Multiple Ads per Ad set vs. One Ad per Ad Set

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Ever wondered how many Facebook ads should you run at once? Or how many ads should you have in one ad set? Over the years we heard a lot of advertisers recommend the stacking method where you place multiple ads in one ad set. If you’re one of those advertisers too, or you’re using this method yourself, we’re here to tell you that there’s another, much better method. 

In today’s blog post, we’re going to share our key findings from a recent a/b test we ran and discuss why we don’t recommend placing multiple ads in one ad set. Let’s dive in!

The ideal Facebook Ads setup

Successful Facebook advertising always starts with the right ad account setup. You can have the best possible ad copy or creative, but if your ad setup is wrong, your audience is simply not going to convert.

When talking about the ideal Facebook Ad setup, the first thing you want to make sure of is to have two separate campaigns. One for your cold, prospecting audience, and one for your warm, retargeting audience. If you’re not sure what’s the difference between these two audiences and want to learn more about it, we recommend checking out blog post: “The best Facebook audience for prospecting.”

Within each campaign, ideally, you want to have 3 to 5 ad sets. But more importantly, each ad set should have only one ad in it. Here’s why:

Let’s say you want to test out three different ad creatives. Some of you would probably go with the “stacking method” and therefore place all three creatives (ads) in one ad set.

You would think that Facebook will find the winning creative and then allocate most of the budget towards it, but sadly, that’s not going to be the case.

This approach will always make it impossible for you to discover which specific ad creative is the most effective one. And here’s why…

Why should you have one ad per ad set?

Whenever you’re testing something, the goal is to always find the ad that performs well and then gradually increase your ad spend.

And with Facebook ads, the more ads there are, the longer it will take for the algorithm to properly test them. So what happens when you put multiple ads in one ad set? Facebook doesn’t equally distribute the budget between the ads, and it ends up preferring one ad over the other, for no obvious reason.

In fact, in some cases, you’ll see that Facebook starts “pushing” the ad that’s not necessarily better in terms of CTR, CAC, or ROAS, so essentially, you’re just losing money on the ad that isn’t the best performer.

And that’s why you should always place each ad in separate ad sets. That way you’ll make sure that the full budget of the ad set is spent on that ad, and you’ll know that you’re properly testing each ad variation.

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Our a/b test results

As always, we decided to put this to the test and see if we can confirm our hypothesis.

We tested three different ad creatives by placing them together in one ad set as well as in separate ad sets. This way we were able to truly see if having more than one ad per ad set would result in better ad performance.

With the test completed, the results showed us quite the opposite.

When looking at the table below, you can see that each ad creative performed better when separated and placed in one, dedicated ad set.

multiple ads per ad set vs single ad per ad set facebook results

With multiple ads in one ad set, you’re most likely going to get a significantly higher CPM and lower ROAS, just as we did in our a/b test.

So if you’re still skeptical about whether you should place each ad in a separate ad set, we hope that after seeing these results you’ll change your mind. 

Conclusion

As you saw, the number of ads per ad set can make or break your ad performance. There are certainly more factors to consider when setting up your Facebook Ad campaigns, and if you’re interested in discovering them, we highly recommend checking out some of these blog posts:

For more blog posts on Facebook or Google Ads, make sure to check out our blog, and if you have any questions, feel free to reach out at [email protected]

We are always more than happy to discuss the best possible ways of optimizing your campaigns.

Take your Facebook & Google ads to the next level with Lebesgue

Start your 14-day free trial. No credit card required. Full access to all features.

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