Facebook Ads Raises Spend 5X- Without Asking

Posted in Paid Marketing, Social Media

Facebook doesn’t just mess around with users regarding privacy. They’ve taken the liberty to effectually raise one of our client’s daily cash expenditures nearly 5X…without asking. Amplifying the confusion of the whole thing is that Facebook did this on a weekend, when they mostly likely know average, responsible marketers are probably not eagle-eying their campaigns.

One person might say Facebook doesn’t just make us advertisers bend over, they dig their hands into our pockets.

How Can Facebook Justify This B#!! $#!^ ?
1. Facebook’s Help Center straight up says they might do it:

Why, Facebook, do you think you have a better grip on advertisers’ budgets than they do? What logic, “under normal circumstances,” gives a platform the entitlement to decide how much an advertiser will spend?

2. Well, they e-mailed the client… and here’s the arguably self-righteous note:

On Sat, May 22, 2010 at 4:21 PM, Facebook Ads Team <advertise-noreply@facebook.com> wrote:

Hi [Poor Schmuck],

Since you have successfully completed your recent Facebook Ads payments, we’ve increased the spend limit on your Facebook Ads account to $X,000.00 USD. This is the new maximum amount that you’ll be allowed to spend in one day. Your new spend limit willtake [Facebook’s poor grammar not ours] effect within 24 hours.

Please note the difference between the daily budgets you’ve set for your campaigns and the daily spend limit that we now have in place for your account. Your daily budget is the amount you have indicated you’re willing to spend for your campaigns. The daily spend limit is the maximum amount that Facebook will allow you to spend in one day. Your daily budget amount cannot exceed the daily spend limit of $X,000.00 USD. We will never charge you more than the daily budget you set for your campaigns.

Here’s how you can increase the daily budgets of your campaigns to your new spend limit in order to increase the distribution of your ads:

1. Log into your Facebook Ads account at http://www.facebook.com/ads/manage?act=TUVWXYZ.
2. Click on the current budget under the ‘Budget/day’ column of the campaigns you wish to update.
3. Enter in your new, desired budget.
4. Click “Save”.

Thanks for continuing to advertise with Facebook Ads!


The Facebook Ads Team


Thanks, Facebook, for e-mailing this notice to a busy client. On a Saturday.

Thanks for sending it from an unmonitored, no-reply e-mail address.

And, thanks, Facebook, for [NOT] providing a phone number so that we could call you and tell you just how unacceptable this is.

Potential Damages
The true danger in Facebook’s apparent sense of entitlement is the monetary damage it could have caused the client.

Facebook essentially increased the budget on a Saturday. In the very least, the campaign could have gone an entire weekend blowing through unauthorized ad spend. Were it a mature campaign, such as our client’s, it may well have gone unchecked for days, as semi-professional small business account managers often reasonably let mature campaigns hum along for a couple of days without checking back. This could’ve blown major cash.

Facebook’s apparent pompousness also shines through in their Help Center, where they assume advertisers always and only want to increase their “Daily Spend Limit.”

Let’s do the math. Say we have 20 campaigns set up with daily budgets of $50 each, which is the default.  Assume we set up the account at the default-spending limit FB imposed, which was $250.

Of course you ask, “Why would you leave each campaign set up at the default $50 daily budget in light of the $250 daily spending cap?” The answer is simple: We don’t always know which campaign will be hot, so even though 20 campaigns could theoretically spend up to $1K (at $50 each), they never will because the daily spending limit protects us. That is until Facebook raised our daily spending limit without asking us.  Now each campaign can spend out to its full $50 potential. We can only control each campaign by aggregate daily budgets.  The problem here is the surprise factor. We want to know before the move is made.

A few months ago we worked on a very large client’s Facebook PPC campaign and ran across the problem of a FB limiting daily spend of a measly $50 for new accounts. Now, we have quite the opposite problem. This time, if not for our close monitoring, Facebook would have spent much more money than our client had intended. How ironic is that?

Facebook is messing with the wrong crowd on this one. Advertisers are not the typical patrons of Facebook, who will pout, stomp their feet and go one day without logging in to Facebook when they feel wronged.  We write Facebook checks and evangelize their product to colleagues and clients.  Once FB sets the daily spend limit, there’s no way to edit it.

No, Facebook. I want to SET the daily spend limit that y’all decided to increase. Thanks.

  • Tony Tellijohn

    I guess I’m a little unclear about this…doesn’t their message only say they’ve increased the allowed daily spend, not the actual budgeted daily spend? Meaning, if they bumped your allowed daily spend from $50 to $250, but your daily budget is still $50, aren’t they saying “We’re not bumping you up to $250/day, but you’ve got that option now if you want it?”

    Given everything else we’ve been hearing from them, and my experience with their system, I wouldn’t put it past them to change both–but my understanding of the email they sent seems to say specifically that they are not changing the actual daily budget…

    • Merry Morud

      Tony, you are correct, they only increased the daily spend limit, which, like a credit card, is the cap Facebook imposes upon each account individually.

      What surprised me was that the limit JUMPED from a manageable $250 (with room for for individual campaigns to spend what they required within that limit Facebook imposed) to $X,XXX… on a weekend when no one would typically be watching.

      I don’t believe it’s very ethical to increase the spend that much on a non-business day.

      That’s my reasoning for the post.

      (I also think there should be an account level budget cap… set by the USER, but I could go on and on about improvements in the ad platform… 🙂

      Thanks for the clarifying question, Tony, it can get confusing.

  • Keith Posehn

    I fail to see the problem. Always keep your campaign budgets at the amount you expect to spend. If you’re leaving your budgets well above what you want to (or can afford to) spend, then that is a mistake. FB raised the cap automatically based on the number of times the client hit their daily spend limit. Its not like they increased the campaigns individual budgets.

    • Marty Weintraub

      @Keith Posehn: Thanks for making your point. I sort of agree. Call us puritan but we believe that any change made by an advertising platform, which has the potential to alter the money dynamic, should include pre-notification that things will change. The reality is marketers use whatever limits are in place to regulate marketing spends. Any change in money, terms, etc… should be accompanied by pre-notification. If the notification must be real-time, because of system limitations or whatever, then how about if it happens on a business day? Does this make sense?

  • Keith Posehn

    I think we can certainly agree that it isn’t ideal, especially how they have the policy of many new accounts being capped at $50, etc. Also, I do understand not wanting it on the weekend as most advertisers aren’t watching closely on weekends like I do.

    Probably the best way for them to implement it is simply to not have it automated. You should be able to just open a ticket to do it right through the interface as that would make all our lives much easier 🙂

    • Marty Weintraub

      @Keith Posehn: Yep I agree with you there…and we watch on weekends too 🙂 . Another awesome feature would be to be able to manipulate the cap as a tool for regulating accounts. Thanks for stopping by Keith. We’re glad to make your acquaintance and welcome.

  • Farrukh Naeem

    Hi Merry,

    I found your post while looking for a way to get Facebook to *increase* my daily spend LIMIT. Anyone running ads successfully for clients would very fast come to stage where they need to go beyond Facebook’s default $50 and the subsequent $250 and so on.

    Your title says: Facebook raises ‘spend’ – however what they raised is your spend ‘limit’. Which are two different things as the Facebook email tries to explain.

    So if you had a client budget set at $50 daily spend and Facebook (on a Saturday) raised your spend ‘limit’ to $250 – it would not be as worrying as what is described in this paragraph:

    “In the very least, the campaign could have gone an entire weekend blowing through unauthorized ad spend. Were it a mature campaign, such as our client’s, it may well have gone unchecked for days, as semi-professional small business account managers often reasonably let mature campaigns hum along for a couple of days without checking back. This could’ve blown major cash.”

    Why? Because it simply means you now *can* spend up to $250 should you wish to. It would not mean Facebook raising your daily budget amount without your consent.

    I hope adding this comment would help another wayfarer who’s looking for a way to raise FB spending limits to be clear about daily limit (set by FB) vs. daily budget (set by user).

    Greetings from the UAE…

  • Steve Allen

    Thanks so much for writing this. I am a low income person, and overnight Facebook lifted my limit from what I set (the lowest possible, just to run test ads), to (for me) almost unlimited.

    I lost hundreds of dollars on my credit card, with no way of contacting anyone about it. Money I needed for food and rent for the week.

    This happened late on a Saturday night, when I was asleep – almost as if it was designed for me to not notice.

    For some of us we set limits not ‘for fun’, or ‘for optimization’, but because *it could result in our precarious financial situation coming unstuck*. Something folks with many million/billion dollars in their banks couldn’t fathom.