Facebook's local ads are a great way for small businesses to reach hyper-local customers using a small budget ad spend.
With over a billion users and a history of introducing fine-tuned advertising controls, paying for ads on Facebook is one of the best uses of your advertising dollar.
The level of control Facebook allows you to have over who sees your ad makes it an ideal platform for local businesses.
With these five simple approaches, you can create ads that transcend mere engagement, but actually bring customers through your door.
1. Increased Reach With Hyper-Local Advertising
In late 2014, Facebook took local advertising a step further into “hyper-local” advertising, called Local Awareness Ads.
Using location data from mobile apps, profile information, and IP data, Facebook had an accurate picture of where people were located, both the permanent home location as well as where they traveled throughout the day.
This information was injected into their ad platform. Local Awareness Ads answer both “where are they usually located?” as well as “where are they now?”
So, what does that mean for you? If a customer lives in the area very near your business, you can target them.
But even if they don’t live nearby, they still come through the area. Now you can target those transient customers, too. If customers are in the Facebook app on their mobile phone, the ads they see in their News Feed can be for businesses they are near right now.
With these local awareness ads, customers can:
- Message you directly from the ad.
- Call you directly from the ad.
- Find directions to your business.
- Learn more details about your business, or be directed to a website.
This kind of hyper-local advertising brings in foot traffic, which translates more into real sales than many other forms of advertising.
These campaigns are also more cost-effective than other advertising because of the finely tuned targeting and because they reach the most people possible in the area.
Instead of paying when people click on an ad (which doesn’t often translate into actual sales), you pay for an ad that brings people to your door.
If you’re a brick-and-mortar business and have a street address, do set up Local Awareness Ads. You’ll need a Facebook Page in order to do it. The radius of your reach will be limited to one to 50 miles.
As you implement hyper-local advertising, consider simultaneously implementing Facebook Lead Ads. If you’re getting ready to launch a product or service, Lead Ads are perfect for collecting contact info from those who might be interested.
2. Target Facebook Ads Using ZIP Codes
Facebook allows you to use ZIP codes when targeting ads. This may seem silly with the availability of Local Awareness Ads, but there is often different demographic data available outside of Facebook that is based around ZIP codes (e.g. census).
ZIP codes also reach a different size and kind of area than radius-based zones Facebook creates.
They can be handy in targeting people who live in the area instead of those who might just be passing through (such as with hyper-local).
Depending on what type of business you have, you may prefer customers who live in the area as opposed to transient ones. A tool like Zip Who can help you choose optimal ZIP codes based on demographics. Beyond ZIP codes, you can target states, cities, and even specific addresses.
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3. Use Demographics and Connections Locally
Targeting ads based on demographics (such as age, interests, geographic location, and online search activity) is a typical approach to most online ad platforms.
Facebook offers a greater depth to that, however, because user profiles as well as user behavior offer up those same demographics with greater accuracy.
Don’t let regional similarities in your customers fool you into thinking that demographics have no place.
For example, consider events, sales, or services that are of interest to specific genders or ages. Additionally, since targeting current fans of your Facebook page offers better return, you can target ads with an eye to this connection.
Ads targeted toward customers who are already fans offer seven times better click-through rates.
4. Display Your Ads at Specific Times
Facebook allows you to set your ads to run on specific days and times. You know that you should pay attention to holidays and other larger, national events (e.g. Super Bowl) when it comes to advertising, but this can be helpful on a local level, too.
Simply ask yourself: What local events pertain to your niche?
A greenhouse, for example, could benefit by running ads during the times they are open as well as during the week leading up to the large home and garden show at the local events center.
Or perhaps you have a restaurant, and decide that the end of each week is the time to run ads about your great Sunday brunch.
Or maybe a forecasted cold snap could inspire an ad about winter scarves your clothing store has for sale. Consider local events and culture. Create ads tailored to those events, and set up a campaign around that event.
Related Article: You're Doing it Wrong! 5 Don'ts in Facebook Advertising
5. Don’t Forget To Layer Your Ads
Think of layers as filters that you stack on top of your basic ad. In this way, you mix demographics with Local Awareness and connect with people in the area who have a specific inclination and are in the right place.
Facebook gives you many options when it comes to targeting your ads. A couple of things to remember, though, as you filter your Facebook ads using any of these techniques: Specificity costs more.
Do remember that the smaller and more specific you define your ad audience to be, the more expensive it will cost to reach them.
Try to find good middle ground, not too broad but not too impossibly specific. Some locations need fewer layers.
If your business is in the heart of New York City, you can get away with adding more layers to create specific ads (particularly with Local Awareness Ads).
If you don’t have as much foot traffic or tight demographic differences where your business is located, you may not be able to be as detailed with your layers if you want your ad seen at all.
Facebook offers real controls that delivers ads to the customers most interested in them.
Yes, Facebook allows you to reach a massive audience on a global scale. But Facebook also allows you to reach a very specific audience on a very local scale. When it comes to building your business, small and local is often better than massive and global.