3 Best Smartly Alternatives To Create Better Facebook Ads

Paid social ads work.

According to Hootsuite, 27% of users discover new brands and products through paid social ads.

And Facebook is at the heart of social media advertising.

Of the 2.5 billion users that log in monthly, Facebook ads reach 1.95 billion of these users.


But here’s the thing. Small Biz Trends reports that 62% of small businesses fail when it comes to Facebook ads.


One could argue that Facebook has reached its saturation point. The other more significant problem is that despite Facebook rolling out new features like dynamic ads, the free Ads Manager just doesn’t cut it.


Creating multiple complex and high-profile Facebook campaigns and managing all of them can be very time-consuming.


Not to mention the lack of timely support. For your dynamic ads to succeed, you have to be an expert at marketing and design and technology.


This is where paid social media automation platforms come in.

 

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What is Smartly?

smartly creative studio

Source: Smartly.io

Smartly is one of the most popular social advertising platforms available in the market today.
Smartly promises that they can make your Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat ads creative and perform better through the power of automation.


But is Smartly the right choice for social media advertising?

We did some digging around to see what Smartly offers, current user reviews on some of the best software review platforms like G2, Capterra, and TrustRadius and uncovered some of Smartly’s top competitors.

This allows us to present a neutral and unbiased look at Smartly’s offering and drawbacks and do the same for the other alternatives.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Smartly
   1.1 Smartly Advantages
   1.2 Shortcomings & Problems
   1.3 Smartly.io AlternativesSmartly vs. Hunch
   1.4 Smartly vs. ROI Hunter
   1.5 Hunch vs. ROI Hunter
   1.6 Madgicx vs. Smartly
   1.7 Hunch vs. Madgicx
2. Hunch
3. ROI Hunter
4. Madgicx
5. Smartly Competitor Comparison
6. Final Verdict
7. FAQs

Advantages of Smartly

smatly reporting

Source: Smartly.io

Smartly claims to replace the need to use Facebook Ads manager altogether. You can use it on multiple social channels, and their feature set is extensive.

Thanks to their connection with Facebook (they are a Facebook Marketing Partner), you can expect some features that other similar platforms might not have.

Smartly sits atop the FMP (Facebook Marketing Partner) list, and rightfully so. They spend time solving problems for the ‘creme de la creme’ of the largest Facebook advertisers in the world.

Smartly’s Shortcomings and Problems

Even though Smartly is a great automation platform, it is far from perfect. 

1. Minimum Ad Spend and Platform Fee

Smartly has a 50k minimum ad spend, and the platform fee is charged as a percentage of it. Since the software is so robust, the cost required for maintenance and support reflects in its pricing.

But SMBs and lean startups cannot justify the pricing. They usually work with smaller budgets, and a minimum monthly spend and a platform fee is another added expense. 

2. Features are extensive but may not be necessary

Smartly is more than just a social ads automation platform.

Think of it as a managed service, or even a hybrid marketing agency than a pure platform which, as we’ve already established, may not work for most companies.

Users seem to echo this sentiment in their reviews as well.

If you’re only looking to get started with dynamic ads and don’t need all of the features, it can be hard to rationalize the enormous investment.

3. Geared towards large scale brands

Apart from the minimum monthly ad spends and extensive feature set not designed for lean startups, some online businesses also express that the 24x5 support does not fit their always-on schedule.

Several users also report outages and glitches on the platform that make it challenging to deploy campaigns successfully. There are also instances when a feature is available on Facebook Ads Manager, but Smartly’s platform does not feature it immediately.

For larger brands, this is not a massive problem. They typically have in-house social media teams to handle errors. But, this is not the case with smaller brands that are just starting with paid social.

Working with Smartly means you are competing for attention with these global advertisers.

             

Best Smartly Alternatives: Top 3 Social Ads Automation Platforms

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If you like the idea of automating your social ads but have run into these (or some other) issues with Smartly, make sure you stick around to discover some of the best alternatives to Smartly.

Full disclosure before we start: One of the Smartly alternatives on this list – Hunch – is our own.

We have identified the most common problems in automated creative production and media buying space and are building the best solution for our customers. As with all the other alternatives, we will highlight Hunch’s advantages and shortcomings.

Now that we have that covered, let us take a look at the three best Smartly alternatives.

1. Hunch: The #1 alternative to Smartly

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Hunch is an automated creative production and media buying platform that empowers brands and agencies to grow on paid social.

Combining the power of dynamic creative video and image production with automated ad buying, Hunch allows you to automate all aspects of your social ads and testing.

A Facebook Marketing Technology partner, Hunch has been vetted by Facebook and certified for our excellence in helping advertisers like you leverage the platform with the greatest efficacy.

With Hunch, you can build unique personalized customer journeys on Facebook and Instagram via creative ads delivered at the right time, helping you convert more leads into customers.

Advantages of Hunch

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What sets Hunch apart from Smartly, alternatives listed here, and other platforms in this space is the excellent service and agility we offer across the board.

Known for our affordable pricing, we cater to hundreds of businesses, from SMBs to large-scale organizations and scaleups.

Check out how we helped Roma get 120% increase in ROAS with On-Brand Creatives on Autopilot and control CPA.

Unlike other alternatives, we also offer a broad set of tools and services that multiple industries like e-commerce and retail, especially those on the cusp of digital transformation, can leverage.

DC_DPA

The advanced workflow automation flexibility also allows you to retain ads in sync among your company operations.


With Hunch, you can quickly launch feed-based campaigns for retail, e-commerce, travel, real estate, and automotive and put them in various image and video ad formats that result in thousands of updated hyper-personalized ads.

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You can chuck any third-party data in feed-based campaigns such as analytics, CRM, weather, location, and language data.

Dynamic language Localization

Despite a ton of advanced features, getting started on Hunch is easy. 

  1. Connect your product with Hunch
  2. Hunch creates a custom product feed for you
  3. Co-create personalized customer journeys
  4. Set campaign optimization goals
  5. Watch the conversions roll in!

Some platforms like Smartly and its alternatives may feel like a threat to agencies since they fail to communicate how they can add value to an agency.

But, Hunch is built for both brands and agencies offering both the right tools to scale profitably.

Hunch’s Shortcomings and Problems

As promised, we are highlighting Hunch’s current shortcomings compared to Smartly and other alternatives.

At the moment, we are not as mature as some of the other Smartly alternatives on this list, if you consider the number of customers we’ve serviced so far.

But, this can also be an advantage.

Our engineers can offer comprehensive and personalized onboarding sessions, which is essential when trying to crack paid social.

We are also working out the kinks in our self-service model, which will help small businesses get more out of the platform.

Overall, we believe our enthusiasm and perseverance give us the right to claim the title as one of the best Smartly alternatives. 

Hunch’s pricing

Our pricing is flexible for all - you select the features you would like to use and receive a custom quote based on the feature set. This makes it perfect for all kinds of businesses looking to test the waters or scale rapidly.

As with the pricing, there are different plans you can subscribe to with no minimum commitments. You can try a monthly subscription or even lock in Hunch’s services for two years.

Whether you have an in-house team managing your campaign or not, Hunch has a plan for you.

Hunch vs. Smartly – How Are They Different?

Right out of the gate, you know that Smartly’s pricing is often unjustifiable for most companies looking to get started with paid social.

As an up-and-coming global Facebook Marketing Partner, we like to think of ourselves as the #2.

It also means we try harder and are entirely devoted to solving problems for businesses large and small.

While Smartly offers 24x5 online support, we’re available for you 24x7.

We just cannot afford lousy onboarding experiences, glitches and platform lags, bad UI/UX, half-done creative templates, low-quality support, or data feeds that don’t get the proper attention.

As a mid-market brand, at Hunch, you get the full attention of our experts.

We make sure you never have to compete for our attention, jump through hoops or navigate hierarchy to get things done, which can easily be the case with our competition.

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2. ROI Hunter: PMP for e-commerce businesses

roihunter

Source: ROI Hunter

ROI Hunter is a product marketing platform designed specially to help e-commerce businesses improve their advertising performance and become more profitable on Facebook, Instagram, and Google.


This Smartly alternative can help you create online ad campaigns based on many insights, including profitability, the best margin, and return.

Advantages of ROI Hunter

ROI Hunter is focused on e-commerce stores, which means that its features are tailor-made for the industry.

Among the most popular features is PMP that collects product data from different channels and combines it into one place. They have a built-in DPA template editor and video editor, so you can insert data from product feeds. Automatic rules can help you save time on adjusting campaign budgets and bids.

Other features include the ability to identify best or worst-performing products.

ROI Hunter’s Shortcomings and Problems

The biggest shortcoming of ROI Hunter is that it relies on existing Facebook technologies, including DPA.

Another potential disadvantage is that the platform is focused solely on e-commerce stores.
Why is this a potential disadvantage?

Well, if you are running an e-commerce store, then this is a huge advantage. But for any other industry that needs a feed-based campaign framework, it is difficult to see how ROI Hunter is the right option for you.

ROI Hunter’s Pricing

Based on the information we were able to gather, ROI Hunter is not the cheapest, and neither is it the most expensive of the Smartly alternatives on this list.

They offer three plans - Core, Pro, and Premium and charge a flat rate based on your ad spend, desired service level, integration needs, and strategy consultations.

However, you have to meet the following criteria to qualify:

  • Facebook or Google Ads spend over 10k EUR/month
  • e-Commerce company with over 100 products
  • An internal team that manages campaigns

ROI Hunter vs. Smartly – How Are They Different?

The most significant difference between the two is that Smartly covers more industries and is not focused only on e-commerce.

Another is the pricing. Smartly takes a percentage fee, whereas ROI Hunter has a flat fee structure.

Hunch vs. ROI Hunter 

While Hunch caters to industries across verticals and sizes, ROI Hunter is limited to e-commerce companies with at least 100 products.

ROI Hunter does offer online support, but there is no indication of the hours or days.

When it comes to plans and pricing, Hunch offers far more flexibility than any other alternatives. You can subscribe and cancel anytime and you don’t need an internal team if you don’t have one already.

3. Madgicx: Best omnichannel ads analyzer

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Source: Source: MadgicxROI Hunter

Madgicx is an omnichannel marketing platform that can help you optimize ads on Facebook, Instagram, and Google. This Smartly alternative has an artificial intelligence engine for analyzing and evaluating ads.

Advantages of Madgicx

AI Audiences is a standout feature that Madgicx claims will analyze your audiences and choose the ads with the best possible ROAS.

Other features of Madgicx include a dashboard that you can use to get an overview of all your ad accounts. You can also manage your ad accounts from the dashboard.

Madgicx is a self-service ad platform, which means that it is possible to save some time managing your social ads.

Madgicx’s Shortcomings and Problems

Madgicx is a great platform, but not without its issues.

There is a huge learning curve, and it isn’t straightforward to set up.

It does not offer several features that are provided by other Smartly alternatives on this list. For instance, you cannot automate your workflows in Madgicx.

And, you also cannot produce any creatives in Madgicx. This is a deal-breaker for users that want to handle all their online ad operations within one platform.

You still have to use Facebook Ads Manager and Business Manager to set up your ads. This is clearly not a good solution for agencies that handle multiple client accounts or brands with hundreds of products.

Madgicx’s Pricing

If you are not willing to spend vast amounts of money on online ads each month, Madgicx’s pricing is likely the right platform for you. For an ad spend up to $1k/month with an estimated fee of $49/month.

They offer monthly, quarterly and annual plans, which reduces the estimated fee.

But, if you are ready to dive headfirst into online ads, Madgicx’s offers a pricing structure that is equivalent to other more prominent players on the market. This is an issue if you rely on some features that Madgicx lacks.

On the plus side, Madgicx offers a seven-day free trial that other alternatives don’t.

Madgicx vs. Smartly – How Are They Different?

Madgicx and Smartly both have some excellent features, but they are on the opposite ends of the spectrum. While Smartly allows you to replace the Facebook Ads manager and produce creatives, Madgicx enables you to analyze ads using AI, but you still need Facebook Ads Manager.

Hunch vs. Madgicx 

While Madgicx can help you create better Facebook ads through the power of AI, the bulk of the work still has to be done by you, i.e., creating dynamic ads and setting them up on Facebook Business Manager.

On the other hand, Hunch has an end-to-end solution right from connecting your product feed to analyzing the results of your campaign. 

Smartly Alternatives Comparison Table

Refer to this table to take a quick glance and compare Smartly to the top alternatives.

Smartly Alternative Table

Final Thoughts

So there you have it.

The three best Smartly alternatives you can try. We would recommend checking out each of these platforms and scheduling a demo to make a well-informed decision.

To sum up:

  • If you are a top global brand or performance agency that serves top international brands with an unlimited budget, Smartly is the right solution for you. But, if your budget is limited or your business is rapidly growing and you are searching for a feed-based framework and cost-efficient solution, Hunch is one of the best Smartly io alternatives.
  • If you are in the market for a Smartly alternative focused on e-commerce and looking for a solution that relies on existing Facebook technologies, consider trying ROI Hunter.
  • Finally, if you want an automation-focused Smartly alternative without creative production, Madgicx might be your choice, especially if you are not spending a lot on advertising.

No matter which Smartly alternatives go for, automating some (or all) aspects of your paid social marketing actions is a great business decision.

With a platform like Hunch that allows you to leverage feed-based campaigns and automation, you will spend 60% less time managing and launching your campaigns and see a 25% increase in conversions via dynamic creatives.

And, all of this precious time and effort you save can be directed to other more critical activities – such as growing your business.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are Smartly.io top competitors?
    Hunch, ROI Hunter and Madgicx are great alternatives to Smartly. Choose the platform based on your ad spend, size of business, and feature set requirements.
  2. What are Facebook dynamic creative ads?
    Facebook dynamic ads allow you to personalize customer journeys by dynamically changing one or multiple aspects in an ad quickly.
  3. Which Smartly alternative is best for small businesses?
    Small and medium businesses with limited budgets can leverage Hunch and Madgicx. 
  4. Why do I need a paid social automation platform?
    Testing and personalization are essential aspects when it comes to paid social. It is nearly impossible to do with an automation platform because it is a complex and time-consuming process.