Facebook Advertising“A customer is a person in your neighborhood | In your neighborhood | In your neigh-bor-hood | Oh a customer is a person in your neighborhood | A person up the street | Who likes and shares and tweets | A person you’ll soon meet one day.”

I come from a broadcast advertising background, so the more I immerse myself in the world of Facebook advertising, the more excited I get. I probably shouldn’t be as awed as I am by it, but I love firing both sides of my brain in service of helping my clients reach their goals through their Facebook ads. The platform offers so many opportunities to reach specific objectives in creative ways, and does so for a very minimal cost.

So imagine my giddiness when Facebook announced an all-new advertising objective – local awareness. It’s something that Facebook has been slowly rolling out to advertisers recently, and I’ve had the chance to test it out for myself recently.

The idea is pretty simple – drive more in-store sales by putting an ad in front of as many people as possible within a certain distance of your location. This differs from other ad objectives where you target based on location (city, state or country), age, gender, demographics, interests and behaviors. Local awareness ads don’t offer the opportunity to target to specific interests, but merely age and gender within a radius of 1-50 miles of your brick-and-mortar location. Facebook then estimates the number of people who meet those criteria (“potential reach”) and how many people you can expect to reach each day given the duration of your campaign and your budget. The more you’re willing to spend, the more people you’ll reach. You have the choice (as of right now) of two “calls-to-action” on your ad – liking the business’ page or getting directions to the location.

While you can’t narrow your audience down by interest, behavior or demographic like other ads, local awareness ads have a potential benefit the other objectives don’t. Your ads not only reach people who live near your business, but also people who visit your area. (This, of course, assumes people enable sharing of their location with Facebook, and those who don’t wouldn’t be part of your audience.) Local awareness ads play more radio advertising, in that you’re goal is to blanket the area with your message instead of dialing in on just people whose interests may align with your brand.

As I said before, I’ve had the opportunity to test out this new ad objective a couple times since it rolled out to us recently. I’ve found that we were able to reach an audience of a healthy size even on a paltry budget. This makes me even more anxious to introduce it to retail clients in the future. I believe this offers great opportunities not only for general public awareness, but for reaching area visitors during times of the year when tourist and shopping traffic is at its peak.

As with any Facebook ad, creative is a key component to success. An appealing image and attention-grabbing headline copy definitely helps seal the deal once we get an ad in front of a potential customer, and that’s what we do here at SCM Marketing Solutions.

If you’re interested in the potential of reaching nearby customers through local awareness or other kinds of Facebook advertising, contact us! We’d be happy to talk with you about your marketing goals.