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Advantage+ Shopping Campaigns: Everything You Need to Know

May 29th, 2024

Meta launched Advantage+ shopping campaigns in August 2022 as part of their efforts to help businesses navigate economic uncertainty and platform changes. 

The primary goal of Advantage+ shopping campaigns (ASC) is to leverage the power of AI and automation to maximize sales and drive growth for advertisers.

Since its introduction, Advantage+ campaigns have been pushed by Meta reps, agencies, media buyers, etc, and have quickly become the default campaign option in Meta’s ads manager.

In this article, we talk about everything you need to know about Advantage+ shopping campaigns, including:

  • The basics 
  • Benefits and limitations
  • How to set up ASC in Facebook Ads Manager
  • How to optimize Advantage+ campaigns

So, let’s dive in.

What Are Advantage+ Shopping Campaigns?

Advantage+ shopping campaigns are a new type of advertising campaign designed for e-commerce businesses, Shopify merchants, and other online store owners.

This campaign addresses the limitations you face when building manual ads for Facebook or Instagram, such as:

  • Data privacy issues: With manual ads, you deal with a lot of customer data and control targeting parameters, which raises concerns about data privacy. That’s because you have direct access to and control over user data for targeting purposes.
  • Time-consuming: Managing manual ads is time-consuming as you have to set targeting, build ad copy and creatives, and segment the audience based on demographics manually.
  • Less efficient targeting: Manual ads don’t utilize advanced machine learning capabilities like Advantage+ shopping campaigns, leading to less precise targeting and potentially lower conversion rates.

With Advantage+, Meta streamlines the advertising process and provides a more integrated and comprehensive approach to campaign management and optimization. 

It aims to leverage machine learning and AI to reinforce marketers with new technology and make workflows more efficient.

Benefits of Advantage+ Shopping Campaigns

In a Bloomberg article, Nicola Mendelsohn said: “Ads running on Meta Platforms Inc.’s apps saw a return on spending increase by an average of 32% with the help of artificial intelligence.”

But this is just the tip of the iceberg – there are several benefits of Advantage+ shopping campaigns:

1. ASCs are efficient

Advantage+ shopping campaigns automate ad creation and optimization processes, reducing the number of manual steps to save time. You don’t need to constantly monitor and make adjustments to the campaigns for better performance – the machine learning capabilities will automatically optimize your ongoing campaigns

2. Reach new audiences, and optimally target existing ones

Here’s what Microsoft says about customers discovering new brands: “We’ve found that 52% of consumers want to find brands and products they haven’t heard about but align with their shopping preferences.”

This is the main reason why Meta launched Advantage+.

Advantage+ campaigns use machine learning to identify customers willing to buy your product, improving ad performance and ROI.

By analyzing user data and behavior, the system accurately predicts which customers are most likely to convert, ensuring your ads are delivered to the right audience at the right time.

3. Creative optimization

ASCs automatically generate multiple ad variations and identify the best-performing ones for your target audience. By testing various combinations of images, text, and calls to actions that you select, the system can determine which creative elements resonate most with the target audience. 

Pro tip: Try to provide Meta with as many creatives as possible so it can show multiple variations of ads to your audience and see which ones perform the best.

4. Lower cost per result

Advantage+ campaigns aim to make advertising more efficient.

Here’s how.

These campaigns automate audience targeting and creative optimization, which helps reduce ad spend wastage and improve cost per acquisition. 

This further results in a lower cost per conversion, maximizing advertisers’ return on investment and making the most of their advertising budget.

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Limitations of Advantage+ Shopping Campaigns

  • Advantage+ shopping campaigns are more sensitive to changes and have limited targeting options compared to manual campaigns. Advantage+ doesn’t allow for specific demographic targeting, such as age, gender, or interests, and the targeting options are also limited to the country level.
  • ASCs don’t let you select or exclude specific ad placements that might sometimes impact brand appearance/safety.
  • You can only run a maximum of eight Advantage+ shopping campaigns at a time.
  • ASC doesn’t allow you to exclude existing or past customers from the campaign’s target audience. This can lead to ads being shown to customers who have already made a purchase from you, wasting ad spend.

Whilst Advantage+ shopping campaigns are a significant step-up in terms of ad automation, it’s still worth considering whether they’re right for you. Some marketers love the effortless, fire-and-forget functionality of Advantage+, however some prefer the fine-tuning and manual controls that Advantage+ is unable to provide. It’s a similar story to Google’s largely automated PMax campaigns

Despite this, the results don’t lie – a well set up ASC campaign can turbocharge your ad spend whilst simultaneously simplifying marketing workflows. Take a look at the guide below to discover how to set up a fully optimized Advantage+ campaign.

How to Set Up an Advantage+ Shopping Campaign

Here’s a step-by-step process for setting up an Advantage+ shopping campaign:

Step 1. Creating Advantage+ Shopping Campaign

Inside your Meta Ads manager, click on the ‘+ Create’ button.

Select your campaign objective – in our case, Sales; and click the ‘Continue’ button you see at the bottom right corner. 

You now get two ad campaign options to choose from: 

  • Advantage+ shopping campaign (selected by default)
  • Manual sales campaign

Ensure you’ve selected the Advantage+ shopping campaign, then click Continue.

The display of Advantage+ shopping campaigns is a little different from that of manual ad campaigns. 

On the left-hand side, you have two rows – the top one is the campaign, and the one below it is your ad. Advantage+ shopping campaigns don’t show you your Adset right away.

First of all, name your campaign.

Next, come down to the Conversion section.

  • Select from Website and Website and app options.
  • Set the performance goal.
  • Select the Pixel if it’s not already selected by default.

Step 2. Setting Audience Location

After taking care of your conversion settings, it’s time to set your Audience location.

In the Included locations options, click the ‘Edit’ button.

Select a region or country you want to target. 

One important thing to notice here is that you can’t exclude locations for your ads on the Adset level.

To exclude locations, you’d have to set the Advantage+ shopping campaign as a preset in your ad account settings. To do so, follow the next step.

Step 3. Audience Type Breakdown & Budget Cap

The Audience-type breakdown section lets you add custom audiences to your existing customers.

In the Reporting section, under the Audience-type breakdown, click the ‘Go to account setting’ button.

This will open a new page in a new Google tab.

Go to Account controls > Audience controls and select ‘My business can only advertise in specific locations.’

Search for the location you want to exclude and click Review changes

In our case, we don’t want to exclude any audience, so we’ll leave it as it is.

Likewise, if you have an age-restricted ad, select ‘My business advertises age-restricted goods or services’ and set a limit on the age.

Next, add your existing customers to the Advantage+ shopping campaign.

Inside the Advantage+ shopping campaigns card, search for your existing customers’ list. 

Click the blue ‘Confirm’ button once you’ve made all the changes.

Go back to your campaign and refresh the page to see the changes you just made to your audience.

Next, go to the Budget & schedule option to set your ad spend.

We’d suggest you check the box – Existing customer budget cap and set a maximum budget percentage to spend on your existing customers.

Go ahead and set your daily budget as well.

Step 4. Suggested Ads & Building Ads

The Suggested Ads section scans your account for all the ads you’ve run and suggests the best ones. You can use them if you want. 

For this campaign, let’s create an ad from scratch.

To build the ad, click on the ad from the left-hand side menu.

This will take you to the ad creation page that looks the same as other campaign ad pages.

Creating an ad for the Advantage+ shopping campaign is the same as creating one for normal ads on Meta.

  • Give it a name
  • Select the Facebook and Instagram page
  • Select the ad format – single image or video, carousel, or collection
  • Check or uncheck the Multi-advertiser ads box
  • Add your creatives – media, headline, description, call to action

Hit the ‘Publish’ button when everything’s set up.

How to Optimize Meta Advantage+ Campaigns

Here are some Advantage+ shopping campaign best practices you should follow to get the best results.

1. Diversify your creatives

Having a variety of creative options gives Meta the best opportunity to connect the right ads with the right audience.

On Meta, you can add up to 50 images or videos at one time. But uploading and forgetting about them isn’t a good idea. Ensure that you refresh these creatives a few times a month to avoid creative fatigue.

Here’s what YouTube PPC expert Dara Denney thinks about diversifying ad creatives: 

“I encourage rapid format testing into popular performance creative formats. This goes beyond just testing into carousels, videos, and images. What I mean is you must test into tried-and-true performance creatives like UGC, before-and-after, reviews, tutorials, etc.”

2. Select bidding options

Meta suggests selecting the lowest cost bid type and not adding a bid cap for best results,

Why?

When you set a budget cap, it’s good to control your costs – but remember that it also limits the number of audiences you can reach.

One major reason why you might be running Advantage+ campaigns is that you want to find the right fit for your ads.

Advantage+ app campaigns typically receive more results and spend their entire budget when using the lowest cost without a bid cap.

3. Avoid overlapping audiences with manual ads

One thing to avoid when running ASC is audience overlap with manual ads.

When multiple campaigns target the same type of audience, Meta can get confused which can lead to your ads getting deprioritized. You might want to avoid running manual ads and Advantage+ campaigns for the same audience simultaneously.

To see if Advantage+ shopping campaigns are the right fit for your advertisement ideas, we suggest you first properly A/B test your ideas by running both manual and Advantage+ campaigns with no audience overlap.

If ASC performs better, double down on it and stop your manual campaigns.

FAQs 

What is the Advantage+ shopping campaign?

Advantage+ shopping campaigns are a new type of advertising campaign designed for e-commerce businesses, Shopify merchants, and other online store owners.

What is the difference between Advantage+ campaigns and manual sales campaigns?

The difference between Advantage+ campaigns and manual sales campaigns lies in the level of automation and control. Advantage+ automates the majority of your ad-creating and publishing process with AI and machine learning, while there’s no such thing built for manual ad campaigns.

How many ASC ads can you run simultaneously?

You can run a maximum of eight Advantage+ shopping campaigns at a time.

Wrapping Up

Automated campaign types such as Advantage+ have changed the PPC landscape forever. AI and machine learning has successfully automated a lot of previously manual processes, and marketing workflows have never been simpler.

Yet, the question remains – is leaving so much of your marketing in the hands of AI truly a good thing? Opinions are mixed. Some marketers appreciate the simplicity of campaigns such as Advantage+ and PMax, however many aren’t sold on relinquishing so much control over their campaigns and still opt for a manual approach. 

Then there’s the biggest issue – invalid traffic (IVT). 

Automated campaigns such as these aren’t immune to the rising tide of invalid traffic eating away at our PPC budgets – in fact, they may be making the problem worse. 

Limited control over targeting and less visibility in analytics means a thicker fog over exactly who – or what – is clicking on your ads. 

Find out exactly how invalid traffic affects your website with a free, no-obligation 14-day free trial and discover how to optimize your ad spend with Lunio.

Advertise to Humans, Not Bots

Get a demo and save up to 20% of your advertising budget by automatically eliminating fake ad clicks across all paid channels.

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