Meta ASC's Impact on CAC (BONUS CONTENT!)

Should You Increase Your ASC Spend to 70% of Overall Meta Spend?

Advantage+ Shopping Campaign (ASC) has been one of Meta's biggest hits. It's a big reason why $META stock doubled in 2023.

Meta now recommends ASC to represent 70% of all Meta ad spend! Bold.

We 2x'd our ASC spend on one of our top spending brands to 53%, read on to find out what happened.


When Meta speaks, you should listen and at least test their advice.

We began transitioning one of our biggest brands to a higher share of spend going to ASC.


- Meta makes up the majority of spend for this brand

- This brand has several SKUs (all perform well)

- This brand primarily cares about CAC not CPP

What Happened: 

In November 2023, we were at 1/3 of spend on ASC and hitting sub-$90 CAC targets (at the store level).

You'll notice that cost per purchase at the store level (and as reported by Meta) were fairly similar and flat in the $48-52 range.

We began gradually increasing our share of ASC spend MoM.

Once we got through March, our ASC % of total spend was up to 48%.

At this time, platform-reported cost per purchase AND store level CPP looked great.

BUT, what didn't look great was a huge jump in CAC beyond our $90 target. We now sat at $94. Alarming.

But don't shift strategy based on one month of data. Right?

So we trudged on. Kept driving % of ASC spend higher.

April concluded. The undesirable trend continued.

CPP at FB and store levels both looked great. BUT, CAC got worse. Far worse. It now reached $104.

We knew something was off with ads.

But what was it? It wasn't overly obvious that ASC was a problem until we looked through the data....

The Discovery: 

Anytime you discover an issue at the STORE level (profitability, CAC, conversion rate, etc.) you panic. Where to turn?

The issue could be ANYWHERE, but how do you detect it?

There are a million things happening simultaneously in a business. Good luck pinpointing the issue quickly and with confidence.

This speaks to the importance of having aggregate reliable data that is FLEXIBLE. It makes Root Cause Analysis a breeze.

When the issue started on X date, what changed?

Thankfully, we built a powerful analytics tool and are militant about robust naming conventions... this helped us pinpoint the issue.

We immediately turned to our stacked bar chart visual that showcases spend by campaign tactic.

We noticed that ASC as a % of total spend was far higher in the recent months of poor new customer acquisition...

We then also noticed that frequency in Meta skyrocketed in these past few months as well. Directly in proportion to the increase in ASC spend...

My Hypothesis:

What's interesting here is that platform-attributed performance masked what was really happening behind the scenes.

Cost per purchase was nearly flat month over month!

All looked great in Ads Manager. So, what truly happened?

My belief is that ASC diverted spend continuously to EXISTING customers for the other SKUs that we were also pushing.

Why? B/c Meta knew these people liked products in this category. Since Meta optimizes for CONVERSIONS, it values existing customer purchases at the same weight as a new customer purchase.

And when it's confident that a user in the audience is likely to purchase, it will keep hammering that person with ads from that ASC campaign until they do purchase (hence the higher frequency).

The Conclusion: 

While this was not a controlled experiment by any means, it was the only thing that we noticed that was associated to the rise in CAC for the brand.

We recently pivoted to a reduction in ASC spend from these April highs. CAC at the store level has improved in lockstep.

It appears that our pivot to reduce ASC spend has changed things for the better. We're now back to hitting CAC targets.

We're still spending a substantial amount on ASC, just closer to 25% than the 70% figure Meta recommends.

📣 Brands, if you're looking to optimize for NEW CUSTOMER ACQUISITION in your paid media:

Beware of this and track CAC and CPP closely, they are indeed different and can be harder to control with consolidated accounts.

If you're looking to level up your data/analytics game or need help with solving customer acquisition issues, you know where to find me.

Yours truly,

Jonathan Snow

If you’d like to see more content of mine, be sure to give me a follow: 

📆 Schedule 1-on-1 time w/ me here.


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