When it comes to running social media ads, there are plenty of mistakes that can be made. As a complete newbie to the Facebook Ads platform, it can appear like a minefield and it really does take years of experience to fully understand every aspect (even now I’m still learning things!). Once you’ve got the usual ‘mistakes’ out of the way; incorrect audience targeting, using the wrong objective, spreading the budget too thin etc. there are still key mistakes that you could quite possibly be making that are having a negative impact on your results. Here’s the biggest one that I’ve recently encountered…
Turning your ads off
Have you ever had a client tell you that their ads run better on Fridays so to save budget can we turn off on Mondays to save budget? Sounds very familiar right? Working in social media you get this a lot. And you do fully understand the client’s point of view – if only the platform worked like that. Every time you turn an ad or a campaign off and on again, you’re stilting the performance of your campaigns. Here’s why.
Everyone is aware of the learning phase (if you’re not please read another one of my blogs!). It’s the enemy of accounts that want quick wins, but amazing for accounts that appreciate the long term potential of Facebook advertising. When you turn on an ad that you turned off, say over the weekend, you are actually pushing that back into the learning phase. That campaign then gets really confused, because it’s pretty sure that it has already done all the learning? But now it has to learn again. So it starts learning again, but … something is wrong because there is already some data in the campaign and this time it’s changed … enter ‘learning limited’. Learning Limited is the most frustrating stage an ad set can enter, as Facebook is basically telling you “you’ve messed something up so now I won’t work optimally, do something or I’ll cost you lots of money and you’ll see no results”. Your campaigns are effectively doing this:
Have you ever wondered why when you pause your campaigns over a weekend you always have a really bad first few days of running them again? You’ve effectively stuck them in a very confused learning phase, indefinitely. This is also the case if you pause something because it is temporarily out of stock, turning the ad back on once the stock has been delivered just won’t cut it. The only way to fully fix an adset that has done this is to stop the campaign, duplicate it and start it again from scratch. (Sorry to inform you of that!)
It might make sense in principle, to only run ads on the days that you’re achieving the highest return, but Facebook really doesn’t like this.
The solution to the problem
Ok, all hope is not lost. You have a couple of different options if you really want to turn your ads off sometimes. If you don’t want to run ads on certain days, you can do this easily when using a lifetime budget as opposed to a daily budget. All you have to do in this case is select ‘run ads on a schedule’ and pick your time and day – easy! Your ad will now only run on the times you selected. Technically, the ad isn’t being turned off, so doesn’t re-enter the learning phase. It isn’t an ideal solution and still might have an impact on your performance, but it is definitely better than turning them off completely.
Your second option, you need to be quite wary of, but if you really have to it can work. Using a daily budget you can set a rule to reduce your spend by X% on days that you choose. This way you can reduce your spend, so your ad is still running and hasn’t been turned off, so you won’t re-enter the learning phase. However, be cautious as reducing the ad spend by too much can also affect the performance of your ad. You should never really increase/decrease an ad spend more than 20% at a time as this affects the stability of your account.
The top of and bottom of it – unless you definitely have to turn off your ad and on again, don’t! The key thing to remember when running campaigns is stability. When you complete any action that has an impact on the learning of your campaigns, you’re effectively shooting yourself on the foot. My tip is to take a step back, think about the action and the impact of that. And always, duplicate and relaunch your ads if you’ve had to turn it off!