profile

The One Thing

When I use Meta’s Advantage ad options (and when I don’t)

Published about 1 month ago • 4 min read

Meta is constantly introducing new updates to its ad platform that are designed to make our lives easier.

But as you and I both know, easier doesn’t always mean better.

Recently, the platform has been introducing more and more of what it refers to as “Advantage” options.

These features are meant to simplify the process of creating ad campaigns so the system can work for us, doing what it does best while leaving us with less of the process to worry about.

However, having tested these options, not all of them are winners in my book.

So to save you time, money, and heartache, here is my take on three of Meta’s primary Advantage features—when to use them and when to avoid them altogether.

Advantage Campaign budget

When creating a new ad campaign, the most significant factor at the campaign level is choosing how we will spend our money.

Formerly referred to as Campaign budget optimization (or CBO), Advantage campaign budget is a feature that allows us to take advantage (nailed it) of Meta’s advertising engine to spend our money in the most effective way possible.

Essentially, this lets Meta take your budget and put it into the ad set and accompanying ad(s) that are performing the best.

I am a fan of this Advantage feature and opt to use it about 95% of the time.

This is one of the areas where I want to leverage the power of the platform beyond my own understanding.

Because I know the system has access to far more data points than I do, and keeping this feature turned on will maximize the bang I get for my buck.

Advantage+ audience

Ad set targeting is one of the most important aspects of any ad campaign.

Who we choose to target—where they live, how old they are, and what they like—can create a setup that knocks it out of the park if done correctly.

It can also fail miserably if we get it wrong.

I like to think of it as a compass.

My job as an advertiser, especially with cold targeting, is to give the system a heading (e.g. north) and send it on its way to find the destination using all the knowledge and data it has at its disposal.

At first glance, it would seem Advantage+ audience would be the best way to set a heading and let the system take care of the rest.

Perhaps that’s why it’s automatically turned on for every turn ad set:

However, this feature is generally less of a heading and more like sticking your compass on top of a magnet.

It just spins.

Because I want to give my ads some sense of direction, I want to set controls for variables like age, location, and affinity targeting.

And even though I can technically input those details with Advantage+ audience, in my experience, it rarely adheres to them.

As an example, virtually every time I’ve set age limitations with this feature (i.e. targeting ages 18-34), I still see an outsized number of results from the 65 and older crowd.

Even though I’m not including them in my targeting.

It’s as if the system doesn’t pay attention to my parameters and only operates in service of getting the lowest cost per result, no matter what.

Which makes sense, mathematically, but doesn’t hold water when we’re talking about actual people.

Meta does a lot to try to get you to use the Advantage+ audience feature, even going so far as to tell you you’re likely to see a 33% increase in results if you keep it on:

However, going the original audience route opens up the details we need (and ensures the system will actually adhere to them):

For my money, Advantage+ audience is best left off.

Advantage+ placements

Music ads are a highly specific niche of marketing, which means many of the “normal” rules don’t necessarily apply when it comes to placements.

Specifically, we want to ensure every ad we show has an audio component to it (at least when we’re promoting our music).

Now if we’re selling merch or concert tickets, the game changes a bit, but because I am running ads to promote music over 90% of the time, I am particular about the placements I use in this regard.

Which means Advantage+ placements are a no-go for me.

Of course, Meta once again turns this on by default, so, just as with Advantage+ audience, we have to jump through a few hoops to turn it back off.

Simply hovering over the cell here reveals an edit button that, when clicked, allows us to customize placements as we see fit.

Once I’ve selected the Manual placements option, I like to lean into reels, feeds, and stories placements across the platform(s) of my choice (usually Instagram).

This gives me the control I want over my ad campaign without allowing the system to show an image ad on Audience Network that will likely never convert listeners to my music.

Now I won’t go so far as to say Meta has rolled out these features solely to make more money at our expense.

I mean, yes, I do believe these Advantage options are in the company’s best interest—they wouldn’t include them if they weren’t.

Because if these features led to a lower return on ad spend for everyone who used them, they probably wouldn’t last very long.

A healthy return for advertisers is a healthy return for Meta.

I do, however, believe advertising varies by market, and for our market (music), maintaining control over these variables continues to be the more effective way to operate.

So next time you set up a new campaign to earn listeners for your music, consider using the Advantage campaign budget feature and handle the rest of the setup process on your own.

Whenever you're ready, there are four ways I can help you:

  1. Read the Newsletter: Read previous issues of The One Thing to learn at your own pace and upgrade your marketing knowledge for free.
  2. Book a Consultation: Schedule a one-on-one call with me to improve your marketing across paid advertising, social media, and more.
  3. The Spotify Traffic Accelerator: Join the hundreds of artists who have successfully learned to automate their growth on Spotify using paid ads on Instagram.
  4. Become a DuPree X Artist: Hire our team to manage your marketing across streaming platforms and social media so you can focus on what matters most—making music.

The One Thing

Tom DuPree III

One high-leverage idea to scale your audience (and your business). Delivered every Tuesday.

Read more from The One Thing

Three of the most effective places for artists to monetize their music are also the three best places to promote it. Succeeding as an independent artist is a delicate balance of marketing your work, serving your fans, and earning money. Because it’s tough to balance everything as a team of one (or only a few), it makes sense to double down on the things that can check more than one box for us. Especially when we’re just getting started. The beauty of music streaming, selling merch, and...

2 days ago • 3 min read

Where we choose to advertise makes a significant difference in the performance of our ads. If we go too tight, we might experience a much higher cost per result (and fewer overall results for our ad spend) than we want to see. If we go too broad, we might waste our money on results that don’t really count for much in the long run. That whole “if your audience is everyone, your audience is no one” thing. So how should we think about country targeting when it comes to sending traffic to Spotify...

9 days ago • 5 min read

Music marketing is about so much more than playlisting vs. advertising. And certainly about more than just creating content and getting streams. It’s about connecting with others and creating a fulfilling path to earn our freedom and a life of meaning through art. Too much emphasis is put on the mechanics of marketing, while not enough is put on why we do the things we do. Why do we release music? Why do we post content? Why do we run ads? Why wouldn’t we do those things? Well, we’re going to...

16 days ago • 4 min read
Share this post