How Many Facebook Ads Should You Run?

how many facebook ads

I get a lot of questions about how many Facebook ads to run at any given time. It’s a good question.

You want to run enough to give yourself the greatest chance of success, but not so many that you compete against yourself or overload Facebook’s delivery mechanisms.

I’m going to discuss how to think about the volume of ads you should be running at once, how you should be changing that over time and some other questions.

It’s going to be valuable for many people who run multiple Facebook campaigns.

The Ideal Number of Facebook Ads Is Not About Budget

Determining how many Facebook ads to run

One of the things that people ask me a lot is “What should my budget per ad be?”

I understand where this question is coming from, but based on my experience it’s the wrong way to think about ads.

You can have one campaign that spends $500,000 and has three ads and have another campaign that spends $5,000 and has 20 ads.

The amount of ads that you have isn’t dictated by the budget or audience size.

The Ideal Numbers of Facebook Ads is About Optimizing Your Campaign

Run 4 Facebook ads per adset

Instead, the volume of ads is all about optimizing your campaign for optimal performance.

I’m going to show you how this works in a sample campaign.

For this example we’re going to assume you’re advertising a fairly simple product or service that’s less than $100 and that you’re using direct to offer strategies.

Pro Tip: One of the top ad strategies that we use on Facebook for our clients is a free giveaway. You can see examples (including the free give away) here.

Our Example Facebook Ad Campaign

Let’s talk about how many ads you should run at any one time by using an example campaign.

The first thing that we are going to do is turn on campaign budget optimization. This tells Facebook to optimize your campaign budget between the ad sets and give the most spend to the ad sets that are doing well.

Then I would set up three to five different adsets.

Example adsets

Each ad set is going to be targeting a different audience.

Once our campaign is up and running we might narrow down the number of ad sets over time.

The next step is to get into our ad level.

At the ad level we have four ads running in this ad set.

Example Facebook Ads

General Rule: We almost always run 2 to 5 ads per ad set in a Facebook campaign. And we find the sweet spot to be 4 ads per ad set.

I like to have four ads running in an ad set for several reasons.

  • It’s not too many. If you were to put 12 or 16 ads in here then Facebook would have a very hard time optimizing unless you were running very high budgets.
  • Four ads are enough to help you test a number of different creatives at once to see what has the best chance of working in a specific campaign.
  • Four ads that go to different target audiences will help Facebook work out which one will work with each specific target audience. There are nuances between audiences and setting up your campaign structure this way gives you a better chance of succeeding.

As an example of what to test in your ads, you could have one ad be a carousel, one be a slideshow, one be a static image, and one be a video.

Or you could use four different static images in your ads.

This can be an iterative process as well. If you start with four ads and find that one greatly outperforms the others, then you can create some more ads that are similar to the best performer and put those in at the ad level to test.

Sometimes this will result in incremental improvements that can not only keep your campaign fresh and make it last longer, but can often also make it more profitable.

We will often go through this process four, five, or even six times to drive our costs down and find the best creative for each audience.

Tip: When you are testing ads always keep your best ad running, turn off the ones that aren’t performing so well and put new creatives in with your best ad. Don’t ever turn off your best ad unless it stops performing.

This can result in a cost per purchase or cost per lead that’s about half or a third of what you originally had. It’s certainly worth testing.

Often you’ll have two, three or four ads that are all working well in an ad set. If that’s the case keep them all running at the same time.

We’ve found that different pockets of people respond differently to different ads and that having multiple ads running at the same time can mean that you have a longer duration that your campaign can run before you get into ad fatigue.

Important: When starting a campaign like this I will use identical 3 to 4 ads in every single ad set. This helps me to know which audience is more responsive.

We even use the same ads in our warm (retargeting) audiences.

What we find is that if we use tailored ads that call out specific behavior like “you forgot to add this to your cart” that people often get creeped out.

So we will use the same ads to the warm audience that we do to the cold audience to avoid the creep out factor.

Typically we refresh our ads about twice a month and slot in new ads against the winning adsets.

But remember for us, we often manage accounts that are spending about $10,000 – $200,000 a month on ads. Which means that we will often have to refresh ad creatives more often than folks who are spending $300 or $500 a month on ads.

So you may be able to refresh ads every two months or so if your spend is lower or if you have very large audiences.

More Free Facebook Ads Training

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3. How Facebook & Instagram have changed (and why old approaches DON’T work anymore).

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Video Tutorial: How Many Facebook Ads Should You Run?

In this video I go over why asking how much to spend per ad is the wrong question and how to think about using the amount of ads you run to optimize your campaigns.

The Bottom Line on Determining How Many Facebook Ads to Run

It’s always a good idea to run multiple Facebook ads in each ad set. We recommend running 3 to 5 ads per ad set.

This allows you to optimize your campaign and helps you to drive down cost per acquisition and keep your campaign running longer before it burns out.

You can run different images or videos or mix and match the type of ads you run by running carousel, video, and still image ads in the same ad set.

About The Author

Ben Heath

Ben Heath is a Facebook advertising 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 Facebook advertising strategies that deliver industry leading ROIs.

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