Your Facebook Ad Agency's Advice Explained | Visible
July 30, 2020

Say what?! Your Facebook Ad Agency’s Advice Explained

Have you ever received campaign advice from your Facebook Advertising Agency that left you a bit confused?

Your advertising partner is there to guide you on how the intricacies of the Facebook algorithm (if you’re not sure what that is, we’ll get to it in a second) may affect your campaign. But sometimes things can be tricky to explain in simple terms, leaving you feeling confused and a little out of the loop on your own campaigns.

Worry not! We’re here to shed some light on common Facebook agency advice so you can feel more confident and empowered to play a greater role in campaign discussions.

But first… a bit about the Facebook Auction

Facebook uses an ad auction to determine the best ad to show to a person at a given point in time. The winning ad maximises value for both people and businesses. Understanding the ad auction can help you understand your ad performance.

How is the winner of the auction determined?

To ensure that the winning ad maximises value for both people and businesses, the winner of the auction is the ad with the highest total value. The total value is a combination of three major factors:

  • Bid: The bid placed by an advertiser for that ad (in other words, what the advertiser is willing to pay to achieve their desired outcome). There are multiple ways to manage your bid in the ad auction.
  • Estimated action rates: An estimate of whether a particular person engages with or converts from a particular ad (in other words, the probability that showing an ad to a person leads to that desired outcome of the advertiser). Note: Engaging in clickbait and engagement bait does not improve ad performance.
  • Ad quality: A measure of the quality of an ad as determined from many sources, including feedback from people viewing or hiding the ad and assessments of low-quality attributes in the ad, such as too much text in the ad’s image, withholding information, sensationalised language and engagement bait.

Common Ad Agency Advice

“It takes time to see results”

No Facebook ad agency will ever promise you miraculous overnight results (if they do, this could be an early red flag). Everyone wants results as quick as possible. But the truth is that running successful ads is usually a medium-long term game. How quick you see results will depend how new your ad account/campaign is and how much you’re spending each day.

In the case of a new ad account or campaign, things will take longer as Facebook has no previous data to help the algorithm determine your best audience and placements. The learning phase for new ads is 7 days or 50 conversions, so you’ll start to see soft metrics like reach, impressions, click throughs, and engagement improve after about a week. In the 3-4 weeks that follow, your campaign will continue to stabilise as Facebook starts to collect more data and optimise. At this point you can expect to see stronger conversion numbers coming in and can start to see what’s working and what’s not.

“Changing your ads will limit results”

Your agency might warn against changing your ad copy or creative, saying that it might negatively affect your campaign results. Sometimes, you need to update your ads because maybe some of the details have changed, and that’s unavoidable. Ad updates are really only going to be a major issue if your campaign’s running for a limited time, as your campaign won’t have time to recover and optimise. It enters the learning phase instead.

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

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 stabilises (usually after around 50 conversions within a 7 day period).

This is because of how Facebook works. Changing any of the below will be classed as a significant edit and will cause Facebook to re-enter the learning phase. Your ad will be “kicked out” of the auction and will re-enter it after Facebook runs its algorithm and re-analyses the value of the (new) ad. This basically means you have to start optimising all over again, affecting the performance.

Updates that cause your ads to re-enter the learning phase:

  • Changes to ad copy and/or visuals
  • Significant changes to ad budgets
  • Pausing ads for more than 7 days
  • Changing optimisation event (i.e. going from brand awareness to lead gen)

Changes to targeting (i.e. audience demographics, interests, location etc.)

What is the “Learning Limited” phase?

If seven days have elapsed since a significant edit and your ad set still hasn’t exited the learning phase, the Delivery column status will read “Learning limited”.

Learning Limited usually occurs when:

  • Your bid control or cost control is too low
  • Your budget is too low
  • Your audience size is too small
  • You have too many ad sets (audiences)
  • Others ad sets (audiences) from the same ad account or Page are winning auctions instead
  • Your optimisation event occurs very infrequently.

    If your ad set failed to exit the learning phase, consider making a significant edit to resolve one of the above issues.

Can you make it optimise faster? NOT REALLY.

It’s always going to take a bit of time as Facebook is trying to determine the best audience and placements for your ads. Generally the only way to speed things up is by increasing the spend, as this is going to boost ad activity and allow the Facebook algorithm to collect and analyse data faster.

So for short run campaigns, invest more time on the front end working on your copy and creative. Create multiple versions, so you can just switch off what isn’t working rather than being in the position where you’re forced to consider editing what’s running part way through.

“Don’t get rid of a good ad”

You may feel like the ad copy and creative is old, but if it’s working and there’s no serious reason it needs to come down (e.g. if there are out of date prices or sales info), let it run! There are thousands of audiences you can test before you need to change your ads.

If you’re worried your ads are getting a little stale and just want to update them for branding purposes, introduce new ads alongside the old ones and slowly phase out the olds ones once the new ads start performing. This way you won’t have to go through down time while your new ads are in the learning phase and will also have your trusty ol’ ads there to fall back on if the new ones don’t hit the mark.

Your ad agency will be able to see when ad performance starts dropping and can prompt you when you need to start thinking about new ads.

We hope the advice you’re getting makes much more sense after reading this!

Not working with an agency yet but looking for one that will really help you show up online? Reach out to Team Visible, one of the leading Digital Marketing Agencies in Perth!