What Meta’s Advantage+ Shopping Campaigns Mean for Retailers and Advertisers

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By Natalie Abouk, Senior Biddable Account Manager, Croud 

By now, almost every marketer has heard about Meta’s selling tactics for Advantage+ Shopping Campaigns (ASC), through which, the social giant claims to be able to eliminate countless hours of manual work associated with creative rotation, efficient scalability and advanced machine learning. Yes, at first glance this sounds great given the need to shorten the time you spend on ad development. But what does this actually mean for marketers on their day-to-day?  How can we scale creativity? And just as importantly, what does this new tool mean for our retail clients?

In simple terms, ASC extends the existing account structure, letting you combine your audiences and conversion ad creative content to give the algorithm more data for optimization. Keep in mind that ASC can hold up to 150 ads, including catalog ads, such that top-performing creative content can seamlessly be “imported” with little to no edits needed. In addition to importing existing ads, marketers can also traffic new ads directly so as to avoid disrupting any learnings within standard campaigns. Thanks to the efficient scalability of ASC, we no longer need to be obsessed with creative refreshes.

In the world of retail, things change quickly. Style, trends, cultural relevance, odd TikTok memes and seasonality, to name a few. It’s essential for brands to stay relevant during these shifts and update their content accordingly. And we don’t always do it right. Those questions always pop into our heads—When’s the right time to switch from summer dresses to fall boots? Winter coats to spring florals? With trends and customer needs changing frequently, the creative volume that ASCs can hold offers advertisers the ability to transition to new styles and seasonal looks based on consumer demand. By leaning into learnings and consumer behavior on the platform, ASCs could filter through 150 different ad variations and serve the style/category predicted to drive the strongest result.

Just to give you a visual, ASCs offered a particularly compelling opportunity for retailers this past Cyber Week. For example, in addition to standard Business-as-Usual campaigns, it provided the opportunity for marketers to leverage ASC tactics to efficiently scale promotional messaging during peak days of the period (launch day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday). Thanks to advanced machine learning and aggregated data to reduce the time in Learning Phase while maintaining an efficient CPA (i.e. generating 50 conversions quickly and efficiently), the engine would catch up to target spend levels more effectively with ASC as opposed to standard campaigns.

With this strategy, marketers would be less concerned with the notoriously high CPMs (cost per thousand impressions) associated with Cyber Week and the weeks leading up to major sales events. In addition to reducing creative maintenance during the period, marketers would also benefit from reduced CPMs with ASC due to the consolidated nature of the audience compared to segmented audience structures which could be subject to audience overlap, heightened market competition, etc.

Additionally, for retailers looking to release new products during peak promo periods, ASC is a great tool for rotating in new creative without disrupting algorithm learnings. Previously marketers may have been concerned with several product releases in a short timeframe but with the massive volume of data and aggregated conversion volume captured by ASCs, the concern for ‘limited learning’ or extending the duration of the Learning Phase is almost entirely removed.

For marketers and retailers looking to expand their paid efforts into new markets, ASC should absolutely be a consideration if your immediate focus is sales penetration. Thanks to the advanced algorithm and seemingly one-stop-shop for Meta ads with a limited lift, marketers are able to activate in new markets quickly and effectively. Leaning into enhanced machine learning from ASC takes the guesswork out of identifying relevant audiences in new markets. Marketers are able to feed the engine multiple creative iterations and a few audience signals (i.e. remarketing list) and trust the algorithm to deliver the most compelling creative to each user to drive the most impactful sales result.

Using automation has become an increasingly viable option for brands as online ad systems continue to evolve and ‘’learn” from consumer behaviors. Automation could well be the best way to maximize campaign performance. Meta’s new ASC tool is worth exploring its evolving Advantage product suite to gauge how they might help enhance your campaigns, whether it be to more efficiently reach a specific group of people looking to get in on the next clothing trend or expand brand activity into new markets.