad set budgets to campaign budgets, also known as campaign budget optimization (CBO). Some of you may remember hearing this would happen last September but Facebook has pushed the date to this year.

If you already have your accounts set up for this change that’s great. But some of you may not know about CBO or how to best structure your campaigns moving forward. So I’ll take this opportunity to go over how it works and some best practices.

What is campaign budget optimization? It’s a way of automatically distributing campaign budget across your campaign’s ad sets to ensure optimal results. Per Facebook, CBO automatically and continuously finds the best available opportunities for results across your ad sets and distributes your campaign budget in real-time to get those results. It’s similar to how, within an ad set, we automatically figure out which ad is getting the best results and show that one more than the others.

Image Source: Facebook

While the feature is designed to introduce automation on how budgets are distributed and optimized, there are still several controls that help you set limits, including daily or lifetime budget options and bid caps and spend limits (minimums and maximums) for each ad set.

CBO will save you time by eliminating the need to manually shift budgets between ad sets. We’ve tested the feature in several accounts and the results have been promising, so far. But it isn’t perfect. Here are some things to keep in mind.

  • Campaigns that contain different conversion points of unequal value should be segmented into different campaigns. The system will favor the conversion that performs best, even if it is NOT your most valuable conversion. An example would be making sure not to have 2 ad sets in one campaign that are optimized for an add to cart on one and a purchase the other. The system will favor the add to cart ad set because it naturally gets more “conversions” from it. This skews your results.
  • Don’t mix retargeting ad sets with other prospecting (top and mid funnel) ad sets as this tends to send mixed signals to the CBO algorithm. Retargeting metrics are typically much better than higher funnel efforts. Thus, the data can cause CBO to under-deliver higher funnel ad sets leading to decreased volume of new traffic.
  • Sometimes, the data is sporadic. One day the system favors an ad set, the next day another. So, it is still important to monitor your campaigns carefully and collect sufficient data before making ad set level optimizations.
  • If you do any kind of location targeting with specific goals or budgets per location, you’ll need to segment locations to their own campaigns in order to fully control these things.
  • Even though you’ll be forced to budget at the campaign level, it’s totally ok to have just one ad set in your campaign. This would be great for something like remarketing to site visitors over the last 30 days. HOWEVER, do not try and be super sneaky and just have single ad sets campaigns all over your account like you are trying to emulate ad set budgets. You are just creating more work for yourself and not taking advantage of the benefits of machine learning that CBO offers.
  • Give thought to which audiences to put in what campaigns. Make sure you put your top audiences in one campaign and give it significant budget. Don’t introduce new audiences for testing here, as the algorithms would favor your top audience ad sets. It may make sense to have a completely separate campaign for testing new audiences.