updated June 2020

If you’re already a TrustAds customer, a veteran Facebook and Instagram marketer, or a customer of another automation provider (hopefully not that last one) then you’re probably at least familiar with ad set duplication.

If you’re none of the above, this post will give you all the information needed to get you up and running with ad set duplication.

What is ad set duplication in Facebook?

Ad set duplication is where you take an existing ad set - which may be active, paused, or archived - and create an exact copy of it. It's really that simple.

You can duplicate an ad set into the same campaign or copy it into a brand new one, depending on your needs.

Why duplicate ad sets in Facebook and Instagram campaigns?

There are two main reasons Facebook and Instagram advertisers duplicate their ad sets, both of which we’ll go into in more detail below. In a nutshell, the key reasons for duplicating ad sets are for:

  • Re-use in brand new campaigns
  • Aggressive scaling tactics in active campaigns

Let’s explore.

Duplicating ad sets into new campaigns

Let's say you’re setting up a new Facebook and/or Instagram campaign.

You could start from scratch but, let’s face it, you should only ever do that if you’re brand new to advertising or your last campaigns have been awful.

If that last part applies to you, you’re probably going to want to take a step back and analyse what went wrong before starting afresh…

Hopefully you’re neither of those things, which means you already have experience of running successful Facebook and Instagram campaigns.

Perfect. This means you have the data you need to inform your new campaign.

You could get this data by clicking into the most successful ad sets you’ve run in the past, noting down the settings and recreating these in your new campaign.

But don’t do that if you value your time and sanity.

Duplicate!

Duplicating your best performing historical ad sets into new campaigns allows you to create a framework based on objectives and targeting that has already produced results for you in the past.

You can simply then add new ads or creatives under these ad sets or make small tweaks (i.e. to your budget or bidding) and you’re ready to go!

Duplication as a scaling tactic in Facebook and Instagram ads

This one is for the more advanced Facebook and Instagram advertisers among us, and tends to divide opinion.

While Facebook generally advises against having ad sets in your campaign that target the same audience (in case you end up competing against yourself in the auction); a number of savvy advertisers discovered that this doesn't seem to really happen in practice and that Facebook’s algorithm tends to actually favour newer ad sets over older ones.

The duplication strategy was therefore devised to replicate an advertiser’s best performing ad sets - not just in an attempt to multiply the success of the first ad set - but to further boost the success of the duplicates because they’ll be treated as ‘brand new’ by Facebook’s algorithm.

But won’t those duplicate ad sets compete against each other driving the overall price up?

A number of learning center answers from the Facebook Help Team say pretty much the same thing:

“If both ads are running at the same time and targeting the same audience there is potential for them to compete against each other”
Example from Facebook's Help Team

Potential.

Okay, let’s think about this logically.

If you’re targeting a ridiculously narrow, niche audience, with a huge budget - and you have two identical ad sets - then you might well run the risk of competing against yourself because, well, who else is going to get a look in?

Hopefully you’re not doing that though - unless you’re a big brand who can afford to dominate a small audience’s feed without getting on their nerves.

More likely, is that your business has a reasonable audience size and decent budget.

In which case - considering that in the first quarter of 2020, Facebook reported a staggering 8 million advertisers, and Instagram now boast over 2 million advertisers on their platform - the chances that you’ll actually end up competing against yourself and having any real impact on the auction result is slim.

Okay, so we know why advertisers duplicate their ad sets - where does automation come into it?

This is a great question, and we'll get to that in a second... but first, we really need to ask (and answer) another question:

How do I duplicate an ad set in Facebook?

Now that Power Editor is dead and buried, you can only do this in Ads Manager or Business Manager.

Once you're in Ads/Business manager:

  1. Click on the Ad Sets tab
  2. Check the boxes next to the ad sets you wish to duplicate
  3. Click the duplicate button at the top
  4. Specify how many duplicates you wish to make
  5. Specify where you'd like them to be created
Duplication button in Facebook Business Manager
Duplication settings in Business Manager

It's a manual process, there’s no two ways about it.

So what if you have hundreds - perhaps thousands of existing campaigns?

What if you want to mass-duplicate all of your best performing historical ad sets, across all of your campaigns?

Well, you’d have to figure out which campaigns were successful, filter by any metrics you want to help you decide which ad sets delivered the best ROI, then select the ones you want to duplicate.

Once you've done that, you'll need to indicate how many times you want to duplicate them and decide whether you want these to be in an existing campaign or a new one.

Oh, and of course, if you want to duplicate different ad sets a different number of times (e.g. depending on objective), or some into the same campaign and others into new ones - then, you’ll have to repeat this process multiple times.

That’s where automation comes in.

How do I duplicate ad sets with automated rules?

In Facebook, you can’t do this with automated rules.

In TrustAds, you can simply set up a rule with an action to duplicate your successful ad sets for use in new campaigns or existing ones.

Let's show you how it's done.

Using automated rules to duplicate your best historical ad sets

Let’s take a look at how you might use automated rules to duplicate your best performing historical ad sets for use in brand new campaigns.

You can do this with one rule, but if you’re super organized you might prefer to do this with two so you can keep track of which ad sets are being duplicated.

Rule one:

In this rule, we’re telling TrustAds what metrics to use to find our best performing ad sets. These ad sets are then tagged with ‘OLD-WINNER’ (you can use any tag name you want) so we can easily find them and duplicate only these ad sets, using our second rule.

For the above example, we have considered any archived ad sets that have, in their lifetime:

  • Passed Facebook’s recommended number of impressions and spent more than £20 (so we know we’re duplicating ad sets that ran for a decent period of time to deliver stable results)
  • Delivered a Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) of 4 or more
  • Aren’t already tagged with ‘OLD-WINNER’

Think of this rule as a way of automatically identifying and filtering your best performing historical ad sets. Remember: you can customise the metrics and tag used to whatever suits your needs.

Rule two:

Now you have your best historical ad sets neatly tagged, you can duplicate them into a new campaign!

In this rule, we are asking TrustAds to duplicate all of our top performing historical ad sets into a new campaign (i.e. to duplicate any ad sets with the tag "OLD-WINNER" into a new campaign).

We could tag our "old winners" based on objective types too - but for now, we'll stick to a single tag to keep things simple.

We’re also asking the rule to do this to any qualifying ad set no more than once every 4 weeks. This gives us plenty of time to turn the rule off until we need it again, but you can set this a different time frame if you want.

Working together, these two rules will constantly keep track of your best performing ad sets and tagging them so they’re easy to find - allowing you to duplicate all of your best performing ad sets at once whenever you like!

Using automated rules to aggressively scale by duplication

Everyone has their own way of carrying out aggressive scaling tactics. Yours will be unique to you, depending on the budget you’re working with, your target audience, and the metrics you’re interested in.

With that in mind, we’re going create an example rule inspired by the strategy of online marketer Attila.

In his article ’Top 8 Facebook Scaling Methods to Increase your Profits Overnight’ his 8 methods are all, you guessed it, duplication.

Taking the first in his list, we’re simply going to duplicate our top performing ad sets 3 times, overnight, into the same campaign - with duplication taking place at a minimum frequency of 72 hours.

Attila suggests duplicating based on your lowest CPA (Cost Per Action metric), however, given that this varies by objective and that Facebook is removing the Cost per Action metric, we’re going to stick with the more universal ROAS as our measurement of success.

We’ll grab our ROAS metric from another online marketer, Ritoban Chakrabarti, who suggests duplicating when ROAS is 3 or more.

Let’s see how this all looks in rule form:

So in this scaling rule, we’re asking TrustAds to duplicate our top performing adsets that have, in the last 4 days:

  • Delivered an ROAS of 3 or more
  • Spent at least £5

The rule will duplicate our best performing ad sets 3 times into the same campaign, but won’t do this more than once every 72 hours - so long as the ad sets still fit the criteria of course.

Oh, and just for good measure, we’ve used day parting to force the rule to only run overnight (between midnight and 5am).

Our ad sets will never be duplicated at any other time of the day, and will be fresh and ready to go on the morning their duplicates are created.

Snazzy.

Summary

Duplication is an important tool in any Facebook and Instagram advertiser’s arsenal. Whether you want to speed up the process of creating new campaigns, increase the likelihood of replicating past success, or scale aggressively by manipulating Facebook’s algorithm with live campaigns - duplication is key.

The biggest problem with duplicating ad sets using these platforms is that it's manually intensive. Using a tool that creates automated duplication will save you time, money and effort. Giving you the opportunity to focus on other things to help your business grow.

Duplication for the nation!

Want to duplicate your campaign success automatically?

Get your hands on your free trial of TrustAds now!

References:

  1. Facebook Business: Helping small businesses succeed in a mobile world
  2. Facebook Business: About metrics being removed
  3. I Am Attila: Top 8 Facebook scaling methods to increase your profits overnight
  4. Flying Start Online: $10k with shopify - FB ads stage #3 for dropshipping in 2018

Further reading:

  1. Sebastian Gomez: Does duplicating ad-sets on Facebook work?