Meta Advertising: 5 Best Practices for 2024

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Embrace AI with the best practices for Meta advertising to grow and scale your digital advertising campaigns. 

Article originally published on Search Engine Land.

Whether you call it AI, automation, machine learning or similar terms, PPC ad platforms are embracing and standardizing it. This is particularly true across Meta platforms.

With its recent rebranding of automated ad products under the Advantage and Advantage+ suite of tools, Meta is encouraging advertisers to turn over the keys to AI in almost every facet of campaign management, from budgeting to creative development.

As a result, automation and Advantage+ will feature heavily as we discuss the best practices for advertising on the Meta platform in 2024.

With these recommendations, I hope to arm you with the fundamentals for embracing AI strategically while setting up your campaigns to grow and scale without ceding control of everything to automation.

1. Simplify your account structure

Maximizing Meta advertising efficiency starts with setting up your campaigns to allow for optimal growth and budget distribution. This means creating fewer campaigns and leaning into an Advantage campaign budget (formerly known as Campaign Budget Optimization).

A more simplified and optimal account structure begins with consolidating all campaigns with the same objective and conversion event into one campaign. Instead of multiple campaigns with the same goal, use one campaign with multiple ad sets.

This will help overall efficiency by reducing overlap within the auction. It also allocates your budget toward the ad sets that have the best chance of driving lower cost per action (CPA) and higher volume.

This strategy hinges on toggling Advantage campaign budget, automatically allocating spend across ad sets based on performance. Advantage campaign budget reduces manual budget guesswork. It also keeps CPAs efficient by spending your marketing budget where it will do the most good.

There is one potential exception to this simplified campaign structure that could merit an exception to this recommendation. Consider whether you’re prospecting or retargeting.

If you have prospecting ad sets (with large audiences) in the same campaign as retargeting audiences (with small ad sets), Meta could spend too little on retargeting. Breaking your retargeting audiences into a separate campaign is advisable. But it’s only necessary if you have a strong business reason for spending a set amount on retargeting audiences.

2. Test Meta Advantage+ audience

One of the biggest changes to Meta advertising best practices over the past 18 months has been the viability of broader audiences. To that end, Meta has made the new Advantage+ audience product the default option for new ad sets created.

But what is it, exactly?

Think of Advantage+ Audience as an AI-powered dynamic audience that changes who it delivers ads to based on performance. Instead of using fixed targeting (interests, behaviors, demographics), where Meta will only target people in certain categories, Advantage+ Audience broadens and changes your audience based on your goal.

Advantage+ Audience is divided into two sections: Audience controls (must-haves) and Audience suggestion (optional).

  • Audience controls let you input any targeting that must define your audience. This is limited to location, age, language and any custom audiences you’d like to exclude

  • Audience suggestion lets you add standard Meta targeting criteria such as interests and behaviors. The difference here is that Meta will not necessarily target only these segments. You’re giving Meta guidance instead of requirements.

I’ve been using Advantage+ audience since its release. I believe it’s a powerful option that can help you drive better results overall.

However, I recommend testing it in a campaign alongside a separate audience built using your original detailed targeting options. You can also include a conversion-based lookalike audience, as this audience type has made a surprising comeback in terms of viability.

Having multiple audiences under a unified campaign using Advantage campaign budget will drive efficiency and better scaling potential.

3. Embrace creative enhancements (where possible)

One of the biggest and most prevalent updates to Meta’s suite of automated tools has to be the creative enhancement options.

These enhancements, now known as (you guessed it) Advantage+ creative, allow Meta to optimize the appearance of your ads automatically. Potential tweaks include:

  • Adjusting image brightness and contrast.
  • Applying artistic filters: Sharpening, adjusting color temperature or adding a vignette or radial blur.
  • Varying aspect ratio: Showing either the original or cropped version of your image.
  • Adding templates to feed images.
  • Adding labels: Highlighting a helpful aspect of your business from your Facebook Page, such as likes or ratings.
  • Displaying relevant Facebook and Instagram comments.
  • Text combinations: Displaying copy as primary text, headlines or descriptions.
  • Music: Selecting a song to accompany ads based on their content.

Meta will likely auto-apply most, if not all, of these enhancements to your ad creative by default. I highly recommend you review and evaluate them with your creative and brand teams.

Some can drastically alter the appearance of your creative. Especially:

  • Image templates (although you can edit the fonts and colors).
  • Music.
  • Image expansion.

However, these enhancements can and have improved results on campaigns I’ve managed when done right. I have found the image template (when executed using the right brand-safe colors and fonts) and the text improvements particularly helpful.

Advantage+ creative is certainly worth a test, provided you do it in a brand-safe way. Not only can it improve click-through rates (CTRs) and creative engagement, but it may also ward off creative fatigue.

4. Leverage new lead generation features

Meta is slowly rolling out two major changes to lead generation forms that could be huge for users: Conditional logic and Rich creative.

Conditional logic helps address one of the biggest complaints most Meta lead generation advertisers have: quality. 

It lets advertisers program lead forms to drive respondents to different questions and end pages based on their answers to custom questions. This allows advertisers to pre-screen leads and redirect them should the answers suggest they may not be qualified.

Conditional logic also allows advertisers to set up specific end pages aligned with answers, resulting in different destinations or calls-to-action (CTAs) based on responses.

Rich creative lead forms allow for more visual and customizable forms with several additional sections. Instead of starting with a quick intro before jumping right into questions, advertisers can include different optional sections:

  • Benefits: Add two or three unique benefits of your offer that support your overview.
  • How it works: Tell prospects how to sign up or get started or list the benefits of using your product or service.
  • Products: Tell prospects about your products, services, courses or plans.
  • Incentives: Motivate prospects to give you their info by motivating them with a free trial or consultation.

These sections can increase engagement. They can also improve conversion rates by providing more details prior to lead submission.

5. Experiment with Advantage+ placements

Meta has allowed advertisers to use Automatic placements for quite some time. Advantage+ placements are the latest evolution of this tool. It allows Meta to run ads in, and allocate budget to, various placements across the Meta network.

Many advertisers still think of ads as running mainly in Facebook and Instagram newsfeeds. But with the addition of so many other advertising placements like Reels, Stories, Marketplace and more, there are actually quite a few places your ads can run.

I used to be skeptical about automatic placements, and it still isn’t perfect. However, it has gotten much better at helping advertisers manage their costs per 1,000 views (CPMs) and get better results by diversifying where ads will run.

If you’re an advertiser running mostly lead generation or conversion-optimized campaigns, I would suggest trying Advantage+ placements. You’ll likely see better CPM efficiency and improved conversion rates. 

If you’re an advertiser running upper funnel campaigns optimized to reach or brand awareness, you may want to be a bit more careful. While I’m confident that you will get better CPM efficiency, you may start to see your ad delivery favoring placements that may not be quite as premium as others.

In the end, Advantage+ placements will always optimize based on whatever your objective is. You should see better results both from a CPA perspective and a media efficiency perspective. As a result, it’s worth a test.

The takeaway

Automation is here to stay. It will likely become an even larger and more integral part of campaign creation and management as time goes on. And as much as Meta wants advertisers to hand over the keys, you still need to know how to use these tools effectively by applying human oversight.

Successful advertisers will be able to find the middle ground between full Meta automation and clinging to every last scrap of control they have. The key is to find the balance.

Account simplification and budget optimization are absolute must-haves in today’s Meta environment. Targeting, creative and placement automation have developed to the point where they can certainly be helpful if tested and executed smartly. But you may not be ready to put them on autopilot just yet.

The bottom line is that the future will involve more automation and machine learning.

As a result, advertisers would be wise to begin testing and incorporating these tools now. You will likely be surprised by how smart the Meta algorithm is and how it can help you improve your performance.


Featured Image: Photo by Dima Solomin on Unsplash

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