The most likely customers for goods and services offered by small and midsized businesses are people located near those businesses, and Facebook Tuesday officially introduced a new advertising feature aimed at bringing SMBs and their potential nearby customers together, local awareness ads, which were spotted in use last month.
Facebook said in a post on the Facebook for Business page that local awareness ads will be rolled out in the U.S. “over the coming weeks” and globally “over the coming months,” adding that users’ privacy is protected, as brands can only select locations, and not specific individuals, and users will only see ads based on their locations if they have chosen to enable location services on their mobile devices.
The social network said in introducing local awareness ads in the Facebook for Business post:
With local awareness ads, businesses can quickly and easily find new customers by showing ads to groups of people who are near that business’ 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.
Our conversations with advertisers have shown that when it comes to driving in-store sales, an ad’s reach is far more important than the engagement it receives (things such as clicks, comments or likes). So we’ve designed local awareness ads to help businesses reach the most people possible in an area.
The social network also offered instructions on how advertisers who have access to local awareness ads can begin using the feature:
Creating an ad takes just a few steps. To get started, head to the ads create tool (pictured above) and select “Local Awareness.” Then select the page of the business you want to promote. (Advanced advertisers can also access this feature in the API [ads application-programming interface].)
Next, enter your business’ address (if it’s already provided on your page, the address automatically populates), and the radius around which you want to advertise (for instance, an area covering one mile around your business). A map will show you the area covered by your ad. Our system uses all of this information to create an audience for the ad that includes people who live nearby or were recently near your business.
Then choose the age and gender of your audience and set a budget and duration for your ad. Based on your settings, we’ll show how many people you can expect to reach each day your ad runs.
Last, enter the imagery and text for your ad. For example, if you’re promoting a daily special at your restaurant, you might want to choose a picture of the dish, along with some text enticing people to come in and try it. You can also add a call-to-action button for your ad — “Get Directions” (to help people find your store) or “Like Page.”