How to Recover Deleted Facebook Ads

I’ll start off by saying you should never delete Facebook ads. 

The only exception is if you created and published an ad by mistake, and it hasn’t had any delivery. Or if you hit the ad limit on Facebook and can’t create anymore.

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Why You Shouldn’t Delete Facebook Ads

There are a few reasons why you shouldn’t delete ads. 

The first reason is that it makes things more difficult for reporting purposes. Deleted ads won’t show in the Facebook UI unless you specifically filter for deleted ads. This can mess up your reporting and metrics if you forget to include that information in your reports.

Screenshot of reporting on Facebook Ads

The second reason is that you can not revert deleted ads. Once they’re deleted, they’re dead. No editing, no reactivating. 


Screenshot of the "Delete Ad" prompt on Facebook


But sometimes mistakes happen, and you accidentally delete something you didn’t mean to. What now?


What Happens When You Delete a Facebook Ad?

As previously mentioned, unfortunately, you have to say bye forever to that ad. As of right now, Facebook does not have a feature to bring back deleted ads from the grave. Hopefully that will be something they allow in the future, and then you could stop reading this post here!

But alas, we have to move on to the next step. The next best thing you can do is duplicate the deleted ads. Luckily, Facebook does make this process very simple.


Duplicate Deleted Ads

It’s easy to select all the deleted ads at once and duplicate them. In the process, the default option is to stick them in the original campaigns and ad sets, where their old ad-selves once thrived. This is a big time saver.

The option to keep the existing ad’s social engagement such as reactions, comments, and shares is also the default. This is huge as you won’t lose any of the social proof the ad unit might have built up in its original glory days. 

Screenshot of prompts for duplicating ads on Facebook


Reactivate the Right Ads

If you deleted a large amount of ads, there’s a good chance some were active and some were paused. If that’s the case, it’s a good idea to do a run through to make sure you know which ads should be turned on. 

One way to run a quick cross-check would be to export data from the previous day and look for the ads that didn’t have any impressions. Depending on the situation, that will help you determine if they were previously turned off, or if they were active but not delivering for another reason. 


Naming the Revived Ads

When you make a copy of the new ads, by default it will add “ - copy” to the end of the ad names. You might want to label these new ads differently, or you might want to keep them as their original names so their data can easily be combined in any reporting you might use. 

Either way, you can select all the ads and run a find and replace to quickly remove the “ - copy” or change it to whatever you want. 

Screenshot of 'Replace Tex' font, where "Copy" is replaced with empty content

Another thing to note is that the ad IDs will be different for the new ads. If you use ad ID numbers as a dynamic tracking parameter, you will have two separate lines of data for that parameter, between the new and old ads. 


How Recovering Deleted Facebook Ads Affects Your Account

While it isn’t the same as your original ads, restoring deleted ads on Facebook in this sense is relatively easy. And matching up the data for reporting isn’t too difficult either. 

The main downside is losing any of the momentum the existing ads had that were performing well. Facebook will go back into a learning phase as it tries to optimize what it considers to be brand new ads. 

The good news is, the overall performance and conversion data the campaigns had accrued will still be helpful for Facebook to optimize for conversions. It’s a little speed bump, and may take a few days to get back up to speed, but it’s better than starting from scratch. 

Hopefully, this helps and gives you some peace of mind if you find yourself in this scenario. 

Need assistance managing your campaigns? Reach out to us so we can help!

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