As your ad spend grows, managing campaigns manually becomes more and more time-consuming. Keeping an eye on a dozen of ad sets requires your constant attention, and the moment you ease your grip, performance declines. Some low performing ads keep running or budget changes are too late, while you have little or no time to analyze the performance figures.
Maybe you wish to take actions on time. Or just want to free up some time from ad management routine.
That’s where a robust Facebook ads automation tool comes in. You set up as many detailed rules as you want to continuously optimize ads based on your preferred metrics (incl. ROAS). Automated rules will shave off a couple of dozen dollars here and there and shift the budget towards ads that work best. Giving you time to actually analyze the results and come up with actionable insights to test in creatives, targeting, and buying strategy.
If you want to significantly increase ad performance while spending less time on manual work, this guide is for you. Read on to discover how to use automated rules.
Navigate the Guide
- Why is it Important to Automate Facebook Ads?
- What’s an Automated Rule?
- How Automation Builds Into Your Strategy
- Ways to Use Automated Rules & Setup Examples
- A Step-by-Step Guide: How To Create Your First Automated Rule
- Bonus: Automated Rules Cheat Sheet
- What to Read Next
- Reveal Your Thoughts
In this article, I’ll review several basic strategies for setting up automated rules. But of course, those are just the basics and the rest would totally depend on your business.
Important: all values in this article are just examples to show you the general principles. You’ll have to determine the metrics that are relevant to your business model.
Recent Facebook newsfeed update resulted in less time spent there by users, so now 5 million Facebook advertisers have to fight even more vigorously for the precious impressions. For you, as an advertiser, this means higher CPM and thus harder to get the desired cost per action.
Efficient budget allocation requires constant launch and pausing of ad sets, adjusting budgets and bids, duplicating ad sets and ads. Yet most of these tasks can be automated, e.i. done without you lifting a finger.
Automation gets you out of the infinite launch-pause-relaunch routine.
As you get started setting up automated rules for your ad account, think about the items you frequently check up on and the subsequent actions you take in Ads Manager. For example:
- Do you pause ad sets when they hit specific spend but have 0 conversions?
- Do you increase the ad set budget based on ROAS?
- Do you increase your bid if the delivery is low?
- Do you duplicate ad sets if they perform well?
Campaigns of any scale require everyday checks and optimizations – which is why those who spend a significant part of their marketing budgets on Facebook ads and do not use automated rules lose a lot of money. And the bigger the spend, the more important is the setup of the automated rules over the test of creatives.
Automated rules can check your campaigns, ad sets, and ads, and then take the necessary actions for you or notify you.
Automation is essential for those who have learned how to manage Facebook Ads manually or want to significantly scale ad spend without scaling the team.
To begin using automated rules, create an ad campaign first. There are two ways to do that:
a) Manually create a campaign in Facebook Ads Manager.
b) Use Revealbot's Bulk Creation feature to set up multiple ad sets and ads fast.
When the campaign setup is done you can move on to the automated rules setup. For basic rules you can use Facebook's own automated rules. To use additional features (such as duplication, metric comparison, different timeframes in one rule, etc) you can use Revealbot or other third party tools. If you want to learn more about the difference between Facebook’s own automated rules and Revealbot, check out our article about it.
After the rules are set live, keep an eye on them for a couple of days.
Sometimes there could be an error in the setup or you'd want to tweak the trigger values. Logs and notifications will help you debug the rules.
Now that you know a little more about what automated rules are and why businesses big and small include them into their marketing strategy, let’s see how you can actually use this tool to optimize your campaigns.
First, we’ll go over the marketing fundamentals and then move on to what automation can do for your business.
You start with the key metrics of your funnel that you want to optimize: from ad view (impression) to conversion.
For B2C companies with spontaneous purchases it can be:
- Cost per lead
- Cost per website checkout initiated
- Cost per website purchase
- Website purchase ROAS
For mobile apps:
- Cost per mobile app install
- Cost per mobile app tutorial completed
- Cost per mobile app checkout initiated
- Cost per mobile app purchase
- Mobile app purchase ROAS
B2B usually requires a long sales cycle, so here you will probably want to look at:
- Cost per Lead
- Or Custom Event — any key action that the user should take prior to the conversion.
The next step is to identify the maximum cost for each step of your funnel.
Let’s assume that your business model works if the cost per paying customer in your mobile app is not greater than $30. You know that paying customers are 10% of those who installed the app. That means that the maximum cost per app install is $3.
The same way you can define the maximum cost for every step of the funnel for any type of business.
Desired minimal metric value is usually defined empirically. In the case of ROAS, most business models work if you earned 3x more than you spent on an ad campaign.
Just like a machine is more efficient than a human in terms of mechanical tasks, – an automated rule will outperform any marketer in terms of day-to-day routine.
The rule will take action right after the condition is met.
Ad spent over $100 with no conversions? – Immediate pause. Cheap conversions coming today? – Double the budget. Be that 5 or 5000 ads the rule monitors, it will always trigger. For you, as an advertiser, it means more efficient budget allocation.
Any action – be that changing budget and bid, pausing and unpausing items, duplicating ads and ad sets – should be automated if your team does it regularly.
Analyze how you make a decision before taking an action and set the same conditions so that the rule can perform the action for you.
The first rule that our clients usually set is pausing under-performing ad sets. Scroll down for exact setup examples.
With rules, you can automatically scale best performing ad sets both horizontally and vertically. Check our advanced guide on scaling for copy and paste scaling recipes.
Testing dozens of creatives is much easier with automation. Advertisers and agencies are using Revealbot's Bulk Creation to set up multiple ad and ad sets fast and test them against each other to see which combinations produce the best results.
You can set up ad rotation rule to make sure that each ad gets equal impressions before evaluating its performance – check this post to see how to set it up.
Most of our new users begin with the pause rules. They are probably the easiest to set up and the first to bring value.
The hardest part is to define that best moment when you are completely certain about ad inefficiency. May not seems tricky at a first glance, but pausing ads too early is just as bad as too late, because you may stop a good ad that just didn’t have enough time to prove it.
Let's look at the most common pause scenarios.
Ad set or ad has already spent enough money but didn’t bring a single conversion.
Usually, “spent enough” means at least 1.5 CPA.
The conditions, in that case, looks like this:
Tip: You can set up similar rules for other metrics, such as CPC is too high, or AddToCart is too expensive. This could be an earlier indicator of poor performance.
The other rule could check if the ad or ad set is performing well at first but starts to decline over time:
Pause ad set if Spend > $200 and Purchases > 0 and Cost per Purchase > $50
Tip: Set rules with different timeframes to monitor both longterm and shortterm performance.
For example, check Cost per Purchase for the last 7 days and for the last 3 days including today. This is especially important for ad sets that run on large budgets and have a lot of conversions. By checking recent statistics, such as last 3 days, you'll be able to see if a great ad set has recently gone bad.
Instead of Purchase, you can track any event – Click, Lead, Install, Checkout Initiated, Custom Events, and etc. In other words, you need to select the metric that you can get enough valid statistical data for in the selected time frame.
If you run an e-commerce business where prices and quantities vary or an app with monthly and yearly subscription plans – ROAS is the right metric to track.
Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) = Purchase Revenue / Spend
The lowest point of this metric (the worst) needs to be defined empirically. Usually, business model works if you earned 3x times more than you spent on an ad. In that case, you can make the following rule:
Pause ad set if Spend > $70 and ROAS < 3
Which means that for the $70 spent, you expect to get $210 in revenue.
Similar for mobile apps:
Pause ad set if Spend > $100 and App Purchase Revenue < 3 * Spend
The time a customer needs to convert varies – oftentimes an ad set has 0 purchases, you pause it and then a few people convert. You might have noticed it in your ad account as well. This is especially true for zero conversions rules that we discussed first.
In most cases, you'd want to turn such ads back on:
Start ad set if Cost per Purchase < $50 (last 12 hrs) and Purchases > 0 (last 12 hrs)
Tip: Do not exceed a 12-hour timeframe.
If the ad set was on pause longer than that it loses some optimization data and might not work well anymore.
Here is another example why you'd want to unpause an ad set. Say, a rule checks daily metrics and pauses ad sets if Cost per Result is too high. But Facebook is infamous for its volatility and even an exceptional ad can have a bad day. So you'd want to relaunch it the next day if it's last 7 days metrics are good.
This rule will unpause those ad sets that are off right now, were paused yesterday, but performed well in the last 7 days.
Start ad set if Impressions < 100 (yesterday) and Cost per Purchase < $50 (Last 7 days) and Purchases > 1 (Last 7 days)
You need to set up a custom schedule for such a rule so that it runs only at midnight.
Tip: If you run pause and unpause rules make sure they don’t contradict.
As with any other investment, not only you need to pause unprofitable campaigns, but also invest more in the best-performing ones.
Conditions are similar to the pause rules, but do the opposite.
Set budget to $500 once a day if Purchases > 2 and Cost per Purchase < $30
Tip: For all scaling rules set a condition Time less than 12p.m. so that the budget change does not happen too late in the day, which may affect pacing.
You can also have separate rules for when the metrics are good and when they are great – and increase the budget correspondingly:
If your maximum cost per acquisition is $30, then you can set up the following rules:
Increase budget by 20% once a day if Purchases > 5 and Cost per Purchase < $30 and Cost per Purchase >= $20
But if it turns out you have a killer ad set with CPA < $20, you would definitely want to pour even more money into it.
Increase Budget by 100% once a day if Purchases > 5 and Cost per Purchase < $20
Tip: Wait until you have at least 5-10 conversions today before doubling the budget, otherwise you can shoot yourself in the foot.
Similarly, you can set up rules based on ROAS.
Increase Budget by 100% once a day if Purchases > 5 and ROAS > 3
You can also add ‘increase budget’ condition only when you have already spent half of your daily budget.
Increase Budget by 50% once a day If ROAS >3 and Spend (today) > 0.5 * Daily Budget
One more automation strategy is bid management. In most cases, Facebook does a pretty decent job of optimizing the bid to get you the lowest cost for result. But if you want to control your cost per optimization event in some way, we suggest adding a bid cap or setting target cost.
Tip: Set your daily budget at least 5 times higher than your cap so you're well-positioned to get around 50 optimization events a week.
The following rule will increase the bid if it is too low for an ad to go into the auction:
Increase bid by $0.5 every 2 hours Impressions < 100 (last 2 hrs)
If one of your ads is doing really well, you can prioritize it in the auction by setting a higher bid for this exact ad:
Increase ad bid by $0.25 once a day Cost Per Lead > $10 (Today) and Leads >= 2 (Today) Cost per Lead < Cost per Lead (ad set level)
This is another interesting tactic that many marketers use. Duplication helps automate two strategies: 1) horizontal scaling 2) relaunch of ad sets that were paused.
This rule will scale the campaign by duplicating successful ad sets:
Duplicate ad set once in a lifetime if Spend > $100 and Purchase > 0 and Cost Per Purchase < $50
To duplicate an ad set that was paused, set up the following rule:
Apply to: ad sets status – inactive Duplicate ad set once in a lifetime if Time is less than 12p.m.
Tip: Don't forget to unpause ads in a duplicated ad set.
The following rule can do that:
Start ad if Hours since creation is less than 1
Learn more about duplication ad sets here: Why Ad Set Duplication Should Be Your Go-To Trick in Facebook Ads Optimization
Sometimes your rule may show some unexpected behaviour. To dive deeper into why the rule triggered or not, you can always check the logs for each rule. Or feel free to reach out to our customer support team.
Once you have defined your core actions and their values, you can begin setting up your first rule.
It should be easy to tell what the rule does without accessing it. Best practice for naming is stating the action that it does, followed by the condition.
Pause Ad Set if Spend > $100, Purchase < 1
Increase Budget once a day if CPA < $25
Increase Bid by $0.5 if Impressions < 1 (last 2 hrs)
The rules can be applied on a campaign, ad set, or ad level. Ad set level is the most commonly used. You can only associate a single rule with objects on the same level.
You can select specific campaigns / ad sets / ads individually; alternatively, you can filter items by name or delivery status.
- Pause campaigns / ad sets / ads
- Start (unpause) campaigns / ad sets / ads
- Increase/Decrease/Set budget: change budget by value or percentage
- Set bid strategy: change your bidding to either automatic, target cost, or lowest cost with a cap
- Increase/Decrease/Set bid: change bid by value or percentage
- Duplicate campaigns / ad sets / ads
- Add/Remove any text from campaign / ad set / ad name
- Delete campaign / ad set / ad
Note: not all these actions are available in Facebook's own Automated Rules. For advanced settings, you can use third-party tools, like Revealbot.
When you create a rule for your campaign, ad set, or ad, you choose the criteria that triggers your rule. These are called "conditions". This is the heart of your automation. See most common conditions and actions in the Ways to Use Automated Rules section.
In Revealbot you can set the check interval from 15 minutes to 72 hours or use a schedule. Your rule will run continuously until you turn it off.
The rule of thumb is to set the same conversion window as you use for optimization.
You can get updates on triggered actions to your email or in your team’s Slack. Notifications to Facebook Messenger will be added soon.
To help you start right away, we’ve prepared a PDF with the most effective and common automated rules.
Use these examples as a framework for your own optimization strategy.
What to Read Next
To dive deeper into the automation read our other popular guides:
Reveal Your Thoughts
Thanks for making it all the way to this point! Hope the info was useful and inspired you to improve your ad performance even more. This guide was built to collect the best techniques for automating Facebook Ads. I will update it regularly with new tips and tricks.
If you tried automating your Facebook Ads campaigns – what strategies have you used and what results did you get? Feel free to share in the comments – I’d be glad to add them to the guide.