How to run Meta Ads in a recession

Runaway energy prices are pushing many global and European countries toward a recession. However, focusing on performance KPIs like ROAS and ROI can ensure you're driving revenue while others panic.

The dark economic cloud gathering over Europe and the rest of the world persists. COVID-19 hangover, high energy prices, supply chain problems, and the war have pushed inflation to massive highs.  

In response, banks have raised interest rates to dampen the activity. The result will be a reduction in economic activity throughout 2023. 

A survey released in January by US investment bank Cohen suggests that two in every three advertisers have factored the recession into their 2023 ad budget.  

After a brutal 2022 for the stock market, growth in the digital ads sector expects to slow down in 2023. Analysts are revising global advertising growth levels, down about half to just under 4% per year. 

But what does all this mean for businesses? Is Meta still an effective way for businesses to advertise?


What do Meta’s problems mean for advertisers?

Meta is having some big problems. In 2022, they laid off 13% of staff. Part of this was due to their massive spending on a Metaverse project that the broader public has little interest in using. The rest is to do with revised earnings from advertising. 

However, there are a few ways that advertisers should look at this. While a recession is never good news, there are some positives that you can take.


Will CAC drop? 

Meta is forecasting a drop in its overall ad revenues. Brands and VC investors throwing around money to pursue aggressive growth will become a distant memory during 2023. 

However, for other businesses, that could represent an opportunity. If overall ad spending drops, then ad auctions will be less competitive. Companies that used to be OK with losing money will need to cut their cloth, which could mean that customer acquisition costs will return to more reasonable this year.


Running Meta ads during a recession 

Many business leaders are cautious about advertising during a recession. However, European employment data suggests that things aren’t looking too catastrophic. 

Even if there is a dip during 2023, marketing during a recession is a chance to build loyalty and awareness and generate new leads. Recessions are temporary, and in the worst-case scenario, your business development will be well-placed to take advantage of any surge in growth that happens on the other side. 

Here are some tips for running Meta ads during a recession.


1. Beware of the unintended consequences of budget cuts 

One of the big lessons that economists preach during a downturn is to keep advertising. Pessimistic sentiment among business leaders during a recession can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you cut advertising costs during an economic downturn, you decrease loyalty, awareness, leads, sales, etc. 

The teams that keep a persistent presence during a recession will establish themselves and chip away at their rival’s market share. 

Dramatic advertising cuts during a recession can slow down your sales during the recession and reduce the likelihood that you’ll bounce back once economic activity returns to normal.  

Essentially, you have two choices. You can take backward steps that put you behind your competitors. Or, you can be the one striding forward and making up ground.


2. Rethink your campaign messaging 

Consumer confidence takes a hit during recessions. The result is that consumer habits can change quite dramatically. While discretionary spending on luxury goods, clothes, dining out, and holidays take a hit, specific essential spending holds firm. For example, sales of alcohol and chocolate usually go up! 

Depending on your product or service, you could actually find more desire for your solution during a downturn.  

The key thing here is that you should adjust your messaging. Getting inside your customer’s minds is a fundamental element of good marketing. Emphasize the parts of your product or service that speak to your base during these difficult times. 

If you’re an eCommerce business with a broad inventory, take advantage of customers’ increased need for budget-friendly solutions.  

So think about how your typical consumers are spending and thinking about products. Adjust your marketing content and ad copy to appeal to their new reality. Staying relevant to your audience base is important.


3. Take advantage of automation 

Meta already offers users Automated Ads. The process allows AI-assisted ad creation, testing, bidding, and personalization. Overall, these features can produce better results for advertising and marketing teams. 

However, with many of your competitors using these tools already, it can be hard to gain a true advantage. Advertising optimization tools, like our advertising robot, can augment Meta Ad Automation and improve some of the precision lost by removing third-party cookies. 

However, with many of your competitors using these tools already, it can be hard to gain a true advantage. Advertising optimization tools, like our advertising robot, can augment Meta Ad Automation and improve some of the precision lost by removing third-party cookies.


4. Innovate your advertising creation, delivery, and bidding 

As mentioned above, automation tools offer businesses a way to scale or increase their productivity. Instead of adding staff overheads and other resources, you can get a robot to help you, which is better than cutting advertising costs. 

This comes down to getting the maximum from your Meta Ad budget. Services like Amanda AI automate ad creation for you, saving your marketing team a lot of time. Then, the robot finds the best placements at the most reasonable costs. 

Innovating your ad campaigns is a genuine alternative to cutting your budget. Most companies have pursued ways to optimize their sales and marketing over the last few years. The recession could provide the impetus to unlock the power of automation to save money. 


Recession worries are on the minds of consumers and business leaders. However, slashing marketing budgets can cause your company to fall behind in ways that are hard to recover.  

Our truly autonomous advertising robot can help you reduce advertising costs on platforms like Meta. You can still pursue market growth during a downturn and build loyalty and leads. 

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