Episode 14: Facebook Automated Rules
Facebook automated rules have helped our campaign managers monitor and optimize their campaigns more efficiently - here's how to use them for your business.
00:01 Stewart Anderson: Welcome back to the Spend $10K a Day Podcast. I am Stewart Anderson. With me, my good friend, Steve Weiss. Today, we're talking about something that everybody wants to know a little bit more about, Facebook automated rules, released by Facebook a few months ago.
00:19 Steve Weiss: Yeah. Automated rules are kind of a game-changer as far as automating your campaigns to get the most out of them. A lot of people are running multiple ad sets, multiple campaigns. And instead of having to go in every single day and adjust budgets and adjust spend, now you create automated rules around your converge objectives. So, for instance, let's say you're an a e-commerce site and you're selling hats. Well, your CPA goal might be $13. So now you could actually run campaigns with an automated rule saying that, "If my CPA goes over $13 in this specific ad set, it will automatically pause it."
01:03 SA: Yeah. Yeah. I've been intrigued by this ever since they announced it, and then when they finally released it in beta. This is one of those features that, especially for performance marketers like us, people that are doing stuff on Facebook, we're doing stuff on AdWords, this is one of those features that AdWords has had for a while, that people were like, "Alright, Facebook, when are you coming out with this?" It really makes a whole lot of sense for the platform when they finally had it out. So, Steve, now that it's been out for a little while and we've had a chance to poke around, what do you think so far? How much does Facebook have to do, really, to get it up to complete parity with what Google has available?
01:36 SW: I think it's all about the strategy behind how to leverage automated rules.
01:41 SA: Of course. Yeah.
01:41 SW: So, number one, you don't wanna leverage automated rules on new campaigns that you're just testing. You wanna leverage them to scale current campaigns that are already working. So, for instance, if your goal is you wanna grow, you have a profitable CPA, and you wanna spend $5,000, $10,000 a day in that specific ad set or over five ad sets and you want to automatically pause once you hit a specific CPA goal where that's unprofitable, that's the best way to leverage automated rules, in my opinion. I wouldn't go crazy with automated rules for newer campaigns, or new products that don't have a lot of conversion data. Because if you do that, you're just not gonna get any volume and you're gonna keep pausing and unpausing campaigns, which is a huge detriment to going into the ad auction on a daily basis.
02:30 SA: Yeah. That's actually a really good point, 'cause when I first talk with people that aren't really "Facebook ads people", people who are just... They might be other types of marketers. They might be just entrepreneurs running their e-commerce businesses. When I first tell them about this, they are always like, "Oh, I can automate all my campaigns." I'm like, "Well, no. You don't wanna do that." Obviously, you want to actually first figure out where the usual barriers are. Earlier on in campaigns, there's gonna a lot of fluctuation. You need to wait for data to come in and optimize it. This is a really, really, good point that you only really wanna set the automated rules when you have some history there. When you know what's going on.
03:05 SW: Yeah. Automated rules are mainly to scale. I'm just gonna say that automated rules are a tool in your tool-kit to scale what you're currently doing in a profitable CPA. Obviously, when you're trying to scale campaigns on Facebook, the biggest issue is that if you don't have a real good scaling strategy, you're gonna try and scale campaigns and you're gonna overdo your CPA goals. The key is to maximize the efficiency out of your most profitable audiences. And I think the way you maximize efficiency out of your most profitable audiences, you use automated rules very gingerly. Another thing to remember on automated rules is that you don't want to keep pausing and unpausing ads in a platform.
03:46 SA: Really bad idea, yeah.
03:49 SW: As you guys know from running Facebook ads, it takes time to light these fires back up and get traction inside the marketplace, so you don't really wanna stop and then start. So I always say, "Use it little by little." Have it on one or two ad sets that you know could scale. And even put your automated rules maybe a little bit higher than your CPA goal. As you know, your automated rules should be around a CPA goal that's just totally, "I don't wanna touch. I can't be a $25 CPA," but put it around a reasonable place. Because if you put it exactly at your goal, you're gonna keep having a pause and turn back on campaigns, which is gonna actually hurt your campaigns more than anything else.
04:35 SA: Yeah. A campaign, especially as it's getting on in terms of its lifetime, it might start creeping up towards that CPA limit you had. But you wanna give it a little bit of area fluctuation. Sometimes it might go a little above, then go back down a little bit low. As long as it's averaging out, you just wanna make sure you give it a little bit of wiggle-room there.
04:55 SW: Yep. This goes back to a bigger point, which I always love discussing with people, and it's, "Don't over-optimize your campaigns." Over-optimization is one of the tragic flaws, I think, of a lot of marketers. Everyone loves being scientific. Everyone loves feeling like they have all the tips and tricks and ways to come back to, AKA, "growth-hack" the platform. I think there is some scientific approach to it, but I hate being overly optimizational about all this stuff. I always like to really test out a very small subset before I actually roll it out across, campaign-wide. Facebook is like mother nature, in a way. I just like to let it run its course at times. Let me see what happens. Let the system get a little bit more smarter. Let me get a little more smarter. Then let me figure out how to leverage automated rules inside of my campaign objectives, to reach my goals.
05:53 SA: Yeah. There's a lot of different settings. Like you said, there's different things that you can configure, introduce automated rules, different components that you add, that you can configure. What are the first things that you would do with automated rules if you're... You've got a bunch of campaigns that are scaling, you've spent a lot of money, you've had some decent history. What are the first rules that you make?
06:19 SW: I actually like doing automated rules around the top of the funnel on less conversions, because conversions are more like, "I wanna drive conversions, but I also wanna drive growth." There's a lot of issues there about using automated rules around specifically conversions, bottom-of-funnel. But, top-of-funnel, you're obviously driving video views. You wanna drive people who engage with your product, to then be re-marketed at a later date, or later time with a different ad. I like using automated rules around a lot of the top-of-funnel metrics. I know that my goal for a video view is say, more sensed to a new audience. I like to set-up automated rules around video views, and maybe even lead-capture of like, "I know that if I could capture a lead at $2.50 or $2, then I could turn that lead into money and be profitable." So I like to think of it like the automated rules are more so around top-of-funnel advertising that's driving the bottom-of-funnel re-marketing, if that makes sense.
07:17 SA: Interesting. Yeah. Interesting. Interesting. Well, do you have anything else you wanna share about automated rules?
07:26 SW: Well, just so you guys are aware, you could use automated rules from nearly any type of conversion objective, mobile app installs, video views, CPA... Any type of cost per sale or cost per add to carts. Facebook has made it very simple to add automated rules to almost everything. I wouldn't add multiple automated rules, that's another thing. [chuckle] Some people, I've heard, are using it to add a multitude, they're like, "Alright. I wanna do $2 for a lead. And I wanna do $20 for a check-out." And now Facebook is trying to match itself, and your ads will probably just lose all the actual impression volume right away. So I wouldn't do that. But I would do one automated rule per ad set. I would try and do as many automated rules as to top-of-funnel as possible, and then see how that affects the bottom-of-funnel. Your bottom-of-funnel, your re-marketing, your highest intent audiences, those are the ones that you really, really have to be razor-focused on and get to work. I wouldn't over-complicate the bottom-of-funnel, 'cause that's where your money is being made.
08:30 SA: Yeah. And of course, as you talked about in this thing, the bottomline. The one big lesson to takeaway is you wanna use automated rules more as a monitoring, not as a course-correction tool?
08:41 SW: Yep, exactly. [chuckle] You wanna use that to monitor your campaigns. You don't wanna use that for any other reason. Facebook's gonna be coming out with a lot of new tools, certainly around international traffic, over the next six months, I forecast. I would say just keep focused on Facebook's ads blog. Keep focused on our podcast. Every time Facebook releases something new, we talk about it, and we're on it 24/7. We're gonna be testing it out and seeing how we could make it work, and just sharing that intel back with you guys.
09:16 SA: Absolutely. Well, yeah. This has been another, hopefully, very informative episode of the Spend $10K a Day Podcast. I am Stewart Anderson, and joining me today was, of course, my friend, Steve Weiss. We'll see you next time.
09:30 SW: Yep. Take care. Bye.