The Facebook Ad Auction System

Choosing the correct bid strategy will help guide your bidding approach in ad auctions.

The appropriate bid strategy can contribute to achieving tangible business outcomes, such as heightened total sales, increased customer acquisition, or expanded brand reach.

When selecting a bid strategy, it’s crucial to define how you measure success for your business and opt for the option aligning with your specific business objectives.

There are three types of bidding: spend-based, goal-based, and manual.

Spend-based bidding

Prioritize utilizing your entire budget to maximize results or value.

Highest Volume: Optimize delivery and conversions to achieve the maximum possible outcome within your budget.

For instance, an event planner may utilize the highest volume strategy to attract as many attendees as possible to an upcoming music festival, where the cost per attendance is not a primary concern.

Highest Value: Allocate your budget while concentrating on transactions with the highest value.

For example, a florist may employ the highest value approach to sell as many bouquets as possible, with a focus on promoting more expensive bouquets to maximize overall value.

Goal-based bidding

Establish a desired cost or value target.

Cost per Result Goal: Strive to maintain costs close to the specified amount, irrespective of market conditions.

For instance, a retailer optimizing for purchases may set their cost amount to achieve a cost per purchase that ensures profitability on average. Please note that adherence to cost per result goal limits is not guaranteed.

ROAS Goal (Return on Ad Spend): Target a consistent return on ad spend throughout your campaign.

For example, if you aim for your $100 budget to generate approximately $110 in purchases (equivalent to a 110% return), you would set your ROAS control at 1.100. It’s important to note that adherence to the specified ROAS amount is not guaranteed.

Manual Bidding

Regulate your bidding across ad auctions.

Bid Cap: Set the maximum bid across auctions, rather than allowing Facebook to dynamically bid based on your cost or value objectives.

Bid cap is suitable for advertisers with a strong understanding of predicted conversion rates and the ability to calculate the appropriate bid.

Every modification made, whether during the learning phase or afterward, affects delivery, but not all edits prompt the ad set to re-enter the learning phase.

Only significant edits trigger a re-entry into the learning phase.

Throughout this phase, the delivery system explores the optimal way to deliver your ad set, resulting in less stable performance and usually higher cost per result.

Significant edits include:

  • Any change to targeting.
  • Any change to ad creative.
  • Any change to the optimization event.
  • Adding a new ad to your ad set.
  • Pausing your ad set for 7 days or longer (the ad set re-enters the learning phase upon unpausing).
  • Changing bid strategy.

Note: When using Meta Advantage campaign budget (previously known as campaign budget optimization), changing your campaign bid strategy may cause multiple ad sets within the campaign to re-enter the learning phase.

Changes to the following areas may or may not be significant, depending on the magnitude of the change:

  • Ad set spending limit amount
  • Bid control, cost per result goal, or ROAS goal amount
  • Budget amount

Note: When using Advantage campaign budget, adjusting your campaign budget might cause multiple ad sets within the campaign to re-enter the learning phase.

For instance, a slight budget increase from $100 to $101 is unlikely to trigger one or more ad sets to re-enter the learning phase.

However, a more substantial adjustment, such as changing your budget from $100 to $1000, may result in one or more ad sets re-entering the learning phase.

Common questions about Advantage campaign budget and learning

How long does the initial “learning” process typically take for ad sets with Advantage campaign budget?

It’ll take the same time as ad set budgets.

Will Advantage campaign budget cause ad sets to re-enter the learning phase as it distributes budget?

No, ad sets within the campaign won’t re-enter the learning phase as the budget is distributed.

Will making a significant edit to one ad set (meaning the edit is made at the ad set level) cause other ad sets within the same campaign to reenter the learning phase?

No, as long as the edit is made at the ad set level, other ad sets within the same campaign won’t re-enter the learning phase.

Will adding a new ad set to the campaign cause the rest of the ad sets to re-enter the learning phase?

No, adding an ad set to a campaign with Advantage campaign budget won’t cause other ad sets within the same campaign to re-enter the learning phase.

Is changing my disclaimer for ads about social issues, elections, or politics considered a significant edit?

Yes, changing the disclaimer on the ad is considered a significant edit.


It’s crucial to understand how Facebook ads work in the auction process. Knowing about bidding, relevance scores, and where your ads appear helps you make better decisions to reach your audience effectively and meet your marketing goals on the platform.

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