Facebook’s New Local Awareness Ads

Colleen Fielder | @yogirlcfield Facebook recently added a new dimension for companies looking to advertise their business online — local awareness ads. The idea is to allow marketers to focus on users, specifically mobile users, in their area. Businesses can find new customers by showing ads to people in the neighborhood.

Facebook has worked hard to make it simple to create your ad. Pick “Local Awareness” as your advertising objective, select a page for your business and let Facebook preselect the target radius. You choose how big or small you want that radius to be.

Set your budget and Facebook will estimate daily reach based on that budget. You can even specify the age and gender of your preferred audience. Add a message about special offers and promotions and even include a “Get Directions” button so consumers can be guided to your business. These ads are cost-effective and offer precise targeting, which is hard to get using traditional advertising.

Local restaurants are using this type of advertising to feature a special dish, boutiques are offering sales, and cities are using them to promote events. If Facebook users are worried about privacy, they can turn off location services through their mobile device and will not be shown these ads.

This new addition is great for small to midsized businesses looking to target a specific audience. It can increase local brand awareness, promote customer feedback and allow for timely offers. It’s probably not the most effective use of advertising for a large company with a wide audience.

With local awareness advertising, Facebook is now competing with services like Yelp and Foursquare, and locally-targeted digital advertising will continue to grow. According to research firm BIA/Kelsey, $35 billion in spending is projected by the end of 2015.