Facebook Ads Learning phase

How does the learning phase work in practice? Let’s say, you’ve just created your ad and put it live. Now what? 

A quick mention of the learning phase before we continue. The learning phase is the period when the ad delivery system is learning (i.e., getting data) about who to target in combination with your objective, bid and budget. 

How does the learning phase work in practice? Let’s say, you’ve just created your ad and put it live. Now what? 

Now the system has to learn to which people the ad should be shown in order to get the most desired results (your objective). The way that it does that is through measuring engagement. 

Ads are treated like any other piece of content, and the same rule applies to both: it has to be engaging for the user. That’s why the highest paying ad doesn’t always win the auction. It comes down to a combination of the bid and the engagement that the ad is getting. When the algorithm finds a person who engages with the ad, it gives the signal that this type of user is interested and Facebook should be finding more of these people because they clearly enjoy this type of content. When the algorithm has found approximately 50 conversions, it has enough signals to justify scaling distribution within the constraints it has been given. On average, Facebook says it needs 50 conversions to get out of the learning phase. Read more about the learning phase on the Facebook website

The cost per result goes down the more conversions (data) the system is getting in.

Leave your ads alone!

Leaving your ads alone when they are running is both difficult and important. The learning phase kicks in after each significant edit (and needs approximately  50 conversions to get out). 

A significant edit is:

  • Any change to your targeting
  • Any change to your creative
  • Any optimization event
  • Adding a new ad to your ad set
  • Pausing your ad set for seven days or longer
  • Changing your bid strategy

Things that are not seen as significant edits are:

  • Changes to your ad set spending limit amount
  • Changes to your bid control, cost control or ROAS control amounts
  • Changes to your budget amount

So, once you’ve set up your ads, you should leave them alone (in order to reach 50 conversions and get out of the learning phase). But what if your ads are performing poorly? Should you just sit there and wait while you’re bleeding money? If you want to get the most out of the Facebook ads system, then yes, you should leave them alone. And this is why a good setup is so important. Once you have a good, strong (consolidated) setup in place, you’re in a better position to trust the system and wait until it finds your engaged audience. If your ads are all over the place and you don’t know what you’re doing, it will cause you unnecessary stress and cost you money.

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