Learning Limited. What is it and how can you fix it?
Facebook has recently introduced a new alert for all Facebook advertisers called Learning Limited. This is designed to give you feedback from the Learning Phase so you are aware that your campaigns aren’t as optimised as they could be.
Let me explain.
How the Learning Phase works
Whenever you create a new campaign Facebook Ads enters into what is known as the learning phase.
This is where the ads delivery system begins to learn more about the people (audiences) and the placements (where your ads are shown on the Facebook network). The more your ads are shown, the better the Facebook delivery system can optimise your advertising campaigns.
Generally, all going well, the learning phase will finish within a week or two and you’ll see a message that says ‘Learning Complete’.
However, if Facebook wasn’t able to explore the best way to deliver your ads by actively showing ads to different segments within your audiences, placements on the ad platform and even rotating your different ads to see what works – then the learning phase will never properly complete.
To properly exit the Learning Phase, Facebook will use the completed cycle from ads being shown to a conversion event happening. Then it tracks everything in between. This is something that isn’t always seen when you view your campaign metrics.
So for an e-commerce store (as an example) your ad and conversion event may occur in a sequence similar to this;
- Ad shown to a woman in your target audience on an Instagram Story
- Woman clicks your ad and visits your website
- She browses your website and finds a nice dress and decides to buy
- She adds the dress to her cart and clicks on the checkout button
- She adds her payment information and completes the purchase
In this sequence, if you were optimising for a purchase, Facebook would then have a string of information relating to your ads.
However, if you were optimising for a purchase as the woman never completed step 5 – so effectively never making the purchase – Facebook wouldn’t use any of that information in the learning phase. This is because the cycle never successfully completed based on your requirement to ‘optimise for purchases’.
What is Learning Limited?
Learning Limited is the signal that not enough ‘events’ happened for the Facebook machine to analyse and optimise your ad campaigns.
Facebook suggests it needs 50 events in a 7 day period in order to learn from the data cycle it receives about your ads.
If it doesn’t receive those 50 events in the Learning Phase, then the alert will appear next to your ad set which shows a yellow triangle alert followed by the text ‘Learning Limited’.
How to fix Learning Limited
Facebook provides 6 different reasons why the learning limited alert appears in an ad account however one of them is usually the culprit.
If your optimisation event doesn’t happen 50 times in a week, then it’s likely you’ll get the Learning Limited alert.
So to fix it, I suggest you change your optimisation event to something that happens more frequently.
So if you were optimising for ‘purchases’, instead try optimising for ‘adds to cart’. If you don’t have enough conversion events for ‘adds to cart’ you could instead optimise for ‘views page’ and so on.
This will help close the feedback loop Facebook is looking for and give enough signals for your ads to optimise properly so you’re getting the best performance from your ads.
The other less common solution is to increase your ad budget. If you don’t want to optimise for one of the alternative events, increase your ad budget so that your event happens more frequently.
That should help you remove the Learning Limited alert from your ad account while also making full use of the Learning Phase when you start a new ad campaign.
I hope this has helped you understand how the learning phase works, what learning limited is as well as how to fix the learning limited alert if it appears in your ad account.