If the announcements related to Meta Advantage products are any indication, the future of Meta advertising is more automation and less control. Over and over again, we’re seeing fewer options, locked-in defaults, and a required trust that the preferred settings will get you results.
Why am I concerned about this? I have a few reasons…
Maybe I’m crazy, but I’d feel a whole lot better about this trend if it had happened a couple of years ago. Remember a couple of years ago? Prior to new restrictions related to privacy and iOS 14+?
It was a different world then. Facebook (they were only Facebook then) had no issues with ad attribution. If anything, some wondered whether the 28-day click window captured too many conversions. The ad platform had all of the data in the world to not only give you results but measure them.
These days, though? When Facebook has less data? When targeting is worse? When results are down?
This doesn’t feel like the right time for less control and more automation. It doesn’t feel like the time to “trust the algorithm” when that algorithm has less reliable data behind it.
I get that part of this is Meta saying that since it is so much more difficult now that there are “proven ways” that are most likely to generate the best results. But… Should we trust results and optimization that are based on less complete data?
Yeah, I’m skeptical.
2. Lack of Transparency
More and more, it seems Meta simply wants advertisers to trust that something is working.
Targeting Expansion is a great example. Your audience can be expanded automatically if it may lead to better results.
We’ll never know if the audience was actually expanded. Or how much it was expanded. Or how many results you got because it was expanded. We’re just supposed to trust that it works. And we’re also seeing this with Lookalike Expansion and now a test of Custom Audience Expansion.
Without transparency and the ability to see those numbers, I don’t trust a further loss of control.
3. Apparent Desperation
The push seems to be for increasing audience sizes because that’s how you’ll get more results. Trust the algorithm because that’s how you’ll get better results.
But, results are down. Revenue is down. Meta makes less if we spend less.
We spend less when we target smaller, more relevant audiences. Telling us to go broad to help the algorithm seems to be a way to get us to spend more during a time when Meta needs more results.
Or, if you’re cynical, that could be an easy connection.
4. A Failure of Non-Conversion Optimization
Meta ads optimization is really good for e-commerce businesses. Any time you can provide a product catalog and focus on a category of products, the potential for amazing optimization is there.
But, Facebook has always ignored quality optimization for anything other than e-commerce. If you want to send quality traffic to your website or get quality engagement on your posts, good luck. You’ll always get quantity (accidental clicks, spam) over quality. Meta desperately needs optimization for content creators.
These things remain painfully weak, and putting my trust 100% into automation will only continue to provide empty numbers. You’ll get results, in the eyes of Facebook, sure. But those results will rarely be worth much (run a Traffic campaign to see what I mean).
5. It’s Nice to have the Option of Control
In the end, I’m not all that bothered by Meta moving towards optimization and streamlining campaign creation. Sure, create the supercomputer option that is fully automated. Maybe it works!
But, maybe it doesn’t work for me. I worry that this trend toward automation will eventually remove the option of control. As long as there’s an option, I can always work around that automation if it doesn’t work for me. Without the option, it becomes more and more difficult to work around the weaknesses of the algorithm.
What do you think about this trend towards automation? Is it a good thing?
Let me know in the comments below!