Marine protected areas (MPAs) are not always placed where they can maximise positive impacts on conservation and livelihoods. Whilst clear MPA guidelines are available that focus on biophysical criteria, less attention has been given to incorporating socioeconomic dimensions into the MPA planning process. A new paper, led by Me’ira Mizrahi and published in Society and Natural Resources, set out to help redress this imbalance. The study identified 32 socioeconomic factors that influenced whether MPA placement had an impact on biodiversity and/or livelihoods, weighting the quality of evidence using an “evidence for impact” score. How these factors influenced impact, positively or negatively, varied between different contexts. The study found a generally poor evidence base for impact evaluation directed at socioeconomic factors, indicating the need for a more interdisciplinary approach to MPA placement and more empirical studies that assess impact.