What is the Facebook Ads Learning Phase? And Why Does it Matter?
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.
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:
Image source: TamiBrehse.com
Facebook also lets you know when the learning phase has been completed:
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.
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IMPORTANT: If you haven’t yet seen my FREE training on Facebook Ads Strategy, I’d strongly recommend you check it out right now:
If you want better results from Facebook Ads – this is a must watch!
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.
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.
What is Learning Limited?
Facebook has recently introduced the “learning limited” warning and you may see something like this in your ad account:
If you do see learning limited in your ad account, Facebook will most likely give the following the reason:
“This ad set 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.”
In my experience, you’re most likely to see learning limited when you are operating with a relatively small budget or targeting a small audience.
However, don’t assume that Facebook ad campaigns can’t operate successfully when you see the learning limited warning.
They absolutely can and we have many ad sets delivering profitable results that are displaying this warning message.
My advice is to ignore the learning limited warning if you are generating great results.
If you are not, then you may want to try making some of the recommended adjustments to your Facebook ad campaigns to see if that will remove the learning limited warning and more importantly, improve your results.
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, and use the right strategy for YOUR products and services.
If you want to know how to create a Facebook advertising sales funnels, and customize your approach for what you sell, you should check out my free training called: 3 Killer Facebook Ads Strategies To Double (or More!) Your Revenue.
In it, I demonstrate 3 Facebook Ads strategies I’ve used to repeatedly generate 7+ figures for our clients.
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If you would like to find out more about our services, you can book a free 30-minute strategy session.
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.
If you don’t generate enough optimization events you may not exit the learning phase and you will see the learning limited warning.
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.