Facebook Advantage+ Campaigns: Pros & Cons

If you’re not up to speed on Facebook’s AI-powered Advantage+ advertising functions, take a few minutes to get the basics down.

If you’re already familiar with Advantage+ functionality, let’s dig into its actual advantages – and disadvantages – when compared to manual campaign options. As a top-line summary, Advantage+ requires less manual work, more access to creative scale, and the lure of self-learning AI – but it asks marketers to sacrifice a lot of control and plenty of granular insight as well.

Without further ado…

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Advantage+ Pros

 

Time savings

Simple setup and less manual campaign maintenance.


Machine learning

It’s often smarter than we are, and it’s quicker to test, learn, and incorporate findings.

Scalability

  • Advantage+ allows for thousands of mix-and-match combinations that Facebook uses to dynamically create ads.
  • The top creative is automatically recognized and used
  • Advertisers suffer from much less creative fatigue because of the volume of combinations

Early returns

Lots of advertisers have seen good performance out of the gate, especially with Advantage+ Shopping campaigns.

 


 

Advantage+ Cons

You’ll notice a theme here: manual control and granularity is severely curtailed with Advantage+ in play. This boils down to:

Limited targeting options

  • Meta believes its machine learning (audience signals and user behavior) can more accurately and effectively target high-value users than advertisers setting specific targeting parameters.

  • Advertisers cannot set demographic targets with specific ages, genders, interests, etc. In other words, if your brand is meant for women, ads can technically still be shown to men. (One exception: you can still target specific locations.)

    • Prospecting and retargeting are essentially combined into one campaign. This gives you less control over how you approach each audience type – including which creatives go to which audience type based on where users are in the funnel. 

      • You do have one important lever here: you can tell Facebook approximately how much of your total budget you want to go to prospecting (new) vs. retargeting (existing) audiences based on the lists you feed the campaigns.

      • One huge drawback: you have no ability to set exclusion audiences, e.g. current or past customers or specific audiences you don’t want to target.

    • This also limits the ability to test different audiences and learn what works best. Essentially, all audiences are combined, and Facebook looks through the entire pool to find the users most likely to convert.

Limited control

  • Advertisers using Advantage+ have no ability to optimize campaigns, audiences, placements, or ads based on performance. You turn over all optimization controls to the algorithm. 

  • Brands with strict creative guidelines should note that they have no control over which ad creatives show in which placements, which can sometimes trigger weird cropping or boxing.

  • Limited targeting makes ad creative and copy even more important. Creative and messaging should help pre-qualify users to help the algorithm learn based on who engages, so make sure you’re creating messaging with that in mind.

  • Advantage+ currently offers no ability to set bid or target costs. Instead, the algorithm aims to get as many conversions for the lowest cost possible. Businesses with rigid CPA goals may not want to risk the absence of a maximum allowable CPA.

Limited insights - Advantage+ is a dreaded “black box”

  • Even the most effective Advantage+ campaigns won’t teach you a lot about how they got results. All you can really see is how much the campaigns spent and how many of your desired conversions come through.

  • If you’re looking for insight into which creative/copy combinations are served and how each performs, or into top-performing audience segments, you’re out of luck.

 


 

So is it worth testing Advantage+? In a word, yes, particularly since Facebook recently released tools that allow marketers to compare results of Advantage+ campaigns and manual campaigns. We have seen signs that Advantage+ can be effective, and accessing the algorithm now will help it self-learn more quickly. 

That said, there are some specific recommendations we have for making the most of Advantage+ functionality, and we’ll break those down in our next post. Stay tuned!

 


 

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