Manual VS Automatic Placements

Facebook Ads Automatic Placements or Manual Placements? 🤔 Which Is Most Profitable?

When setting up Facebook ads, you might be wondering whether you should use automatic placements or manual placements (also called edit placements). While both of these placements have their benefits, there is one that tends to outperform the other.

Automatic placements usually perform better than manual placements due to Facebook’s delivery system. Automatic placements stretch your budget further and place ads to help you reach your target audience. However, manual placements will work better when targeting specific users, such as mobile-only.

Knowing which placements perform better is the key to maximizing profitability. In this article, we’ll look into how automated placements perform, when you should consider manual placements, and how to set up your ads successfully.

How Much Better Do Automatic Placements Perform?

Automatic placements are the most profitable, based on my experience. Over the years, I’ve placed millions of dollars in ads and after examining the data, I found that automatic placements perform better – generating 16.7% more revenue when compared to manual placements. Despite trying many different manual placements, I have yet to duplicate the success of automatic placements.

While it might not seem like a huge increase, that 16.7% can be significant depending on your profit margin. For example, let’s say that you need two times the return on your ad spend. In other words, if you spend $1,000, you need to generate $2,000 in purchases. 

Let’s say you spend $1,000 and run manual placement; you might only earn $1,950. But if you run automatic placement and it performs 16.7% better, you would end up with $2,275 after spending $1,000.

So, 16.7% could mean the difference between a loss of $50 or a profit of $275 in the above scenario. That’s certainly a significant difference.

Should I Use Manual Placements To Target the Best-Performing Platforms and Devices?

Knowing which placements are doing best can help you plan future ads. To determine which of your ads are performing the best, go to your Facebook account and view your Campaigns. Next, click Breakdown > By Delivery > Platforms & Device. Here, you can see which platforms and devices are doing well.

Let’s pretend that Stories for iPhone are performing the best in your account. It might sound logical to target Stories for iPhone in the future using manual placements. However, in my experience, it doesn’t work that way. Whenever I’ve tweaked my manual placements based on what was performing best, my results have tanked.

Facebook recommends automatic placements because their system is excellent at finding the right person, the right ad, and suitable placements. Based on Facebook’s own research, ads that appear on TV and mobile tend to be more effective for advertisers. The study suggests that ads appearing across multiple platforms might be more memorable.

So, just because Stories for iPhone are performing well, it doesn’t mean you should target only that placement/device. Ads generally perform better when you have a broader audience.

How Can I Make Automatic Placements as Profitable as Possible?

One great thing about Facebook ads is that Facebook will divert the most ad spend into placements that are doing the best. If your story ads are doing incredibly well, the most spend will be for story placement.

However, just because you’re running automatic placement and Facebook is diverting ad spend doesn’t mean that you should set the ads and forget about them. You should always track and understand which placements are performing the best. This information will come in handy when you’re planning your ads.

As mentioned previously, if story ads are performing the best, it doesn’t mean that you should abandon all other placements and stick with story placement only. Instead, make sure that your ads fit well in the story format. You can even design custom ads for Stories to maximize their potential.

On the other hand, let’s say you’re spending a lot of time on story ads, but profits are coming from feed ads – start putting more time into feed ads. Then, tweak them so that they still work in the story format. This way, you can earn revenue on both types of ads while prioritizing those that perform the best.

I made this video to give you actionable tips on how to create Facebook and Instagram image ads that convert, in case you need help refining those.

Should I Choose Manual Placements Over Automatic Placements?

Even though Automatic Placement wins out most of the time, there are times when it will make sense to choose Manual Placement.

For example, let’s say that your ad is for a mobile app, and you want your audience to download this app to their phones. It would make sense to use manual placements to target people using mobile exclusively instead of targeting both desktop and mobile. To do this, click Placements > Manual and then uncheck the “Desktop” option. This ad will still likely perform well, given all the potential placements for mobile, including Instagram.

How to select manual placement

f you have an online application, your website doesn’t translate to mobile, or if you don’t have a mobile version (which you should work on, by the way), you might want to target only Desktop users. This scenario is far less likely, but it’s possible. 

Keep in mind that if you choose desktop only, your ads will only appear in the right column and the Facebook newsfeed. Your ads will also not appear on Instagram as you can only target Instagram users on mobile.

Finally, if you’re looking for traffic, it’s best to use manual placements. If you’re looking for conversion, it’s best to use automatic placements.

How Do I Set Up My Ads?

Make sure that you’re setting up your ads the right way to maximize profitability. Once you’ve selected Automatic Placements, set up your ads quickly by going under Ad Setup. Select Create Ad and under Format, choose Single Image and Video.

Under Add Media, you can add an image or video. Choose one that’s already uploaded or add a new one. 

Once you’ve chosen your photo or video, you will have the option to set up the square, vertical, and horizontal versions of your ad. It’s best to design custom images and videos for each of these ads to maximize profit and ensure that everything looks right.

To create custom images for each ad type, click “Change” above the ad and upload your custom images or videos.

For your square feed ads, your headline and description will be in the body of the post. It will have a picture at the top, text at the bottom, and a button. Make sure that button is not covering anything important.

Why Is It Important To Use Custom Ads for Each Ad Setting?

Using the earlier example for the feed ad, if you were to use this same ad in the vertical story format, it would not show the body text. The text must be posted directly to your images in the vertical story format. Here are two examples (both are images):

If you’re doing a video, you can set a custom thumbnail for each of the three main ad types (Square, Vertical, Horizontal). Custom thumbnails draw attention to your ads, increasing profitability.

After you’ve finished your ads, take the time to go through each placement, including Stories, making sure everything looks good and shows up well. Once you’re satisfied with everything, run profitable auto-placement campaigns. 

For more information, be sure to watch our free two-hour training video, where we plan out all the ads, write the copy, set up and structure the different campaigns and bids.

Final Thoughts

All-in-all, Facebook automatic placements are the best in terms of maximizing profitability. Manual placements tend to narrow the audience, which reduces visibility and profits. While there are some uses for manual placements, automatic usually wins out. Using the tips and information above, you can begin increasing profitability in your Facebook ads.


  • […] Facebook recommends automatic placements because their system is excellent at finding the right person, the right ad, and suitable placements. Based on Facebook’s own research, ads that appear on TV and mobile tend to be more effective for advertisers. Ads generally perform better when you have a broader audience. via […]

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