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How long should Facebook Ads run for – the magic answer

July 14, 2021

Are you looking for the magic answer when it comes to how long you should be running your Facebook Ads for?

This is one of those questions where I know you’re wanting a definitive answer. Not so fast. The answer is a little more complex than you’re expecting but guaranteed to get you results. Let me prove this to you.


When creating any Facebook or Instagram Ads campaign, we must constantly be testing our ads and the different elements within them to ensure they are optimising the best they can.

For any one of my clients, I always test multiple elements from audiences, to ad format and different media, headlines, copy and the list goes on. This is essential to Facebook Ads success and essentially determines how long an ad should run.

There is no conclusive answer I can give you for how long your Facebook ads should run. It’s not one week, three months or even a year. The answer is purely based the results you are getting from testing each element.


Let’s take a quick look inside my Ads Manager account so I can show you a simple set up. Generally, if I am running a campaign, it will follow a certain format. In it’s simplest form, this it what one of my set-ups may be. A campaign, an ad set and three to four ads sitting under an ad set.

Now let’s assume we start running this campaign on a Monday. On week one I’ll begin testing different ad formats. For example, I will test a similar theme across an image, a video and a carousel. I will then wait a week and on the following Monday I will analyse the results. I will then go ahead and pause the ads that aren’t working, keep the ones that are working running and add two more variations of the type of formats that are.

If for example the format that was working was images, I would then go and add in two more image variations and repeat this same process testing for another week to determine which ad performed the best. I will repeat this process week after week testing different elements of my ads including headlines, copy, CTA buttons etc.

Now can you see how the length of time you run an ad is completely dependent on the results. If you have a high performing ad keep it running and if you don’t, pause it. Often you’ll find that most ads only run for a week or a little bit more if they aren’t good. The ones that are performing could potentially start on for longer. It all depends on your data.

Now, it doesn’t end there, there are also some other factors to consider.


Audience size

How long we keep our Facebook Ads running also depends on our audience size and budget. If we have a small audience size, we can’t keep the ads running too long as the people we’re targeting will get ad fatigue. This means the same people get shown the ad on repeat…boring! Keep an eye on your frequency to manage this. An example may be that you are a local store. Here you’ll need to refresh your ads more regularly compared to if you advertised to a larger pool of people nationally.


Another factor to consider is your budget. The higher your budget, the more people that will see your ad at any given time. This means you’re burning through your available audience faster and the frequency of your ads will again rise causing ad fatigue. A quick way to determine ad fatigue is that you’ll see ads results start to drop off.

Learning phase

Thirdly don’t forget about the learning phase. It normally takes 48 hours for Facebook to exit this phase. During this learning, performance is less stable so your results aren’t always indicative of future performance of your ads. Remember, don’t plan to run an ad for less than seven days and test each element for at least seven days. This criteria is even more important post Apple iOS update given some results may be delayed.


There are also exceptions to the rule like special holiday ads, for example Valentine’s Day or Box Day sales. We certainly don’t run those all year round, that’s only go to annoy people and leave our brand look unprofessional.


Above all, be results oriented. Test and optimise your ads. If the results are dropping off, test new ads and different elements. You’ll eventually find a sweet spot and you can leave those best performing ads running. I mean why would you stop a high performing ad from running. Use those highest performing ads to inform the next ads you create. Does your audience favour a certain type of image or headline etc. If they do, roll with it!

Just remember, your best Facebook Ads results will always come from testing and optimising your campaigns.

Good luck.


Want to leverage Facebook Ads to generate low cost leads and sales? Here are a few resources I put together to help you:

  1. Download my 6 Must-Dos for Facebook Ads Success

It’s a practical workbook on the six actions you must take to achieve Facebook Ads success.

2. Apply for access to my free Facebook Ads tutorials

Need helping creating your Facebook Ads? Apply now and get access to my free tutorials where I show you the exact steps I take to achieve low cost leads and sales using Facebook Ads.

3. Have a question, shoot me a message

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