Targeting based on location is a great way to attract customers in your area. Facebook geo-targeting lets you identify the ideal audience with pinpoint accuracy.
Do you wish to refine the reach of your business and zoom in on your target audience?
Facebook geo-targeting allows you to do just that. It is a powerful mechanism that allows you to reach people in specific regions or areas and deliver content that is based on their current location.
This article will help you understand what geo-targeting is and how it helps you leverage user location to your benefit. We’ll go through common use cases and explain how to use geo-targeting to drive engagement and attract new customers.
What is geo-targeting?
Simply put, geo-targeting allows you to target specific audiences based on their country, city, or zip code in the most effective way. Moreover, it also allows you to target users by DMA, which stands for “designated market area”.
Geo-targeting can be extremely useful if you have a brick-and-mortar store, for example. In this case, you can target people based on their geographical behavior and bring them to your store.
Specifically, geofencing is a great way to bring these new customers in as it creates a perimeter around a certain area. As people might confuse geofencing with geo-targeting, I'd like to clarify the difference between the two: geofencing is one method of geo-targeting. It means you decide which area you want to include in your targeting strategy while excluding the rest. However, there is another geo-targeting method, which is excluding specific areas while targeting all the rest.
Moreover, geo-targeting with Facebook is a cost-effective way to increase your business’ target market. Geofencing marketing companies charge a lot of money for this service, while Facebook offers it at no additional cost.
Furthermore, geo-targeting can arguably be a great way to reach a broad yet relevant target audience by selecting a few locations in bulk within a single ad set. Moreover, you can even target very broad audiences, such as an entire country, a whole region - such as the Euro area, or even the entire world - using the “Worldwide” location.
In conclusion, Facebook’s diverse geo-targeting options provide you with a lot of flexibility and allow you to align your targeting strategy with your business needs.
How does Facebook geo-targeting benefit your business?
Every kind of business can profit from utilizing Facebook’s advanced geo-targeting capabilities. Let me introduce you to a few of their main benefits and use cases.
Find high-value customers
For most businesses, expanding and increasing purchases is the ideal scenario. Facebook can help you with that, as it allows you to narrow your search and target those who are most likely to purchase and pay more.
Whether you own a clothing brand and want to expand your brick-and-mortar store chain to a new area, and even if you have an airline company that you wish to expand to include new destinations, geo-targeting will help you find your next high-value customers.
If you wish to target new territories, in which a wealthier population lives and makes bigger purchases, you can specify your desired location and acquire customers that belong to your new target audience.
When setting up a Facebook ad, you can target a specific location using “Drop Pin'' on the map. Then, use the radius slider to modify the overall range of land that you're focused on. You can regulate this from 1 mile to as much as 50 miles. This feature allows you to advertise to your intended target market.
Stand out from the competition
You may be selling the best product but it is all about marketing to the correct people in the right location. You may have the best product or provide the best services in your area, but if people won’t hear about your business, how could they know that?
Moreover, it is important to note that other businesses may be competing with you for the same audience. And in this competition, the business that has a better marketing strategy will win. This is why it is important to invest in your targeting strategy to make sure you reach the right audience.
Draw traffic from local landmarks
It is common knowledge that every city has local attractions that attract visitors and function as gathering spots for locals. These local landmarks are known to create social buzz, so why not leverage them and use this engagement for your business.
You can simply target people near these locations and interact with them to bring them to your business, even if your store is not located exactly in one of these main points of interest. This is how online advertising helps you avoid the need to pay excessive rent to place your store in one of these top locations.
Pro Tip: If you’re targeting a limited area with a relatively small audience, you should adjust your budget. Since you’re paying for impressions, if you allocate a large budget and target a small audience, these people might see your ads too many times and get annoyed by them. This phenomenon is called audience fatigue. If you want to avoid it, you better keep an eye on both your budget and frequency - the average number of times a user in your target audience sees your ad within a given period of time. You can also use frequency capping to ensure that your frequency does not cross a certain limit.
How to use geo-targeting on Facebook
- Search your target location: In the free search box, you can simply type in your target region, country, or area. You can either do it by stating the name of your desired location or using its zip code.
- Browse all possible locations: Facebook also allows you to browse from its extensive list of locations around the world. You are can select a whole region like the Euro area, an entire country, such as Israel, or a specific city or neighborhood.
- Location exclusion: Excluding specific locations allows you to save money as you are only targeting people who may be interested in your business. Simply put, exclusion of areas means that you are removing certain locations from seeing your ad. To use this option, just switch from “Include” to “Exclude” using the drop-down menu on the left.
- Drop pin: This feature allows you to target your desired location using the map. After you place your pin in your target area, Facebook automatically identifies its GPS coordinates. Remember, the larger the radius, the larger your audience will be. So, it may be beneficial to narrow down your search using age, demographics, etc. Note that you are only allowed to target up to a 50-mile radius.
- Add locations in bulk: This tool can be used to target areas in bulk by typing them as a list. You can either target countries, regions, DMAs, cities, postal codes, or addresses. Just write down your desired list and click “Match Locations”. Afterward, you can save your list of locations for future usage.
Focusing on geographic behavior
Regarding your target audience’s geographic behavior, Facebook offers four options:
- People living in or recently in this location: This includes people whose home is within your target area and people whose mobile devices are currently located in this area. This is the broadest option of the four. It covers not only people who currently are in this location but also those who are usually there.
- People living in this location: This includes people whose home is within the targeted location, which is found throughout their Facebook profiles and IP addresses. This option is useful if your products or services are mainly relevant for local residents.
- People recently in this location: This includes people whose most recent location is within your selected area. This option is most relevant if you have a time-sensitive offer, such as a big sale or a Black Friday/Cyber Monday offer.
- People traveling in this location: This includes people whose most recent location is within your selected area but whose home is more than 125 miles/200 kilometers away, based on their Facebook profile. This option is helpful if you’re offering services or products that are mainly relevant for tourists.
Obstacles to consider with geo-targeting
It is important to take the following factors into account when choosing your target areas and locations:
#1 Exclusion of cities when using broad targeting
When targeting broad locations, such as entire countries or regions, there can be certain cities that are excluded from this. This might occur in certain islands or in areas with limited or restricted Facebook usage, such as China.
#2 Exclusion of locations
When excluding certain locations, it is important to consider the fact that it does not prevent the people in these locations from seeing your ad. Facebook simply uses this exclusion as a guide to not show it as an advertisement in that location.
However, if, for example, someone from another location sees the ad and shares it, their friends from the excluded location will still see your ad as an organic post that their friend has shared.
If you wish to strictly restrict people in specific locations from seeing your ad, Facebook offers further audience restriction options.
#3 Limitations with Drop Pin radius
If you choose to use the “Drop Pin” feature, you can only target an area within one country. This means that if your selected area crosses into another country, the part which is not in your original country will not be included in your target audience.
Gathering data for efficient geo-targeting
In Facebook advertising, you always want to make data-driven decisions. This is why you need to know which locations work best for you in order to allocate more budget to them and identify your underperforming locations, on which you may decide to lower your budget.
There are a few sources that can provide you with this information. Let me introduce you to some of the most helpful ones.
Location performance in AdWords
If you’re using AdWords to promote your website, you can go to your Google Ads dashboard and check out your performance in different locations.
Then, based on your key metrics and KPIs, such as ROAS or purchases, you can identify your top-performing locations. Based on this analysis, you can optimize your Facebook geo-targeting and invest more in your top locations.
Furthermore, you can also exclude regions and areas that are not performing as well and have ROAS that is below your break-even values.
Location performance on Facebook
You can also extract this data directly from Facebook’s interface. In Facebook Ads Manager, go to the Ad Sets tab, and click on the “Breakdown” drop-down menu. Here you can select “Country” under “By Delivery”.
This will allow you to view your performance in every country you’re targeting in each one of your ad sets. If you’re targeting a certain country in more than one ad set, it’ll be beneficial to manually consider its results in all of these ad sets. This way, you can reach a conclusion regarding its performance.
Location performance on Madgicx
Madgicx allows you to analyze your performance according to various segmentations using the Smart Filters. One of the most common use cases is segmenting your results by country.
Even if you target a certain country in more than one ad set or campaign, the Madgicx platform lets you easily analyze your overall performance in this country. This feature allows you to deduce instant conclusions and simply optimize your geo-targeting strategy.
Location presets for quick launch
Another cool thing you can do if you're using Madgicx is creating sets of locations and save them for future usage. That could save you a lot of time instead of selecting your locations one-by-one on Facebook Ads Manager.
As you can see in the image below, once you launch a new ad set, you can sort your locations by performance. Based on this data, you can easily select your top placements to optimize your results. Then, you can even save them as a preset by clicking "Save Location Selection" and use them again next time. For that, all you need to do is click "Load Location Settings", open the drop-down menu, and select the preset you want to target.
If you, for instance, target different countries with content in their native languages, you can save a preset for every language you use. Also, you can create location presets based on CPM. If you're targeting a relatively "cheap" country in the same ad sets with more "expensive" ones, most of your ad spend would go to the "cheaper" country since Facebook optimizes for conversions. However, if you target only countries with similar CPMs, none of them will be left "spendless".
There are many tools that help you reach your target audience. However, geo-targeting is one of the most effective ways to make your ads relevant and find high-potential customers for your business.
The opportunities with geo-targeting are endless, as it is a simple and easy way to narrow down your audience to a specific area, which could be as small as your neighborhood or as large as the entire Euro area.
Nonetheless, it is important to keep in mind that if you target a very small area with a very small audience, you might end up annoying potential customers if you don’t adjust your budget and monitor your frequency.
Moreover, if your messaging is too intrusive, you might scare people away. They might become aware of the fact that you know their location. As a result, these people might become reluctant to look further into your business. Not what we want, right?
And now, it is your time to shine. Go on and create new audiences for your business, that are precise and efficient, using geo-targeting!
With Madgicx, you can target all the audiences you should test in minutes - not days - and reach your target ROAS infinitely faster.
Jordi is a psychology student who takes the view that, in many respects, we are all interconnected. Her skill is identifying ways to enhance and create value in these connections and build content for online advertisers, leveraging these connections and touchpoints.