What Is the Facebook Learning Phase?

For most businesses in Thailand, Facebook is an important channel to communicate with both new and existing customers. Facebook Ads allows businesses to extend their reach and put themselves in front of potential new customers. These ads are highly accessible and allow small businesses to effectively promote their brand alongside much larger competitors.

To better optimise marketing campaigns, the platform takes ads through what is called the Facebook Ads Learning Phase. This is an important stage in running successful ad campaigns on Facebook that is not often talked about but can strongly influence outcomes.

What Is Facebook Ads Learning Phase?

The learning phase occurs at the beginning of an ad campaign, or when marketers make significant changes to an existing campaign.

For instance, if you have created an ad campaign using the Messenger objective, Facebook will try to determine who within the audiences you are targeting is more likely to click on the Ad and send a message.

Because it is a testing phase, cost-per-action (CPA) can often fluctuate, but the data generated will help inform later stages on how to secure the best results. The delivery system takes time to learn about the best way to deploy an ad set. When the performance of the ad set reaches 50 optimisation events the ad set will exit the learning phase and the results should start to stabilise.

An optimisation event is an action result you hope your target audience will perform, like clicking on the link to your website. Once you have about 50 clicks, the learning phase will then come to an end.

Facebook indicates when an ad set is in the learning phase. It also notifies you when the learning phase has come to an end through the Delivery column in Ads Manager.

What to Do During the Learning Phase

Because this is a testing phase, it is advisable to let it run its course before making any changes or drawing any conclusions. Choosing to make major adjustments in the middle of this process could restart the phase, meaning more delays in having your campaign finally optimised for best results. Minor changes will however not likely affect the learning phase.

Optimisation of Facebook Ad campaigns does not however stop with the learning phase. Facebook algorithms will continue to analyse data to help keep your campaigns optimised for as long as they are running. It can be unnerving when you realise your ad campaign is not producing the results you hoped for quickly enough, but there is some benefit to allowing this phase to perform its duties.

What Is Learning Limited

A learning limited warning is a notification from Facebook that the ad set is unable to exit the learning phase. It generally means your ad set is not generating enough result actions, so less than the required 50 optimisation events. The notification will indicate the reason behind this including having too small a setting like an audience size or budget.

Learning limited occurs when the Ad set isn’t generating enough conversions to exit the learning phase. 

If you many ad sets in a campaign, you may find that your campaign budget is being spread too thin. It may help to reduce your ad sets to reduce the instances of learning limited. With fewer ad sets your budget for each one will be higher and increase the likelihood of securing a result action. Another solution may be to simply boost your ad set budget. Also, avoiding resetting the learning phase may help to reduce the problem of duplicate versions of the original campaign being created. 

While you should make a note of this warning when it pops up, it does not necessarily mean you are not running a good campaign. If your ad sets are delivering on the targets you set out, then you can likely ignore this warning without a problem. However, if performance is poor, you can consider making some adjustments for better results.

Benefits of The Learning Phase

The key benefit of the learning phase is that it helps marketers generate the best results from running Facebook ad campaigns. When your campaigns are better optimised, you can secure a higher ROI that makes Facebook advertising more profitable for your business. During the learning phase, your campaigns may not be highly effective but the data generated will help ensure later stages are.

Once Ad Sets have completed the Learning Phase the delivery will be marked as Active

It is important to be patient when running a Facebook ad campaign. Do not expect to get instantaneous results. As your ad sets go through the learning phase, be sure to simply wait for the results, or at worst, make only minor adjustments. This will reduce the risk of having the phase start over and prolong the wait for results. Remember that at the end you will have gained better insight as to how your ad sets have performed and should be optimised for better results for your campaign.

Key points of the Facebook Learning Phase

  • Complete the learning phase – Let the learning phase finish its work. This process will often just take a few days to complete. If you make adjustments in the middle, you run the risk of resetting learning and waiting afresh.
  • Make changes only when necessary and keep them minor – Sometimes you may feel that a change is necessary to improve performance. If so, try to make it only a minor change that will not significantly alter how the ad set performs. Otherwise, be prepared to wait for the process to start from the top.
  • Keep ad sets to a minimum – Do not overwhelm the delivery system by launching too many ad campaigns at the same time. This will limit the data it can generate about each ad set and learn how to optimise it. consider combining your ad sets rather than running separate campaigns.
  • Set realistic budgets – Too small or large a budget may affect the delivery system’s ability to estimate how many people it should optimise for. Try to target the 50 optimisation events and avoid making too many changes to budget settings.
  • Be realistic – If you are running a new campaign, especially with a lower budget, make sure you are targeting an event that is likely to happen. At Phoenix Media, we suggest targeting an event further up the funnel for new campaigns. For example, targeting Add to cart instead or purchase.

If you’re looking for some help with Facebook or Instagram Ads, or would just like a free consultation, get in touch with one of the team today.

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