Ad Limits for Facebook Pages Will Begin Taking Effect Next February

The aim is to help brands lower costs by running more efficient campaigns

Facebook vp of product marketing Graham Mudd said only a 'fairly small percentage' of advertisers are currently exceeding the limits Facebook

Facebook will begin imposing ad limits on pages next February, continuing the process through the summer, in an effort to help advertisers get the most value out of its platform by lowering costs and improving the performance of their campaigns.

Vice president of product marketing Graham Mudd said in an interview, “The digital ads industry has been on a journey for quite some time around how to maximize performance by giving advertisers the opportunity to deliver ads in a personalized way.”

The social network originally revealed its intention to take these steps when it introduced Graph API (application-programming interface) v5.0 and Marketing API v5.0 last October.

The process was initially slated to begin in the middle of this year, but Facebook said in April that it would delay enforcement until early next year.

Covid-19 played a role in the timing, and Mudd said the delay was less about disturbing advertisers during an already difficult period and more due to Facebook having to devote resources to other, more urgent processes.

The social network explained in a blog post Wednesday that each time an ad is shown, its ads delivery system gains a better understanding about the best people and places to show that ad, optimizing its performance.

However, when an advertiser runs too many ads simultaneously, each ad is delivered less frequently, meaning that fewer ads exit what Facebook called its learning phase (roughly four out of 10) and more money is spent before optimal performance can be reached.

“You don’t want to overwhelm the system, but you don’t want to constrain it, either,” Mudd said.

He added that a “fairly small percentage” of advertisers are currently exceeding the limits, and Facebook’s learning phase helps its systems watch how given ads are performing with their audiences and determine how the budgets for campaigns will be shifted via automation.

“Machine learning can help to root out biases,” he said.

Facebook also pointed out that its dynamic formats and creative enable advertisers to customize a single ad and show the best format, copy and creative for a given impression, while dynamic ads allow them to feature their entire product catalog in a single ad, which displays the products that are most relevant to each user who sees that ad.

The social network wrote, “In the past, advertisers seeking to personalize ads did so by creating a high volume of ads in hopes that the right ads would be seen by the right people. Today, many advertisers utilize Facebook’s new machine learning-driven products to personalize ads instead. These products can not only improve performance relative to high ad volume, but also reduce the volume of ads that advertisers need to manage.”

Mudd noted that the process has evolved from advertisers choosing which ads were performing the best by sorting through them manually, to platforms like Facebook building tools and incorporating machine learning to take on some of the work, both in terms of developing the creative and making decisions on which ads were performing best.

The ad limits that will begin to be enforced in February 2021 are:

  • Small to midsized pages, which spent less than $100,000 in advertising in the highest-spending month of the past 12, will be limited to 250 simultaneous ads.
  • Midsized to large pages, falling between $100,000 and $1 million in ads on Facebook in the highest-spending month of the past 12, will be limited to 1,000.
  • Larger pages, between $1 million and $10 million, can go up to 5,000.
  • Largest pages, or those with more than $10 million in spending in their highest-spending month over the past year, are limited to 20,000. David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.