Social media has revolutionized the way that local businesses advertise to potential customers. Thanks to mobile apps and other geo-based features, local businesses have even more opportunities to influence the behavior of nearby shoppers. Facebook’s new local awareness ads make the most of a potential customer’s close proximity to physical storefronts by advertising exclusively to carefully targeted audiences who live or were recently located within as little as a one-mile radius. These ads remind potential shoppers that their needs and desires can be met with a convenient visit to a nearby store, restaurant or service center, and even better yet, they tell them how to get there.
Local awareness ads are also sensitive to the privacy of the customer. These kinds of ads were built to promote specific locations rather than the interests of users themselves, which means that those who are exposed to the ads won’t experience that “Big Brother is watching” feeling. Most importantly, the user always maintains control of their ability to share their location.
Mobile users will only see ads based on their recent locations (if their location services are enabled on their phones), and they have the option to disable location services at any time by modifying these settings within the Facebook App. Similarly, desktop users can choose not to volunteer their current cities via their Facebook accounts.
How Do Hyper-Local Ads Work?
Last fall’s introduction of hyper-local advertising came as no surprise for the Facebook-savvy advertisers who understood geo-targeting as an opportunity to appeal to relevant audiences. The majority of Facebook’s more than one billion mobile users worldwide allow access to their locations (many desktop users volunteer their current cities and IP addresses as well), providing the social media giant with the information necessary to send local ads to these users’ frequently updated feeds.
As a result, advertising grunt work for local businesses is minimal. All they need to do is follow a few simple steps that we’ll expand on later:
- Enter their physical address
- Select a radius within which to deliver ads
- Set demographic details such as age range and gender
- Choose a photo and message to enhance the advertisement
For example, if you were the owner of a coffee shop and you wanted to offer a “Buy One, Get One Cinnamon Spice Latte” coupon to Facebook mobile users in the area from 2 PM – 4 PM, you might want to include an enticing image of the beverage along with a message detailing this special offer. When users between the ages of 25 and 35 open the Facebook mobile app while perusing the non-fiction section of the bookstore next door, your ad will appear in their feed and provide the necessary call-to-action to get them through your door to purchase drinks. Businesses can even choose to include call-to-action features such as a “Get Directions” button. These additions make the local awareness ad easy to understand and highly functional for the user.
How Do Local Awareness Ads Drive Traffic to Local Businesses?
When you’re hungry for frozen yogurt, you want to know that there’s a place around the corner to satisfy your sweet tooth. If you’re looking for a new sundress, you want to know that there is a boutique a few blocks up that carries your size. It’s situations like these when the careful targeting of local awareness ads comes in handy. Potential customers don’t want to have to think about where to go, especially when they’re exploring big cities in which options and neighborhoods are plentiful.
Local awareness ads are effective because they:
- integrate demographic details within a specific radius
- make the purchasing process easy for potential customers that live, work and play near your business
- provide a cheaper alternative to traditional television or newspaper ads
- reach a narrowly targeted group of people directly on their mobile phones or nearby desktop computers
By engaging these potential customers in their familiar neighborhoods, Facebook drives foot traffic to brick-and-mortar businesses resulting in real, measurable sales, and it provides a useful service to people who want to learn more about nearby offerings.
How Do I Set Up Local Awareness Ads for My Business?
Setting up local awareness ads is easy, and gives you a leg up on reaching a narrowly targeted audience with whom you share your neighborhood. Follow these steps in order to start reaching potential customers in your area.
- Select the “Ads Create Tool” from your Facebook Ad account page.
- Select “Local Awareness Ads.”
- Select the page of the business that you wish to promote.
- Plug in your business’s address (Please note that if your address is already included on your Facebook page, this will automatically populate) and the surrounding radius within which you want your ads to appear.
- Reference the map to ensure that the correct neighborhood and radius is covered by your settings.
- Select the age and gender of your target audience.
- Set the daily ad budget and duration for which you want your local awareness ad to run.
- Choose imagery and messaging to accompany your ad. – If you’re advertising a new sundress to women in the 25-35 range, try finding a flattering image that shows off the garment and would entice someone to pop into your store for summer shopping.
- Consider including a “Call-to-Action” button. – Integrate a “Get Directions” or “Like Page” button to drive traffic, increase awareness and engage your audience.
As always with any kind of Facebook ads, remember to test your ad creative and target audiences in order to optimize your campaigns and strengthen your overall ROI.