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Running Facebook campaigns? Keep Calm and Optimize

Published: March 6, 2014

Author: Eric Duchek

When optimizing your Facebook campaigns with oCPM and CPA bidding, a little patience goes a long way. If you are already familiar with A/B testing campaigns, oCPM and CPA bidding present a few new challenges. It is easy to fall into a “day-trader mentality,” watching your CPI rise as the day goes on with your mouse nervously hovering over the pause button. Stop it!
Our team at Optilly has optimized Facebook app install campaigns for several popular titles. Through thousands of dollars in media spend and testing we want to pass along a set of “pro tips” that will help ease your mind. If you are new to running campaigns with Facebook’s optimized bidding algorithms, here are a few things that will help keep your sanity.
1. Today’s stats might look terrible
We have seen delays of several hours for Facebook to return data on app installs. However, your spend and click rates appear almost instantly. This means your CPIs can be vastly overstated on the current day’s stats. We have seen a CPI of $3.90 at 11am reduce to under $2 by the next day. When making the call to pause a campaign you just launched, take a deep breath and give it a day. Ideally, you will have your test split up into several small budget campaigns that will allow you to control the damage if a campaign is in fact a terrible performer. For example, if you have your campaign split into several targeted ad sets and one has a CPI that is 3-4 times the average, it’s a good candidate to pause.
2. Give it a few days
When starting a group of test campaigns, plan for at least 3 days to allow the Facebook bidding algorithm to work its magic. This graph shows a fairly typical curve for CPIs when launching a set of test campaigns (these are for a social game, have identical targets, and have one ad per campaign):
Insights from this chart:
-early performers aren’t always long-term winners (though in this case one campaign performed well the entire time)
-in this case, CPA outperformed oCPM bidding (always split-test this)
-campaigns settled into their groove on days 3-4
-all campaigns finished below their day one CPIs
Remember it takes a few days for Facebook’s bid algorithms to develop history and start to really optimize your CPIs. So take it easy and give the campaigns a few days to get going. After the initial plateau or rise in CPI, you will begin to see the better performing campaigns start to appear.
Keep calm and optimize. CPA and oCPM bidding requires you to put a bit of trust in Facebook’s algorithms. However, the performance is definitely there. Relax and give the system time to work, and you will be realizing better campaign performance in no time.

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