Facebook’s constantly morphing algorithms make it difficult for businesses to know what kind of pages and products they should be promoting. In recent months, many businesses have noticed that their advertising efforts on Facebook have been futile. Eat24, a food delivery service, cancelled their marketing account with Facebook, and penned an open “breakup” letter to them saying, “We give you text posts, delicious food photos, coupons, restaurant recommendations… and what do you do in return? You take them and you hide them from all our friends.” It’s not just Eat24 that’s been complaining, from mom-and-pop stores to mega online clothing stores, many businesses have been frustrated with the little bang they’re getting for their buck in Facebook marketing fees.
The Local Awareness Ads are meant to help small businesses that have been struggling to get the exposure they’ve wanted on Facebook. Promotions are generated purely through GPS services. Businesses give Facebook their physical address and precise geographic radius of where they want to advertise. Subsequently, Facebook targets individuals who are near or are within that radius. Establishments can then adjust their target audience by specifying demographics such as age and gender.
Sometimes it takes us months or years to notice certain shops and restaurants that are in our own neighborhood. Local Awareness Ads are meant to rectify this issue. Facebook isn’t the first company to implement GPS-relevant ads. One of Google AdWords’ main strategies is to target web surfers who are in the physical vicinity of advertisers.
The catch is most people aren’t even aware that they have released information on their physical whereabouts to Facebook. Facebook likely extrapolates data from its GPS tools such as “Nearby Friends” to determine the exact geographic points of its users. For those who find Facebook tracking where they are a bit creepy, with a little digital elbow grease you can modify and delete the data in your location history under the settings feature. Mobile platforms such as iOS, Android, and Windows also enable users to adjust their GPS privacy settings so it will be more difficult for Facebook to track your exact location.
(Photo courtesy of Bhupinder Nayyar)