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Are Facebook ads still working in 2023? That’s the question everyone keeps asking and I’m excited to say – yes, absolutely!

Facebook (Meta) has been a difficult beast the last couple of years since Apple iOS 14 changed everything. But as Facebook’s modeling and AI have caught up with all the changes, I’m now seeing better ad performance than I’ve seen in years.

While I do think it’s smart to diversify your advertising channels, Facebook is still the top social network at 2.9 billion monthly active users and they just passed the 2-billion mark for daily active users

In this article, you will learn what changes affect marketers in the ads platform, how to set up a winning Facebook ads campaign, and tips for testing your ads.

Changes to Facebook ads in 2023

Facebook’s Pixel and modeled tracking has greatly improved in the last year, but it is still far from perfect. If you have the Conversion API set up, you will get better results. While this is not a new change, it is something that everyone should strive for.

Most ecommerce businesses that have access to this new tool, which is still being rolled out, are doing well with Advantage+ shopping campaigns. This type of campaign employs broad targeting and machine learning to serve ads to your most valuable customers.

Facebook has also introduced several Advantage+ options, including Advantage+ placements, which were previously known as “All placements.” This type of placement includes placements from Facebook and Instagram’s Audience Network partnerships. While Advantage+ can be beneficial for some businesses, I have found that “Feed only” placement yields better results.

Advantage+ options typically use Facebook’s machine learning to reduce costs, but they are not always ideal for testing because you won’t know exactly what is working.

In many cases, broad targeting outperforms keywords and Lookalike audiences.

The good news is that we no longer need to conduct as much audience testing and can instead focus on creative testing. As Facebook’s AI improves, advertisers will find it easier to achieve better results.

Facebook has also restored some of the tools that were removed, such as the longer 28-day attribution window and attribution comparison. A better understanding of attribution allows us to connect our campaigns’ true ROI.

Key elements of an effective Facebook ad campaign

The four key elements for Facebook campaigns still remain:

  • Select the right goal.
  • Make sure your tracking is in place with the Pixel and the Conversion API.
  • Design meaningful split tests.
  • Read the reports and scale what is working.

Let’s dive deeper into these steps and touch on what’s changed in 2023.

Selecting the right goal for your Facebook campaign

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Many people do not select the best optimization for their campaign, which can result in a significant waste of money. Leads and sales are typically the best options for most businesses to improve their results.

Lead generation works better on Facebook than straight selling because we don’t get the same “buying signals” from Google searches.

Check to see if you’re using an Instant Form (a Facebook popup) or sending people to your website where the Base pixel code and Lead pixel code are properly installed.

So far in 2023, instant forms have been a solid ad performer, but one of the challenges is always lead quality. Using higher intent forms and requesting more information can result in better but more expensive leads.

For sales campaigns, the Pixel and, if possible, the Conversion API must be implemented. When it comes to optimizing for purchases, most businesses continue to favor retargeting audiences.

Tracking on Facebook

The more data you track through your funnel, the better the results. Many shopping carts integrate easily with the Pixel and Conversion APIs.

If you use WordPress or Google Tag Manager, Facebook has integration tools in the Events Manager that can assist you in easily installing the Conversion API.

When you track properly, you can make more informed decisions about what works. You can see your “Adds to cart” and “Purchase ROAS.”

You’ll be able to tell if Facebook’s optimization is working or if you need to split up your campaigns to focus your budget on the most profitable ads or audiences.

How to properly test your Facebook ads

Testing has changed on Facebook with the improvement to broad targeting. I suggest still testing Lookalike Audiences and some keywords or job titles if relevant to your avatar. But be smart about your test plan. Here’s an example of a very basic 10-day ads test plan

First, test the audiences with the same budget, ad, and creative for each ad set.After 5 days, you’ll have a better idea of which audience performed the best. Then, using the best-performing audience, test new creative on an individual basis.

There are many nuances to this (such as the importance of results and overall budget), but this is a good starting point. Creative testing has always been important, but now that we don’t need as many test audiences, we can delve a little deeper into different creatives.

Big bold text is what I’ve seen working on Facebook in 2023.

Anything that looks different can also attract attention. User reviews and carousel ads are good ways to retarget potential customers.

Other creative options that are working and can be tested are casual videos that look native to Facebook. Video ads can work well to “presell” your offer but definitely test what works compared to image-only ads.

When testing creative, make sure to use images that are very different from each other to get the widest range. Usually varying something small like the subheadline or color will not give you significant results. 

Reading ad reports and scaling

In general, I’ve continued to scale up my ad sets using ad set budget optimization (ABO).

Campaign budget optimization (CBO) scaling, on the other hand, can benefit larger budgets. Add the winning ads and audiences into one campaign and increase your budget by 20-30% every few days to use CBO scaling. Your strategy will be determined by the length of the promotion, the overall budget, and the type of business.

The good news is that the Breakdown reports are now available on Facebook, allowing us to see where we are getting the best results based on age, gender, country, and placements.

Testing is and has always been the best way to improve results on Facebook. You will discover your best performers as you iterate. Don’t forget to experiment with different lead magnets, offers, and landing pages. Small improvements at the top of the funnel can result in massive results at the bottom.

In 2023, Facebook is still here to stay, and I’m pleased to see improvements in overall results. Cheers to better ads.

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning failure.” – OLIVER SANDERO