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How We Used Manual Bidding on Facebook to Drive Conversions for Ecommerce Brands

By Megan Young, Senior Digital Specialist, Metric Digital

In a recent blog post, we addressed the issue of manual versus automatic bidding on Facebook.

Based on our experience, bidding style can have a significant impact on driving conversions. For that reason, we typically recommend using manual bidding to drive the best outcomes at scale.

Adam Lovallo, the Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief Grow.co, ran our article in his newsletter about growth marketing. He made a fascinating observation:

“This is an interesting take, and I hear different answers to this question all the time. But the argument in this case is that manual bidding is clearly better and ‘your daily budget should be 25X the bid you have set.’ I'd love to see the results of an actual A/B test running the bidding options in parallel.”

Adam, we thought you’d never ask.

Our recommendation to use manual bidding with this particular structure applies to clients who are looking to scale quickly only at a particular CPA and have enough site wide conversions to properly inform the algorithm (the latter will vary for each client). 

That being said, we have seen automatic bidding work as well in certain cases, especially for brands with smaller spend levels.

Now, in terms of an example, we’re working on getting a clean A/B test, but that’s not the easiest feat to achieve in the Facebook world these days, due to cannibalism and internal competition when running overlapping targeting side by side.

In the meantime, here are several case studies where we’ve implemented manual bidding (based both on target cost and bid cap) and seen significant improvements. All client data has been anonymized for data security reasons.

Results from scaling with manual bidding: 

Results comparing manual to automatic bidding:

Ultimately, this is concrete evidence of how bidding style significantly impacts a brand’s ability to drive conversions.

If your brand wants to scale quickly and effectively, we recommend using manual bidding to drive the best outcomes at scale.


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Megan Young Senior Digital Specialist, Metric Digital The Metric Digital Blog A Blog on All Things Digital Marketing