Good question. I'll be honest with you. Before I applied to work here at TrustAds.io, I didn't know either.
Now, coming from a marketing agency, it's not to say that I'm someone out of the digital marketing loop, far from it.
So why did we - and so many others - not know about it?
I have a few theories on this, from automated rules still being relatively new, to Facebook keeping rather quiet about it, all the way to agencies (charging by the hour for their expertise) refusing to give up the reigns to a robot.
Conspiracy theories aside, let's get down to businesses.
What are automated rules for Facebook Advertising?
Well, in a nutshell - they're rules (tick) that you set up to automatically (tick) notify you or take action on your Facebook (tick) campaigns, adsets or ads when specified criteria are met.
Kind of what it says on the tin, right?
Right. So tell me why I need Facebook automation in my life.
Well, if you're not running Facebook or Instagram campaigns, you probably don't.
If you are running Facebook or Instagram ads or are planning to in the future, then you're going to want to learn about automation rules.
Why? Buzzword alert:
Noun: the action of making the best or most effective use of a situation or resource
That's right, automated rules for Facebook form an integral part of Facebook and Instagram Ads optimization.
Automated rules can take actions such as:
- Pause/activate a campaign, adset or ad
- Increase/decrease bid or budget
- Send you a notification alert
- Duplicate your adset
Based on your chosen criteria, such as:
- CTR, CPC, CPM, CTR etc.
- Cost per add to cart, registration completed, install, purchase etc.
- No. clicks, likes, comments, impressions, view content, leads, etc.
Taking into consideration:
- The time period you specify for your criteria to be met (e.g. lifetime, last 3 days)
- Any campaigns, adsets or ads you want the rule to specifically target or ignore (using include/exclude functions)
- Any times or days you don't want the rule to run
They can essentially control what you control - but take action faster, monitoring and optimizing 24/7, running as often as every 15 minutes.
Here are the top 4 reasons you should be using automated rules to optimize your Facebook campaign:
Time is money. Think of the amount you spend on your advertising campaigns.
It takes time to devise an advertising campaign, to discuss it, to amend it, to approve it.
Next up? More time. To design your creatives, write your copy, set up your campain, ad sets, targeting, budget, scheduling - to check and double check - review and amend.
This is all before you hit 'launch'.
As we marketers know, the launch is not the end of it, either.
To run a successful campaign you need to monitor its performance, to keep a watchful eye on which ads are delivering the goods and which are dragging you down.
You might then edit a campaign, pause one, increase the budget on another, alter the scheduling - then monitor and assess these changes - all for the duration of the campaign.
So. Much. Work. And we can't do this 24/7.
Facebook automated rules mean you can tell a computer what constitutes a bad or good ad for your organisation - and once the rule runs, it will take the action you specify, instantly.
With the right Facebook automated rules, you really can hit 'launch' then sit back and relax, while a machine watches over your campaign and implements your actions for you.
2. Eliminate human error and limitation
So we've established that monitoring your ads manually takes time. There's only so many hours we can stare at a screen, watching out for bad ads to pause or good opportunities to scale.
If you have multiple campaigns running and, let's face it, other work to be doing alongside your advertising, it's easy to make a mistake or miss something.
Automated rules don't sleep. They don't get sick. They don't scroll through twitter while they're working. In a world of marginal gains, eliminating human error is crucial.
Even if you're somehow perfect (you lucky thing) and never make mistakes, can you:
- Analyze 100s of campaigns, adsets and ads
- Across multiple ad accounts
- Based on multiple rules
- Considering multiple criteria
- Apply any necessary changes
Every 15 minutes? Thought not.
3. Set and forget
Yes setting up automated rules requires a small amount of work*, but once these rules are set, they're set. They can be applied to all future campaigns, so you don't have to worry about repeating the same tasks over and over.
And even if you don't want to forget, you can quickly check the progress of your rules in the activity log, add new rules or edit existing ones. Whatever time you choose to spend carrying out such small maintenance will still be no comparison to manually undertaking the the work the rules will carry out.
*Most automated rule providers like ourselves will assist you in translating your manual work into automated rules anyway, via webinars, training and templates you can instantly apply....just so you know.
4. Complex rules for smarter management
Automated rules allow you to ask multiple questions of your campaign, adset or ad before taking any action.
Say you want to pause any adsets that aren't bringing in a certain level of ROAS in the last 3 days.
But you're aware that some of your campaigns - for example a B2B campaign - can be affected by certain times of the year, such as public holiays and half-term weeks, where a larger percentage of your audience may be offline.
You're manually running a report that looks at poor performing campaigns based on their ROAS in the last 3 days.
A B2B lead-generation campaign of yours that usually has a great ROAS is showing up, because something out of your control has impacted your audience - a half term, a public holiday, a week-long train strike in your target city.
You might manually bulk edit all of the campaigns in your report, switching them all off - or have to check each one to consider the context before taking any action.
Your great adset gets paused and missed - or it takes you hours to go through each and identify whether it's actually worth pausing or not.
Your 'Pause adset if ROAS < x in the last 3 days' picks up and pauses your usually great performing campaign.
But, thanks to another rule you have in place, such as 'Duplicate paused adset if ROAS > x during the lifetime of the campaign' that great adset is duplicated and will potentially gain extra benefit from being 'fresh' in the eyes of Facebook's algorithm.
So are automated rules only for technical or analytical people?
Not at all. There are basic rules out there that pretty much everyone should have in place for their campaign, and we offer a number of pre-made rule combinations that you can apply to your account based on your desired objectives.
But for those of you that are data-minded and prefer to have complete control - I may or may not be one of them - there's the opportunity to do something really special.
You can analyse your historical campaign results, gain unique insights into what metrics constitute a successful campaign for your organisation and then put in place a water-tight workflow of rules designed to monitor and optimize your campaigns the whole way through their life-cycle.
No need to teach less tech-savvy or analytical members of staff your personal way of optimizing, the rules will take care of your complicated approach for you.
Okay then TrustAds - give me an example of an automated rule for Facebook Ads.
Challenge accepted. Here's a simple one:
Say my goal is to drive traffic to my website - I want to pause any ads that aren’t getting clicks.
We know that Facebook has a ‘learning phase’ for all new campaigns, whereby Facebook is collecting data to optimise your ad.
They used to cite this as roughly 24 hours, however this is now ’50 optimisation events’, so as a rule of thumb we’d suggest waiting 48hrs to make any changes to your campaign.
To give our ad room to breathe and for Facebook to get acquainted with it, we’ll set a time period of 4 days, asking TrustAds to pause any ads if they haven’t achieved any clicks during that time.
Let’s see how it looks:
Sorted! So setting that rule up - which took all of 3 minutes - we now know that any future traffic generation ads we create (tagged with 'TA-TRAFFICGEN') will be paused if they aren't delivering clicks.
No need to bother checking on them, TrustAds will not only do it for us, but let us know when it's done, too.
Hopefully you have a better understanding now of what Facebook automation rules are, and how they might be of benefit you.
Just incase you need a refresher:
Facebook Advertising rules automate the manual processes advertisers undertake to monitor, optimize and protect their campaigns.
All that time you've wasted worrying of your ads, manually monitoring them, adjusting them, pausing and restarting them?
Stop. There's a rule for that.