In recent months, Meta has been pouring investment into applying machine learning and artificial intelligence to its advertising systems in recent months.
Meta has typically allows advertisers to target users on the Facebook and Instagram apps based on behaviors gleaned from users’ online activities outside the platform, as well as characteristics such as age and gender. Now, an offering launched in August called Advantage+ uses artificial intelligence to automatically generate multiple adverts according to the specific objectives of the marketer, such as whether a brand is seeking to sell products or win new customers.
As a creator myself, Meta advertising has presented frustrations. You can only target audience demographics that have existed for five plus years on the platform. Seeing how fast paced social media moves, that’s mad and fairly restrictive.
This hope is further emphasized by Cody Plofker, chief marketing officer at Jones Road Beauty, said Meta’s new tool allowed brands to spend less time trying to work out how to wield Meta’s systems to target specific users and instead “focus on creative strategy” with ads that attracted more widespread attention.
The change is mainly in response to Apple’s privacy changes which are leading to bumper results for brands but also fears from marketers they are being forced to relinquish too much control to the social media platform.
Meta said it had invested in dramatically expanding its computing power in order to train these more complex AI models on larger data sets. With less granular data available on the individual user, Meta instead is generating countless variations of adverts, assessing how well they resonate with audiences and then flooding the market with the variants that perform best.
Multiple advertisers and company insiders told the Financial Times the Advantage+ tool is significantly boosting the performance of advertising campaigns in ways that allow it to recover lost ground since Apple’s privacy changes.
The new programme promises growth. “It’s been very lucrative for us, and we’ve been ramping up,” said Roberto Mendoza, associate director of global marketing agency iProspect. He added that for every $1 spent on a website advertising campaign through Advantage+, clients were generating $7 in returns — nearly as high as before Apple’s privacy changes.
Over time, Meta hopes to use generative AI — a fast-emerging technology that can be used to produce novel content such as graphics — in its ads systems to allow it to rapidly tweak text and images in campaigns based on users’ responses to them at faster rates than ever, it said.
The advertising push comes as Zuckerberg declared a “year of efficiency” in response to investor concerns about revenue declines, leading to widespread job cuts and the elimination of underperforming business arms such as shopping features on Instagram.
However, the system could promote content with high engagement, views, likes or comments that do not necessarily translate into sales. The UK games company that withdrew from Advantage+ said the platform had recommended an advert that attracted “inflammatory” and “hateful” comments from users.
“Looking at it from a numbers point of view only, that is great engagement but it does not help us sell the [product] or drive traffic,” the company said, adding that the tool lacked “human emotion and common sense”.