Picture this: You’re a small business owner. You run a boutique bakery in the heart of Boston. Your gooey, delicious cinnamon rolls are the talk of the town. Over the years, you’ve come to rely on Facebook's location targeting to reach your local clientele and keep the doors swinging open.
But then, in 2023, Facebook drops the bomb: it's simplifying its location targeting options, merging all existing choices into a single option.
Update your location targeting: Your saved audience contains a location targeting option that has been removed.
Your duplicated ad sets will be updated to reach people living in or recently in the locations you select. The other location targeting options have been removed.
Before Changes To Location Targeting:
- People living in or recently in this location
- People living in this location
- People recently in this location
- People traveling in this location
After Changes To Location Targeting:
- Reach people living in or recently in this location
Suddenly, your familiar landscape of Facebook local marketing feels alien.
Many small businesses and marketers, just like our baker, have faced this very situation. The changes to Facebook Ads Location Targeting may have made some feel like the rug was pulled out from under them.
Why is my Facebook location targeting not working?!
Panic set in, with the realization that impressions might be wasted on users who found their content irrelevant.
How To Adapt to Facebook's Changes To Location Targeting
Despite the changes, current running ad sets remain unaffected. Yet, duplication or new sets can no longer leverage the previous location targeting options. Thus, understanding and adjusting to the new single option becomes a necessity.
Local businesses, like our Boston bakery, relied heavily on these targeting options to ensure their ads reached those within a stone's throw. They knew their best customers were locals - the people who walked their dogs past their window displays or those grabbing a quick treat before catching the subway.
Now, the game has changed, but it's not over. It's time to pivot. So, how can you ensure that your Facebook ads reach the local consumers who matter to you most?
1. Build Your Marketing Funnel
One solution lies in creating a solid AIDA funnel (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action). It captures the customer journey from the first moment they hear about your product (Awareness), searching for your product (Consideration) to the point where they're ready to make a purchase (Conversion).
To apply this to our bakery example, an attention-grabbing Facebook ad could highlight:
- Awareness: First video ad illustrating the mouth-watering experience of biting into a cinnamon roll, teasing the senses with an enticing image
- Interest: A second video ad showcasing the baking process, giving potential customers a behind-the-scenes look into the care and quality of ingredients used
- Desire: UGC ads sharing glowing reviews from loyal customers
- Action: Image or Carousel ad with clear call-to-action (discount or promotional code) to drive new sales or lead
2. Localization: Keep it Clear, Keep it Quality
Another significant shift to consider is localization. If you're targeting a local audience, ensure your content speaks to them. Use local references, images, and language that resonate with your audience.
Consider promoting local events, like a Boston Red Sox game. Our baker could advertise a particular "home run" deal on game days. By being relevant and local in your content, you're more likely to reach an engaged, nearby audience.
3. Hyper-Location Targeting with Geofencing
Despite the changes, businesses can still target specific areas on Facebook Ads. This advanced location targeting technique sets a virtual boundary around a specific location, such as your store, and triggers your ad when a Facebook user enters this area. So, when a Facebook user strolls by our Bakery in Boston, they can get a notification about the special "home run" deal.
You might wonder, how accurate is Facebook location targeting?
Facebook Geofencing can offer a solution. With geofencing, your ads could appear on the feeds of potential customers who are just around the corner, giving your local targeting that extra precision. While geofencing is not a silver bullet for Facebook location targeting changes, it's an efficient tool for businesses that heavily rely on foot traffic.
In conclusion, Facebook's changes to location targeting have certainly created new challenges for local businesses, but these hurdles aren't insurmountable. Leverage Meta's algorithm such as creating custom and lookalike audiences from Facebook Pixel as it constantly learns and adjusts based on user behavior, aiming to display the most relevant ads to each user. Embracing the right tools can not only bridge the gap between your business and ideal local prospects but also upscale your Facebook advertising game in the long run.