By Olivia Johnson

Whether you’re a pro at using Facebook’s automated campaign budget allocation system, or you’ve never even noticed it exists – there will no longer be any choice in whether you use it or not as this Facebook tool is here to stay and we all need to get familiar with it.

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Whether you’re a pro at using Facebook’s automated campaign budget allocation system, or you’ve never even noticed it exists – there will no longer be any choice in whether you use it or not as this Facebook tool is here to stay and we all need to get familiar with it. Facebook announced at the start of this year that in September all campaigns, new and existing, would be automatically placed under the control of campaign budget optimisation and there will be no option to set budgets at ad set level moving forwards. Now the time is here and it’s imperative to understand what CBO is all about.

What is CBO anyway?

The campaign budget is set at campaign level (unsurprisingly) rather than ad set level and you can choose to either set a daily budget or a lifetime campaign budget. Campaign budget optimisation is a way of automatically distributing budget across your campaign’s ad sets using an algorithm based on which audiences are performing most efficiently. This is supposed to help continuously find the best results for each individual campaign by separating spend effectively in real time.

Positives

Time Saving

CBO is a simpler way to manage ad budgets whilst ensuring optimal results. When you have a campaign with multiple audiences, setting one overall campaign budget may indeed make life a little easier. It can be easy to spend a lot of time shifting budgets between audiences constantly but this tool could help you get back to the more creative parts of looking after an ad account, like building and testing.   

Always On

By eliminating the need to manually shift budgets between ad sets advertisers can reduce the chances of human error. Campaign budget optimization works in real time meaning that when you go home for the evening or come back to work on a Monday morning, your campaigns have still been driving results with the aim of lowering costs and increasing return on ad spend. 

Drawbacks

Loss of Control

Campaign budget optimisation has always been an option for advertisers but becoming a fixed default that can’t be turned off is a very big structural change. Although consistent optimisation will be occurring through this tool, most people who work closely with Ads Manager will consider themselves experts in their roles and may not appreciate Facebook taking control of budgets, which are such an integral part of campaign planning.

Adding to the Work Load

Introducing new audiences’ mid-way through a campaign could also prove problematic as the Facebook algorithm may discount them compared to longer running ad sets. This can be solved using the minimum and maximum spend parameters CBO offers at ad set level, although this does on the surface appear to create more steps to consider and extra work for advertisers. It can take a while for CBO to work effectively; at inception the algorithm needs time to adjust and learn therefore at first results can appear weaker than they were at ad set level. When advertisers first experience this it may cause distrust or scepticism of the algorithm’s abilities and this could lead to building out separate campaigns based on different ad sets, which wouldn’t have happened before, just to work around the CBO limitations.

Final Thoughts

Making CBO a default migration is a controversial move, it means a change in daily processes that may take some getting used to. Advertisers have routines and have become used to control over certain areas of an account, especially if they have been honing their skills at budgeting just for them to be rendered obsolete! Let’s face it – no-one likes their choices being taken away. But regardless of opinion setting budgets can be one of the trickier parts of looking after an advertising account. It’s not exactly a part of the process you often hear people saying they enjoy. Sometimes separating budgets can become a bit of a guessing game. Campaign budget optimisation will be an improvement for less experienced advertisers who struggle with budget planning and Facebook is most likely trying to appeal to a broad audience, making things easier for non-experts – it is a platform for the people after all. Hopefully we can assume Facebook will roll out tools and strategies to suit this new update and we will have a bit more clarity and confidence on why this big decision has been made.  

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