All Facebook and Instagram advertising campaigns function the same way. Regardless of how much money you spend on them, the ad sets will enter the learning phase as soon as they’re created.
And it’s quite important that you exit this learning phase as soon as you can. That’s because it can be limiting to your ad’s overall performance.
Read on as we explain what the Facebook ads learning phase is in detail, as well as some actions that you can take to push your ads out of it. Trust us, you’ll want to know all of this.
So, what is the Facebook ads learning phase?
As we’ve briefly mentioned above, when you launch a new ad campaign, the ad sets within that campaign will enter what is known as the learning phase.
And in order to exit from this phase, your ad set should generate 50 result actions within 7 days. Of course, reaching such an objective is easier if your campaign focuses on traffic for landing page views, compared to conversions for purchases, for instance.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should proactively choose an objective like traffic simply to exit the learning phase faster. If the aim of your campaign is to generate purchases, then you obviously have to pick the conversion objective.
Your campaign objective should always be aligned with whatever outcome you have in mind. Anything other than that would simply be counterproductive. For instance, if your main aim is to drive product purchases, then it’s probably a good idea to try out the conversions objective optimising for purchases.
On the other hand, if your main goal is to generate leads, then you should rely on the conversions objective optimising for leads.
During the learning phase, your ad results will be unstable. This is because Facebook still hasn’t learned how to properly deliver your ads. In other words, expect performance fluctuations and higher costs during the learning phase.
And it comes as no surprise that Facebook advises against editing your ad set in the period. This is because your performance hasn’t stabilised yet. That and the fact that if you edit your ad set, the learning phase will be reset. So, whatever result actions you managed to do will go back to 0.
The importance of the learning phase
The Facebook ads learning phase ensures consistency in generating results from your campaigns. You see, Facebook’s optimisation can do wonders when it comes to cutting down the costs of your ad campaigns. However, such a process can take time to become fully functional.
And as we’ve mentioned above, it’s important to not perform any edits during this phase. It’s true that during this phase, your ad campaigns can be ineffective. Regardless, you have to fight the urge to edit them.
Only when the learning phase has been completed should you start to tinker with your campaign.
Moreover, don’t give up on your Facebook ads too early. It might seem like it’s going nowhere at this point, but if treated properly, it most definitely will. That’s why most veteran marketers only judge their ad sets’ performance after the learning phase is done.
Lastly, one key benefit of the learning phase is that Facebook continuously works to optimise your campaign while it’s in the learning phase, leading to better numbers. Say, for example, that your cost per purchase (conversion) sits at around £10 during the learning phase. After your ad gets out of said phase, you’d be looking at a reduced and more stable rate of £5, for instance.
Learning limited refers to the state that your ad set gets in after the learning phase if it doesn’t generate the required 50 result actions to leave the learning phase.
According to Facebook, a learning limited status is given to an ad set when “it isn’t generating enough leads to exit the learning phase. This usually occurs when your ad set is limited by audience size, cost control, budget or other settings. Consider making changes to your ad set to improve performance”.
However, you shouldn’t assume that your ad sets are doomed the moment you see the learning limited warning. You can have an ad set pickup pace and deliver profitable results while under the learning limited label.
If you don’t see any results, however, you should then resort to making the recommended adjustments. Not only will these changes get you out of this learning limited label, but they will also help you generate better results.
How to get out of the Facebook ads learning phase
There are some tips and tricks that you can implement to leave the learning phase quicker than usual:
Don’t use many Facebook ad sets
If you have multiple ad sets in a single campaign and many of them are hitting learning limited, then you have to resort to one thing. And that is to reduce the number of sets in that campaign. This strategy is especially effective if you have campaigns that use the campaign budget optimisation (CBO) feature.
You see, this feature tries its best to spread your campaign budget between the different sets, and this might backfire on you. How? You might ask. Well, your campaign budget might get spread too thin across the ad sets. As a result, it would become near impossible to generate those 50 result actions in a 7-day period from most of the sets.
What we recommend is that you stick to fewer ad sets instead. Tha;;t way, you can increase your chances of generating those 50 result actions required per set. Not only will this get you through the learning phase quicker and smoother, but it can reduce the chances of the ad sets hitting learning limited.
Here’s an example
For instance, let’s say your campaign currently has four ad sets in it. And some or even all of those sets have hit learning limited. One solution, in this case, would be to pause your campaign and duplicate it.
Once duplicated, try and combine two of the ad sets into a new single ad set. Do the same to the other two sets, and you’ve effectively cut the number of ad sets in half. By doing this under the same budget, you’ve basically doubled the spend per ad set and significantly improved your chances of generating those 50 result actions.
Which sets should I combine together? You might ask. Well, it’s generally a good idea to combine your most effective ad sets together and your “worse” ones together. This ensures that the most effective ones leave the learning phase faster and gives a chance to the less effective ones to work.
Increase your budget
One of the main reasons why your ads might be stuck in the learning phase is not spending enough. This is especially true if your ad set is using the conversions objective (optimising for purchases). This is because this objective has the lowest even action out of the bunch.
And it is only logical since getting people to actually buy your product or service is the hardest part to pull off. Indeed, the average conversion rate is somewhere in the ballpark of 3% to 10%.
To know how much money you need to set at the campaign level (CBO on) or at the ad set level (CBO off), you need to calculate the required ad spend for the 50 event actions.
For instance, if your current cost per purchase is around £10, then you need to spend 50 times that to ensure those 50 event actions. That’s £500 needed to be spent within 7 days to ensure success. In other words, your daily budget would be somewhere in the ballpark of £72.
Keep in mind that these numbers are for a single ad set. Assuming you have a campaign with three ad sets, you’re looking at a £213 daily spend.
And it’s understandable if you feel reluctant to spend more money on ad sets that have hit learning limited and are basically stuck in the learning phase. However, as we’ve mentioned, that might be the case because you’re not spending enough to get out.
Additionally, when it comes to setting budgets, the most important thing to keep in mind is that your audience size has a great effect on that. You see, the larger your audiences are, the more you can spend and the quicker you will reach them. And the quicker you reach them, the faster you’ll get out of the learning phase.
Avoid actions that reset the learning phase
The third and final way to exit the learning phase is to avoid resetting it while it’s on. This occurs whenever you make a significant edit to the ad set. And if we were to summarise the different actions that count as a significant edit, they would boil down to these three:
- Significantly increasing or decreasing your budget. Increasing or decreasing the budget of your ad set by more than 20% every 72 hours can reset the learning phase. That’s why we recommended duplicating your campaign and setting a new budget there
- Changing audiences. If you make a change to your current ad set’s audience, it’ll reset learning and go back to zero. And once again, the only way around this is to duplicate the campaign and make the changes there
- Adding new ads to the set. Adding new ads to an ad set can help you to improve campaign performance. However, such a change will reset your learning phase
We can smoothen out the learning phase of your Facebook Ads
Thanks to our team’s experience with Facebook Ads and their best practices, we can make the learning phase of your Facebook Ads smoother and faster. All you have to do is book a discovery call with us. And we’ll show you how you can nail paid advertising regardless of your industry.