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New Facebook Ad Format Helps Local Businesses

Local businesses in the UK will soon have a new tool to attract customers in their vicinity. Facebook has introduced a new advertising format known as Local Awareness Ads, allowing businesses to target potential customers in a radius as small as a mile. Any Facebook users within this radius who share their location information with the site, and fit into the business’s chosen target audience, may see the ad.

This latest addition to Facebook’s advertising arsenal has been in the works for about three years,starting with its acquisition of hyper-local advertising company Rel8tion in 2011. The result is a form of advertising that could be even more valuable and cost-effective to businesses than an ad in the local paper, as it’s potentially more local and will only be seen by those it is likely to be of value to.

Creating one of the new ads is simple. Businesses choose the radius within which they want their ad to appear and the audience they want to target it to. They then select the pictures and words for their ad that will appear to users within their selected demographic and radius, whether they’re on a mobile device or a desktop. Advertisers can even choose to add a button which will give users directions to their store.

According to Facebook’s announcement of Local Awareness Ads it’s had “conversations with Advertisers” that have shown reach is more important than engagement when it comes to advertising. With this in mind Facebook has designed the format to reach the most eyeballs, not to get the most likes, comments or clicks.

The social media giant is also keen to address privacy concerns pointing out that advertisers can only select locations, not individuals, and that if users don’t want to share their location information they need to turn location services off on their phone.

For now the Local Awareness Ads are only available to local businesses in the US but Facebook has said it will be rolling out the format globally over the coming months.