Facebook Buying Types – Auction vs. Reach & Frequency

facebook buying types reach and frequency vs auction

Facebook ads can be confusing with all the options for what seems like…. everything. That’s why when I’m putting together guides and tutorials I like to show you what to skip, as well as what to consider.

But even if you know what to skip most of the time, it’s a good idea to know what the different options do so that you can make informed decisions about how to run your ads.

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you two different buying types that Facebook offers at the campaign level – auction vs. reach and frequency.

I’ll go over the pros and cons of each, because although most people use auction almost all the time, there are times when you may want to use reach and frequency instead.

How to Use Reach and Frequency

I have an example campaign set up to show you how this works. Here I select the campaign level and then click edit.

Editing your campaign level

I’ve already got this set up with reach and frequency, you can see that setting here.

NOTE: You won’t see the reach and frequency buying type in Facebook ads manager unless you select it at the campaign level. The default is auction.

Reach and frequency is only available for certain campaign objectives including:

  • Brand awareness
  • Reach
  • Traffic
  • App installs
  • Video views
  • Post engagement
  • Conversions
Objectives you can choose in a Facebook reach and frequency campaign

You can’t run lead generation and a few other options when using the reach and frequency buying type.

For this example, I’m going to select brand awareness. But you can select the goal that most closely relates to what you want to achieve.

Pros and Cons of a Facebook Reach and Frequency Campaign vs. an Auction Campaign

Auction campaigns are the default buying type for Facebook ads. The way they work is that if you want to advertise to 100 people and someone else wants to advertise to the same 100 people, then whoever gets to advertise to them is the one who pays more.

It’s a little bit more complicated than that and takes into account things like relevance scores and response rates, but that’s the basics.

With an auction campaign, the auction sets the price.

Reach and frequency campaigns, however, work differently. Instead of operating in the auction you can basically book in a guarantee at a certain price to reach a certain number of people.

You can see here, Facebook thinks my cost per 1,000 impressions would be just £0.53 for a UK audience over 18.

Facebook reach and frequency are lower cost per 1000 impressions than auction ads

Based on my experience, I personally think that this is an underestimation on Facebook’s end. I think that the cost would probably be more like £2 per 1,000 impressions.

But if you compare this to an auction campaign, where you might be paying $10 or more per 1,000 impressions, then you’ll find that reach and frequency is a FANTASTIC way to guarantee a certain price and help you reach a LOT more people.

Pro Tip: Reach and Frequency is best used for brand awareness campaigns, where what you want to do is get the word out to as many people as possible and to get in front of many people as possible while paying as little as possible.

Reach and frequency doesn’t work as well when you are running conversion campaigns and you want people to buy or become a lead.

If you need people to convert, then you’re better off with smaller, more specific audiences that are really into whatever it is that you advertise and that you know are likely to take action.

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Facebook Reach and Frequency Video Training

In this video, I go over what reach and frequency is all about, and exactly what to expect and where to use this buying type in your ad campaign.

The Bottom Line on Auction Vs. Reach and Frequency

Reach and frequency is great if you are a big brand or if you are trying to get the word out about whatever it is that your doing in your business.

If you have a big marketing budget, then give reach and frequency a go.

For most small businesses though, auction is probably better. Simply because it works better for conversion campaigns.

About The Author

Ben Heath

Ben Heath is a Facebook advertising expert, writer and the Founder of Lead Guru. Alongside creating content for our online community, he works closely with our clients to develop and implement Facebook advertising strategies that deliver industry leading ROIs.

2 Comments

  • Avatar

    Sofia Arroyo

    Reply Reply September 11, 2020

    Hi Ben! How are you? Ilook for the opcion of buying reach and frequency but I can not find it

    I did all the steps you said: create a new example campaing, then, at campaing level edit, buy still the only buying type available for me is auction.

    Could you please help me to find the buying type reach and frequency (I have the new version of the fbk ads manager) I will really appreciate it

    Look forward to hear back from you soon,
    Warm regards,

    Sofia
    gialiagialia@hotmail.com

    • Avatar

      Ben Heath

      Reply Reply September 18, 2020

      Hi Sofia, it’s not actually available in all ad accounts and you may have one that doesn’t have this feature yet unfortunately. Most ad accounts now do.

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