What's the Latest with META's Advantage+ and Why Does it Matter?

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Paid Media
May 21, 2024
3 min read

In Fall 2022, Meta launched Advantage+, a machine-learning campaign type positioned as a powerful, “set-it-and-forget-it” tool that would leverage AI to efficiently target users and dynamically optimize creative to the most salient format depending on where and to whom an ad was served.

Advantage+ was introduced only a year after Apple’s iOS 14.5 App Tracking Transparency updates, which impacted advertisers by limiting the amount of accessible third-party data. Advertisers sought a solution to fill these data gaps, and Advantage+ arose as an optimistic alternative.  

After initial tests indicated Advantage+’s potential to powerfully target users, many advertisers invested heavily within these campaigns. Now, more than a year into running Advantage+ consistently across clients, Backbone has gleaned insights both specific to our clients’ performance and echoed across the broader industry. Our findings indicate that Advantage+ may not be the cost-saving, automated solution Meta claims it to be.

Backbone’s Investigation

Since mid-February of 2024, Meta’s Advantage+ campaign spends surged, with many advertisers reporting CPMs inflated 10x, daily budgets exhausted early in the day, and a downturn in performance. 

After these incidents, Backbone’s analytics team launched an investigation into Advantage+ campaigns across the agency and found the following trends:

Cost Inefficiencies

Over the past year, Advantage+ campaign costs have increased dramatically and continue to rise compared to other Meta campaigns. Despite increased investments, returns have lagged.

Meta Campaign Performance Data

Unpredictable ROAS

The graph below also demonstrates that Advantage+ ROAS has been more volatile than other Meta campaigns over the past six months, although up YoY.

Weekly ROAS Line Graph

Reported Increased CPMs

Advantage+ campaign CPMs significantly increased YoY (+94%) and continue to rise, whereas other Meta campaign CPMs remained more consistent (+7.5%) and are currently tracking below spring 2023 costs.

Advantage+ Campaigns' Weekly CPM YoY Graph

All Other Camoaigns' Weekly CMP YoY Graph

To supplement insights from platform-reported metrics, Backbone's analytics team conducted a test to measure the incrementality of Advantage+ campaigns for an apparel client.

Incrementality definition

The results of the test concluded that the client’s Advantage+ campaign generated only 17% of the conversions reported by Meta. As a result, the incremental return on ad spend (iROAS) and cost per acquisition (iCPA) indicated that the campaign is far less cost efficient than reported on platform.

Meta Advantage+ Q1 2024 Results

While revenue and conversions were overestimated by Meta according to these findings, the test did indicate that Advantage+ is an efficient way to drive site traffic across the media mix when used as an upper/mid-funnel tactic.

Backbone’s Recommendation

The trends we have observed within Advantage+ indicate erratic performance and rising costs compared to other Meta campaign structures. We are evaluating the quality and incrementality of Advantage+ campaigns on a client-by-client basis, and we encourage clients to employ data-driven evaluation strategies, such as incrementality tests, to gain a more precise understanding of the lift derived from Advantage+ efforts.

Meta, like all media tactics, should represent one component of a diversified media mix to reach users at multiple touchpoints and through relevant placements. Diversified media allocations build resilience into media strategies, and any campaign that receives a large portion of spend should be routinely evaluated for ongoing efficacy.

Want to run an experiment for your brand or see how results stack up against our benchmarks? Contact Backbone at info@backbone.media to learn more! 

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