What is CBO? Are you Ready for the Next Step in Facebook Budgeting?

Good ol’ Facebook is at it again!

Last year, in 2019, Facebook released a new way for you to set a budget for your running ads.

Ready for this?

You can now use your budget directly at the campaign level rather than the ad set!

Now, is this a good thing, or a bad thing? Should you be learning how to spread your budget across your campaign? Let’s find out!

What is CBO?

The new budgeting option is called CBO, standing for Campaign Budget Optimization.

Here’s a breakdown of how it works.


Using the budget for your ad sets, you’ll apply it to the overall campaign. Facebook will try to help you by dispersing it appropriately across the ad sets, applying more to ads that are running at a higher-performance level. It’s as easy as switching the pretty button from OFF to ON.

CBO tool in Facebook Ads Manager

You can apply your Facebook marketing budget day-to-day with a daily budget spend, or you can choose the lifetime budget which will last across the entire lifetime of the campaign. Your money is still in your hands.

Essentially, Facebook is trying to assist you in your advertising spend so you get the best results for your money.

When choosing how to spend your budget, you can still select between your bid strategies to optimize for impressions, link clicks, value (return on ad spend, aka ROAS), and conversions.

Once you have started this new budgeting endeavor, you’ll need to give it some time to automatically run through the motions of providing you with the best results from active ad sets. Allow it a few days for the campaign to go through its learning phase

We know, it’s very tempting to make adjustments, but please let Facebook at least try to do what it does best: Make you money!

Facebook will be looking to make you the highest ROAS possible through this automated system using intense and in-depth algorithmic protocols.

Overall, you are still in charge of where your budget is going, the audience and locations you prefer to show your ads, and ultimately, the efficiency of your ads. Facebook will only be in charge of applying the budget to various ad sets. Everything else is up to you.

However, be very mindful of your active ad sets as moving things around will cause Facebook to spend the full budget on the active ones.

For example, if you have 3 ad sets and two of them are active while one is inactive or scheduled to launch, Facebook will be forced to use the budget on the currently active ads. Make sense? So don’t pause/unpause your ad sets unless you want to confuse Facebook and possibly ruin your campaign’s budget.

Is CBO Mandatory?

At the beginning of the 2019 year, Facebook had announced that the new campaign budget optimization feature will be mandatory for running Facebook campaigns. That would move all current ad set campaign budgets over to the central CBO automation tool with future campaigns utilizing only this tool. All other budgeting features for isolating select ads would be removed.

This was originally set to launch in September of 2019.

When September rolled around, it was announced that Facebook had a setback and decided to delay the mandate’s release date until February 2020.

Once February came around, Facebook pushed back the mandatory rollout again.

As of April 2020, Facebook announced that the mandate may not be such a good idea, based on Facebook advertiser feedback.

According to Search Engine Land’s conversation with Facebook about the CBO mandate: 

To provide advertisers with flexibility and choice in their buying strategies, we have decided not to pursue a mandatory migration for Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO).

While we still believe CBO provides performance and value gains, we will move to offering CBO as an option and not as a requirement.

Apparently, there were many mixed reviews for using the new CBO feature. Some advertisers saw great results, while others wanted the autonomy that came with setting select budgets on individual ads.

So, is CBO mandatory? Not now and probably not for quite a while (if ever).

How Do You Run an Effective CBO Campaign?

Having mixed reviews always makes us wonder if a new feature is truly effective. Okay, any new feature makes us wonder if it’s effective. Which is why we took a look at Facebook’s CBO for you.

Facebook's informational graph for CBO performance
Image Courtesy of: Facebook (Thank you Facebook)

To run an effective CBO campaign, make sure you have all of your ducks lined up. Meaning, set up your ad sets for the best conversion rate with appropriate CTA’s and visuals, choose the right demographics, interests, likes, locations, etc, then work on your budget.

A good budget for a CBO campaign is a large budget. Because you’re setting up parameters for ad spend per ad set, you’re going to run through a small budget fast.


Your ad sets have an option for minimum to maximum spend on a daily basis. You’re allowed to input an exact dollar amount as your spend limits.

Ad set daily budgeting with CBO turned on

This is why it’s essential to have a large budget when it comes to CBO. Let’s say you have a campaign budget of $100. If you have 3 ad sets, you’ll need to disperse this central budget properly amongst the ads.


At this rate, each ad set has a maximum spend limit of $33.33 per day; Facebook is going to blow through that fast! (In one day, actually…) You may or may not see any results from such a small spend on each ad set.

EDITOR’S NOTE: You are able to set up other parameters such as ad sets limited by percentages, however, this is quite advanced and would take some time to accurately disperse the campaign budget.

Our recommendation is to not use CBO if you’re working with a small budget.

Should I Incorporate CBO Into My Facebook Marketing Strategy?

That’s a double-barrelled question: It depends.

Like I said, CBO is great if you’re working with a large day-to-day budget, but not for a small budget.

Typically, advertisers are in charge of overseeing how money is spent per ad set. They take the time to test and dig to find the gold vein we’re all hoping to find with our ad campaigns.

Without the CBO tool in use, ads work the way that they have. Once a new ad set is live, the ad set goes into a “learning phase” that lasts for 3-5 days. That is the period for Facebook finding out what works best for your campaign. Consider this the testing phase.

Each time that you pause or mess around with an ad set, you push the ad back to the learning phase.

With a CBO campaign, Facebook will continue moving things around automatically without going back to the learning phase. So you don’t need to play the bench game where you get to play then, coach tells you you’ve gotta take a seat.

No seat taking here, just pure acceleration.

If you launch a CBO campaign, never fear, it’s not permanent. You can easily switch the campaign back over to another type of bid strategy when the campaign is live.

The Campaign Budget Optimization option is a great strategy for setting up an automated campaign that tries to find the best ROAS for your buck. We’ve used it and love it. Just be sure that you understand what you’re getting yourself into.

Take the suggestions outlined here and only use it if your budget is large enough to sustain regular day-to-day spend throughout the entire day and campaign’s lifetime.

Good luck, and happy advertising! Give us a shout if you’ve got questions about this function by leaving a comment below!

We are also experts in Facebook Advertising, so take a look at our services if you need assistance with your advertising performance.

Joseph Jones
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