Facebook Introduces ‘Learning Phase’ For Ads Manager

 In Facebook, Social Media

As complex and difficult Facebook has been to get started for businesses of all sizes, Facebook revealed an exciting, new addition to their ad platform (no, it’s not another profile photo change).  The change, called the ‘Learning Phase’, is now an ads status within Facebook Ads Manager that helps the advertiser identify when the campaign is fully optimized.

Facebook Ads Learning PhaseThis Learning Phase of an ad launch is a small, but enormous update to help advertisers keep a bit of their sanity.  Now we know we’re not just looking for 15 to 25 purchases, but Facebook will actually list this status to indicate that an ad or campaign is fully optimized to deliver the results for your campaign objective.  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)”.

When we start delivering your ad set, whether at the start of a campaign or after you make a significant edit, we don’t have all the data necessary to deliver it as stably as possible. In order to get that data, we have to show ads to different types of people to learn who is most likely to take the action you’re optimizing for (your “Optimization for Ad Delivery” choice). This process is called the “learning phase.”

Once we have the data we need, the learning phase ends and your ad set should experience fewer performance fluctuations. (That said, it’s useful to keep in mind that delivery will get even more stable as we collect more data beyond the learning phase.) 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.

Facebook Learning PhaseActive Learning FacebookAccording to the new delivery status, Facebook shows the learning phase needs 50 purchases instead of the recommended 15-25 in the past.  However, this is nothing new, as we all know the more purchases your campaign gets the more optimized your ads become.  One early bug we’ve found shows that even with old ads running up until today, the learning phase needs more data even with a well-oiled campaign (second screenshot to the right) that has 474 purchases.  Its important to note that any changes to an active campaign will reset this learning phase.

Clearly, there’s pain points in Facebook Ads Manager that make optimization difficult or even making the right call on shutting down the ad.  Facebook advertisers will surely see this as a great step towards better decision making within their campaigns.  As Facebook officially states there’s no change in their algorithm or how Facebook Ads work:

Important: The learning phase is a normal part of the lifecycle of an ad set. It’s always existed, we’re now just letting you know it’s happening. It doesn’t indicate that your ad set is experiencing any sort of unusual performance issue.

Will this help you better manage your campaigns?

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Showing 14 comments
  • John "Blaze" Chatman
    Reply

    Excellent breakdown Brendan.

    I just noticed the “learning phase” upgrade thanks
    to one of my friend’s posting a jpeg on it and this
    article gave me the exact info I was looking for.

    Thanks partner.

    • Brendan McMahon
      Brendan McMahon
      Reply

      Glad to could help John!

  • Ryan Strandjord
    Reply

    Ugh, this so called “Learning Phase” appears to be stalling several of my FB ads from doing ANYTHING. I’ve never known FB not to spend (or at least get close to spending) a set daily budget, and right now it’s spending virtually nothing and serving ads to almost no one.

    • Brendan McMahon
      Brendan McMahon
      Reply

      Sorry to hear Ryan! According to Facebook, there’s nothing new happening in terms of the optimization, but it does give the appearance of ads going back into a learning phase just looking at the notification. I’m surprised it gave 50 conversions as the optimization. Definitely reach out to Facebook directly and get it resolved on their end if a change is stalling ads.

    • Jasmine
      Reply

      Did you have any luck reaching out to FB about the ads stalling? My ads are also stalling for HOURS in the learning phase and making my page look very unbalanced compared to engagement of previous posts.

  • Johan
    Reply

    Hi Brendan. Thanks for the article. For some reason all of my ads still (more than only month old to ones created mere hours ago), still only shows active, and not the Learning part. Any idea what I can do to see the status?

    • Brendan McMahon
      Brendan McMahon
      Reply

      Hi Johan – It looks like this is being rolled out as we’re only seeing it under some of our accounts, just the same as we’re seeing pieces of Power Editor moved into the new Ads Manager. Be patient, it will come! 🙂

  • Alex
    Reply

    Great article!
    Our account had the learning phase and the learning phases status bar, but we just recently noticed that it went away!

    Anyone know what happened?

  • Ayman
    Reply

    Hi Guys! It is not necessary that you get 50 Purchases in 7 days, if this number is hard for you to reach just edit your add and choose Initial CheckOut instead Purchase! This also count as a conversion! Your ad can get to 50 and get the learning phase in less than 7 days! Also you will get your Ad optimization faster!
    NB: Leave your ad at least running for 24 hours before making any changes again!

  • Lisa Ciaravino
    Reply

    Hello, I am experiencing the same issue as Ryan with recent campaign ads not performing at all due to this new “learning phase”. Very frustrated at this point!

    • Jenn
      Reply

      I’m also having the same issue. I started a new campaign, ad set, and ad for a client almost 24 hours ago. The ad set is still “learning” and the ad has reached 0 people! Now I’m starting to get nervous!

      • Brendan McMahon
        Brendan McMahon
        Reply

        Hi Jen / Lisa – Hopefully your ads have started running by now. 🙂 But if not, make sure you’re looking at today’s data. If you’re seeing that you have budget and it should be spending, check your relevance score. If you’re well-versed in Facebook ads and have gone through all of the checks, I’ve seen campaigns not perform when the pixel is not installed properly. If all else fails send Facebook a note and they should have an answer for any issues on their end. Sorry to hear you’re running into trouble!

  • MJ
    Reply

    Would I be correct to assume that changing the ad would reset the learning phase for that ad set? I feel that switching the active ad would be considered a ‘significant edit’ to the ad set. Thanks!

    • Brendan McMahon
      Brendan McMahon
      Reply

      Yes – that’s correct! Any creative change completely resets the ad, and its learning phase, even to an existing adset. An adset is nothing without its ads :). Thanks for your question!

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