A Facebook campaign is either active or inactive . . . right? Not exactly.
The addition of Facebook ad statuses such as “Learning Phase” and “Learning Limited” have auto dealers and other advertisers asking, “how does this affect my Facebook ad results?”
While a quick Google search can give you an overview of the Learning Phase and Learning Limited in Facebook, we’re here to shed some light on what these ad status actually mean for your dealership’s Facebook ad success.
A (Brief) Overview of the Learning Phase and Learning Limited
We can’t explain how the Learning Phase and Learning Limited ad statuses affect your Facebook ads without giving a little bit of context.
The Learning Phase
Once you activate a new ad set (or make a significant edit to an existing one), Facebook needs to learn how to best distribute your ad in order to show it to the audience most likely to engage with it. This time period can last up to seven days and is called the Learning Phase.
You’ll know if your ad set is in the Learning Phase if it says “learning” under the Delivery column.
To exit the Learning Phase, Facebook requires 50 desired optimization actions (link clicks, landing page views, etc.) to take place. Regardless of audience size, this 50 optimization action requirement doesn’t change, meaning an ad set with an audience of 100 and an ad set with an audience of 100,000 both require 50 actions.
If your ad set delivers 50+ optimizations within this seven day timeframe, it exits the Learning Phase and your ads are “optimized” according to Facebook’s standards. If it doesn’t receive 50 optimization events . . .
This may be a little anticlimactic, but Learning Limited isn’t actually that scary at all. It can, however; be confusing if you don’t understand what “Learning Limited” actually means.
If after the seven day Learning Phase period your ad set doesn’t achieve 50 optimization events, it enters “Learning Limited” status.
According to Facebook, an ad set typically reaches Learning Limited status due to small audience size, low budget, low bid or cost control, or running too many ads at the same time.
Having an ad set reach Learning Limited status does not mean that it has stopped running. Instead, it serves as a warning to advertisers that you may want to consider making changes to your ads in order to achieve peak optimization according to Facebook’s standards.
Did you catch those final words of the last paragraph? “According to Facebook” is the big disclaimer to keep in mind.
While Facebook is trying to help you out by letting you know your ad sets may need some extra attention and editing, the “Learning Limited” status is not the end all be all for automotive Facebook ad success.
For example, if you’re running a bottom-of-the-funnel test-drive ad targeted to an audience of recent SUV leads, your audience will naturally be smaller. This makes it more difficult to achieve those 50 optimization events required to exit the Learning Phase.
Even if your ad set never exits “Learning Limited” status, when you look at the Facebook ad metrics that matter for your dealership, it could very well be that your Facebook campaign was a success!
Three Tips to Avoid Learning Limited Status
While “Learning Limited” isn’t the final nail on the coffin for your automotive Facebook ads, this status can be a helpful indication to take another look at your ad set and ads in a given campaign.
Even if your ad set hits “Learning Limited” status, it is possible to transition to a healthy “active” status. To avoid this status try doing these three things:
- Increase audience size: Incorporating more interest-based targeting audiences, custom audiences, and special ad audiences to your ad sets can increase your audience size. You can also achieve a larger audience by increasing your radius of targeting.
- Limit the number of ad sets: When a campaign includes more than one ad set, each ad set delivers less often, which means fewer opportunities for an ad set to exit the Learning Phase. We recommend sticking with one or two ad sets per campaign.
- Increase budget: No one likes to hear that they need to be spending more money, but if you want your automotive ads to be seen, you’re going to need a realistic budget to do it.