How to Overcome the Facebook ads “Learning Phase”

Dec 17, 2021 | Digital Marketing

Today I’d like to talk about the new Learning Phase that Facebook added recently.

If you are running your ads I am sure you have noticed that ads are showing different delivery statuses lately such as Learning or Learning Limited.

But what is happening in the Learning phase?

Learning phase

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. The learning phase occurs when you create a new ad or ad set or make a significant edit to an existing one.

The Delivery column reads “Learning” when an ad set is in the learning phase. While the delivery system never stops learning about the best way to deliver an ad set, ad sets exit the learning phase as soon as performance stabilizes usually after around 50 optimization events since its last significant

Best practices

During the learning phase, ad sets are less stable and usually have a higher CPA. To avoid behaviors that prevent ad sets from exiting the learning phase, we recommend that you:

  • Wait to edit your ad set until it’s out of the learning phase
  • Avoid unnecessary edits that cause ad sets to re-enter the learning phase
  • Avoid high ad volumes
  • Use realistic budgets

So basically, when your ads are shown FB’s ads delivery system learns more about the best ways to show your ads to certain types of people/places to deliver your ad set.

This means that performance is less stable in this period and your CPAs are crazy, changing day by day changing just like a roller coaster is moving up and down.

The best practice as per personal experience is to leave your ad set alone to complete the learning phase, don’t add new ads or edit the ad set in this phase because learning will be reset and start all over again.

However, if it’s really necessary to edit, then edit your ads or ad sets when you have a really strong reason to believe that doing so should improve performance but be aware that you’ll send it back to learning from 0.

Avoid using too many ads and ad sets, because the delivery system will learn less about each ad and ad set, so you should create fewer ads and ad sets.

An ad set will quit the learning phase as soon as performance stabilizes usually around 50 conversions, in about a week.

Also, it’s important to use realistic budgets, if you set a very small or inflated budget the delivery system will have an inaccurate indicator and won’t optimize properly.

Your budget should be enough to get at least 50 conversions and avoid frequent budget changes which can cause again an ad set to re-enter the learning phase.

Now, what’s the deal with the Learning Limited delivery status?

Yeah, I was wondering about this too because old ads which were doing okay, went under Learning Phase again.

Learning Limited is a new feature so it may not be available to you right now, however, if you have got this delivery status you know what I am writing about or you’ll find out shortly. 🙂

Learning Limited as per FB explanation is an ad set that isn’t generating enough purchases to exit the learning phase.

This usually occurs when your ad set is limited by different settings and you should consider making changes to your ad set to improve performance.

How to overcome this stage?

This means that the initial 7 days learning phase has been completed but your ads still didn’t exit the learning phase as per the following reasons:

  • Your budget is too low → consider raising
  • Your audience size is too small → try expanding your audience
  • You have too many ad sets → to examine your audiences and try to combine in fewer ad sets or create a new campaign.
  • Your bid/cost control is too low → consider raising

If none of the above applies, also consider the following:

  • Other ad sets from the campaign or ad account are winning the auctions instead → consider combining the ad sets so you avoid audience overlap
  • Optimization event is not right → to give a thought to another optimization event that occurs more frequently.

For example, if there are fewer than 50 purchase events a week consider optimizing for Add cart events.

Another important note on the learning phase if you spend around 20% of your budget in the learning phase you’ll likely see 17% more conversions and 15% lower CPA than if you are spending around 80% in the learning phase.

There is some GOOD NEWS too!

Facebook has added a chart right on the top of the page in the Account Overview where you have some tips on what you should change.

I hope this helps and you’ll be able to fix your ads in “trouble”.

If you have any questions or if you’d like to discuss more details we are here for you


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