We spend a lot of our time working on Facebook ads campaigns to advertise across Facebook and Instagram via Facebook Business Manager. To say that it’s a frustrating interface would be underestimating it, and it has plenty that it would be good to see Facebook addressing.
Our client had a month-long campaign running, but they wanted to pause the campaign over the Easter weekend so that an Easter special offer could run instead. Once the special offer had expired we then wanted to resume the advertising, picking up where it left off, along with all the data intelligence that had been gained in the month until it got paused temporarily.
It is possible currently to schedule a start and a stop date on a Facebook Ad, but it is not possible to then schedule a ‘restart and a re-stop’ date. This has to be done manually meaning having to log in at unsociable hours or on non-working days to do this on a desktop device. this is not very helpful or practical if, for instance, a campaign needs to start at midnight on a given day.
It is a received wisdom (i.e. our Facebook Strategist advised that this is the best way to work the FB algorithms) that Facebook ads that run over a period of time run more efficiently when running on a daily budget rather than a lifetime budget. The minimum period for running a Facebook ad also ought to be no less than 7 days in order the ad can complete its learning phase and become best efficient. If you have ever spent much time in Facebook Business Manager setting up campaigns, then you will remember seeing these two options – to choose between a daily budget and a lifetime budget. If you can do maths, then surely, they add up to the same?
On the face of it they do add up to the same thing. If you want to run an ad for seven days at £10 a day, it will cost you £70. Alternatively, if you want to run an ad for seven days for a lifetime budget of £70, it will cost you about £10 a day. So, what is the difference?
The key difference between the two – apart from Facebook recommend use a daily budget for long-running campaigns – is that with a lifetime budget you can schedule ads to run only at specific times of the day, or specific days of the week. So for instance with a lifetime budget you can choose to show ads only during waking hours in your local time zone – for instance, you can only show your ad between 7am and 8pm if this is when your audience is most likely online. This means your ads stop serving in the middle of the night if you want this. This is a sensible idea if you think about it since most of the people wanting to buy what you sell are awake during daytime hours… and if they are up at 3 in the morning, they might well have just come in from a night on the town, so might not be minded (or capable) to get online to do a spot of shopping.
Daily budgets in the meantime run 24 hours a day from the date you start them, to the date you choose to end them, and so for some business who are on tight budgets, it makes sense to optimise the time ads can be seen by choosing Lifetime budgets to make the most of the ad spend.
But back to the hack. In this example we needed to halt the month-long offer to make way for an Easter weekend offer. With a daily budget on Facebook, although you can choose a start and stop date, you can’t start, then stop, then start again. The ‘start again’ has to be put back to running manually. Not very convenient if it’s a bank holiday and you aren’t working, or if the offer needs to resume at midnight.
So, where you anticipate there being a gap punched out in the middle of your campaign, you can set up the campaign as a ‘lifetime budget’ and then select ‘edit schedule’ underneath the ‘campaign optimisation’ option in Facebook Ads Manager. This then allows you to choose times of the day, and days of the week to run your ads.
Here are the steps you need to take to set up an ad on a lifetime budget:
In the lead up to the Easter weekend, we edited the schedule to exclude Fridays through Mondays from the schedule. It needed manual intervention again to set it back to serving on these days the following week, but gave us three days in the following week to be able to put normal ads serving back in place. This is a far better option than setting an alarm to set something running again in the middle of the night, or when you are on holiday.
So there you go, inelegant, but it works.
In the meantime we used this tool to report this as a feature request to Facebook. If you have niggles you’d like to see ironed out, then suggest them with this tool too
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