When your Facebook campaigns have a lot of ad sets and ads, it becomes more and more of a time-consuming process to manage everything. Bringing automation to your Facebook ads will save you significant time by removing the need of monitoring performance daily while still making sure you're getting a healthy ROI.
For a quick example, you can use Facebook automated rules to make sure low performing ads are never continually running. Or you can use them to increase budgets as soon as an ad starts performing well - all without having to analyze the performance of every ad, every day.
Facebook Automated Rules will make sure you always take important actions on time through automation and therefore free up more of your time for strategy, ad creation, or other tasks.
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
- What are Facebook Automated Rules?
- Why Automate Facebook Ads?
- How Facebook Ad Automation Fits Into Your Strategy
- Best Facebook Automated Rules with Examples
- Troubleshooting Facebook Automated Rules
- How To Create Your First Automated Rule
- Bonus: Automated Rules Cheat Sheet
- Reveal Your Thoughts
In this article, I’ll review several basic strategies for setting up Facebook automation. But of course, these are just the basics and the rest will depend on your business.
Note: 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.
Facebook Automated Rules are easy-to-create formulas that perform an action automatically when conditions you set are met. Those conditions in your automated rules are continuously checked so they're always running to help manage your Facebook Ads for you.
Facebook Automated rules (also can be referred to as Facebook ad rules) can use all levels of the Facebook campaign structure (campaigns, ad sets, and ads) as conditional criteria to trigger an action in your automated rules.
To begin using Facebook Automated Rules you'll need a campaign with at least one ad set and ad. Don't have a campaign yet? there are two ways to do that:
- Manually create a campaign in Facebook Ads Manager.
- 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 native automated rules tool. To use additional features (such as duplication, metric comparison, custom metrics, different timeframes in one rule, etc) you can use Revealbot or other third party tools.
Note: 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 may want to tweak the trigger criteria. Thankfully, there is an automated rule history called Logs to help you see what happened. You can also use notifications to help you debug your rules.
Recent updates to the Facebook news feed resulted in less time spent there by users, so now 5 million Facebook advertisers have to fight even more vigorously for Facebook users' attention. For us, as advertisers, this resulted in higher CPM's and makes achieving our desired cost per action more difficult.
Now more than ever, we need to be more efficient with how we allocate our budget. To do this, we have to frequently launch new ad sets, pause underperforming ad sets, adjust budgets and bids, and duplicate ad sets and ads. Yet most of these tasks can be automated and done without lifting a finger using Facebook Automated Rules.
Facebook Ad Automation gets you out of the infinite loop of a launch-pause-relaunch routine so you can scale your campaigns.
As you get started setting up automated rules for your Facebook campaigns, think about the items you frequently go to look at in your Ads Manager and the actions you take from those insights. For example:
- Do you pause ad sets when they hit specific spend but have zero 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 daily checks and management, which is why those who spend a significant part of their marketing budgets on Facebook Ads and don't use automated rules lose a lot of money.
I think every Facebook advertiser can benefit from using automated rules, even if you run an account with modest spend and don't expect that spend to increase significantly.
If you're trying to scale your Facebook Ads, you'll definitely benefit from using Facebook automated rules as you can create automated rules that can help you turn off underperforming ad sets and increase budgets when ad sets perform well to quickly test different creatives and audiences.
For the same reasons, if you're spending over $10,000 in Facebook Ads monthly, you should be using several automated rules not only to save you time, but also to make quicker adjustments that will results in less wasted spend and a better ROAS.
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.
Now that you know a little more about what Facebook Automated Rules are and why businesses big and small businesses include them into their marketing strategy, let’s see how you can actually use this tool to optimize your campaigns.
First, I’ll go over the marketing fundamentals and then move on to what automation can do for your business.
Start with the key metrics for your funnel that you want to optimize: from ad view (impression) to conversion.
Some examples of KPIs depending on your business:
For mobile apps:
- Cost per mobile app install
- Cost per mobile app tutorial (level) completed
- Cost per mobile app checkout initiated
- Cost per mobile app purchase
- Mobile app purchase ROAS
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 B2B companies with a longer sales cycle:
- Cost per lead (of a content download)
- Cost per lead (of a demo request)
- Cost per custom event (ex: free trial)
- Cost per website purchase (ex: free trial)
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 less than $30. You know that 10% of those who install the app become paying customers. That means the maximum cost per app install you can afford to pay is $3.
With this same method, you can define the maximum cost for every step of the funnel for your business model. If you can't calculate this using your historical data, most business models work if you earn 3x more than you spent on an ad campaign.
Now that you've defined your funnel and the maximum amount your willing to pay to get someone to each step of the funnel, we can look at where Facebook ad automation comes in.
Just like how a machine is more efficient than a human in terms of mechanical tasks, Facebook Automated Rules will outperform any marketer in terms of day-to-day operations of Facebook Ads.
This is because after you set up an automated rule with its conditions, the rule will take action (also called firing) as soon as those conditions are met.
Ad spend over $100 with no conversions? Immediate pause. Cheap conversions today? Immediate budget increase.
Whether you have five or 5,000 ads, the rule will always fire. For us advertisers, it means more efficient budget allocation, more revenue for our businesses, and higher ROAS.
Any action like changing budget and bid, pausing and unpausing items, duplicating ads and ad sets – should be automated if your or your team does it regularly.
Analyze how you make a decision before taking an action and set the same conditions so that the automated rule can perform the action for you.
Here's the available actions you can automate with Facebook Automated Rules:
The first rule Revealbot customers usually set up is pausing underperforming ad sets (more rules examples below).
With automed rules, you can automatically scale your best performing ad sets both horizontally and vertically. What does that mean? Check our advanced guide on scaling Facebook Ads for copy-and-paste scaling recipes.
For now, just know that bringing automation to your Facebook Ads can go beyond just daily maintenance to help you significantly scale your campaigns.
Testing dozens of ad creatives is also much easier with Facebook Ads automation. Top advertisers and agencies are using Revealbot's Bulk Creation to set up multiple ads and ad sets in seconds and test them against each other to see which combinations produce the best results.
You can even set up an ad rotation rule to make sure that each ad gets equal impressions before evaluating its performance. Check out our guide on automating Facebook Ad rotation to see how to set it up.
For now, this isn't available in the native Facebook Automated Rules toolkit and only available in Revealbot's Facebook Automation Software.
Most Revealbot customers begin with the pause related rules. They are probably the easiest to set up and the first to bring value.
The hardest part is to define the best moment when you're completely certain about ad inefficiency. It may not seem tricky at 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.
Not a single sale after enough ad spend
Let's say your maximum cost per purchase (CPA) you can afford to spend is $46.65. We could pause an ad set if it has spent that much but hasn't resulted in a sale. However, I recommend giving the ad set some room to breathe and allow it to spend up to 1.5x your max CPA (in this case $70). Here's how that automated rule will look:
You can take this same formula and use it for other metrics like when CPC is too high, or AddToCart too expensive. This could be an earlier indicator of poor performance.
Ad Sets with declining performance
Pause ad set if Spend > $200 and Purchases > 0 and Cost per Purchase > $50
This rule is pausing ad sets that have spent a good amount of money and did have some sales, but the cost per purchase has become too high.
Monitoring sudden drops in performance
You can set rules with different time frames to monitor both long term and short term performance.
Here's an example:
You can only compare metrics like this to each other in automated rules using Revealbot's Facebook Ad tool and it's one of my favorite features.
This type of monitoring is especially important for ad sets that run on large budgets and have a lot of conversions. By checking recent statistics, such as the last three days, you'll be able to see if a great ad set has recently gone bad.
And instead of Purchase, you can track any event like Click, Lead, Install, Checkout Initiated, Custom Events, and so on. In other words, you should select the metric that you can get enough valid statistical data for in the selected time frame.
Pausing ad sets with low ROAS
If you run an ecommerce business where prices and quantities vary or an app with monthly and yearly subscription plans, ROAS is the right metric to track.
Note: Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) = Purchase Revenue / Spend
Before using this in automated rules, you should have the lowest ROAS you're willing to accept already defined. If not, a general rule is to have at least a ROAS of 3.0 if the target ROAS is unknown. In that case, you can make the following rule:
Pause ad set if Spend > $70 and ROAS < 3
Which means that this ad set will pause if more than $70 is spent and recorded purchase revenue is less than $210 ($70 x 3).
Similar for mobile apps:
Pause ad set if Spend > $100 and App Purchase Revenue < 3 * Spend
Note: This rule for mobile apps can only be done in Revealbot's Facebook ad software because Facebook's native automated rules tool can't use metric comparison as conditions.
The time a customer needs to convert varies – oftentimes an ad set can have zero purchases, you pause it, and then a few people convert in the following days.
Turn ad sets back on with good performance
You can use automated rules to relaunch ad sets that have been prematurely paused either manually or from one of your other automated rules.
Start ad set if Cost per Purchase < $50 (last 12 hrs) and Purchases > 0 (last 12 hrs)
This automated rule looks for paused ad sets with at least one purchase with a total cost per purchase under $50 in the last 12 hours.
Tip: Do not exceed a 12-hour timeframe.
In my experience, if the ad set was paused longer than that it loses some optimization data and might not work well anymore. If that's the case, relaunch the ad set as a new ad set.
Note: The native Facebook Automated Rules tool can only look back as little as 24 hours. Only Revealbot's Facebook Ads Software can go down to the last 12 hours.
Turn ad sets back on
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 its 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. Again, this level of sophisticated automation is only available through Revealbot's Facebook Ads Tool.
Tip: If you run pause and unpause rules make sure they don’t contradict.
As with any other investment, not only do 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.
Increase budget on a good day
Set budget to $500 once a day if Purchases > 2 and Cost per Purchase < $30
This automated rule only increases the budget on a given day when performance is good, which in this case is more than two purchases at a cost per purchase of less than $30.
Tip: For all scaling rules, set a condition time less than 12 p.m. so the budget change does not happen too late in the day, which may affect pacing.
Increase budget relative to performance
You can also have separate rules for when the metrics are good and when they are great – and increase the budget accordingly.
If your maximum cost per acquisition is $30, then you can set up an automated rule that increases budget for a good ad set (similar to the above rule):
Increase budget by 20% once a day if Purchases > 5 and Cost per Purchase < $30 and Cost per Purchase >= $20
Here's what this rule looks like in Facebook's native Automated Rule creator:
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
These two rules together increase the budget for the day moderately for good performers and a lot for top performers. Using Facebook's automated rules for this ensures you're taking advantage of every opportunity that comes your way.
Tip: Wait until you have at least 5-10 conversions in a day before doubling the budget, otherwise you can shoot yourself in the foot.
Similarly, these types of rules also work for ROAS.
Increase Budget by 100% once a day if Purchases > 5 and ROAS > 3
You can add an ‘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
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, you can add a bid cap or set target costs.
Increase the bid for ads with low impressions
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)
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.
Increase the bid to prioritize high performing ads
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)
Note: Comparing one metric to another metric as an automated rule condition is only available as a feature in Revealbot's Facebook Ad Tool.
This is another interesting tactic that many marketers use. Duplication helps automate two strategies: 1) horizontal scaling 2) relaunching 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
Here's an article we wrote on why you might want to duplicate an ad set.
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
Sometimes your rule may show some unexpected behavior. To dive deeper into why the rule triggered or did not, you can always check the logs or activity for each rule.
Just click on the "Activity" tab in Facebook's Automated Rules section to see a history of your rules.
Or if you're using Revealbot, you can see your history in our Logs section, which also contains a log of reasons why your campaigns, ad sets, or ads did NOT trigger a particular rule.
This makes it really easy to pinpoint errors and improvements in your Facebook Ad automation system.
And if you're already a Revealbot user, you can always reach out to our customer support team for questions.
Once you have defined your core funnel 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 to any level of the Facebook ad hierarchy - the campaign, ad set, or ad. 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, or you can filter items by name or delivery status.
- Pause campaigns, ad sets, or ads
- Start (unpause) campaigns, ad sets, ads
- Increase, decrease, or set the budget (by value or percentage)
- Set bid strategy to either automatic, target cost, or lowest cost with a cap
- Increase, decrease, or set the bid (by value or percentage)
- Duplicate campaigns, ad sets, ads
- Add or remove any text from the campaign, ad set, or ad name
- Delete a campaign, ad set, or 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 trigger 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 as little as 15 minutes to 72 hours or use a schedule. In Facebook's native ad rules platform, you can only choose "Continuously" which runs as often as possible around every 30 minutes or so.
The rule of thumb is to set the same conversion window as you use for optimization.
In the native Facebook Ad Rules tool, it defaults to the same conversion window you use for optimization without the ability to customize it.
With Revealbot, you can get updates on triggered actions to your email or you can get updated on your Facebook Ad Automations through Slack. We're also working on getting notifications to Facebook Messenger soon.
By default in Facebook's native platform, you'll always get Facebook notifications when rules are fired. Your only other option for notifications is via email.
To help you start right away, we’ve prepared a cheat sheet with the most effective and commonly used automated rules you can use today
Use these examples as a framework for your own optimization strategy.
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.