Back in January, Jon wrote about Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO) and how it would become the default in September 2019. Now we’re mid-summer, and we’ve all had a few months to learn exactly how CBO works, test it out, and determine the best course of action moving forward.
Testing CBO – Discovering Pros and Cons
In preparing for our upcoming course on CBO, I have been testing it everywhere and anywhere I can, along with asking my industry colleagues from around the world what they’re seeing and learning. Here’s the bottom line: no one has CBO completely figured out just yet. Regardless of your country, the vertical you sell in, or your Facebook campaign objective, there just doesn’t seem to be one, consistent formula that everyone can use for success.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t some generally-accepted CBO guidelines as well as some pros and cons of using it. Here are some right off the bat:
- Easier to manage
- Can provide more scaling opportunities
- Can be helpful in limiting audience overlap
- Unreliable performance
- Requires a bigger budget to start
- Requires ongoing patience due to unpredictability
Best Practices and Guidelines
Since CBO is still new, I don’t feel 100% comfortable saying there are “best practices” just yet. However, there are some generally accepted guidelines that I’ve been putting to the test.
Some of the most helpful guidelines include not lumping different audience sizes together, separating remarketing and prospecting, and starting with a higher budget. If you want more advice on these guidelines, the course will be a perfect fit for you!
It’s important to keep in mind that these recommended guidelines are very much in flux due to ongoing platform performance issues. Performance thus far has had wild swings, from moments when you log into Ads Manager and think you’re a genius to the next day when you ask yourself what the heck went wrong and how are you an expert at this (speaking from personal experience!).
The ongoing chatter of the Facebook advertiser community also reflects this schizophrenic nature. Some claim they are “crushing it on CBO” while others tried CBO once, their campaigns totally tanked, and so they’ve never tried it again.
A Quest For Truth
I’ve realized since teaching courses with Jon that one of my greatest responsibilities isn’t to just report out the data I’ve personally seen in my accounts, but I also should SHARE and COMMUNICATE what’s working for others around the world. I asked some of my favorite advertisers what they’ve seen in regards to CBO and have detailed their recommendations into helpful takeaways below.
Fair warning: This is quite nerdy, so if you have any questions, ask them at the bottom in the comments!
- For our larger Australian clients, we’ve transitioned all BOFU (bottom funnel) campaigns over to CBO and performance has been very solid
- Tested between regular set up of each ad set having their own budget (ABO) and CBO. CBO barely emerged as the winner
- CBO campaigns have consistently underperformed ABO in terms of ROAS and stability for prospecting
- CBO on Broadmatch Dynamic Product Ad Catalog (TOFU) campaigns not giving good results
- CBO on remarketing using dynamic creative different assets not giving good results
- CBO on wide audiences (no targeting) working very well, easy to scale
- TOFU campaigns generally working well on CBO
- With CBO on large audiences we have been able to scale faster and with much better ROAS
- I haven’t seen good results with turning on CBO for existing campaigns (instead: recreating new campaigns or duplicating ad set budget campaigns and put them into a CBO works better for me)
- It seems like the more campaigns in one account that are using CBO, the better it works
- A combination of CBO and dynamic creatives can work well for scaling
- At the beginning, I was using ad set spend limits a lot, but currently (in TOFU & MOFU) I’ve stopped using them and budget gets more spend according to performance
- CBO campaign setups I currently see winning: 4-6 ad sets with 3-4 different ads or dynamic creatives (3-4 variations)
- Started using CBO in September last year on a medium-spend account £50k/month and it totally revived the account that had been struggling with low conversions
- We use a mix of target cost and lowest cost optimization with automatic bid
- We took the risk of consolidating a lot of the ad sets into one main CBO in order to have a simpler account set up. I was wary of this but it actually improved performance right away and has allowed us to continue to scale.
- For the big, proven accounts or high spend, CBO definitely works and has been a game-changer in terms of freeing up time to run more tests, do more research, and less time spent on repetitive budget adjustments
- For lower budget accounts with less conversions or a less seasoned pixel, CBO has been hard or riskier to test and hard to determine whether it is working or not
As you can see, no one has all the answers. We’re all still learning and testing.
There are, however, some proven CBO tactics that I’ve used over the past few months to improve results for my clients. I’d love to share them with you during our upcoming webinar, Campaign Budget Optimization: Adventure Awaits with CBO, Bidding, and Value-Based Audiences. We’ll cover everything I’ve done personally as well as everything I’ve learned from others around the world in regards to CBO.
See you there!