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Navigating Meta Ad Campaigns: Auction vs. Reservation Buying Types

In the dynamic world of digital marketing, choosing the right ad buying type for your brand campaign on Meta (the parent company of Facebook and Instagram) can significantly influence your campaign’s success. With Meta offering two primary buying types – Auction and Reservation (formerly known as reach and frequency) – it’s crucial to understand the differences to make informed decisions. Let’s dive into these options to help you navigate which is the best fit for your marketing goals.

Reservation Buying Type

Starting October 2023, the term “reach and frequency” will be replaced with “reservation.” This change reflects a shift towards a more predictable and controlled ad buying experience. The reservation buying type is ideal for advertisers who prioritize planning and securing their campaigns in advance. Here are the key characteristics:

  • Budget and Bidding: Reservation campaigns operate on a lifetime budget model, with automatic bidding and fixed CPM (cost per mille, or cost per thousand impressions), offering predictable costs.
  • Performance Goals and Frequency: These campaigns focus on reach, ad recall lift, and ThruPlay as performance goals, with an emphasis on controlling ad frequency.
  • Placements and Formats: Ads can appear on Facebook and Instagram in nearly all formats, except for 360 videos and photos.
  • Brand Safety and Delivery: Offers options for inventory type and allows for sequenced or scheduled delivery.
  • Predictability and Pricing: Before purchasing, you’re given predictions on various metrics, and the CPM rate is locked in, ensuring cost stability.

Reservation buying is beneficial for campaigns targeting small audiences, requiring specific scheduling, or aiming for high control over ad frequency and sequence.

Auction Buying Type

On the other side of the spectrum, the auction buying type offers flexibility, efficiency, and a broad reach. This method is suited for advertisers looking for dynamic pricing and wider placement options. Key features include:

  • Budget and Bidding: Advertisers can choose between daily and lifetime budgets, with dynamic pricing based on the auction’s competitive landscape.
  • Performance Goals and Frequency: Auction campaigns are versatile, aiming for reach, impressions, ad recall lift, ThruPlay, and 2-second continuous video views, with a frequency cap to manage how often ads are shown.
  • Placements and Formats: These ads can appear across Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and the Meta Audience Network, in all formats depending on the campaign objective.
  • Brand Safety and Delivery: Similar to reservation, it offers full to limited inventory options but only standard delivery.
  • Predictability and Pricing: Auction campaigns provide daily reach predictions, with prices varying based on auction dynamics.

Auction buying is especially effective for campaigns that require flexibility, are aimed at broader audiences, or are part of a diversified media strategy that includes both awareness and engagement objectives.

Choosing Between Auction and Reservation

The choice between auction and reservation buying types hinges on your campaign objectives, budget flexibility, desired level of control, and the specificity of your target audience.

  • Go for Reservation if: You’re launching a new brand, promoting a movie premiere, or have specific scheduling and sequencing needs. It’s perfect for campaigns where predictability and control over placement and frequency are paramount.
  • Opt for Auction when: You seek efficiency and flexibility, targeting a broad audience across various platforms. It’s ideal for campaigns with variable budgets and those testing different ad formats and placements to optimize performance.

Both auction and reservation buying types offer unique advantages on Meta’s platforms. By understanding the nuances of each, marketers can better align their strategies with business goals, whether that’s launching a targeted, controlled campaign or maximizing reach and flexibility across Meta’s extensive network. Making the right choice depends on your campaign’s objectives, audience, and how much control you desire over your ad placements and spending.