May 24 2024

6 minutes of reading

Auction or Reservation Ads? Buying types for your Facebook campaign


Paulina Bedyńska

Regardless of the size of your business, or whether you’re a marketing specialist at an agency, leveraging the Meta Ads potential is a key marketing strategy objective. In the current, increasingly competitive digital world, the choice of a relevant ad buying model may mean ‘sink or swim’ for your ad campaign.

In this article, I'm going to unpack for you both ad buying models, i.e. Auction and Reservation and present their pros and cons so that you can make informed choices while devising your ad campaigns.


The default ad buying type in Meta is Auction. Every single time, since ad space is limited, the system runs an auction for those advertisers that want to reach the user group they are targeting. While deciding who wins the auction, it takes into consideration their budget, the bid type they’ve selected, ad quality and estimated action rates, which basically means the probability that a person will engage with your ad. Below, you’ll find all the advantages and disadvantages of the Auction model.


  • more flexibility at the campaign planning stage; you can run your campaign practically right away, and you can edit it at any further stage.

  • a wide range of budget setting options; both daily and total budget, as well as the CBO (Campaign Budget Optimization);

  • you can plan your advertising on the selected days and hours (schedule)


  • less predictability of the campaign results, especially CPM;

  • cost per 1000 views/impressions (CPM) is dynamic, as an advertiser takes part in an auction every time;

  • the system identifies the most effective ad of a given ad set which it’s going to display most frequently (oftentimes, other ads are skipped by the system after a couple of zlotys have been spent);

  • it’s impossible to have even spend per ad*, or set the ad display sequence.

Technically speaking, you can create a rule that will turn off ads after reaching a certain amount of spending, but this means that the system may disable all ads in the campaign before the entire planned amount is spent on the campaign and we may not achieve the expected results. This will not happen in the case of the Reservation model, because the system forces at least one active ad during the reserved campaign.


If you are promoting a new brand, you should try reserving greater ad frequency to build your brand recognition. For the brands with a high recognition rate we recommend lower display frequency but extended duration. The Reservation model is going to do the trick for those marketers that want to plan upfront their ad spend and the results of their brand awareness campaign. Until recently one could not exclude from it those people that had already visited the brand’s website or the existing customers, but it’s possible now. While reserving your campaign, you’ll be able to check how various settings (e.g. target group, ad frequency, or campaign duration) may impact the rates and the final campaign results. Below you’ll find the pros and cons of this ad buying model.


  • facilitated campaign ad spend planning thanks to accurate impression forecasts, frequency distribution and daily spend;

  • upfront reservation of target group reach, with a fixed CPM rate;

  • you can set an ad sequence;

  • you can also monitor your ad frequency in two ways; either determine your target ad frequency* or curb it (e.g. once a 7 days’ period, twice per 10 days, etc.).


  • minimum reservation is at 200 thousand people;

  • reservation available only for two advertising goals: Brand Recognition and Engagement (optimization for video views); it’s no longer possible to buy Traffic campaigns (optimization for link clicks) and Post Engagement campaigns;

  • campaigns bought in the reservation model are displayed with fewer ad placements;

  • there can only be a total budget, and the daily budget distribution is determined by the system;

  • you can’t upload 360 images and videos;

  • advertising schedule setting is limited

To set the target frequency, the campaign must last at least 7 days. Additionally, please remember that the choice of frequency settings may affect costs and you should check your forecasts each time, and that the forecast frequency is not guaranteed (as we reserve it for the number of views, not the reach).

All in all, either of the two ad buying methods has its pros and cons which you should definitely weigh up while making your ad strategy decisions. The Auction model offers greater flexibility and instant campaign launch, but you’re not able to forecast your results, The Reservation model, in turn, allows precise ad spend planning and control over the ad frequency, and yet, it has its limitations such as a minimum number of people that needs to be reserved. The choice between the two ad buying models will largely depend on your specific business goals and the advertiser’s preferences. It’s key that you understand the features they come with and the ramifications of using either of the models. Once you’ve figured it out, you’ll be able to customize your advertising strategy to your needs and expectations. As a result, an informed decision may yield better results and lead to more effective utilization of your ad budget.

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