Definition: Facebook local awareness ads serve ad content to users who are currently within a specified proximity from a brick-and-mortar store location.

Local searches signal more intent and drive more sales than non-local searches. According to Google,18 percent of local searches resulted in purchases, compared to just 7 percent of global searches. Though local awareness ads are not correlated to user search history, proximity is still an advantage over broad advertising. Designed for small to medium sized businesses, local awareness ads are a cheaper alternative to Facebook's other advertising options.

Facebook uses its vast collection of user data to determine location, based on what users volunteer in their profiles and data gathered from a mobile device's GPS. Local awareness ads only appear to users who are nearby the store's location; maximum distance is specified when creating the ad.

How local awareness ads work

Ads are created from a business' page and can be targeted to age range, gender, the maximum distance from their business location (minimum is 1 mile) and the campaign's budget.

Advertisers then upload images and copy for their ads. Along with the ad content, Facebook supplies a call-to-action button for the user's to click, which will activate one of several pre-determined actions. Possible calls-to-action include Send Message, Call Now, Learn More and Get Directions.

Reach and limitations

Despite being hyper-localized, the ads still cast a wide net. They are not targeted according to a user's interests or keyword associations. Market segmentation of the ads is limited to age, gender and location, so ads will still be served to some users with limited intent.

Local ads are essentially an online billboard, only viewable to someone driving by a certain location. These are generally not geared toward specific campaigns and more towards promoting a brand to relevant users. Even if a nearby user isn't looking for your products or services at the moment, it may be their first interaction with the brand.

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