Does Hyper Local Facebook Targeting Work?

This article is less on how to do hyper-local targeting and more of a ‘does it work?’ case study. We ran local ads for several businesses: a seamstress, a roofer, and a real estate agent.

Our goal, as most always, was to drive leads and new business.

Our process was to geo fence our ads to be relevant to expected clients and their affinity and distance from the business. For these campaigns, the average distance was 3 miles radius of each place of business. We created several campaigns, placements, audiences and proper tracking. Then we changed our bidding, copy, type of ads, all in an effort to see what is working best.

Our hypothesis was that we could cover the area really well in terms of reach and impressions for the local geographies we were targeting.


The Seamstress

The first campaign was a simple ad campaign for the seamstress. She wanted a very targeted geo and our audience was fairly defined. This first one was for an area 3 miles from the business for moms of high schoolers.  Looking at the numbers you can see there was a cheap engagement, but not many reached at all, and this was after 10 days. Though Facebook said we had 100k in our targeting, you can see we did not get any real reach at all. We upped budgets on the campaign as well as potential reach, and it did not budge.

So then we went the opposite way. We created a Messenger campaign with same basic targeting, but then put it on a lower budget. These ads had a much better reach and impression ratio, and though the cost per engagement was much higher, at least it was reaching its audience. Well somewhat. Facebook favored the Messenger ad but still did not get anywhere close to our target potential after 7-10 days running.


Real Estate

So let’s move on to our real estate campaign. This campaign was set up for a define audience and geo area of about 3-5 miles from the business event. The event was an offline informational session on a particular day.

We set up several different types of ads and objectives to see the differences for the same audience.

  1. Video ad. This was a collection of images looped with simple text to be video like. As you can see, Facebook liked our mock video very well.
  2. Click bidding. Did not go far, and Facebook was not in the mood for this ad.
  3. Impression bidding. Notice the ratio of reach to impression, but also was obviously not shown to a ready market as Facebook’s choosing was not as sharp as with the video ad. Why would that be?


The Roofer

Our next campaign was for a local roofer. There were storms in the area so we set up a very simple geo-targeted campaign. This one was much more broad in terms of audience, just homeowners. We made lead form ads, the kind that pre-pops the user’s contact info into a nice easy to read form for lead capture. All these ads had the same image, copy, and tracking.

  1. Small geo-based on FB pin drop with a small radius. Our sweet spot.
  2. Zip code based ads, covering a bigger portion of our area, though outside the range we wanted to go.
  3. A larger section of the city map. As you can see the reach improved but obviously not as well targeted to those affected by the storms.


Our Findings

It is not hard to see that the numbers there are small in terms of reach, impressions, and engagement. We did end up figuring things out but can’t display those numbers here (tease for another blog post). And like most marketers, we were sad to find out that what we thought was best for our client and customers was second to what Facebook wanted.

  • Facebook loves the video and will overpower everything in and around it
  • Facebook does not want you to be hyper local or narrow in audience. The bigger the better.
  • Facebook wants to do a CPA style bidding where they are longer duration ads and its algorithms can do the heavy lifting.

Implementing these things will improve ad effectiveness. The constant dance of doing what you want versus what Facebook will allow is very tricky. We have seen that hyper is increasingly more difficult from a creative standpoint but doable if you follow the outline above.

If you do go after hyper-local, think about a broader geo range and share a marketing campaign that can be attractive to more people for best results. Facebook tactics change constantly but your marketing campaigns will not. Adapting them is the real secret to any channel market.