What is the Facebook Ads Learning Phase? And Why Does it Matter?

Facebook ads learning phase

The Facebook ads learning phase is critical to their campaign optimization process. Here’s how it works:

How the Facebook Ads Learning Phase Works:

When you create an ad set and select an objective, Facebook will optimise your campaign for that objective.

In other words, Facebook will put your ads in front of people that are most likely to take your desired action.

For example, if you select the traffic objective, Facebook will serve your ads to the ‘clickiest’ people in your target audience.

To do this effectively, Facebook needs to experiment early on and show your ads to different types of people within your target audience. That way they can work out who is most likely to take your desired action.

How Long Does the Learning Phase Last?

Facebook’s learning phase usually ends when you have generated 50 optimization events.

What that optimization event is, depends on your objective.

50 optimization events for a lead ad campaign would be 50 leads. Whereas 50 events for a conversions campaign would be 50 conversions.

It’s important to note that if you’re optimizing for conversions, the 50 conversions will need to occur inside your conversion window.

A 7 day conversion window means you need to generate at least 50 conversions per week for your campaigns to be optimized properly.

If you’re running a conversions campaign and generating significantly less than 50 conversions per week, you may want to use another objective such as traffic.

Facebook won’t stop gathering data and optimizing your ad sets after the learning phase has ended.

The longer your ad sets are active and the more optimization events you generate, the easier it will be for Facebook to optimise your campaigns. This should lead to a reduced cost per optimization event and more stable results.

Facebook shows you which ad sets are currently in the learning phase in the Delivery column:

Facebook ads learning phase reporting

Image source: TamiBrehse.com

Facebook also lets you know when the learning phase has been completed:

Facebook ads initial learning complete

Why Does the Learning Phase Matter?

The learning phase is crucial for consistently generating great results from your Facebook ad campaigns.

Facebook’s optimization process can make a big difference to your cost per optimization event, but it can take time.

It’s very important that you don’t make major adjustments to your ad sets during the learning phase. Doing so can reset the learning phase before you’ve had a chance to generate meaningful data.

Not making adjustments early on can be difficult to do, particularly for Facebook advertising beginners.

During the learning phase your Facebook ad campaigns will be at their least effective and results are likely to fluctuate significantly. But it’s best to resist the temptation to tinker with things until the learning phase has been completed.

One of my top Facebook advertising tips, is to not give up on your Facebook ads too early. This is especially true when your ad sets are going through the learning phase.

Don’t judge your ad sets’ performance until the learning phase has finished. You’ll get a much more accurate representation of your ad sets’ performance once they have.

When Does the Learning Phase Restart?

You won’t trigger the learning phase to restart every time you make an adjustment to your ad set or the ads within it.

For example, making small adjustments to your Facebook ad budget or setting a bid cap won’t restart the learning phase.

But the majority of edits, and particularly significant ones will restart the learning phase.

Facebook have told us that the following adjustments are likely to restart the learning phase:

  • Any change to targeting
  • Any change to ad creative
  • Pausing your ad set for 7 days or longer
  • Any change to optimization event
  • Adding a new ad to your ad set

If you do need to make significant adjustments to your ad set or ads then by all means do so. Don’t let the learning phase stop you from doing that.

Just make sure that you do so once, and then wait until after the learning phase has been completed again before assessing performance.

How to Get the Most Out of the Facebook Ads Learning Phase

One of the keys to success with Facebook advertising is to create a full sales funnel, instead of just relying on one ad campaign.

With that being said, it can be a good idea to make sure you have all your Facebook ad campaigns in place before starting your TOF (top of funnel) campaign. That way Facebook can correctly optimise your campaigns during the learning phase.

If you want to know how to create a full Facebook advertising sales funnel, you should check out my 30-Day Facebook Advertising Launch Plan.

It takes you step-by-step through my exact process and is one of the best resources I have created.

Conclusion

The Facebook ads learning phase is really a important part of Facebook’s ad set optimization process.

It usually lasts until 50 optimization events have been generated and is reset when significant edits are made to an ad set or the ads within it.

During the learning phase you are likely to see inconsistent and fluctuating results.

You should not make significant adjustments to your ad sets during the Facebook ads learning phase if they can be helped.

And you should not judge performance until after the learning phase has been completed.

What’s your experience with Facebook’s learning phase been?

Let me know in the comments section.

About The Author

Ben Heath

Ben Heath is a digital marketing expert, writer and the Founder of Lead Guru. Alongside creating content for our online community, he works closely with our clients to develop and implement digital marketing strategies that deliver industry leading ROIs.

2 Comments

  • Lawrence

    Reply Reply November 13, 2018

    Hi,

    I started a FB conversion ad (for the 1st time) 3 days ago and it’s undergoing the learning phase.

    So far , it has not made any conversions but the adset did about 2k impressions.

    What is you recommendation ? Do I extend my “testing/learning” window for a few more days or would it be best to leave it alone and allow this to come to a gradual end?

    Any recommendation / advise to take this further is appreciated?

    Regards
    Lawrence

    • Ben Heath

      Reply Reply November 13, 2018

      Hi Lawrence, for a conversion campaign to properly optimise you’re looking for around 50 conversions so you won’t complete the learning phase for a while. Whether you should kill your campaign or not depends on how much you’ve spent and what your willing to pay per conversion?

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