The one about skyrocketing FB ad prices

We have had steady ad prices (FB and IG). Actually our prices have been going down for a while since we’ve been launching new placements – like Facebook Stories and News Feed.

I have uploaded a couple hundred ad creatives into existing ad sets and campaigns. Within hours our prices skyrocketed to 10x – 20x! I uploaded the ads in late afternoon. The prices went up immediately, but I didn’t notice it until the next morning. By then we have burned through our entire daily budget at terrible prices.

Screen Shot 2018-10-17 at 11.38.30 AM
*the graph shows change of price in effected campaigns. See on how the last two days the CPA went up and number of clicks plummeted.

My hypothesis of why this happened is that I have saturated the current good ads with all these new testing ads. They were targeted to the same audiences. It looks like the Facebook algorithm saw some of those new experimental ads were not relevant and as a result it shot up the prices of all the ads in that ad set or campaign. Not sure.

To fix this I did 3 things.

  1. Set up automated rules inside the ads platform to notify me when the cost per install on any one ad goes over a threshold so I can pause it. I specifically didn’t set up the rule to turn off the ad, because there are natural variations in prices and I don’t want to turn off an ad that has a great lifetime price but during one weekend the prices goes a bit higher. This way I only get a notification and then decide what to do. Let’s automation, more control. This is something I should have done before probably since we’re starting to spend significant budget.
  2. Delete hundreds of ads. All new ads that haven’t received enough impressions yet and any poor performing ads (measuring lifetime price, not recent price).
  3. Re-organize the structure of the campaigns. Now I keep the “winners” separately from all experiments. The winners are tested ads with a good price at scale. Majority of the budget goes here, maybe 80% – 90%. I am now using AdEspresso to publish the ads in the experiments. There are no rules for the experimental campaigns, meaning that I can try anything, any crap or weird ad. The budget here is limited and it’s okay if this entire budget is wasted on most days as long as I get a few winners every once in a while or learn something.


Note: Since making these changes in the morning, I can already see the prices dropping back down to original levels again. Happy.

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