Learning Limited in Facebook Ads

What is “Learning Limited” in Facebook ads and is it a problem?  If you’ve been advertising on Facebook you may see this notification in your Ads Manager Reports.

Learning Limited notification

Facebook makes Learning Limited sound like a problem because you aren’t getting enough “optimization events” per week to “exit the learning phase”.

Their suggestion involves changing the audience size, cost controls, or “adding budget” – hmmmm sounds suspicious 🙂

As usual, Facebook doesn’t always make the right suggestions that are right for the marketer.

In this article, you will learn what the Learning Phase is on Facebook, what you can do about Learning Limited and why it’s not a bad thing.

What is the Learning Phase on Facebook

The Learning Phase on Facebook is when Facebook is learning about the type of audience that responds to your ad based on your targeting and Ad Objective.

Facebook will try to show your ad to the type of person that does what you want your ad to do – watch your video, become a lead, purchase your product, etc.  This is still within the targeting parameters you have created.

Facebook bases these events on your Objective and also the tracking with the Facebook Pixel.

The Learning Phase starts when you create your ad or happens when you make any significant edits to the ad (which is why it’s a good idea NOT to edit your Facebook ad unless you really have to).

Typically your results won’t be as good during the Learning Phase as Facebook optimizes.

You will exit the Learning Phase once Facebook sees that you are on track to get to the 50 recommended events within the week.

Facebook Learning Phase

If Facebook isn’t getting the 50 events per week then your ad Delivery column will switch to Learning Limited.

What can you do about Learning Limited in Facebook Ads

Facebook suggests that you do some of the following to exit Learning Limited:

  • Combine ads sets and campaigns. Combining ad sets and campaigns will help you get the results you need faster, which means you’ll see stable results sooner.
  • Expand your audience. The larger the audience, the more opportunities for people to complete your optimization event.
  • Raise your budget. If your budget is too low to receive around 50 optimization events, the ad set is unlikely to exit the learning phase.
  • Raise your bid or cost control. If your bid or cost control is too low to receive around 50 optimization events, the ad set is unlikely to exit the learning phase.
  • Change your optimization event. Consider choosing an optimization event that occurs more frequently. For example, move from purchases to add to cart.

I’m going to tell you why each of these suggestions may not be right for you.

  • Combine ads sets and campaigns. <-You may have reasons for keeping Ad Sets separate such as split testing different keywords or having Placements have their own budget.
  • Expand your audience.  <-If you are a local business or you are trying to test specific things then it may not be right to expand artificially.  Also, you cannot expand a Retargeting audience that well.
  • Raise your budget. <-This may not make sense if you are keeping within a certain budget.
  • Raise your bid or cost control. <- Again, you may have reasons you want to keep your costs down.
  • Change your optimization event. <-I typically find that you are better off optimizing around your true goal even though you will get “more events” you often get a better overall cost per purchase.



Why Learning Limited isn’t a bad thing

Some ad sets will always be Learning Limited because you may be retargeting as small audience or your cost per action is naturally higher than the budget you want to spend.

For example, say you are advertising a local event that is costing $20/CompleteRegistration and you are targeting a local area.  Based on the size of the local area, you may not be able to raise your budget to $1000/week to get to the 50 events because then the Frequency might be too high for the ad (or you may not want to spend that much).

Ultimately you need to baseline your own results.  You can still get great results even when you have “Learning Limited” in Facebook Ads.

Of course, it’s a good idea to continue to test images and audiences so that you are getting the best possible results that you can with your Facebook ads.

But if you are getting the right results for you, don’t always pay attention to what Facebook says that you should do.


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