How to Utilize Manual Bidding for Facebook Ads

Nov 27, 2019 | Social Media

Take control of your Facebook bidding manually! Learn more on the advantages of manual bidding over automatic below.

Facebook Manual Bidding

Facebook ad manual bidding is an advanced skill, best reserved for well-versed advertisers with large budgets. If you feel you fall into that category and would like to learn more about manual bidding best practices, read on! 

How Does the Facebook Auction Work?

First and foremost, we need to explain how Facebook determines which ads to show to users. The answer: Facebook Auction. Facebook uses an auction system to identify which ad it will serve. Within this auction system, advertisers (like you) bid for their customers' attention. As you win bids, you receive more impressions, which in turn increases the chance of your ads getting in front of the right people (Social Media Examiner). However, unlike a traditional auction, the highest bidder does not always win. Facebook takes other things into account, such as:

  • Relevance Scores (your ad will get a relevance score, rating how relevant your content and ad details are to your audience)
  • Engagement Rates (Facebook estimates whether people are likely to click on your ad or otherwise engage with it)
  • Ad Quality (assessments of your ad's quality - whether your images have too much text and whether your content is too clickbait-y - will also be considered)

Whenever two ads are competing for the same audience at the same time, Facebook puts them side by side and analyzes all these factors. If all parts were equal, the highest bidder would win. 

Automatic vs. Manual Bidding

Generally speaking, automatic bidding on Facebook works just fine, and in many cases, it is the preferred method. However, there are times in which experienced advertisers may choose to manual bid. When you set up a Facebook ad, it will resort to automatic bidding. Facebook will aim to spend the entire budget you set and get the most conversions using the lowest cost bid strategy.

If you want to introduce manual bidding, you have a few options. For example, if you are creating an ad focused on reach, you can set the maximum amount you want to bid for 1,000 views in each auction. The higher the bid, the more likely you are to win the auction. However, you may risk blowing through your budget quickly. 

When setting up an ad optimized for conversions, there are a few different controls you can toggle:

  • Cost cap: Set the average cost you want to pay conversion. This is best for getting the most conversions. Sometimes you will pay more than this number, sometimes you will pay less. However, you will be more competitive.
  • Bid cap: Set the maximum amount you want to bid in each auction. This is best for controlling bids in the auction. You won't always win, but you will never pay more than what you deem a bid to be worth. 
  • Target cost: Set your target cost per conversion and Facebook will aim to keep the average cost per conversion within that range. This is best for getting consistent costs.

According to Facebook, bid control is only recommended over cost control if you must control the cost of every optimization you get. 

When deciding between cost cap and target cost, know that target cost is an amount Facebook tries to stay close to, even if there are lower-cost optimization events available. And cost cap is an average amount Facebook tries to stay under while still getting the lowest-cost optimization events first. If you are more concerned with keeping your average below a certain amount, cost cap is the right choice. If you are focused on consistent costs and are comfortable with a small range, give target cost a try. 

When to Manually Bid

The actual execution of manual ad bidding is both an art and a science. It requires continuous checking in and adjusting bid numbers based on results, budget, and timeline. We recommend only using manual bidding if you are well-versed in Facebook advertising, have a large budget, and are certain you have a solid ad. Do not use manual bidding if you are still experimenting with which ads work best. Nail down your top performing ads before adjusting bids.

If you have questions or need assistance with Facebook advertising and/or manual bidding, contact the experts at Informatics Inc.