Automatic Placements: The Best Strategy For Your Ad Account

by Common Thread Collective Collaborator

Sep. 10 2019


Something I've been hearing a lot about in the Facebook ad buying community and from mumbling among clients, is that automatic placements aren’t the way to go when it comes to media buying. 

I'm here to tell you that's completely wrong.

From all the data we are analyzing across all of our clients at Common Thread Collective, we are consistently seeing that utilizing automatic placements is the best strategy for your ad account.

For those of you who may not know...

What are automatic placements?

Automatic Placements are an ads manager setting on the ad set level that automatically display your creative where it is most likely to perform best. That’s the short version, but if you want to get more in depth, check out this article we wrote on Automated Placements and the Facebook Power 5 here. 

Whether it's going to automatically place on Facebook, Instagram stories, or messenger – advertisers tend to have a really hard time with the idea of relinquishing their human tinkering over ad placements. 

Instead, I'm here to tell you that you can actually get way better results if you let the robots handle where to show your ads. 

Here’s Why: 

1. High Conversion Rates, Low CPMs

What we have seen from analyzing all the data, is that feeds have the highest conversion rate (especially on desktop). But what clients might take from that information, is that they would say, “Okay, then we only want to advertise on Facebook feeds.” 

However, the important part of that equation that they’re not taking into account, is the cost of advertising and CPMs. Although conversion rates on Facebook feeds is the highest, it also has the highest CPMs. So, it's going to cost the most money to show your ad on a Facebook feed because there's the most competition among advertisers for placement. 

As a result, when you're advertising on other placements such as IG stories or Messenger, what you'll get is a lower CPM. Plus, if you're able to maintain a conversion rate that's at least close to the same level as your Facebook feed conversion for your site-wide, then you're able to win on these other placements.


2. Meet Your Customer Where They're At

During the holiday season especially, when delivery is crucial and there's so much competition, you don't want to limit the amount of times you can enter the auction.

If you're only telling Facebook, “I only want Facebook feeds.” Then, you're ignoring all the other low-cost opportunities to enter the auction and show your ad to your most valuable customers – especially for remarketing audiences.

You shouldn't care whether someone sees your ad on a feed vs. messenger vs. stories. You're just trying to get your ad in front of your target customer wherever they may be living. What Facebook has that we humans don’t, is data about your exact customer and where they spend most of their time.

For example, let's say Sally Shopper is your exact customer and she actually spends all her time on Instagram stories, but she never looks through feeds. If you’re telling Facebook that you want placement in feeds only, you're actually missing out on an opportunity to show her an ad where she is interacting most. 

The moral of the story: Let Facebook choose where to show your ads because they have the best data about where your ideal customer is most likely to convert. 

Because you're able to enter more auctions, you're actually going to end up with a lower cost-per-result because you're taking advantage of low-cost opportunities within these placements. When the opportunity cost is there, you're able to maximize your portfolio by showing across all placements and this lowers your overall CPA.

By limiting yourself to only one placement, you're missing out on so many opportunities to show your ad to your target person at the lowest cost possible. Plus, when you allow auto placements you'll be able to enter more auctions and you have more chance of showing your add to your ideal customer.

So, for the last time, please turn on automatic placements. Trust us on this. Start by split-testing it and you'll see the results for yourself... or let us get the results for you, by working with us at Common Thread.