What Is Facebook’s New Learning Phase? [May 2020]

Firstly, what is Facebook’s learning phase?

In Facebook’s own words: ‘The learning phase is the period when the delivery system still has a lot to learn about an ad set. During the learning phase, the delivery system is exploring the best way to deliver your ad set – so performance is less stable and cost per action (CPA) is usually worse. ‘

Facebook is gradually introducing the “learning limited” feature, so it may not be available to all of you right now, but it soon will be and this is the reason for today’s blog.

If you’re running Facebook and Instagram ads recently, you may have noticed different delivery statuses, such as ‘learning’ or ‘learning limited’.

When you are running ads, Facebook’s delivery system learns more about the best ways in which to show your ads to users, to deliver on your ad set. This means that performance in this period is less stable, your CPAs can be very high and yo-yoing all over the place!

In our experience of managing millions in advertising spend, it is best to leave your ad set alone to complete the learning phase, not adding any new ads or editing the ad set, as this will cause Facebook’s learning phase to reset and start over.

Try to avoid using too many ads and ad sets, as the delivery system will learn less about each ad set and ad.

Ad sets usually leave the learning phase as soon as performance stabilized, which is often around 50 conversions but in terms of time, this can vary depending on your daily spend.

Note: If you set very small or very hight budgets in this phase, the delivery system will have an inaccurate indicator and won’t properly optimise.  Your budget should be at least enough to reach those 50 conversions and to also avoid changing budgets during the learning phase, as this can cause the phase to reset.

Those of you who have the latest feature may have noticed that your running ads have gone back under the learning phase, again.

Learning Limited is an ad set that isn’t generating enough purchases to exit the learning phase and this occurs when an ad set is limited by various factors, so you need to improve performance. If this is the case, look into the following…

  • Consider raising your budget
  • Consider expanding your audience size
  • You may have too many ad sets, so try to include your audiences in fewer ad sets or simply create a new campaign
  • Consider raising your bids, as they may be too low

If none of those applies…

  • Consider changing up your optimisation event, to one which occurs more frequently. E.g. if there were fewer than 50 purchases a week, consider optimising for add to carts
  • If other ad sets in your account or from the same campaign are performing, consider combining the ad sets to avoid audience overlap

Another tip: If you spend around 20% of your budget in the learning phase, you will likely see 17% more conversions and 15% lower CPA than if you spend around 80% in the learning phase.

We hope that this gives you some insight and tips but please do reach out if you have any unanswered questions!

Ps. check out some of our results.