How Brands Can Gain A Competitive Edge On Facebook When Campaign Budget Optimization Becomes The Default

March 4, 2019

More trust from advertisers – it’s what Facebook is asking for with its upcoming change, announced earlier in February, that will bring Campaign Budget Optimization to all campaigns running on its platform. The official messaging from Facebook reads:

With campaign budget optimization, you’ll be able to set one central campaign budget for all of your ad sets, and we’ll automatically and continuously distribute that budget in real time to your top performing ad sets.

After September 2019, you can still control spending at the ad set level by using ad set spend limits.

Facebook positions the transition as a way for advertisers to spend more efficiently because it will, “distribute budget in real time to your top performing ad sets,” which is an overall positive thing. But, this inherently relies on Facebook’s definition of success, not necessarily what’s defined by individual brands and advertisers. Until this upcoming change, advertisers will have had the ability to make daily optimizations at the ad set level, but that control will be given up and will ultimately force us to put a greater level of faith in Facebook.

What To Do Now

So, what should advertisers be doing ahead of this change? Since it will apply to both existing (longer term or evergreen) and new campaigns, it’s a good idea to consider any major impact this update might have. If you’re like us, you’ve likely been using this feature to some extent already. We’ve seen positive impact to performance in many cases, but if there is a case where it’s truly not working, now is the time to consider an alternative strategy. Try setting ad set minimum and maximum spends to manipulate dollar flow. While minimum spends are not guaranteed, max limits ensure delivery won’t exceed certain dollar amounts. Alternatively, employing a 1:1 campaign to ad set ratio once again places advertisers in a position of control over budget allocation.

How It Influences Your Competitive Advantage

In terms of larger impact, having Campaign Budget Optimization as the default will challenge advertisers to see success, and the ability to have a competitive advantage, in a different way. Gone are the days when advertisers are in campaigns, constantly tweaking and optimizing. In fact, it’s not outlandish to say that Facebook actually discourages this, and has been for some time. As their algorithms gain more and more complexity, Facebook challenges advertisers to place trust in their ability to determine what’s performing and resonating with people on the platform for their brands.

But truth be told, we’ve never believed that the true value we bring to clients’ programs happens at the optimization level, or by simply pushing buttons. The real value comes from ideating tests that yield actionable learnings. It comes from designing audiences that add value to a program, and from A/B testing creative and copy to figure out what resonates. Particularly now with shifts towards CBO, and the knowledge that Facebook’s algorithm will optimize towards top-performing tactics, advertisers should feel emboldened to take risks. Ultimately instead of gaining a competitive edge through optimization, it will happen through Audience, Data, Creative and diversification. We believe these are the most crucial elements that brands should be strategizing around, with creativity and science at the forefront.

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