With an understanding that the customers most likely to purchase goods and services from small to mid sized businesses are people located in the local areas of those businesses, Facebook announced on Tuesday that it would be offering those SMBs an advertising feature to better reach those nearby individuals.

Local awareness ads will be rolled out for U.S. businesses starting in the new few weeks and globally within the new few months. According to Facebook’s official blog post announcing the rollout, “businesses can quickly and easily find new customers by showing ads to groups of people who are near the business’s neighborhood.” Facebook claims that local awareness ads will be more “cost-effective than traditional advertising channels like newspaper while offering more precise targeting and greater reach.”

  • To get started with these local awareness ads, businesses will go to the Ads Create Tool and select, “Local Awareness”.
  • Select the Page of the business you want to promote.
  • Enter the business’s address (if it is already on the business Page, it will automatically populate). Then, select the radius you would like to target. (For example, 2 miles around business).
  • The map will show the area your ads will cover. Facebook’s system will automatically gather information about the audience and include people who may live nearby or recently visited the business.

Businesses can then select demographics such as age and gender and select the budget and duration of the ads. Facebook will display how many people the business is expected to reach each day the ad runs.

Of course, Facebook made an effort to include something about privacy and mentioned that, “local awareness ads were built with privacy in mind.” Advertisers will select locations, but not choose specific individuals. Audiences must reach a certain size before the advertiser can consider them and no advertisers will be able to know which specific people belong to any particular audience (Facebook).