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Comparing Average Bids vs. Maximum Bids in a Facebook Audience Split Test

Published: June 21, 2017

Author: Zenia Johnson


You might remember reading about one of Facebook’s most exciting updates of 2016 – how using the Split Test feature can elucidate the components for a winning campaign strategy. For a quick dive into the feature, check out our blog post here. If you are all caught up, I’d like to share with you the results of a split test I designed to measure the effectiveness of Maximum Cost Bidding compared to Average Cost Bidding.

The Question

When an advertiser is creating a campaign using the App Install or Conversion objective, they have the option to set a Maximum bid or an Average bid. Maximum bidding is just as it sounds – Facebook will optimize your campaign to deliver as many results as possible, with costs that are equal to or less than your desired maximum bid. Average bidding, on the other hand, will optimize your campaign to deliver results with costs that average to the amount you place in the UI. If you can’t decide on an option, Facebook Help offers the following advice:

“If you care more about maximizing delivery and conversion volume within an average cost threshold, you should probably use average cost bidding…If you care more about every result you’re optimizing for costing no more than a given amount, you should probably use maximum cost bidding.”

In the case of my particular client, the account had long been managed using Average Cost Bidding, but I was curious about how Maximum Cost Bidding would affect performance.

The Test

Because I did not want to negatively impact performance by testing one of the top-performing ad sets, I chose an audience that was under-performing and set up a Split Audience Test. I kept all variables the same – budget, campaign flight, creative and ad copy – and only changed the bidding method at the Ad Set level that designates Max Bid or Average Bid. I let the test run for 10 days, and then analyzed the results.

With overall costs declining (Cost Per Acquisition by 14% and Cost Per Click by 21%), and the importance that the client placed on such metrics, it was pretty clear that Maximum Bidding was the more effective bidding method for this account. (We also saw a 2% decrease in impression volume, so if that metric is something that is important to your client that is something to keep in mind.)

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Have you been able to glean any successes from Split Testing yet? Tell us below in the comments!

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