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The Benefits And Limitations of Meta Advantage Plus Shopping Campaigns

Meta's Advantage+ Shopping Campaigns (ASC) offer an automated and dynamic advertising solution. They are very effective at driving conversions but can't simply be used as a straight replacement for conversion campaigns.

The Benefits of Meta's Advantage+ Shopping Campaigns

Meta have shared findings from their own research on the performance of ASC campaigns. They find that Meta's Advantage+ Shopping Campaigns offer automation, dynamic testing, budget optimization, and efficiency improvements, resulting in lower costs, higher performance, and simplified campaign management for e-commerce and direct-to-consumer advertisers. 

Lower Costs and Improved Performance: 

Meta's study found that Advantage+ Shopping campaigns led to a 12% lower cost per purchase compared to standard campaigns (BAU). Additionally, when ASC campaigns were added to BAU campaigns, there was an average 17% improvement in CPA and a 32% increase in return on ad spend (ROAS). 

Automated Full-Funnel Targeting: 

Unlike traditional campaigns, where advertisers manually segment audiences and create campaigns to target them, ASC dynamically manages ad delivery to the most relevant audiences and placements. Advertisers only select the country, allowing the system to optimize audience, devices, and placements using machine learning. It creates dynamic targeting segments for prospecting, remarketing, and existing customer audiences within a single portfolio campaign. 

Dynamic Creative Testing: 

ASC automates creative testing, allowing advertisers to upload various creative assets and test up to 150 unique assets simultaneously. The system iterates rapidly based on initial results to determine the best-performing creatives. Dynamic language optimization further enhances ad performance and audience relevance.

Better Budget Optimization: 

Unlike individual budget allocation in traditional campaigns, ASC consolidates all creative and targeting options within one campaign. Through learning, budgets are allocated to the best-performing element combinations with the aim of best acheiving the campaign's objective.

Portfolio Campaign Management: 

ASC simplifies campaign management by focusing on a single campaign. Advertisers no longer need to manage individual audiences and creatives manually. This streamlined setup leaves more time for strategic decisions, testing and optimising.

The Results We Got From Testing ASC Campaigns

We have been launching ASC campaigns across new and existing client accounts. Below are the results from a test we conducted to compare the performance of an ASC campaign compared to a manual top of funnel (TOF) conversion campaign. The results are consistent with what we have seen across all accounts and illustrate the benefits and limitations of Advantage+ Shopping Campaigns

Both campaigns had the objectives of maximising the number of purchases at the lowest cost. In other words they were both optimizing for the lowest CPA possible.

ASC Campaigns Achieve a Lower CPA

The campaign achieved a CPA over 2.5x lower than our manual TOF conversion campaign.

But Reach and Traffic Decrease

The ASC campaign achieves a lower CPA, but we can see that CPM and Cost per Reach (cost per 1000 unique impressions) are up significantly.

screenshot of Meta ads report showing performance of ASC and TOF campaign from an anonymised account

Understanding the Limitations of Meta's Advantage+ Shopping Campaigns

We have found that the ASC's are more effective at optimising and identifying the customers most likely to convert. Advantage+ Shopping Campaigns deliver conversions for cheaper than manual conversion campaigns.

For Meta, this is is a home run! 

They make more advertising revenue per ad shown and deliver improved results to their advertisers. For the same advertiser spend (Meta's revenue), they are showing less ads at a higher CPM. In other words, Meta are delivering conversions for advertisers that keep them happywhile having to use up less of its inventory and charging more per ad shown.

However for Advertisers, it isn't quite as straightforward.

The limitation of this is that compared to manual conversion campaigns, ASC's do not allow for as extensive audience exclusion. As a result they inevitably will target engaged audiences agressively. This is why we see Frequency increasing in accounts as we shift more budget towards ASC campaigns.

In the early stages, most accounts see significant improvements in CPA and are able to scale their spend driving revenue growth. However as time goes by, their advertising budget on Meta is increasingly being spent on retargeting engaged audiences and less on reaching new eyeballs. This reduced reach slowly shrinks the engaged audiences which the ASC campaigns are so effective at converting. As this happens CPA's start to creep back up and 

As this happens, this triggers a downward spiral whereCPA's start to creep up on the ASC campaigns themselves, as they increasingly spend to conver the over targeted and depleted engaged audiences.

To avoid this trap, we recommend running ASC campaigns alongside your existing TOF conversion campaigns. It is all to easy to compare the CPA of these two campaign types, but you must remember that they are not fulfilling the same roles within your acquisition funnel.

Need Help Navigating ASC Campaigns?

At Purpose Digital, we are always testing and learning how to best leverage Paid Social platforms. If you're looking to grow your e-commerce brand and believe you aren't getting the most out of your performance marketing budget, get in touch!


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