Any time Facebook makes an update- be it design, algorithm or feature- users grumble and whine because we’re all change-averse. Thankfully, the protests typically don’t last long as users get used to the changes and move on with their lives.
The latest change to Facebook affects advertisers this time, and yes, we’re also grumbling a little. (Just for the record, I feel we’re more justified in our complaints because money, ROAS, CPL, etc., are involved.) The social network made campaign budget optimization (CBO) the default budgeting method in Facebook Ads Manager, doing away with the option to set budgets at the ad set level. Depending on how you’ve organized campaigns previously, this may or may not be a huge deal. If it is, say your expletives, try the work-arounds I outline below, and understand you may have to do some testing of your own to marry CBO with your advertising goals.
Facebook says the reason for the change to CBO is to help you spend your budget more efficiently by letting the system optimize and distribute dollars to top-performing ad sets. It may also save a lot of time for advertisers who used to manually shift budgets around based on ad set performance. This graphic visually explains CBO well.
This works nicely if you don’t care that one ad set may get the bulk of the budget. You’re increasing conversions without any additional spend or additional effort, and it makes you look really good. Retailers will likely appreciate CBO because their ultimate goal is to sell/convert more.
CBO doesn’t work as well if you do care about even budget distribution across ad sets, or another split amount like 30/70. This is where I was at with my client’s campaigns. Each campaign was given one high-level budget with which to target multiple initiatives (so multiple ad sets) and I didn’t want any of them to suffer at the expense of another.
To get around this issue, I enabled minimums and maximums at the ad set level. I primarily used minimums to force ad sets to spend their even share of the total budget (50% for two ad sets, 33% for three ad sets, etc.). In a case where I wanted one ad set to get half of the budget, but I didn’t necessarily need to ensure the two others spent 25% each, I set a maximum for the first ad set and let the others spend as Facebook thought best. You’ll have to play around with the options to find what works best for your situation.
Another strategy to maintain more control over where your dollars go is to create separate campaigns that go with separate ad sets. If you originally had three ad sets in one campaign before CBO, you would simply split the budget three ways and create Campaign A with Ad Set A, Campaign B with Ad Set B, and Campaign C with Ad Set C. I actually started doing this, but when I remembered that additional initiatives (ad sets) had the possibility to be added mid-campaign, I was worried that managing too many campaigns coming out of the same total budget might make me go crazy. However, just like the min/max option, this may be the ideal set up for you.