Are you spending too much time managing your Facebook ad campaigns?
Want to save time and manage your campaigns more efficiently?
In this article, I’ll walk you through how to use Facebook automated rules to reduce the amount of time you spend managing campaigns, which could instead be spent on your actual business.
The main challenge of running Facebook ads
The two main aspects of Facebook advertising are: the setup and the management.
The setup phase is the foundation of your advertising and includes activities such as: audience research, creating Saved, Custom and Lookalike audiences, Facebook pixel and conversion tracking setup and of course creating your actual campaigns in your Ads Manager dashboard.
The management of a Facebook ads account includes all of the activities you do once your campaigns are set to live and your ads are embedded within the ad algorithm. This is undoubtedly one of the most important yet time consuming tasks of running successful Facebook ads.
During the management of your Facebook ads, it’s important to continuously analyse the performance of your ads in each of your campaigns to ensure their success and, based on the data derived from the ad, implement changes such as tests or optimisations to improve their results.
One of the worst mistakes marketers could ever make is to not actively manage your ad campaigns. Letting a campaign run without ever checking on its performance, or any analysis or changes, it will decrease in performance over time due to ad fatigue. But Facebook automated rules allows you to be kept up-to-date with your ads performance in real time.
What are automated rules?
Automated Rules are helpful features in the Facebook Ads Manager which allows you to automatically update or be notified of changes to your campaigns, ad sets and ads and undertake the actions that you specify. This allows you to gain control and reduce the time you have to spend manually managing your campaigns.
Creating Automated Rules involves three main parts:
- The level of your campaign structure you want the rule to apply to.
- The action you want your rule to implement.
- The conditions that need to be met by your rule to trigger the action.
We are going to create numerous rules to help reduce manual analysis based on the metrics used to measure your Return on Ad Spend (ROAS), whilst also incorporating other ad analysis metrics. With all Automated Rules you can apply them to all of your campaigns, ad sets or ads or to specific ones using the conditions field.
Although Automated Rules can cut down the time you have to spend managing your ads, it’s a good idea to still monitor the overall performance of your ads to make sure that they’re meeting your marketing goals.
Next, let’s look at where to find Automated Rules in Ads Manager and dive into the various rules you can create to save time managing your campaigns.
How to find Automated Rules in Ads manager
In your ads manager dashboard, navigate to the main menu and under the Create & Manage column, select Automated Rules.
Once in the Automated Rules dashboard, you’ll see two tabs. A Rules tab which lists your rules and whether they are active or inactive and an Activity tab to show you the history of the changes in your rules.
When you first navigate to the Automated Rules dashboard, both tabs will be empty and you’ll see a message that says “No Automatic Rules”.
In order to create a new rule, you can simply click on Create Rule in the top right corner. The rule creation window will now appear.
Create Automated Rules to control your CRFC metrics and ROAS metrics
Before we walk through how to use Facebook Automated Rules, it is worth outlining the ROAS and CRFC metrics, as the rules we create will be based
ROAS can be defined as the overall measure of the effectiveness of your Facebook ad campaigns. It is the most important metric as it tells you how profitable your ads are and the monetary impact on your business.
Facebook has two core ROAS metrics: mobile app purchase ROAS and Website Purchase ROAS . The former is linked to your mobile app events whilst the latter is linked to the standard purchase conversion event.
If you sell anything online you should be using the Purchase standard event action to track all purchases, for volume and value. Here’s how to install conversion tracking if you haven’t already set it up. ROAS is expressed as a ratio, for example 2.5 would be 250% return on ad spend.
Next let’s quickly cover what the CRFC metrics are. They are the four core ad metrics which you can analyse both individually and collectively after having analysing your ROAS at the campaign, followed by the analysis at the ad level.
These four metrics are: Cost per Results, Relevance Score, Frequency and CPM. For a full in-depth review of the CRFC metrics click here and for a complete guide on measuring your return on ad spend click here.
Rule #1 Increase daily budget if ROAS is greater than 2
In the Facebook Automated Rules dashboard, click on Create Rule, then, in the rules creation window select all active ad sets.
Next, under Action select, “Increase daily budget by” and in the field next to it, you are able to enter a percentage between 10 and 20. When first scaling, it’s a good idea to start slow by implementing a slow-paced scale to start with 10%.
It of course is possible to increase the daily budget as much as you want, however, it should be noted that the higher the percentage increase, the longer your ad sets will take to settle at the new budget in the ad algorithm.
Under Action, you’ll find two options: maximum daily budget cap and action frequency. You should allocate a maximum daily budget cap of at least twice your current budget. For example, let’s say we are spending $100 per day on each ad set, we would set a maximum budget cap of $200.
Now, set your action frequency. This is the minimum amount of time the same action can be taken with Facebook automated rules.
By default it is 12 hours, however, even with an incremental increase in budget by 10% every 12 hours, equating to twice a day, would be too fast so change the action frequency to once daily.
Now, let’s move on to the conditions section of our rule. This is what needs to be set in order for the action we just created above to be implemented.
In the condition section, from the dropdown, under Most Common select Website purchase ROAS. You’ll then be presented with a number of conditions such as greater than, smaller than, between and not between.
Select greater than and in the number field to the right, enter 2, which means a ROAS greater than 2, i.e. 200%.
Since we only want to put an increased buget behind and scale ad sets that are consistently delivering a 2X ROAS or more and whilst also wanting to exclude the possibility of statistical chance, choose ‘last 7 days’ in the time range. This is the same data analysis windows used in CRFC analysis and ROAS analysis.
Next, leave the attribution window as standard and in the schedule section you can set it to check the rule daily. Leave the Notifications setting as default with email included and then name your rule.
In summary, we’ve been able to create a slow scale rule that will increase the daily budget by 10% every 24 hours of any ad set where the ROAS over the last 7 days is greater than 2.
Rule #2 Stop ad sets if they fall below your minimum acceptable ROAS
Click Create rule and in the apply rule dropdown select “All active ad sets”. Next, from the action dropdown select “Turn off Ad Sets”.
When you’re creating ROAS based rules, and are implementing the action of pausing any ad sets that are under performing, we need to make sure we only apply it across our new Customer Acquisition campaigns that are aimed at generating sales and ensure none of our Awareness campaigns that are “warming up” cold audiences by showing them content are affected. This is because Awareness campaigns will have a negative or break even ROAS and we don’t want these paused by our rule.
This is where having a consistent and proper campaign naming structure can be a big help.
By naming campaigns by their place in our sales funnel, with for example, TOF for Top of Funnel (Awareness), MOF for middle of funnel (Customer Acquisition) and BOF for Bottom of Funnel (Website Remarketing Customer Acquisition). With reference to this, we can easily exclude all TOF Awareness campaigns.
In the conditions section, the first condition we want to set is to target only our Customer Acquisition campaigns. Under the Settings dropdown select Campaign name and then choose the condition “does not contain” and in the adjacent field we’re going to add in TOF.
This now means that the rule will only apply to campaigns where TOF is not in the name, which is all of our Customer Acquisition campaigns, thus excluding all our Awareness campaigns.
In order to properly use this rule you need to know your minimum viable return, which can be considered as the lowest acceptable ROAS that still allows you to make a profit on your purchases.
You calculate this by knowing your average Facebook purchase value, cost of goods sold and your gross margin. To keep things simple, lets say we generated 3000 purchases from our Facebook ads in the last three months and that had a $150,000 purchase conversion value.
Our average order value would therefore be 150,000/3000 = $50 dollars. Let’s say it costs us $10 dollars to make and ship the product so we have a $40 dollar margin.
We therefore have to acquire customers for less than $40 dollars to make any profit on the first purchase. 1.25 ROAS (50 divided by 40) would be break even and anything over 1.25 would be profitable. Therefore, 1.26 is our minimum acceptable ROAS.
In the conditions section, click on the blue plus icon to add in another condition to our rule.
From the dropdown under the Most common list, select Website Purchase ROAS. Then choose “Is smaller than” and using that example we’ll enter 1.26, our minimum acceptable ROAS.
The final condition we want to set is to have this rule only apply to ad sets that have been running for at least 7 days, as that is also going to be our time range.
Click on the blue plus icon again and under the Time section select hours since creation. Enter 168 as that is the number of hours in 7 days.
Finally, under time range select 7 days, as we have chosen this to be our default analysis window for ROAS measurement.
Keep the attribution window at default (28 day click and 1 day view) but change the schedule of the rule to check daily as opposed to continuously. Name your rule and click create.
To summarise we’ve created a rule that will turn off only our Customer Acquisition ads sets when the ROAS over the last 7 days falls below our minimum acceptable ROAS.
Rule #3 Turn off ad sets if they spend more than 2 times your cost per purchase and there is less than 1 purchase.
This next Facebook automated rule is really helpful, as it allows you to more efficiently manage your budgets and better identify and then kill under-performing ad sets. Use it if you have trouble calculating your minimum acceptable ROAS and can’t use rule #2.
Again, as with the previous rule, we’re only going to be applying this rule to our Customer Acquisition campaigns. So, the first condition is to only include those campaigns by adding in a naming condition, and for this rule our aim is to isolate all campaigns that are not considered TOF, and therefore want to exclude our TOF Awareness campaigns.
The second condition we want to set is an ad set spend level up to two times higher than our current cost per purchase.
To do this, click on the blue plus icon and a ‘Conditions’ dropdown will appear from which you can select Spent, followed by ‘Is greater than’. Now, enter your value that you have calculated to be two times your cost per purchase.
For example, if your current cost per purchase is $20 then in the Spent condition you’d set $40.
The final condition to set is a minimum purchase volume. Again, add in a new condition and from the dropdown under Website conversions, be sure to select Purchases (Facebook Pixel). Next, in the parameter choose ‘smaller than’ and in the field box add the number 1.
Next, in the time range section, you should select 3 days from the dropdown but can leave everything else as default, except for remembering to also change the schedule to daily and finally name your rule.
To summarise, this rule will turn off Customer Acquisition ad sets that have not achieved a minimum of 1 purchase over the last 3 days and have spent at least two times our cost per purchase.
This is a great rule for turning off ad sets that are not performing well within their first week of being set
Rule #4 Send notification if ad frequency is above a 2.1
The next rule we are going to create will decrease the amount of time you spend just checking your ad frequency, saving you multiple hours that could be spent elsewhere, be it on your business or with your family. By implementing this rule, a notification will be sent to you each time the frequency conditions are met.
This also helps to improve your efficiency as you can catch the changes in ad performance faster and therefore reduce your wasted ad spend.
Like when creating all of your rules, start by clicking on Create rule. In the rule creation window, you can select all active ads and under the action, select Send notification only.
The condition you are setting for this Facebook automated rule is to notify us when the frequency of an ad hits 2.1. As mentioned earlier, one of the CRFC metrics is your frequency.
The higher your frequency climbs the more times your audience is seeing your ad, when it increases over 2 you can start to experience negative changes in your ad performance due to ad fatigue starting to set in, so now is the time to analyse your results.
In the conditions section select Frequency and the parameter greater than and set the condition value to 2.1.
In the time range, select Lifetime because frequency is a lifetime metric, starting at 1. You can leave the attribution as default but be sure to change the schedule to daily. Finally, name your rule and click on create.
Since this rule we’re creating will only affect active ads, if, based on the findings of your analysis, you can decide to create a new ad test and change the creative for example, make sure you pause the old ad so it doesn’t keep triggering the rule.
To summarise, we’ve created a rule that will send us a notification and email when an ad’s frequency increases past 2.1. You’ll then be able to delve deeper into further ad analysis to identify what changes to make to your campaign to ensure your goals are met.
Facebook automated rules can significantly reduce the amount of time you spend managing your ad campaigns.
By implementing ROAS based rules you can scale up winning ad sets faster but also reduce wasted ad spend by stopping under performing ad sets earlier than with manual analysis.
The Frequency rule helps to reduce the amount of time you spend checking that metric and will automatically notify you instead when you may start to encounter ad fatigue issues.
What do you think?
What Facebook automated rules do you use?
Let me know by leaving a comment below.
About Charlie Lawrance
Charlie is an advertising strategist, writer, speaker, and agency owner. He’s the Founder and CEO of Gecko Squared, a Facebook and Instagram advertising agency that specialises in working with high growth clients from around the world including eCommerce, software and professional service businesses. He’s been planning and buying digital media for over 9 years since he started his first business aged just 18. Stay in touch by liking his Facebook Page (Charlie Lawrance).