If you’re an e-commerce brand, Facebook advertising will probably be one of the biggest paid marketing channels you use to grow. After all, Facebook is still the most popular platform for social media marketers, used by 93% of brands — compared to Instagram, in second place at 24%. There’s a sound logic to running Facebook Ads. For a start, it’s where your audience spends its time repeatedly throughout the day, and it’s always evolving. Facebook has over 2.23 billion monthly users, and despite its controversies, the platform has recently refocused its purpose on sharing useful, relevant content. Facebook Ad rules make it even more friendly to innovative advertisers.
As well as running display ads, brands can unlock powerful retargeting features through Messenger and Google Display Network advertising simply by adding the Facebook pixel to their campaigns. The dominance of the platform is so great — Facebook advertising generated $31 billion in 2020 — that it can be hard to get noticed if you’re not advertising on Facebook. At the same time, competition is fierce and the average cost per action is $18.68, while the click-through rate is relatively modest, sitting between 0.9% and 1.33%.
The key to running successful ad campaigns on Facebook is to stay on top of your budget and set clear goals. Facebook provides you with the tools to accomplish both through its Automated Ad rules feature. This removes the need to monitor live campaigns manually, and instead lets you define parameters and rules for your campaigns according to conditions, actions, and assets:
- Condition: when a rule is applied
- Action: what happens when the rule is triggered
- Asset: what ad, ad set, or campaign is affected
By taking advantage of Automated Ad rules, you can scale your Facebook ads profitably and extract maximum value from your advertising strategy. Make no mistake, though — it’s tough. You’ll need to pump out new creatives weekly, find and test new audiences, and keep a close eye on how everything is performing. At least Automated Ad rules can take care of the tracking.
How To Access Facebook Automated Ad Rules
If you haven’t used Facebook automated rules before, you can set them up to execute an action automatically based on a number of conditions you specify. This means that if an ad, ad set, or campaign meets certain conditions (e.g., low or high return on ad spend [ROAS]), the rule can automatically take an action, like pausing or starting, adjusting the budget, changing the bid, and more.
To access an automated rule, click the menu icon anywhere in Facebook’s Ads Manager and click “Automated Rule.”
Once you’re in the automated rules dashboard, you can create a new rule by clicking the green “Create Rule” button in the top left.
Here are five essential automated rules you can set up to help save you time on day-to-day management and make your campaigns more profitable.
1. Pause Underperforming Ads
One of the perks of online advertising, and Facebook in particular, is that it allows you to tear down any poorly performing campaigns immediately. Facebook’s Automated Ad rules give you granular visibility into campaign performance.
A rule to pause underperforming ads is one of the most beneficial rules you can get started using today. You probably already have a key metric you look at to determine whether an ad should continue running or not. If you’re an e-commerce store, it might be ROAS. If you’re running a top-of-funnel campaign, it could be cost per click. Whichever it is, you can create a rule to set a performance floor so that if an ad ever goes below that level of performance, it’s automatically paused.
To set this up, create a rule using these settings:
This rule will apply to all active ad sets that meet the conditions. If an ad meets both of those conditions, it will perform the action, which is to turn off ads. You can adjust the “Time Range” dropdown to reduce the window of time the rule checks, to something like yesterday, in the last seven days, and so on.
The second condition, “Campaign name includes ‘purchase,’” is an example of how you can filter campaigns to include only the ones you want. In this example, if the campaign name includes the word “purchase,” the rule will apply to all relevant campaigns where a solid ROAS is the priority goal.
2. Run Ads on a Custom Schedule
Another rule that can save money is to set your ads to run only during certain times that you’ve identified to have high conversions. Not only will it save you money, it could also improve your ad’s conversion-rate ranking. To do this, you’ll need two rules: one to pause ads and another to turn them back on.
Here’s what the pause rule looks like:
In this rule, the automation feature pauses all active ads that are in campaigns containing “purchase” in the campaign name at the listed times.
Then you would create another rule but with the action of turning ads on with an adjusted schedule for when you want the ads back on and running.
3. Pause Underperforming Ad Sets
Similar to pausing underperforming ads, you may want to pause underperforming ad sets. The difference with pausing on the ad-set level is it takes into account the total or average of all the ads in the ad set. Additionally, you may want to think more high-level about the targeting rather than the creative.
In any case, the formula is mostly the same. Just change the “Apply Rule To” dropdown to all active ad sets.
This rule is set up to pause all active ad sets with a total ROAS of less than 1.5 in the last three days. By choosing “last three days” as the timeframe, we’re making sure that if an ad set ever dips in performance, it will be paused even if it’s had great historical performance. It’s a great reminder to refresh the creative.
4. Increase Budget on High Performing Ad Sets
Now that we’ve looked at automation that can save us some money, let’s take a look at how we can make our campaigns more profitable.
Similar to the previous one, we can set up a rule that increases the budget on ad sets that are performing well above expectations. With this rule in place, we can automatically increase active ad sets’ budgets by 10% each day if yesterday’s ROAS is greater than 2.
5. Increase or Decrease Bid
Similar to the automated budget feature for your campaigns, you can also set rules for how much you will pay for an individual ad through increased or decreased bidding.
Remember that Facebook advertising is an auction. You’re not booking media space, you’re competing with other advertisers for moments in the timeline. By default, Facebook automates the bidding process through its algorithm, but you can choose to take full control yourself and set your ceiling and basement bids.
Although it comes at a cost, that can give you a jump on your competitors. By extension, be aware that it can also blow your budget at pace unless your strategy is fully informed by data.
As with the budget rule, you can choose to increase or decrease your bid by a predefined percentage within a preset period according to the conditions you choose.
This is Just the Beginning of Ad Automation
It’s no secret to expert Facebook advertisers: Automation is key to running high-volume, profitable Facebook ad campaigns. These four essential rules can help you get started with ad automation and take your Facebook campaigns to the next level.