You’re skeptical. I get it.
You don’t trust Facebook to take control of your ads. But at the same time, you’re feeling like a burnt-out robot that is constantly monitoring, updating, and tweaking.
It’s not realistic.
You don’t have time to check campaign trends or analyze performance issues on a daily basis, let alone throughout the workday. So how can you keep your paid campaigns running smoothly and continue to achieve optimal results?
You’re here because you have a good guess at what that answer is—and we’re here to tell you you’re right. Facebook ads automated rules can help you maintain a healthy account and scale your ads for bigger and better results.
We’re letting you in on the correct way to use Facebook ads without losing control so that you can focus on the fun stuff, like targeting and creative. By the end of this article, you’ll know the automatic rules to implement that’ll help you maintain cost and results—but with half of the effort you’re putting in now.
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What are automated rules for Facebook ads?
Facebook’s automated rules are processes that monitor your Facebook advertising performance and make adjustments to campaigns and ad sets when they reach certain thresholds. For example, an automated rule may switch off an ad set if its cost per result exceeds a certain amount.
Automated rules are a native Facebook ads tool. The tool is free to use, and you can access it from your Facebook Business Manager or Ads Manager account.
Although they’re automated, these rules do require you to set them up manually. They only run when you’ve enabled them for your ad account. That means you can create and use automated rules that meet your organization’s specific needs.
Marketers can choose from several types of automated rules. The three available options include:
Auction overlap rules
If your ad sets have detailed targeting or custom audiences that overlap, then your ads may compete against each other in an ad auction. Auction overlap rules can prevent your ads from bidding against one other. When you enable this type of rule, the algorithm automatically selects the best eligible ad to enter the ad auction.
Audience fragmentation rules
When you run a lot of ads to many smaller (fragmented) audiences across multiple ad sets, the Facebook algorithm may struggle to deliver your ads efficiently. That can leave some ad sets in the learning phase for longer than you’d like. With audience fragmentation rules, you can automatically combine audiences from similar ad sets to boost performance.
Custom automated rules
When your ad sets achieve or fail to reach certain KPIs, you may want to scale them, pause them, or adjust manual bids. With custom rules, you can define metrics, budgets, or manual bid thresholds and the action you want to take place when those thresholds are met. For example, you can create a custom rule to pause ads that have spent over two times your target cost per lead (CPL) without generating a lead.
Why you should automate Facebook ads rules
Automated rules have a bit of a learning curve. But once you get comfortable with running Facebook ads, automations can be invaluable tools for campaign management. Here are a few ways you can benefit from using automated rules:
Save time on campaign management
From reviewing creative performance to preparing Facebook ad reports, managing successful campaigns can take a ton of time. If you manage Facebook ad campaigns manually, you may need to check performance daily or even hourly. With automated rules, you can let Ads Manager handle key tasks so you have more time for high-level campaign strategy and analysis.
Improve Facebook campaign performance
Even if you have time to check your Facebook campaigns frequently, you may miss opportunities to improve performance. After all, analyzing audiences and optimizing budgets manually can be incredibly complicated. When you set up automated rules, you don’t have to worry about missing an opportunity—and you can feel confident that you’re getting the best results.
Avoid wasting unnecessary ad spend
Whether you’re running one or a dozen ad sets, keeping Facebook campaigns optimized is a constant challenge. A poorly optimized campaign could easily waste a big portion of your monthly Facebook ad budget. With automated rules, you can easily pause or adjust low-performing ad sets to avoid a lot of unnecessary ad spend.
How to set up Facebook automated rules
To access templates and custom settings, click the Rules button in Facebook Ads Manager or go right to the Automated Rules tool. From either location, you can create a new rule and manage existing ones. You can also view the results of your automations in the Automated Rules tool.
If you’re new to advertising on Facebook, then you may not be able to access automated rules until you have some activity on your Ads Manager account. Set up a campaign with at least one ad set and ad to create automated rules.
6 automated rules you should be using to optimize and scale your Facebook ads
Once you’ve created a campaign, you can set up an automation in just a couple of minutes. Here are six common types of automated rules to get you started.
1. Reduce auction overlap
Since Ads Manager has a template for auction overlap, this rule offers an easy place to start. Select Reduce Auction Overlap from the list of rules, give it a rule name, and choose the action you want to take.
The default option is turning off overlapping ad sets, which could leave a lot of your campaign budget unspent. To automatically reallocate the budget, you can opt to turn off overlapping ad sets and increase budgets of those that remain.
Alternatively, you can have Ads Manager send a notification when the algorithm detects overlapping audiences. Then you’d need to combine the ad sets manually to prevent them from competing against one another.
2. Reduce audience fragmentation
In the automated rules tab, select Reduce Audience Fragmentation to apply the Ads Manager template. Choose whether you want a notification about audience fragmentation or if you want Ads Manager to combine ad sets, audiences, and budgets automatically.
Like the auction overlap template, the audience fragmentation template lets you specify when you want the rule to run. You can set it to run daily or on certain days and times.
3. Turn on or switch off campaigns, ad sets, or ads
To avoid wasting ad spend, you can create a custom rule to turn off underperforming ads. Choose whether you want the rule to apply to active campaigns, ad sets, or ads. Select Turn Off from the action dropdown menu.
Then set the rule conditions for turning off the campaign, ad set, or ad—using your KPIs or campaign benchmarks. For example, you may want to turn off ad sets that have spent more than 2.5 times your target CPL without generating a lead. If CPL doesn’t apply to your setup, you can choose other metrics like cost per action (CPA), return on ad spend (ROAS), cost per click (CPC), or cost per 1,000 impressions (CPM).
The time range for custom rules automatically defaults to Maximum. But it’s often best to limit the data to the past seven days. That way the algorithm can apply the automated rule based on your standard attribution window.
Because Facebook provides delayed tracking data for many audience types, this automated rule may unintentionally switch off some ad sets that are actually exceeding your benchmarks. To prevent this outcome, you can create a custom rule that switches paused ad sets back on if they’ve generated a non-zero number of leads at or below your target CPL.
4. Adjust daily or lifetime budgets
Once your campaign has hit its stride and is regularly exceeding KPIs, you may want to scale it. To avoid sending ad sets back to the learning phase, create an automated rule that can adjust budgets gradually, by 10% to 20% every week.
Choose whether you want to apply rules at the ad set or campaign level, and then decide if you want to increase the lifetime or daily budget. Set the percentage increase and the frequency for the rule to apply. You can also set a maximum daily budget cap to ensure the campaign doesn’t overspend. Finally, set the conditions for the rule, such as a CPL below a certain amount.
5. Scale daily or lifetime budgets by target field
Adjusting budgets isn’t the only way to scale Facebook ads automatically. You can also scale budgets at the ad set level based on a target field of your choice.
Set a target field like cost per result and input the target value. Choose a daily budget range and pick the action frequency from the dropdown menu. Then set the conditions for scaling. Note that if you opt to scale daily budgets, the rule applies only to ad sets with daily budgets.
6. Adjust manual bids
If you’re using a manual bid strategy for an ad set, you can automatically adjust the amount you bid in the auction. That way you can make sure you’re bidding enough to deliver ads efficiently without overspending unnecessarily.
Choose whether you want to increase the bid by a percentage or an amount. Then set the maximum manual bid cap and the rule frequency. Set conditions that prompt the rule to run only when the ad set is underperforming, such as when impressions fall below a certain number.
Get started with automated Facebook ads optimization
From audience targeting to manual bidding to campaign scaling, Facebook ads automated rules can handle many of the most time-consuming advertising tasks. Whether you set up automation in-house or you work with an experienced Facebook ads agency, this tool is critical for optimizing campaign performance and ad spend.