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 29 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!

  • abhijeet kumar
    Reply

    Nice Article, I am Facing the Same problem, When it appears in my Ads, I Thought it Was Some Kind of Caping by Facebook. Thanks For sharing this Article.

  • feliksherbs
    Reply

    Thanks for this news.
    I am running lead generation campaign and after this learning phase update my campaign becomes stuck now I am getting very less leads from campaign according to past month. can u suggest me why it’s happening to me and what should i do???

    • Brendan McMahon
      Brendan McMahon
      Reply

      Hello – depending on your targeting, how quickly you’ve reached that target and how likely they are to convert are all things that factor into your cost per lead. The learning phase has less to do with your performance and more about your target audience and one-week performance.

  • Don
    Reply

    Is the “Learning Phase” comment still being used? I don’t see where it says Learning Phase like your picture above.

    • Brendan McMahon
      Brendan McMahon
      Reply

      Hi Don – yes, its still active for any ad accounts we’re serving here in the U.S. Learning Phase is just more visible with this update, its something that’s always existed, just made more apparent for user-friendliness. You should still focus on getting 15-25 conversions in your first week. Cheers!

  • Eric
    Reply

    Hello Brendan, thank you for the informative article. I am facing the same issues with Jordan as I can’t seem to find this feature on my ad account. Is this perhaps only for USA facebook accounts? I am a Canadian.

    Thank you.

    • Brendan McMahon
      Brendan McMahon
      Reply

      Hi Eric – I do know there are different features rolled out in Canada so I cannot guarantee its been active yet. There are also different “products” or abilities within business manager as assigned by Facebook but the general capabilities are no different for you or anyone in the US. Best of luck!

  • Jude
    Reply

    Must I let my ad run for 7days to get 50 conversion.

    Can I instead do a 1day conversion window and reach the learning phase faster, by spending $125 and let in run for one day, because I usually get 2 conversions @ $5 , when I use leads conversion objective.

    • Brendan McMahon
      Brendan McMahon
      Reply

      You’ll likely get more attribution with a 7-day window. No need to wait a week for 50 conversions as that’s the max amount of time it should take. The sooner you reach it, the sooner your ad is optimized! But really, if you’re getting good results, you may not need to reach the full 50 conversions. Sometimes 25 is enough. Good luck!

  • Rahul
    Reply

    If we create a new ad manager account and then share the pixel and custom audience b/w them, do you think this learning process will have to happen for the ads you create? The ads I am talking about here are the ones we export from the other Facebook Ad account.

    • Brendan McMahon
      Brendan McMahon
      Reply

      Hi Rahul,

      Yes, the learning phase is based on adsets from their last change. This means either the beginning of your campaign or changing an audience within your adset. Even though you are sharing the pixel, with another business manager you’ll still need to reach that threshold within the adset.

      Hope this helps!

  • Justin Saunders
    Reply

    Great information!
    So let’s say I start an ad for $5 a day and its in the “learning phase” should i not scale that ad until its out of the learning phase?
    -How do you personally scale a winning ad set? Everyone i’ve talked to says something different.

    • Brendan McMahon
      Brendan McMahon
      Reply

      Hi Justin,

      Glad this helped! Learning phase is more about your adset learning until its reached enough data points to be optimized. Your spend should reflect getting your campaign optimized quickly. Depending on your conversion goal and what you’ve found works or not works, put your confidence behind your budget. If you’re early on running ads with an ad account, I wouldn’t scale as drastically as you don’t have anything to base your confidence on.

      Scaling is the golden goose – every scenario is different, but I’ll say that if your results are phenomenal, then I’m more likely to drastically increase budget. Remember – your adset is optimized for your spend, so any changes can alter it. This is why I recommend starting your budget based on past behavior.

      Good luck!

  • Joseph S
    Reply

    Hi Brandon, I started a FB Lead Generation campaign 2 days ago. The first day (only a half day b/c I started it in the afternoon) it got 5 leads in an hour. But the 2nd day it only got 2 leads the whole day. Is this due to the ad being in the learning phase and Facebook is putting the ad in front of different audiences? It sucks wasting money on audiences that aren’t converting when they clearly had it right for an hour but then switched to a less converting audience.

    • Brendan McMahon
      Brendan McMahon
      Reply

      Hi Joseph,

      It can definitely be frustrating. In the beginning of any campaign, Facebook will try to optimize your campaign quicker by reaching the most likely people. Depending on your seed audience, it also likely went after the lowest hanging fruit. Remember, you need much more than 5 leads to optimize your campaign, so keep your eye on the prize and think long-term.

      Cheers,
      Brendan

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