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Facebook Gives Advertisers Better Ability to Target Mobile Users


“Every step you take, I’ll be watching you,” as sung by The Police, could be the perfect theme song for Facebook’s latest advertising feature.

Facebook’s new local awareness ads will allow companies to target people in a specific geographic area, based on a user’s location, at that time. While this may sound like “Big Brother” from George Orwell’s classic novel, “1984,” for the 665 million active users on Facebook, as marketers we couldn’t be more excited.

The feature was created to help companies reach their local audience, while also being more cost-effective. More direct marketing, at a lower expense. Sounds pretty great, right? Facebook has made it simple to get started, and we’re here to fill you in on everything you need to know about these ads.

So, how does the targeting work? When a company sets up its ads, it provides its physical address and a specific geographic radius. Facebook then takes this information and locates those users who may be within that area. While location is already a targeting option when setting up Facebook ads, this type of “location” is different and purely based off a person’s mobile location, rather than what they use on their profile (typically a city and state). To get an even more qualified lead, businesses can add additional targeting information, such as age or gender.

Facebook users who do not want to see these ads will have the option to do so. Any user who has their location services disabled will enable them to opt-out. However, Facebook may have already been collecting this data previously by using the feature “Nearby Friends.” This feature allows users to see where their friends are and, by doing so, it has generated a large amount of location data, which can be huge for advertisers. While this all may sound a bit “invasive” to a user, it really could be great feature to take advantage of. Imagine the deals, savings and new businesses that are yet to be discovered?

Let’s say a group of girlfriends are headed out of town for the weekend and visiting a place that none of them has ever been. Shopping is on the agenda for day one. While the girls are out buying new things and having a wonderful time, one of them opens up their Facebook page from their phone. As they are scrolling through their newsfeed to see the latest happenings, they discover an ad for a restaurant. The restaurant is located within 5 miles of the mall and is offering a special deal of buy one entrée, get a second entree free. Additionally, reviews for this restaurant are all very good. Why not take advantage of such a great deal? The best part is, all they have to do next is simply click, get directions, and it will tell them exactly where to go.

Another simple example: Imagine that someone is meeting a colleague or friend for lunch one day. As they are talking with one another and looking through their Facebook newsfeed (it’s OK, we all do it ☺!), one of them is served an ad for a jewelry store nearby. Immediately after seeing the ad, this Facebook user remembers that their wedding anniversary is in two days. After lunch, they run to the jewelry store and find their spouse the perfect gift. Now, they have Facebook to thank after almost forgetting that very important day.

Bottom line, the use of mobile technology has become commonplace in nearly everyone’s life. More and more people are spending time on their mobile devices. Though the level of sophistication may be different between the generations, we cannot ignore that this technology is prevalent everywhere. Leveraging this new Facebook ad feature can drive an even greater ROI, as opposed to traditional means of Facebook advertising. By leveraging this new feature, the ads will become more relevant, and real-time information will be available for a user and provide the opportunity to drive more business for the marketer.

We couldn’t be more excited at The Brandon Agency to begin testing this new advertising tool with our clients. Tell us, has your company started any local awareness ads?