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A quick guide to geo-targeting

Published: July 26, 2013

Author: Sean Burke


Geo-targeting on Facebook is an often overlooked placement opportunity that holds huge potential for advertisers. It’s the first form of segmentation in the Facebook ad dashboard and is underutilized by many because of its simplicity. With a little extra effort, many have been able to increase the effectiveness of their Facebook advertising and maximize their return on investment through geo-targeting.

How does geo-targeting work?

Facebook can geo-target users two different ways:
1)  By IP Address
Facebook is able to determine a user’s location by their IP address. Anyone logged onto a computer within a certain geographic area will see a geo-targeted advertisement simply based on where they are logging onto Facebook.
2)  By Address of Record
Every user has the ability to enter their current street address and/or city, state into Facebook. Regardless of where a user logs in to Facebook, a geo-targeting ad can still be shown to that user based on their address. For example, if someone from Ohio travels to Florida on vacation, they can still see a Facebook ad from a local Ohio restaurant in Florida.
Note that while Facebook recognizes geo-targeting two ways, at this time, advertisers cannot distinguish users based on their actual location versus their address of record.

What types of locations can you target?

The geo-targeting options within Facebook are slightly different for each country. Below are the options for the United States.
1)   Everywhere: Targets every user within the United States
2)   State/Province: Allows you to target one or multiple states
3)   City: Permits you to target one or multiple cities, with the additional option to choose a radius around the center of the city or cities chosen
4)    ZIP code: Enables you to target Facebook users within one or multiple specific ZIP codes
Because geo-targeting is most likely not 100% accurate, you should always consider casting a wider net when targeting cities or ZIP codes. Consider extending a city radius just a little farther or targeting an extra ZIP code to ensure you target your entire potential market.
There are many uses for geo-targeting on Facebook, and each business will have a distinctive perspective on how to take advantage of it. Do you use geo-targeting on Facebook? What are some of the ways you leverage this segment type?

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