Your campaigns are live! Yay! But what now? What should you do after your ads are live?
Once your campaigns are live, the real work begins. We closely monitor your campaigns to ensure we’re getting the best possible results. This includes testing new audiences, ads, campaigns and other wizardry.
It’s important for you to know what happens now that we’ve hit the publish button and your ads are live.
In this guide, I’ve listed out some of the most important things for you to know, understand and do now.
1. The “Learning Phase”
Once we publish your campaigns, they will go into a review period. This normally lasts an hour or so, but can take up to 24 hours. Facebook uses this time to check that our ads are in line with their policies before they go live.
It’s common for ads to get rejected, so if this happens, don’t worry. We’ll be notified and will fix whatever problem comes up. Sometimes there’s an error on Facebook’s end and we simply submit a manual review. Oftentimes, there may be an issue with the ads themselves. If that’s the case, we’ll make any required changes and let you know when your ads go live.
Once ads are approved and are up and running, they will enter what’s called the “learning phase”. As well as the optimisation that we do, Facebook is also optimising campaigns. The learning phase is the period in which Facebook is learning how to optimise and better run your campaigns.
Facebook has a huge amount of data on which people are most likely to take your desired action and each time an ad is shown, the system learns more about the best people and places to show your ads. The more an ad is shown, the better the delivery system becomes at optimising the ad’s performance.
The learning phase is the period when the delivery system still has a lot to learn about an ad set. Typically, this means performance is less stable and your cost per result is usually worse (often it can be a little inconsistent).
Facebook claims to get out of the learning phase, an ad set needs to get around 50 conversions since it was created or a significant edit was made.
However, I don’t think this is strictly the case. I’ve seen ad sets with fewer conversions complete the learning phase and others with more conversions never get out of the learning phase.
2. How do we Combat the Learning Phase?
Sometimes Facebook can struggle to get out of the learning phase if it’s not receiving enough data from the campaigns, so there are a few things we do to make sure we get your campaigns out of learning ASAP and in a better position for the next time your ads go live.
- Hands off: Once a new campaign goes live, we monitor everything that’s happening and try and avoid making any drastic changes that could reset the learning phase. Therefore, it’s common for us not to make any changes for the first few days. It’s a common mistake for people to obsess over their ads in the early days, but that’s the worst thing you can do.
- Combine audiences: We also look to combine a lot of the audiences so we have fewer ad sets. Historically, we’d launch a campaign with lots of single interest ad sets. Now it’s far more optimal to stack similar interests on top of each other. We’re hitting the same audiences, but with fewer ad sets.
- Use realistic budgets: If we think your budget isn’t going to be sufficient to get the data we (and Facebook) need, we’ll let you know and we’ll look at ways to restructure your campaign.
Everything we do is data-dependent.
We will make changes to campaigns in the learning phase if we think that’s the best thing to do (oftentimes it is). So although the learning phase is an important factor, it’s not something we obsess over.
One of the biggest factors of all of this is the budget. When you spend money on Facebook, you’re effectively paying for reach. And so, lower budgets can mean it takes longer to get out of the learning phase because you’re not getting in front of as many people. Whereas higher budgets mean we can get out of it faster – because we’re reaching more people, getting more conversions and thus more data.
3. New Accounts vs Old Accounts
It’s important to understand that every account and campaign is different. If you’ve run previous campaigns and your account has lots of previous data, you will likely see results faster. Newer ad accounts with less data will often take longer to see results.
This is totally normal and it’s important to understand this to manage expectations when a campaign goes live.
We take this into consideration when making changes to campaigns. If an account has more previous data, we’ll make changes faster (even if we’re not out of the learning phase) because we have a better understanding of what might happen.
This is likely quite a lot for you to take in, but don’t worry. Every decision we make is data-led, backed by years of experience. We know what will work best for you and we’ll keep you informed about everything we’re doing.
4. Replying to Comments & Engagement
Once the campaigns go live, you will likely start to receive engagement on them: likes, comments & shares.
Although we don’t take engagement into consideration when determining success (we are more focussed on leads, sales and tangible business results), they can play a big part in the performance of a campaign.
5. When Someone Likes/Reacts to Your Ads
Every time someone likes or reacts to one of your ads (eg. loves it), you can invite that person to like your page. This can be a really great way to build up the following of your page and increase the organic reach you get when posting to the feed.
To do this, simply:
- Find your ad
- Click on the reactions
- Click on the invite next to each person’s name (you may want to avoid any angry reactions!)
6. When People Start to Comment on Your Ads
When you run ads, it’s inevitable that you’ll attract people commenting on them. There will always be a mix of positive and negative. Always. There’s no point in trying to avoid them – instead, we should work with them and use them to our advantage.
Every time you receive a comment, it sends a positive signal to Facebook, who will then serve your ad to more people. Every time you reply to a comment, it also sends a positive signal to Facebook, serving your ad to more people – and who doesn’t like free reach?!
It’s vital that you spend time replying to every comment that you receive, even if it’s as small as an emoji.
I break comment types into three. Here’s how you should respond based on the type:
7. Positive Comments
Often you’ll find (especially if we run retargeting ads) people commenting on your ads singing your praises. This is great! Two things for you to do:
- Take a screenshot of the comment and save it to a folder. We can use these as testimonials in future ads and marketing.
- Reply to the comment thanking the person for their praise. This sends a positive signal to Facebook but also builds a deeper relationship with the person who commented.
8. Middle-Ground Comments
A lot of comments you receive may appear as negative, but oftentimes they are legitimate concerns or objections from customers. This is a perfect opportunity for you to respond to the objection in public.
If someone has a specific objection, you can guarantee that others will have it too – so be sure to respond in a prompt and courteous manner.
9. Negative Comments
There can be a fine line between middle-ground comments and negative comments. But if the comment you receive is blatant hate, discrimination, rude or from someone that you know you won’t be able to reason with, I suggest you hide the comment.
If the comment is particularly offensive, hide the comment and block the person. Often you can find the same people leaving negative comments time and time again, so it’s best to get rid of them quickly.
So – in short, where possible, respond to every comment as that’s going to have a positive impact on your brand, your customer relationships and the performance of your live ads.
10. Be Ready to Handle Leads/Sales
We always give three months for a campaign to start performing how we want it to – because unless you already have a lot of data, it’s impossible to know how your campaigns will perform until they go live. Anyone who says they can guarantee results is simply lying.
More often than not, campaigns will be successful within days or weeks of the campaigns going live and it’s important that you are able to fulfill the new wave of sales and leads.
If we’re running a lead generation campaign for you, it’s vital that you’re able to respond and reach out to those leads instantly – because every minute you waste means a smaller chance of them converting.
If it’s a sales campaign, it’s important that you have the capacity to fulfil that order – whether that’s having appropriate levels of stock or staff to ensure all sales are out on time.
11. Copy, Creative & Updated Audiences
To ensure we keep campaigns fresh and continuously optimise them (to get better results) we work hard to constantly update the campaigns.
As part of that, we will frequently ask you for three things: review our copy, send us creative & updated audiences.
12. Copy Review
We draft new copy variants at least every month to make sure everything is kept fresh. We monitor which hooks, angles and wording are performing best and try variations of those to ensure we constantly dig deeper into what’s working. All copy will be sent to you for approval before going live.
13. Creatives (Videos & Photography)
Probably the hardest part, but also the most important. We will gently ask (hound) you to send us as much video and photography as possible. After that we will send you guidelines on what’s needed and will coach you on what we need. Our design and video team to take all the work from you – we just ask that you send us as much as you can.
We’ll also ask you to send us your product so we can create our own creatives for you.
14. Custom audiences
We’ll frequently ask you to send us updated lists (such as mailing list, or list of customers). This is so we can upload these to Facebook and keep our exclusion audiences up to date, but also improve the quality of our lookalike and retargeting audiences.
15. Collaborate with us
It’s super important for you as a client to collaborate with us and keep us up to date with the results you’re seeing on your end.
We call this closed-loop reporting.
Once your ads go live, we will report back to you on a weekly and monthly basis – sharing the performance of the campaigns, what we tried, what’s worked and what hasn’t.
But often the results we see only show part of the picture – and we need you to help us understand the full picture.
For example, if we’re managing a lead generation campaign for you, it’s vital for us to understand what sort of close rate you’re getting on those leads (how many of the leads are becoming paid customers).
This helps us in a couple of ways:
- If you tell us the leads are converting into customers at a profitable rate, that’s great. We know our campaigns are doing well and we can look at ways to scale.
- If you tell us the leads aren’t converting, we can look at why that is and fix the problem. For example:
- When leads are in the wrong location, we can change the targeting to target the right people.
- If they don’t have enough money, we can change the copy in the ads to mention the price.
- If closing the sale is one of your struggles, we can provide guidance on improving your situations.
Any reports you can send back to us, whether good or bad, help us learn and improve your campaigns and make your ads better next time they go live. One thing we tell all our clients: please overshare! Share everything with us. The worst thing that can happen is it’s not relevant, but chances are we will learn something from it.
That’s a wrap
There we have it! Those are some of the things to expect and think about once your ad campaigns go live. We ask a lot of questions when getting your ads live – so we understand it might feel like quite a lot of work. So much so, you may think you’re being let off once the campaigns go live – but the reality is, there’s a lot of work in managing campaigns. We do our best to take the workload off of you, but we do need you to help with the things listed above.