If you work in digital marketing, in particular, anything related to social media marketing, it is crucial that you understand the ins and outs of Facebook’s learning phase.
The short answer is that the learning phase is an ad status within Facebook’s ads manager that helps marketers identify when the campaign is fully optimised.
For marketers, the learning phase ensures we keep our sanity while Facebook learns what to do with the campaign. Facebook labels the campaign as ‘learning phase’ when it is not fully optimised, which adds a bit of calmness if the campaign isn’t performing through the rough during the first hour! Learning Phase shows on the Ad Set view next to the Delivery Status where the ad typically says Active, however, the ad will now say “Active (learning)”.
On the learning phase, Facebook said:
- Once we have the data we need, your ad set can experience fewer performance fluctuations. At this point, you can make an informed decision about your ad set. If you’re satisfied with your results, you can let it keep running or increase its budget. If you’re unsatisfied, you can edit the ad set to try to improve its performance or pause it.
- During the learning phase, you can expect more performance fluctuations than usual. We recommend against making significant edits to your ad set during the learning phase. Doing so can cause the learning phase to reset before generating any meaningful information.
- Your ad set needs about 50 optimisation events after starting to run or since the last significant edit to complete the learning phase.
While the learning phase is something you need to be aware of, as a marketer or a business owner, it is also important to be aware of what actions can reset it. So, let me talk you through what could reset your ads and throw them back into the learning phase.
A change to your ad-set optimisation.
Any change to the optimisation of your ad-set will reset the learning phase, such as optimising for accelerated delivery (spending the budget as soon as possible) or balanced delivery.
A change to your audience targeting
Any change, no matter how small, to your audience targeting, will likely reset the learning phase. For example, if you remove one interest out of your audience targeting, it is likely to reset.
Pausing your ad set
If you pause your ad set, expect the learning phase to reset.
Adding a new advert to your ad set
It is common for marketers to bulk out ad sets with different adverts for increased audience frequency and to give different CTA options to decide which creative your audience prefers. However, expect any new advert additions to reset your ad set into the learning phase.
Editing your existing adverts
Another common action for marketers to do is to make tweaks and edits to adverts. It’s easy to suddenly think ‘oh, actually this advert might work better if I change this word’. However, if you do this, expect your ad sets to reset.