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social media how toDo you want to connect with local customers on Facebook?

Have you considered targeting them with Facebook ads?

Facebook ads offer a quick, easy, cost-effective way to reach consumers in your local area.

In this article, you’ll discover how to get your business in front of local customers using Facebook ads.

target local prospects with facebook ads

Discover how to target your local customers with Facebook Ads.

#1: Choose Your Ad Type

You can target any type of Facebook ad to a local audience, including four designed specifically for local marketers; you just need to pinpoint your desired geographic area for the audience in your targeting options. To get started, go to your Facebook Ads Manager and click on Create Ad.

From here, you’ll need to select the objective of your ad. The objective determines the type of ad you’re going to run. What you choose depends on your goals, and of course, what you’re actually promoting.

facebook ad objective

Choose from these objectives/ad types to begin creating your Facebook ad.

Facebook has added a couple of ads designed specifically for businesses looking to target users in their area: Reach People Near Your Business and Raise Attendance at Your Event. In particular, choose the Reach People Near Your Business ad type if you want to specify the area you want to target, with a handy little map function.

facebook ad map tool

Facebook’s map tool makes targeting ads according to location really easy.

This option only enables you to target your ad according to location, age, and gender.

Facebook users within your specified target area, age range, and gender will see your ad, regardless of other evidence to signal if a user is a viable potential customer for your business. This ad type targets users based not on the location listed in their profile, but on their current physical location. This means people visiting your city will also be able to see your ad.

#2: Set Up Location Targeting

How you select the location you want to target depends on the Facebook ad type you’re using. If you’ve chosen Reach People Near Your Business, use the handy map function mentioned above. Since Facebook already knows the location of your business, it automatically finds your location and highlights the area around it.

If you want to change the location, drag the circle around the map or enter an address in the box below it. You can also adjust the radius you wish to target using the Radius drop-down menu in the bottom-right corner of the map.

facebook ad map tool

The map tool lets you adjust the area you target in three different ways.

Location targeting on other ad types looks like this:

facebook ad location targeting

Location targeting on most ad types looks like this.

From here, you can target one or multiple locations. Your targeting can be as broad as a country or as specific as a postal address. You also have the option to adjust the radius to target. Use the drop-down menu that appears next to each of your target locations to make your changes.

facebook ad target radius

All Facebook ads allow you to adjust your location targeting according to radius.

Note that unlike the Reach People Near Your Business ad type, other ad types allow you to exclude locations. You can be as broad or specific as you like. To do this, click the button that says Include and select the Exclude option. Then enter the location you want to avoid targeting.

facebook ad exclude location

Most ad types allow you to exclude specific locations from your targeting.

#3: Refine Location Targeting

Having the ability to target ads directly to consumers according to their precise location is an invaluable tool for marketers. But it’s not quite enough.

If you want to maximize the return on your investment, you need to look beyond location targeting. As mentioned above, if you’re choosing to reach people near your business, the only targeting options you have, aside from location, are age and gender.

facebook ad targeting age gender

Additional targeting options when choosing to reach people near your business.

This should be enough to separate a retired couple from newlyweds, and it will help prevent, say, a men’s suit shop from displaying an ad to local ladies. Unfortunately, that’s as far as it goes.

Reach People Near Your Business is an excellent feature for businesses with a broad target market, especially those that operate in industries that rely on a lot of passing trade (think bars or restaurants). However, it’s far less effective if you operate in very niche industries, or offer a product or service that doesn’t benefit from tourists in any way. Think home improvement firms and membership-only fitness centers, for instance.

If you want to be more precise with whom you target your ads to, you’ll want to choose one of the other Facebook ad types, the most versatile of which is Boost Your Posts. This is because anything within reason can be incorporated into a post: news, an offer, or event details.

Regardless of the ad type you choose, begin by selecting the location, age range, and gender you want to target. Then drill down into the demographics you want to target, such as education, income, political beliefs, interests, hobbies, and behaviors.

facebook ad detailed targeting

Facebook allows you to target users according to their demographics, interests, and behaviors.

If you’re not sure where to begin, click Browse. You can then explore the different demographics, interests, and behaviors that are available to you.

If you want to select an entire category or subsections of a category, click the check boxes to their right.

facebook ad targeting categories

It’s easy to browse the categories and subcategories available for targeting.

You can select multiple options here. However, the default setting is to INCLUDE People Who Match at Least ONE of the Following. This means you’ll target anyone who matches any one of your targeting options, and each targeting option you select will expand your audience.

facebook ad detailed targeting

As standard, each criterion you select will expand your audience.

If you want to target people who match multiple criteria, click Narrow Audience. This brings up a new box that looks like this:

facebook ad detailed targeting

Facebook also allows you to narrow your audience.

Each time you add criteria this way, you’re choosing to target users who fit all of those variables. For instance, the ad below will be shown only to college grads who also have an interest in nutrition.

facebook ad detailed targeting

Multiple criteria can be added to create a niche audience for your ad.

To narrow your audience further, click Narrow Further and add more criteria. Expanding on the example above, the ad will now be shown only to Chrome-using college grads with an interest in nutrition.

facebook ad detailed targeting

Be realistic about how specific you can get with your targeting before you start eliminating potential customers.

You can also exclude specific groups of people that you don’t want to target. To do this, select Exclude People and choose the demographic, interest, or behavior that you want to prevent seeing your ad.

facebook ad detailed targeting

Facebook allows you to exclude specific groups of people from seeing your ad.

In Conclusion

If you’re a local business, it makes sense to limit the visibility of your ads to people within a reasonable distance of your location. This applies whether you’re boosting a post, promoting your page, or trying to send people to your website.

There’s a possible exception to this rule: content promotion. If you’re using Facebook ads to get your content in front of people, audience interests will be the focus of your targeting (unless of course your content is location-specific).

Once you’ve had a chance to play around with Facebook ads, you’ll see that they can be an incredibly powerful tool for all marketers, local or otherwise.

What do you think? Have you used Facebook ads to market a local business? Which ad type did you use and how well did it work? Please share your experiences in the comments below!

Tips about how to connect with your local customers using targeted Facebook Ads.

Tips about how to connect with your local customers using targeted Facebook Ads.

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