Attention Local Businesses: Facebook Launches New Marketing Tools

In the past three months, Facebook has unveiled a number of new tools and system-wide updates designed to make the platform more responsive to the marketing needs of local businesses. If your business is looking to extend its reach and drive more engagement through social media, be aware of these new opportunities.

Local Awareness Ads

Facebook Page managers now have the ability to tailor their advertisements for their immediate communities. Local awareness ads are distributed according to specific geographic criteria — area as well as range (a radius, in miles) — submitted by the advertiser. Facebook’s algorithms ensure this content appears in relevant audience members’ Newsfeeds. Further, local awareness ads aren’t limited to individuals who live in the business’ vicinity. Advertisers can also reach any Facebook user who has recently visited the neighborhood (as determined by ZIP code). However, advertisers should be aware of certain limitations in Facebook’s capacity to identify these users, as these whereabouts can only be gathered from users who have location services enabled on the mobile devices they use to access Facebook. Regardless, local awareness ads offer all the features Page managers have come to expect from Facebook’s advertising interface: access to statistics and estimates, demographic fine-tuning, budget tracking and diverse call-to-action functionality.

Mobile Optimization of Call-to-Action Functionality

Early in September, Facebook announced several tweaks to how Pages are handled and served via the company’s mobile app. In addition to creating new tabs dedicated solely to business products and services, Facebook implemented design changes to highlight customer interactions. Call-to-action buttons are now prominent, appearing at the top of each Page and spanning the width of the screen. More importantly, Facebook has begun testing new call-to-action buttons optimized for the mobile user. Beyond liking your page, customers can send messages, get directions or call the telephone number your business has on file all within the app.

Robust Messaging Options

With this recent update, Facebook has taken important steps to give businesses more resources for managing their direct communications. For example, businesses can now respond to public comments via private message, effectively moving conversations offline. Local awareness ads also support a “send message” CTA button, allowing customers to initiate conversations (“Do you have these shoes in narrow styles?”). Common questions and frequent requests can be processed with a single click, as Page managers can rapidly reply via saved templates and customizable boilerplate. Most notably, Facebook now rewards businesses that efficiently manage their customer inquiries. Pages that reply to 90 percent of private messages and maintain an average response time of five minutes or less can stand out from the competition thanks to the “Very responsive to messages” badge being added to qualifying profiles.

More Robust Conversion Lift Data

Facebook just launched Conversion Lift studies in January of this year. While the service has not been overhauled nine months in, it has been expanded significantly. Previously, Facebook assessed ad conversions in isolation. Now, businesses can benefit from comparing the outcomes of several similar campaigns. Businesses can collate these campaigns according to channel, creative strategy, specific conversion or some other benchmark. In all cases, Facebook’s Conversion Lift methodology remains the same: ads are delivered to a randomly identified focus group, and measurements are contextualized with a “control” of users who are not privy to this ad content. Additionally, businesses can now follow their campaigns’ impact channel by channel. Which ads drove in-store transactions and which ads resulted in an increase in e-commerce revenues? For businesses with the budget to take advantage of this research, Facebook has positioned itself as a leading provider of social commerce data and analytics.