Facebook Updates Put New Focus on Local Businesses

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Facebook has carried this trend into 2016 by announcing a new local component to the Insights dashboard, as well as an update to Local Awareness Ads that make them easier to create and target potential customers.

Facebook Page Local Insights

Facebook Page Insights provides demographic information about the users that follow and engage with a business’s page. It includes information such as age group and gender breakdowns, where followers live, what language they speak, and what content they engage with most.

Now, your business can use Insights to learn about the demographics of people who live nearby or who have recently visited the area where your store is located, regardless if they are followers of your page or not. The trends and data this new version of Insights supplies will make it easier for you to target these two groups with greater precision.

Here’s a breakdown of what the new version includes.

Highlights

Highlights shows trends of people on Facebook who are near your business.                                     Highlights shows trends of people on Facebook who are near your business.

Page admins can view aggregate data for a given week, month, or quarter within approximately 150 – 500 feet of your location. The Highlights section provides the most relevant information at a glance, including the daily average of people in the area, the busiest day of the week and time of day, and the percentage of people in the area who saw your ads.

Ad Performance
Ensure your advertising dollars reach the right people.                                  Ensure your advertising dollars reach the right people.

The Ad Performance section compares your ad spending to the percentage of people nearby that saw them. This information can be extremely beneficial to small businesses that may be operating on a tight budget — knowledge that was difficult to ascertain before the update.

People Nearby
Know exactly when the most people are near your business.
Know exactly when the most people are near your business.

This section presents data on what time of the day and day of the week when the most people are in your area. It also provides overall traffic information and the number of check-ins for the selected period.

Before Local Insights, business owners and marketers could only “guesstimate” when to schedule or boost posts based on when users were most likely to see and engage with them. That was fine if engagement was all you were trying to accomplish, but it wasn’t very useful for posts designed to drive foot traffic.

This new information will change the way you create posting strategies, which can now be more targeted, to drive both engagement and in-store visits.

Demographics
Determine who lives nearby or is just visiting your area.                              Determine who lives nearby or is just visiting your area.

The final section of Local Insights lists demographic information regarding the age, gender, and home location of people within the given radius. Similar to “People Nearby,” your posting strategy should adjust, to reach these potential customers more effectively.

For example, the demographics of your page followers may be vastly different than those who are closest to your location. Your messaging and voice may need to change depending on whether you intend to drive engagement or store visits.

Privacy Concerns

Facebook has encountered a number of issues regarding the privacy of its users. For those concerned about privacy, the proximity aspect of Local Insights could prove disconcerting. Facebook stresses, however, that there is no cause for alarm.

“Local Insights was built with privacy as a top priority and only includes data from people who have location services enabled to show trends about people near your business,” Facebook said.

To protect users’ privacy, Facebook anonymizes and only shows data in percentages and overall trends, not absolute numbers. Also, Local Insights does not share location information about individual people with businesses.

Updates to Local Awareness Ads

Local Awareness Ads changed the way local businesses advertise on Facebook. However, they proved cumbersome for companies with multiple locations. The recent updates were created to remedy this problem by simplifying the creation process and allowing for more precise targeting.

Before these updates, businesses with multiple locations had to create individual ad campaigns for each store, something that, speaking from experience, was extremely time-consuming. For companies that use the Locations feature, which connects a “parent” business page to multiple “children” location pages, this is no longer an issue.

The information from Locations will be pulled into Local Awareness Ads to create dynamic ad copy specific to the nearest location. Also, the call-to-action buttons will automatically determine the closest location and give directions or call that specific store.
The simplified creation process is an incredible time-saver.                                         The simplified creation process is an incredible time-saver.

“Call-to-action buttons are also dynamic, so when someone clicks on the ‘Call Now’ or ‘Get Directions’ button, they’re connected to the store currently closest to them. This helps advertisers spend more efficiently since they’re only connecting with people likely to visit the store, and the information they share is hyper-local and relevant.”

Demographic targeting is also easier with these new updates. The address provided in each Location page will populate into the ad targeting automatically so that all you have to do is set the radius around each store.

Conclusion

These new features for Insights and Local Awareness Ads furnish incredible amounts of data, making the platform even more essential to a local business’s marketing plan. Additionally, these updates will keep Facebook ahead of the predicted trends for retail in 2016.

Mobile-first advertising will be huge for companies in 2016 and failure to target your customer base there will likely negatively impact your bottom line. But, despite the continued surge in the use of smartphones to make purchasing decisions, the majority of retail sales still occur in physical store locations.

These two updates will ensure your business targets the right customers at the right time and on the right devices, driving them directly into your store.

Resources: webmarketingtoday.co

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