What’s the difference between Original Audience and Advantage+ Audience?

If you’re creating your Ad campaigns within Facebook Ads Manager you’ll know that your audience settings are found within the Ad Set level. A few months ago you may have noticed that the default for your audience settings changed to something known as “Advantage+ Audience,” but what is this, how should you use it and can you go back to the old settings?

Read on to find out.

What is Advantage+ Audience?

Before Advantage+ Audience came out, a similar feature existed as a tickbox with the audience original settings. This feature was known as ‘Advantage Detailed Targeting.’

If selected, Facebook would first serve your Ads to people within the targeting parameters you set. Eventually, the algorithm will start showing your Ads to people outside of your settings if it thinks they would complete your objective – such as completing a form or clicking through to a website.

Advantage+ Audience is very similar, however, rather than it being a setting to switch on, it is now incorporated into the default audience settings.

The Original Audience Settings

Below are screenshots of the original audience settings found within the Ad Set level when you create your campaigns. This is no longer the default for most accounts. Everything you choose here is considered a ‘hard setting’ meaning Facebook will not go outside of your chosen parameters.

For example, if you set your Age to 20 – 30 years old, your Ad shouldn’t appear in front of anyone outside of this range. There are exceptions, however, such as when people share your Ads to their own feeds.

When it comes to Locations, be aware that your Ads will ‘Reach people living in or recently in this location.’ We’ve set our location to Southampton and it would be amazing if they could just go to people living in the area but unfortunately, Facebook removed that option a while ago. We need to be aware there is always a chance your Ads will be shown to people outside your chosen location who have recently visited the area.

You’ll also see ‘Detailed Targeting.’ This is where you can target people by interests and behaviours. For example, we might target those with an interest in photography. Within this section, you can also turn on Advantage Detailed Targeting, the feature we mentioned above that expands your reach beyond your audience settings.

How is Advantage+ Audience different to the original audience settings?

The images below show what you will likely see when setting up a new campaign – this is the new default.

Everything under Audience Controls is now considered the ‘hard’ settings. As you can see this is now just Location and Minimum age, not even an age range!

Underneath this box, you will see the Advantage+ Audience. This is where you can SUGGEST a target audience – emphasis on suggest! Facebook will again show your Ads to people within your target suggestions but it will also serve them to people it believes will also respond positively to your Ad.

Why did Facebook change their audience settings?

The Facebook algorithm is getting better at serving your Ads to the right people. In fact, we’re advised to be broad when creating audiences and trust the algorithm will find the right people. Facebook has now forced us into targeting broad as they’ve noticed Ad performance is worse when advertisers use more targeting options. By taking those options away by default, it’s harder for advertisers to create campaigns that will perform poorly due to narrow targeting.

Should you use the original audience setup or Advantage+ Audiences?

Right now it’s difficult to say. If we’re using the original targeting options we tend to be very broad and we leave Advantage Detailed Targeting off.

We have seen many more leads come from campaigns that use the new Advantage+ Audience settings, however, the quality of leads has been a mixed bag. Some campaigns have performed exceptionally, others abysmally.

Our advice right now is to experiment with both, however, a safe bet would be to continue using the original audience settings.

We’re continuing to test the new ways of targeting and we’ll update this article when we have a more confident answer.

WARNING: Because this is a feature that Facebook is encouraging us to use, we should all be aware that at some point it may be our only option and the original ways of targeting may disappear for good. If you can set up successful campaigns using the Advantage+ settings then you’ll be safe from this eventual switch over.

What should you do if setting up a Facebook Ad campaign is too stressful?

Facebook/Meta is always making changes to its Ads Manager platform. Sometimes these changes don’t always benefit the advertiser. 

There’s a good chance this article has completely bamboozled your brain or reminded you why advertising can be so stressful. Unfortunately, it’s a necessary evil, but an evil we love! 

If you’re feeling at all confused about managing your Facebook Ads, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

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