Facebook is giving advertisers more control over their spending. Today the social network announced that you can begin paying for ads based on a cost-per-action basis.

Previously, advertisers could only run ads on a cost-per-click or optimized cost-per-impression basis. Then, you’d have to monitor your ads for potential actions, be it photo views, Timeline visits, Page Likes, post Likes, comments, link clicks, and so on. If you’re not meeting your marketing goals, this process can be very frustrating.

The new pricing model is important as it lets you define the action that matters the most and set a maximum price you’re willing to spend for each action type. So instead of paying for every click, you can now say you only want to pay for Page Likes. Any other clicks or engagement won’t impact your budget.

Although cost-per-action bidding isn’t available in the Power Editor or self-serve tool, it can be accessed through the Ads API. Currently, you can only use CPA bidding for Page Likes, link clicks, and Offer claims. However, it’s likely that Facebook will eventually roll out support for app installs, view videos, photos hares, Open Graph actions, and more.

Today’s update is a nice follow-up to Facebook’s optimized CPM ads, which were introduced in late 2011. As Inside Facebook pointed out, after some initial confusion, oCPM has helped companies like Fab reduce costs per customer acquisition and conversion. “CPA ads could improve this even further, especially if Facebook makes it possible for advertisers to define off-Facebook conversions as actions they want to bid for.”

[Via: Inside Facebook, Image credit: 401(K)2013]