All of the gurus these days seem to be talking about how you should always use manual bidding on Facebook.
You’re only a real expert at Facebook advertising if you use manual bidding to the extreme!
Basically, if a large portion of your day is not spent changing bids manually in Facebook then you’re just not worth anything.
I call BS on that!
Are there times when you need to use manual bidding? Of course, there are! But most things in most situations don’t really require you to.
Manual bidding on Facebook ads is basically…
An egotistical way of thinking that you’re better than all of the algorithms and data that Facebook has at its behest when determining if any particular user is really what you were hoping would interact with your ad/company!
If it isn’t ego driven then it’s usually fear driven as to why somebody would choose to use manual bidding.
Again I’m not saying that there aren’t use cases for manual bidding.
But I firmly believe they are the exception to the rule.
There is no way in hell that you… YES YOU, the simple human that you are, has access to all of the data that Facebook does.
Even if you did have access to all the data, do you really believe you could process it faster than Facebook with all of its data centers could?
In real time?
Of course not!
But I am not just saying this to rile people up, though I am sure it will rile up quite a few.
I’m saying this because, of data that Facebook has shared with me.
When you get to sit down and talk to one of the product leads for Facebook’s Ad Auction, you pay attention.
You listen to what she says, and you test it out.
You take the example she gives you of how the auction works and you share it with the world.
So how does the Facebook auction work?
Facebook is looking (at a simple level) at 4 things
Or B.E.A.R. for short
When – let’s use my wife Autumn as an example – is scrolling through Facebook, FB has to decide which ads deserve to occupy the same space as her friends, and family’s posts.
Every time there is an opportunity to show an ad to her, FB is looking at all the potential ads available to see which one has the highest Relevance Score
And which of those ads combined with relevance score has higher bids.
If Autumn, tends to interact with (stop the thumb scroll), more frequently for videos, then a Video ad is more “relevant to her”.
If an advertiser is “optimizing for clicks to site”, and Autumn rarely clicks on ads to websites, she will rarely be shown these ads.
Now this whole example has a point
Facebook KNOWS all of this data about my wife.
Did you? Do you have the power to “manually bid” in real time to show your ad to Autumn?
So what exactly do the other part to B.E.A.R. mean?
The bid is pretty self-explanatory, but to be safe this (should be) the maximum you are willing to pay for a given action (click, engagement, conversion etc).
Engagement is how likely someone is to “engage” with your ad for the action you are optimizing towards or in other words your “campaign objective”
The audience is whichever interests, demographics, custom audiences, lookalikes etc that you are targeting. Who else is targeting them? For that individual what other “targeting” could be more relevant.
Relevance, this is almost a combination of all of the pieces minus bid, but really what this is talking about is the creative.
Is your “type of content” (think the image, video, text post, review, link post etc), going to be the most relevant one. Does “Autumn” like videos, or images more?
So the equation looks something like this B x E x A x R = Ad Rank (wherein the feed your ad shows up or if it even shows at all)
At the end of the day all other parts being equal, the biggest factor that differentiates what people will see your ad (and when they will see it) is the Bid in the B.E.A.R acronym.
So let’s use a story used by the formerly mentioned FB Product Manager to illustrate my point.
The auction again is a B.E.A.R roaming around in the forest of people’s Facebook feeds.
If you are using manual bidding and value say a conversion at $20, this limits where the B.E.A.R. can roam… or which “food” she can hunt and consume.
Eventually, there are only so many “berries” on the bushes the B.E.A.R can find and eat, before they are all gone.
These would be your “low hanging fruit”, or the conversions which are most readily available.
Now this B.E.A.R doesn’t think about how “valuable” the conversion is to her. She just knows this is all the “energy” she can expend to get the food
Now it doesn’t mean there isn’t other food in the FB Feed Forest. It simply means the B.E.A.R doesn’t have “permission” to go after some of that other food.
Even if it could be much more valuable food.
However when you decide to put on your big boy pants, squash fear like the cockroach it is and select “Automatic: let Facebook set the bid”, you then free the B.E.A.R. to roam
Now the B.E.A.R will continue to forage and capture all of the “low hanging fruit”
BUT she will also be able to jump in the river and snag a few salmon.
We all know Salmon is much more valuable than some berries.
Not to mention because the B.E.A.R is also “all knowing” it know exactly which ad to show and when based on experience to “catch” the conversions.
This is almost exclusively how I bid now.
I don’t have enough time in the day, or enough info & computational power to compete with Facebook’s algorithms.
Now if something isn’t working the way I want, it frees me to test:
- other audiences
- different offers
- new creative
- different ad types
Instead of just focusing on the BID!
Friends don’t let friends only manual bid
Tag a buddy who needs to hear this.