You can easily duplicate Facebook campaigns, ad sets, and ads in Facebook ads manager, so you don’t need to set up the same ads all over again in order to test them on different audiences. We’ll go through how to duplicate existing ad sets to try out a different audience (targeting is set at ad set level) and some other points to take note of.

  1. Select a campaign in Facebook Ads manager.
  2. Check the ad set you’d like to duplicate.
Facebook Ads Manager: viewing ad sets inside a campaign
  1. Click the “Duplicate” button.
  2. In the upcoming dialog, you’ll have the following options.
Facebook Ads Manager: duplicate an ad set into...
  • Create a new ad set in the same campaign as your original ad set. In this case, the new ad sets will share the original campaign’s settings like spend limit and objective.
  • Create a new ad set in another existing campaign. If this other campaign has a different objective, settings like optimization and delivery will be reset.
  • Create a new ad set in a new campaign.

You can also tell Facebook to make multiple copies at once if you’d like to test several new setups.

The last checkbox is to tell Facebook show the existing post engagements or not. As the ads inside the original ad set will be copied as well, they will point to the same Facebook/Instagram post. The likes and reactions you get for the original ads will also be shown under the new ad sets.

It’s important the target audiences among different ad sets have as little overlap as possible. When there’s an overlap between the audiences, some people will be targeted by more than one ad sets, and Facebook has to make a choice for you. To avoid you start a bidding war with yourself, Facebook will choose the one with the best performance history. This may not be your intended outcomes, and it could skew experiment results. To learn more about how to identify audience overlap, check out https://www.facebook.com/business/help/1679591828938781

Facebook provides split tests if you want to be absolutely sure there’s no overlap among audiences. In the first option “Original campaign”, you get a checkbox to create such tests. A split test generally splits the whole population into N groups, where N is the number of ad sets running in parallel. Every individual is assigned to a group randomly, and ad set targeting is applied to each group separately.

For example, if I’m running 2 ad sets targeting runners and swimmers respectively, the split test will split all users into 2 groups and target runners in group 1 and swimmers in group 2. In this way, people labeled both as a runner and swimmer will only end up in one target group. To learn more about the split test, check out https://www.facebook.com/business/help/1738164643098669

After you press "Duplicate", Facebook will prepare new ad sets in draft mode. Here, you can make changes to the ad set name, budget settings, targeting, etc. You also have a chance to edit ads in different ad sets: it’s a good practice to send different messages to different target groups.


Facebook Ads Manager: new ad set in draft mode

When you’re done, click the “Publish” button at the bottom right corner to submit the ad sets for review, and off you go.