Did you know that Facebook Ads go through a learning phase? Each time an ad appears to your potential customers, the Facebook algorithm gets smarter and works to optimize performance. This generally takes about 7 days and can result in less stable and less attractive cost per action. It is important to be patient when creating Facebook ads and let the learning cycle do its magic. The learning phase is very important and should not be avoided.
The learning phase starts when you launch a new ad or ad set. It also starts when you make a significant change to an existing ad or ad set. Significant changes include:
- Modifications to targeting
- Modifications to ad creative
- Modifications to an optimization event
- Adding a new ad to your ad set
- Pausing your ad set for 7 days or longer
- Adjusting your bid strategy
It is best to wait until your ad is out of the 7-day learning phase before making any of these significant changes. If you make changes within the 7-day learning phase, you may not be working with the best data for decision making. Performance can be unstable and changing things significantly will just re-start the learning process.
You must also be mindful when making changes that you will be triggering another learning phase. This may come as a surprise, but the more ads and ad sets you have, the less the system can actually learn. Combining similar ad sets will make Facebook smarter and improve the performance of your ads.
Budgets also matter! If your budget is too small or too large, the system struggles to optimize performance. Make sure you select a budget that allows you to meet your goals and is sustainable.
It may be helpful to think about Facebook ads like a child learning to ride a bike. Her first attempt (smaller budget, dynamic ad) is like riding with training wheels. Once she is comfortable (has completed the learning phase) then she can ride a 2 wheeler on her own (optimized ad running after learning phase). Then, to take things to the next level, that same child may want to learn how to ride a motorcycle (larger budget, more sophisticated ad campaign based on bicycle ad learning). They would start off with training wheels on the motorcycle (learning phase) and then start doing wheelies and drag racing (optimized, larger budget ad that is producing more impactful results).