Facebook Improves Targeting with New Local Awareness Tool

The social network is looking to help businesses by enabling them to target people who have been within one mile of their stores. It wouldn’t hurt if this type of advertising were more specific, but this isn’t bad, either.

To this, Facebook has launched a new local awareness tool earlier this week. It’s currently unknown when exactly will the new tool be available worldwide, but this feature is expected to expand at a steady rate.

At the launch of the new tool, a Facebook spokesperson stated that “With local awareness ads, businesses can quickly and easily find new customers by showing ads to groups of people who are near that business’s neighborhood. Local awareness ads are built to be more cost-effective than traditional advertising channels like newspapers while offering more precise targeting and greater reach. We think they’re the best way for local businesses to reach people near them, and the best way for people who use Facebook to discover more useful things in their area.”

Conor Lynch, paid media manager at We Are Social, agrees that targeted ads have a much stronger impact on people than random ads: “Facebook’s hyper local ads, targeting those within a certain distance of a business, use the platform’s vast inventory of location-based data, specifically on mobile, to drive more in-store activity. It’s another way of reaching users who are using social, and mobile, to inform their purchase decisions.

It positions Facebook as an accessible method of advertising for the self-serve, small business market, who have the aim of driving footfall in store and tracking offline sales from these ads. Businesses who would have previously considered localized print, can now start to consider a digital alternative.

The delivery of contextually relevant information to consumers is something that Facebook has the potential to own, and further differentiates it from competitors like Twitter, whose geo-targeting offering is basic, with advertisers only currently able to target by large city.”

Henry Arkell, group social advertising director at Manning Gottlieb OMD, added that “The UK release date hasn’t been announced [and I’m not holding my breath], but for retailers this means we can begin to reduce wasted impressions and drive increased footfall for every pound invested.

When combined with Facebook’s other targeting options such as customer data, demographics and financial profile this feature becomes even more powerful. Here at MG OMD we’ll be interested to see how we can scale this for brands with hundreds of store locations and how this ties back to measuring in-store sales uplift.”

As a conclusion, Lynch pointed out that “The extension of the audience network also ties in with this new ad format, meaning there is extended reach across an increased number of third party apps, within these local areas. Capitalizing on the ever-increasing engagement and conversion rates seen across mobile clearly remains the way forward for Facebook advertising.”

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