Facebook has confirmed it will no longer require advertisers to transition ad campaigns to the Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO) system, an automated process designed to optimize budgets at the campaign-level. The company sent the following statement to Search Engine Land in April:
To provide advertisers with flexibility and choice in their buying strategies, we have decided not to pursue a mandatory migration for Campaign Budget Optimization.
Facebook also confirmed the news with Search Engine Journal, saying CBO had been, “scrapped for the time being.”
Mixed performance causes change in CBO policy
CBO first launched in November 2017, making it possible for advertisers to set their daily or lifetime budgets at the campaign level so that ad spend was optimized across all ad sets with money going to the top performing ads in real-time. In the launch announcement, Facebook for Business described how CBO works:
By distributing more of a budget to the highest performing ad sets, advertisers can maximize the total value of their campaign. Budget optimization works in real time to determine the most effective use of a business’ ad dollars to help lower cost per result and increase return on ad spend.
In a move that was reminiscent of Google Ads forcing Partners to use its machine learning recommendations, Facebook originally planned to shift all campaigns to CBO by September 2019. It then delayed that mandatory transition to February 2020. Now Facebook says CBO will be an option instead of a requirement.
For advertisers, CBO takes out a lot of the guesswork when determining budgets and saves time, no longer requiring advertisers monitor campaigns at the ad-set level to shift budgets accordingly. “CBO uses your campaign budget and your bid strategy – which might be, for example, lowest cost per action (CPA) or highest return on ad spend (ROAS) – to automatically and continuously find the best active opportunities for results across your ad sets,” writes Facebook on its Campaign Budget Optimization help page.
But advertisers have reported mixed results using CBO. Michelle Morgan, Director of Client Services at Clix Marketing, told Search Engine Land in October 2019 that 40% of the campaigns that had been switched to CBO came out ahead or remained flat, but 60% had worse results. More recently, social media ad agency owner Andrew Foxwell told Search Engine Journal that CBO has become more stable and better performing on prospecting traffic and that it was a good option when scaling, diversifying traffic sources entering the funnel.
The upside here is that Facebook is not taking away the CBO tool for advertisers who are getting results and want the automation capabilities it provides around budgeting – nor is it making CBO mandatory for the advertisers that are having less than desirable outcomes with it. Having the option to use – offering advertisers a level of flexibility – is a win-win all around.