Facebook’s parent company, Meta, recently launched their new advertising tool Advangage+. This new line of campaigns follows in the trend of many other advanced tools like Google Performance Max, since it assumes many of the old responsibilities of digital marketers.
That’s right, another algorithm-first advertising model.
But what makes Meta Advantage+ stand out, and how can you make the most of this powerful new tool?
Meta Advantage+ campaign types
Right now, there are two main campaigns that can be run using Advantage+. The first can be used for shopping campaigns, and the second is designed to be used with apps.
In either of these campaigns, you can combine all of your ad types (be it static video, dynamic, etc.) into one consolidated campaign. That singular campaign is then used to target your audience across the entire customer journey.
That means you no longer need to split your ads across different layers of the sales funnel like prospecting, retargeting, and retention. Instead, Meta’s most advanced machine learning algorithms look at your intended results, along with advertising best practices across Meta’s various properties, to get the most out of said campaign.
Not a set-it-and-forget-it solution
As with other “black box” approaches to advertising, where algorithms take the lead role in testing and fine tuning, marketers need to stay on top of performance through the campaign’s run. In particular, you’ll need to pay close attention to the three main levers you still control:
- The data you feed back into the platform
- The creatives
- The data created from the campaign
Each of these are critical elements that humans must still bring to the table. In fact, this human element can give you an additional 15% performance boost on top of the 20% boost granted by the algorithms taking over much of the control.
What about creative fatigue?
Let’s imagine we are a brand that sells various house plants directly to consumers, and you want to utilize Meta’s Advantage+ shopping campaign. You know that the tool will be targeting the entire sales funnel, and will optimize ads for each stage of the customer journey.
That means you’ll need to create a lot of creative assets for the algorithm to test and refine. That can also mean your audiences may be exposed to ineffective creatives throughout the process. Additionally, once the algorithm has defined the best approach, what’s to stop it from oversaturating with the same message and visual. In other words, how do you prevent creative fatigue while employing a system like Advantage+?
The answer is that this is a very sophisticated and fast-moving system. Once it detects a creative is less than ideally effective, it quickly changes gears to optimize for that audience — even down to the level of each individual user.
This means that your campaigns are tailored for the best response in real time. That’s pretty impressive. It also means that your customers are actually less likely to see the same ad over and over.
So, how does Advantage+ work?
Meta’s Advantage+ campaigns (both shopping and app) are based on machine learning. As such, they like to be served with more options and data when starting a new campaign. Greater volumes of creatives and data mean more opportunities for the machine to learn.
More options means more signals, which also means faster optimization for you.
Current recommendations are to use at least 20 to 50 creatives, although you can test up to 150 different creatives in the Advantage+ shopping campaigns. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you need to spend millions of dollars in designing and developing creatives.
The differences between creatives can be quite small. This could mean variations to headlines, body copy, or calls to action. It could also mean different button colors. You may also want to experiment with “lo-fi” creatives that have a certain do-it-yourself feel (depending on your brand, of course).
The point is, you don’t need 20 distinct TV-quality high-gloss creatives to use Advantage+ effectively.
Lots of learning, but limited targeting
One important thing to note with Advantage+ is that you will be limited when it comes to targeting. It might seem counterintuitive coming from Facebook’s parent company. After all, Facebook helped the entire industry learn to drill down into hyper-niche targeting strategies.
In order for Advantage+ to react and optimize most effectively, you’ll be limited to broad targeting based on geography and age.
In order to give the system a bit more focus, you can use your existing customer base as a model for Advantage+ to create the audiences on your behalf. Again, you might see some parallels with Google’s machine learning products — specifically, the new GA4 audiences feature. It’s the same basic premise of using known data to inform the machines in an effort to build ideal profiles of potential customers.
What about setting ad spend budget parameters?
While Advantage+ takes much of the old responsibilities away from digital marketers, setting and monitoring budgets will still fall into your purview, thankfully. Within both the shopping and app campaign types, you will be able to allocate how much advertising budget you want to spend across the three main sections of the sales funnel: prospecting, retargeting, and retention.
These budget allocation values will be set as percentages of the overall ad spend. So, if we have $1 million for the entire campaign, we could set allocations of 40%, 50%, and 10% to each section of the sales funnel.
Quick tips to get started
In order to ramp up your Advantage+ campaigns as quickly as possible, we figured it would be helpful to put together a little checklist of helpful tips and reminders. So, here are some tips for the campaign creation process:
- Be sure to use 20 to 50 creatives. The more the merrier as this allows the algorithm to test and refine its approach — meaning better performance across the campaign.
- Put some real thought into your overall budget and allocations. As we mentioned, budget is still one of the biggest factors left for humans to manage. You’ll want to set aside an overall budget (around $30,000 is the current recommended minimum), and then advise the platform on your intended allocations across the sales funnel.
- More is more (when it comes to data). The more data you can feed the platform, the better it will perform. Bonus points if you’ve been advertising across Meta’s properties for several years, since Advantage+ can look at the performance of those past results and learn more quickly.
- Measurement is key! Whether you’re using a pixel, conversion API, or another tool, measurement is absolutely critical to running Advantage+ effectively. The system will look at these signals to inform future decisions and it refines and optimizes. Just like any other campaign, running Advantage+ without measurement is like flying with a blindfold on.
- Advantage+ campaigns should be consolidated. Remember, you’ll be limited to broad targeting. That means that a campaign that’s directed toward a very niche demographic, location, or profile type won’t be the most effective on Advantage+.
A few things to watch out for
As we’ve mentioned, Advantage+ currently features two campaign types: shopping campaigns and app campaigns. That means that Advantage+ is best used to drive sales and app downloads. (Surprise!)
A result of this focus is that Advantage+ might not be great for b2b campaigns. That’s not to say you should disregard B2B use cases entirely, though.
Making B2B campaigns work
In fact, our team at Funnel was able to make use of Advantage+ campaigns, since we fed back a transaction value to the system via Zapier. It did require a bit of feedback loop construction as well as a decent amount of volume. However, we were able to give Advantage+ enough relevant data that it could optimize a campaign for us.
So, it’s not impossible to make Advantage Plus a part of your marketing strategy, even as a b2b company.
View creative suggestions with some skepticism
Another element to be aware of is the creative suggestions coming from Meta. The system will always be highlighting the creatives that perform best. However, “performance” doesn’t necessarily mean the conversions you are looking for.
For example, Advantage+ may identify a video ad with 10,000 views as a high-performing creative. As such, it will recommend continued use of the creative. If that ad doesn’t drive any conversions, though, it may not make sense for your business.
However, since we are running a full-funnel campaign with Advantage+, it may be useful for your audience in the upper-funnel phase. You just need to make sure that you are balancing the volume of creatives for each of the three stages.
If you’d like to learn more about Meta’s new Advantage+ campaigns, check out our latest Funnel Tip. Also, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you can be the first to get all of the great tips and tricks you need to become a better data-driven marketer.