Facebook Marketing Series: CPM vs. CPC in 2013

UPDATE 03/13

A lot of the below has now become redundant if you use the newer ‘Optimised CPM’ option that Facebook rolled out.  It completely annihilates (from my own testing, anyway) the manual bid methods, which is great news for all marketers as you can now concentrate solely on split testing your ads and landers.  I’ll keep the information on here for educational purposes anyway – who knows, it might come back round full circle again at some point.

It’s largely agreed that the formula for successful campaigns on Facebook is to initially use CPC at a few pence (cents) over the suggested bid from the self-serve platform and to run the campaign this way until split testing is complete, and an optimal CTR has been achieved; as the average CTR on the platform is generally considered to be approximately ~0.02%, at some point after whenever the campaign achieves better than this, then it’s time to switch to CPM.


Just to reiterate, in case you aren’t aware, CPM payment is per 1,000 views of the advert, compared to CPC where you pay per actual click.  Facebook obviously prefers the CPM measure as they are guaranteed payment for the entire duration of the campaign and will offer very low CPM rates from the off (usually £0.03/£0.04 in my experience), however, it’s often cited that CPC is the better option to start with as you’ll know exactly how much you’ll be paying for each visitor until the campaign fluctuations have settled, the CTR average is determined, and then CPM can be used to achieve the lowest cost.

What does it all mean, and which is better?

It’s important to remember that all of this is specific to your ‘normal’ Facebook campaigns, where the advert links to an external source – Facebook pages and similar internal campaigns work slightly differently and I will be covering this later in the series.

The range and cost of the suggested bid can be quite high to start with.

The range and cost of the suggested bid can be quite high to start with.

From my own campaigns (which runs in to many, many campaigns), the CPC rule is a tough one for me to shake, however, I often find myself starting with CPC but then not finding enough volume – or just that the initial suggested bid from Facebook is simply ludicrous – then switching it back to CPM straight away at the lowest CPM (£0.03/£0.04) in order to generate some fast data.  Couple this with a precautionary daily cap for the whole campaign to a low amount such as £2.00-£3.00 and this allows you do carry out some split testing whilst generating volume for a low cost.

Obviously, everyone has had varying experience playing with these setting, so let me know in the comments what your results have been like and how you structure your campaigns.

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I use this blog of mine as a general brain-dump and to share my witterings about marketing, business, search engine optimisation and web development.