2023 was another hectic year in the life of a paid social advertiser. Meta, in particular, saw significant changes and updates throughout the year.
To help, we’ve rounded up some of the most important Meta advertising updates from 2023. Hold tight, because there are quite a lot!
If you’d rather focus on your business than a raft of upcoming Meta updates in 2024 then why not get in touch with our team to discuss how our Paid Social team can remove the stress from social media?
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12 Significant Meta Updates From 2023
1. Introduction of Advantage+ Audience and Creative
An expansion on Meta’s AI-based advertising offering, Advantage+ audience gives you the power to Meta to find your audience for you. Rather than adding in your detailed targeting options, as you would have done historically, with Advantage+ audience the advertiser only needs to provide suggestions and allow AI to do the rest. Advantage+ Audience will factor in past conversions, pixel data and previous ad interaction – so the more data you have in your account, the more effective these will be.
Advantage+ Creative is Meta’s creative-focused AI solution. Ok, so this technically existed before 2023 but it has been revamped and retitled to join the ‘Advantage’ family. Advantage+ Creative allows advertisers to upload a creative asset for their ads, as normal, however, Meta has a whole suite of creative optimisation tools at its disposal to drive you the best results. There’s a selection of media enhancements and ad-level compositional changes that you can toggle on/off for Meta’s AI systems to play around with. Some of these can be a little questionable – so make sure you’re monitoring your ads if you turn these on!
2. Instagram profile traffic campaigns
Anyone who’s ever tried to get more people to visit their Instagram page – rejoice! In 2023, Meta released an update allowing you to select your Instagram profile as the destination for your traffic campaigns. In other words, you can now optimise your campaigns for Instagram profile views! This is big for brand awareness.
3. Location targeting updates
One update that has made advertisers’ lives harder was the location targeting update. Previously within Meta, when selecting location, you were able to choose from the following distinctions:
- People living in or recently in this location
- People living in this location
- People recently in this location
- People travelling in this location
The 2023 update to Meta location targeting removed this completely, making the only option ‘living in or recently in this location’. On the whole, this makes sense, as we lean more towards broader, less specific targeting. However, if you are a local business, university/college, council, gym etc. this will make it significantly harder to exclude tourists and reach your core audience.
4. Meta no ads subscription in the EU, EEA and Switzerland
Perhaps one of the biggest updates of 2023 – Meta officially launched their ‘no ads subscription’ in Europe, giving users the choice to pay a monthly subscription to use Facebook and Instagram without any ads. As an advertiser, the idea of an option that allows users to opt out of marketing is quite scary. That being said, I haven’t been able to find any accurate data on the uptake of this subscription.
Upon release of this subscription, it quickly became clear that one hidden curveball of this is that if you opt out of ads, you are also unable to run ads. (Meta advertisers all over Europe were found weeping.) This makes total sense from Meta’s standpoint – but is worth considering.
5. New Instagram placements
In 2023 we saw new Instagram placements released! These now include search results, profile feed, and explore. More placements are (mostly) always a good thing and allow advertisers to reach audiences in new places.
6. Schedule budgets to increase ahead of peak times
Towards the end of 2023, we saw Meta introduce a budget increase scheduling tool within some campaigns. Advertisers can now set budgets to scale during anticipated high-demand seasons by a certain percentage or value. Once this peak season has passed, the campaigns will return to their BAU budgets. It might seem like a tiny change, but this was introduced before Black Friday and saved lots of advertisers from manually adjusting budgets over the weekend.
7. Flexible daily budgets
In addition to being able to schedule budget increases in peak season, we also saw increases in daily budget flexibility at the end of 2023. Meta’s daily budgets will now have the flexibility to spend up to 75% over their budget, however every week, it will still total your set budget. Previously this did exist, however, the cap was 25%, so an increase to 75% is very significant.
This, once again, leans into the trend of giving Meta more control of your campaigns and will allow campaigns to push harder for performance when the account sees high demand.
8. Existing customer budget caps for Advantage+ shopping
Advantage+ shopping was the first Advantage-baby that joined us a few years ago, but even that got a revamp in 2023. Previously, your Advantage+ shopping campaign would just target a mix of existing and new customers with no guidelines. However, 2023 saw the introduction of the existing customer budget cap, allowing advertisers to control what percentage of existing customers they wanted the budget to be spent on.
This hands the control back to advertisers a little – which is great! For example, if you are on ROAS/immediate revenue push, you can remove this cap entirely and allow Meta to go crazy wherever it is likely to find conversions. On the reverse, you can keep existing customers low if you want to focus more on new customer acquisition. Nice work, Meta!
9. Removal of aggregated event measurement
One of the biggest bugbears of Meta tracking for the past 2 years, aggregated event measurement, was just removed overnight in 2023. Yay! Before this update, advertisers had to prioritise every event they wanted to track on a scale of 1-8. Any events outside of these 8 could not be optimised for. This was a nightmare to set up and managed poorly from Meta from start to finish, so it’s nice to see this disappear in 2023.
10. Removal of domain verification
In a similar vein, domain verification has also left us in 2023! When I talk about the biggest pains of post-iOS updates… this has to take the number one spot. Before its removal in 2023, every single pixel had to be run on a domain that was “verified”. This meant adding code to your meta tag, uploading an HTML file or updating your DNS record. To make it more complex, if a Business Manager had already claimed this domain (e.g. a previous agency or an ex-employee’s business), you were unable to claim it back without them removing it from their business settings. This was an absolute disaster and Meta wasn’t equipped to handle the potential issues that it raised. The feature still exists, but isn’t required for pixel tracking anymore. Let’s all just be happy that it has gone!
11. Introduction of verified custom website events
Although we managed to shake aggregated event measurement and domain verification in 2023, we did gain verified custom website events. This update came towards the end of 2023 and requires advertisers to verify any custom website events they are pulling through. This doesn’t impact custom conversions, only website-based custom events (e.g. events that you’ve set up through Google Tag Manager). You just need to click the little ‘verify’ button and you’re good to go! No one really knows why this was brought in, but I’m sure there’ll be a reason.
12. Meta (Facebook) Pixel transferred to ‘Dataset’
The Meta pixel is no more! Due to the rise of Conversions API, Meta is bundling all their tracking solutions into one pot – ‘datasets’. This caused some initial confusion, as rather than removing the pixel section altogether, it just stated that there were no pixels available in this business. The pixels do still exist and have just been automatically moved over to datasets to allow for a more streamlined approach to tracking. It will be interesting to see how this evolves over 2024!
2024 Is Set To Be Just As Busy!
So there you have it! That’s just a snapshot of the most important Meta updates from 2023. There is a huge list of others that didn’t even make the cut! As we head into 2024, we’ve already seen a few large updates that will definitely make next year’s roundup list. To summarise, if you think you know everything about Meta ads – think again!