Facebook’s ad auction system provides a flexible and cost-effective solution to digital marketing – provided that you’re taking the right approach. With different bidding options, campaign goals, and optimization choices, it’s tantamount to your success to understand the underlying mechanics in order to employ the right strategy for your marketing campaign.
Similar to Adwords, Facebook uses an algorithm that factors in a set of criteria to determine when and who to display your ads to. With Facebook Ad auction, these criteria are:
Estimated action rates
Ad quality & relevance
Your bid is the maximum price you are willing to pay, not necessarily the price you are going to pay. Whenever an ad is to be displayed, the algorithm will combine factors to determine a winner, who ends up paying the minimum amount above their competitor (i.e. $0.01).
Ad quality and relevance are based on user feedback, whereas action rates are determined by an optimization event of your choice (e.g. conversion) that you can set through your manual bidding options.
Whereas you do not have any direct control over relevance, you do have an important choice to make in terms of bid type.
Facebook recommends using the conversion bidding option, although CPC and CPM both provide distinct strengths. The options work as follows:
CPC: You pay for clicks on your ad
CPM: You pay for ad impressions
Conversions: You pay for a campaign goal that you can determine (e.g. Page Likes, app download, etc.)
Bidding based on conversions provides an advantage in that Facebook employs user data to deliver targeted ads when you select this bidding option. This allows them to generate higher revenue while producing more conversions for your campaign. However, CPC and CPM both provide advantages in terms of visibility. It’s possible to launch a CPC bid that produces massive impressions while paying very little due to low clicks, although your ad will eventually be removed if it consistently scores low on relevancy. With CPM, visibility is specifically what you’re paying for by bidding on impressions.
The best type of bid to cast depends on the type of campaign you’re launching. What are your priorities?
Event promotions, rebranding, and media projects all benefit from awareness and visibility. This is why impression bidding tends to be more prevalent with major corporations and those aspiring to become household names, although even SMBs can benefit from increased awareness under certain circumstances. If awareness and visibility are what you’re striving for, then impression bidding is your go-to answer.
On the other hand, you may have a very specific goal with your campaign. Beyond generating a lead, your bottom line may be launching an app or building a social media following. With an e-commerce website or a digital front for a brick and mortar shop, existing in-house infrastructure may warrant going PPC and taking the torch from your landing page. However, with your more pinpointed campaigns, conversion bidding allows you to dedicate your resources to your specific results.
In case it isn’t already clear, the mindset of Facebook’s ad auction is not “set it and forget it.” Aside from your bidding strategy, your content needs to meet the standards of the platform. When launching on social media, you’re competing with the daily output of each individual user. While the spread of Instagram and Snapchat have pushed Facebook users towards higher engagement with groups and media, both user-generated and curated, you’re ultimately asking people to step away from the daily followings of their friends, loved ones, and interests all competing for attention on the same platform. It’s critical to stand out.
Your copy needs to resonate with users on some deeper level than a brief description of services. Any imagery, video, or media needs to exceed the standards of daily output from content producers ranging from amateur photographers to influencers past the one million mark in followers. Facebook isn’t the Penny Saver. Leaving a mark requires bringing something to the table.
In order to figure out how to connect with your audience on social media, you need to understand who you’re marketing to. The company you’re relying on has built an entire industry on data, and it’s your job to do your homework on your own clientele and market segment. Surveys, analytics, consumer data, past reports, and analysis will help tailor an ad auction campaign to a specific group beyond simply depending on Facebook to target your ads.
From the outset, Facebook’s ad auction system presents you with options to tailor your budget and approach to a campaign that coincides with the goals of your business. The best way to employ these tools is to proceed with clear priorities in terms of cost, visibility, and campaign goals, as well as a solid understanding of the demographics you’re trying to reach. With the right approach, you can be seen on a massive scale, launch with pin-pointed targeting, or set up a system built for the utmost specifics of your campaign goals.