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, let’s give you a quick breakdown:

What is ad set duplication in Facebook?

You can probably hazard a guess.

This is where you take an existing ad set - which may be active, paused or archived - and create an exact copy of it.

You might duplicate an ad set into the same campaign or copy it into a brand new one.

So why would you 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.

But in a nutshell, these are:

  • For re-use in brand new campaigns
  • For 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 amongst us, and tends to divide opinion.

Whilst 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 centre 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.

Ah.

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.

The likelihood is that you have a reasonable audience size and reasonable budget.

In which case - considering that there are 5 million active advertisers on Facebook and an additional 1 million on Instagram - the chances that you’ll actually end up competing against yourself and having any real impact on the auction result is, well, slim.

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

Alright, alright! We're getting to that.

But to answer that question, we really need to ask another:

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 obviously figure out the campaigns that were successful first, filter by your various metrics to decide which ad sets delivered the goods, then select the ones you actually 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 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, well 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 could do this with one rule, but if you’re a bit of a organisational freak (we’re not naming any names) then you might want 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, then to tag these ad sets with the tag ‘OLD-WINNER’ so we can easily find them and duplicate only these using our second rule.

In this example, we’re considering 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. You can of course change the metrics and tag so that they work for your organisation’s 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.

We might of course have tagged our old winners differently, based on objective types - but to keep this example simple, we’ll stick with the one tag. You’re welcome.

So, we’re simply saying - duplicate any ad sets with the tag ‘OLD-WINNER’ in the name into a new campaign.

We’re asking the rule to do this to any one, qualifying ad set no more than once every 4 weeks. If we’re doing this as a one off bulk action, that gives us plenty of time to turn the rule off until we need it again.

Et voila!

These two rules together will constantly keep track of our best performing ad sets for us, tagging them so they’re easy to find - and will allow us to duplicate all of these at once whenever we 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.

Now, Attila suggests duplicating based on your lowest CPA, so 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 just want to speed up the process of creating new campaigns and increase the likelihood of replicating past success, or whether you want to scale aggressively by manipulating Facebook’s algorithm with live campaigns.

No matter what your reasoning, automated duplication will save you time, helping you to quickly find and replicate your top performing ad sets.

Duplication for the nation!

Want to duplicate your campaign success automatically?

Grab 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?