Facebook Campaign Budget Optimization – What it Means for Your Campaigns

For many advertisers, Facebook is imminently introducing Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO) as the default overall budget strategy for all your Ad Campaigns – with it almost certainly going to become the only available format for all advertisers before too long.

The facility has actually been available for a couple of years already, with mixed reports on its effectiveness. Now that it’s set to become the ‘only game in town’, though, I’ve been having a look into how it might affect results for clinical trials advertising campaigns using Facebook.

What is Campaign Budget Optimization?

Previously, you’d set your daily budget at the Ad Set level – the level below the Campaign level in the Facebook campaign level hierarchy. (See https://en-gb.facebook.com/business/help/613846972027099 for more on this). What CBO does is to distribute our overall budget (now set at the Campaign level) between the Ad Sets within each Campaign.

This means you can’t favour one Ad Set over another – for example, a particular Audience or Interest group that you’ve developed within a particular Ad Set – as Facebook will determine which Ad Set to allocate the budget to on an ongoing basis.

What’s the Criteria for Distributing the Budget?

From Facebook’s own definition: “[Facebook] automatically and continuously find the best active opportunities for results across your Ad Sets and distributes your campaign budget in real time to get those results”.

What this means in practice is that Facebook will use its enormous dataset to determine which of your Ad Sets will provide the desired result you’re after at any one time. The idea being that you will get the most ‘bang per buck’ from your overall budget, with Facebook showing your ads to the best possible audience on an ongoing basis. (Rather than, for instance, you having decided to spend more on a particular Ad Set which Facebook determines wouldn’t perform as well as the ones it favours using CBO).

How Effective is CBO?

Over the time myself and other Facebook Ads specialists around the world have been using CBO, unfortunately the results are mixed. Some Campaigns have seen very good returns, with CBO doing the job it’s designed to very effectively. While other Campaigns end up with the majority of the budget being allocated to an Ad Set that has mediocre performance at best.

What follows are my top 3 tips for getting the most from CBO before it becomes mandatory in the near future.

How Best to Use CBO for Clinical Trials Campaigns

1) Give it Some Time – though you may get concerned about the results within the first couple of days, it’s best to leave any new Campaign using CBO live for at least 3-4 days before you draw any conclusions about its effectiveness.

Facebook generally needs 30 – 50 ‘conversions’ per Ad Set before it has enough data to work with for ongoing maximal performance, so you need to allow for enough data to be generated in order for the algorithm to start working its magic.

2) Start Off with a Minimum Ad Set Budget – running counter to what’s being said above about CBO finding the best Ad Sets to work with, I’ve found that Facebook often ‘jumps the gun’ and starts diverting spend to a particular Ad Set very early on.

In order to give each Ad Set a fair ‘crack of the whip’, you should set a minimum spend limit for each Ad Set (within the individual Ad Set’s settings) – which will ensure Facebook spreads the budget around more equitably until each Ad Set has spent its minimum limit. Then CBO will kick in and the best performers will be favoured.

3) Use Campaigns as Ad Sets – if you simply must test individual Audiences against each other with the same budget for each, you can setup multiple Campaigns in the same manner as you used to setup Ad Sets – including just the one Ad Set per Campaign.

This allows you to set your budget at the Campaign level – as demanded by CBO – but still test an individual Ad Set against another, without Facebook determining its own best performer on your behalf.

Conclusion – Campaign Budget Optimization is OK for Clinical Trials Advertising

Whether we like it or not, CBO is here to stay, so we need to get used to it. And despite some teething problems over the last couple of years, there are definitely advantages to being able to tap into the power of Facebook’s enormous amount of data in order to determine how to best spend your money for maximum returns.

Facebook Ads Management Service

If you think getting to grips with Campaign Budget Optimization sounds like too much hassle to be dealing with – get in touch and we can chat through the possibilities for me managing your clinical trials recruitment advertising through Facebook.