Facebook Goes Local: Your Local Reach Ads Quick Start Guide

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Facebook has been pushing ‘Local Reach’ as a critical aspect of its advertising for small local businesses. Any shrewd local business should consistently be keeping watch to get ahead of the competition and leverage its geographical specificity. Is this something of which you need to take notice?

What is Local Reach?

In specific ways, you can think of Facebook’s business pages as like Google’s ‘local business directories.’ Search for a product or service in a particular area will often result in filtered results to show the most relevant businesses on Google. This way, you can search for ‘Wedding Venues’ in Nashville, and the results returned contain firms in that area that offer Wedding Venues for rent.

Correspondingly, then, Facebook is now offering advertisers the option to target people from specific locations. Since their establishment, Facebook ads (which work on a ‘pay per click’ basis) have let you pick the gender, relationship status, interests, and ages of the population you want to see your ad. This way, you can make sure that the right people see your advertising and hence that you are likewise in all probability to get conversions. Someone selling wedding dresses, for instance, might elect to target someone in their 20s, who is engaged and who is female.

All these features remain, only now you can also add a geographical factor – for instance, choosing to only show your promotion to people within a ten-mile radius of your store. Choosing to only show your ads to a radius, advertisers and small businesses in particular results in a lot more precision and should help to improve conversions even more.

How to Set Up Local Reach Ads

Fortunately, local Reach is pretty easy to get a grip on if you’re not new to promoting on Facebook. You can find the full particulars on Facebook (here: https://www.facebook.com/business/goals/promote-local-business), but let’s briefly go over the process.

  1. First, go to create an ad campaign as you usually would (https://www.facebook.com/adsmanager/manage/campaigns?act=xxxxxxxxx where the x’s represent your account number) but then head to the left-hand menu option that says ‘Reach.
  2. Next, you will observe a map that also contains an inquiry bar underneath. Here you can search for your neighborhood by typing the name of your town, city, or state, and alternately you can put in your ZIP code.

Choosing Your Radius

3. After that, you have the option to select a radius, which permits you to set how much of the neighborhood you want to cover. This area is a greyish circle around your location, which you can then grow or shrink.

Deciding on the exact radius you want to cover might be difficult initially but suffice to say, the more limited the area, the fewer ‘wasted’ clicks you’ll get. The more widespread the geographic location, the more people you’ll be able to reach. The correct choice here is dependent on the attributes of the merchandise or services you’re presenting – if you run a bodega, then people are not likely to come from miles around. If you’re selling merchandise that is hard to find, though, people might be more willing to travel, uniquely so you can expand your Reach. As with each thing in the world of PPC, it will, in all likelihood, come down to experimentation and split testing to see what performs better for you.

4. Once you’ve completed this, you’ll then be able to scroll further to set your age, gender, and other aspects as you usually would. This current geographical element will be most effective only when combined well with other filters, so take the time to tweak your settings. Surveying your audience and collecting data can pay off by providing the information needed to tweak your settings.

Note: When you build your Facebook page, you will automatically receive a pre-selected coverage area. You ought to check this to make sure it’s in-line with the area that your business handles.

5. Reassess your advertisement to make sure it appears the way you want it to.

Are Local Reach Ads For Me?

Whether or not Local Reach is worth your time will depend very much on the nature of your business.  If you’re a local business and already advertise on Facebook, this is good news that will make it straightforward for you to reach an even more distinct audience.

As in our previous example, a wedding dress shop in a specific part of town will now target newly engaged women who live locally or happen to be in that part of the city and come to try the dresses on in person.  This local targeting can prevent many wasted clicks by folks who aren’t in the area able to stop by in person.

For B2B companies that work online, the capability to target nearby might not be of as much interest. You could use it to avoid direct competition with some of the more prominent names in your industry or niche, find business partners, or encourage local brand awareness.  So, this may be an excellent tactic to fly under the radar and gain some local visibility.

Facebook Vs. AdWords

In understanding the bigger picture, what does this reveal to us about the character of advertising on the internet?

There has been some conjecture that these forms of ads put Facebook in more direct competition with Google. Google AdWords has always had a significant advantage over Facebook for local businesses in times past, but this transition from Facebook could be enough to test that.

If you’re a small business trying to choose between Facebook and Google for your local advertisement then, with which should you go?

On the one hand, Google allows you to target people who are actively searching for the thing you sell. Here is an important distinction, as there’s still no way on Facebook to prevent ads showing to engaged women who already have chosen their wedding venues. That said, Google AdWords doesn’t take into account quite the same nuanced information such as age or interests, and it doesn’t let you market ‘passively’ to people who might make an impulse purchase, nonetheless.

Again then, the best option is going to depend very much on the type of product or service you’re offering. The only way to know for sure? Give both a try and analyze the results!

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