Learning phase on Facebook. Why do you need to remember about it?

The new Facebook campaign is not working as it should. Your first reaction? You certainly want to make the necessary changes. Or maybe it's worth… waiting? All because of the learning phase, without which no campaign can be done. What exactly is the Facebook learning phase, why is it a curse for many marketers
and what can you do to tame it?

Facebook learning phase

The learning phase will start each time you launch a new set of Facebook ads or make changes to an existing set. What is its purpose?

Facebook's algorithm takes time to optimize its performance and show ads to those users who give the best chance of conversion: be it a like or a purchase of a product.

In other words, the learning phase is there to make your campaign more effective.

Technically, the learning phase is where the algorithm shows your ads to different people within your designated target group and then tries to determine the exact profile of the people who convert. So, the learning phase is a kind of test in which the results of the campaign may be weaker.

Facebook typically needs 50 conversions (optimization events: events for which the ad set is optimized) for the algorithm to build an effective profile of the desired user, complete the test, and start showing ads to those audiences that give the best chance of conversion.

The ad set status then changes from "Learning" to "Active". The learning phase typically takes no more than 7 days, but may end sooner if the ad set has generated the necessary number of events.

If your ad set is in the learning phase, you'll find the message in the "Completion" column in the ad set preview.

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Limited learning

What if the ad set has failed to generate 50 conversions during this week? It enters the "limited learning" phase and will not be as effective as possible.

Limited learning is not a death sentence, and there are campaigns whose results are acceptable at this stage.
In general, however, try to avoid returning the campaign to the learning phase.

Influence of the learning phase on the campaign

As I mentioned, during the learning phase, the results of your campaign may not be as expected. What does it mean? Fewer conversions, lower conversion rate, higher CPA, and you can under-utilize your budget.

You have to accept this, as long as the results are not so bad that they do not promise to achieve 50 conversions and exit the learning phase. Therefore, when planning a campaign, take into account the inevitability of the learning phase.

Are you preparing a Christmas campaign or a specific promotion? Consider launching it early enough so that the campaign doesn't get stuck in the learning phase at a crucial moment.

However, if your campaigns are not getting out of the learning phase, then stress free. In my advertising story more than once i saw ad kits erroneously display it for a long time, kits converting great despite allegedly stuck in this phase ... well, Facebook is full of bugs.

How to shorten the length of the learning phase?

As you can see, it is worth leaving the learning phase as soon as possible. And when you do, avoid going back to her. How can this be achieved? You have a few tools.

Optimization events. Each ad set should be optimized for a specific event. Remember that the set must collect 50 events during the week to exit the learning phase.

It will be easier for some events, quite the contrary for others.

In general, it will be more difficult to collect a sufficient number of events quickly when optimizing for sales, application installation or lead generation. It will be much easier with the events that we encounter more often, such as likes or page views.

If you are unable to achieve the desired number of desired events, consider changing the optimization model.

Example? Instead of optimizing for the subscription to the newsletter, choose to enter the page where the subscription form is located. This will help the algorithm and the record percentage should remain at a satisfactory level. Instead of optimizing to finalize the sale of the product, choose to view the cart.

Remember that the fewer events the ad set generates per day, the longer the learning phase will take.

Optimization window. Optimization events alone aren't enough. The time period over which these events are counted also counts.

If you set the conversion window to one day, you tell the algorithm to generate 50 optimization events within 7 days that occurred within one day of conversion. Difficult task, right? Try to make them easier by setting up a longer conversion window. This is especially important for developing online stores that do not yet have huge budgets and the large scale of operations that follow, or B2B companies!

Budget. It also influences the length of the learning phase. If you plan to spend several thousand zlotys a day, the algorithm will quickly collect the necessary data. However, if the budget is PLN 20 a day, the algorithm has a sum of PLN 140 during the week. Which means it has PLN 2.8 for each event.

If it's a click or a view, it probably can handle it. But if you sell cars, the conversion can be a bit more expensive, to put it mildly. So consider how much the event you think is a conversion may cost.

One more thing - budget changes. Changes greater than 20% to your budget can bring your active ad set back into the learning phase. Avoid drastic corrections.

The size of the target group. Even with a high budget, a very narrow target audience will make it difficult to get the minimum number of target events. This can happen with campaigns targeted locally or targeted at a small number of groups involved. If you are having trouble getting out of the learning phase, consider expanding your target audience or increasing your group membership range (in custom groups).

Plan changes. Make any changes carefully. Most tampering with a running campaign can re-enable the learning phase of the ad set. I wrote about how to avoid this situation elsewhere. Most importantly, with a little caution, you avoid the painful return to the learning phase.

You can treat the learning phase as a necessary evil, but better understand that it is necessary for the effective operation of the campaign. If you tame the learning phase, your Facebook campaigns will surely benefit a lot.

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