“Why are the CPCs so high and why can’t we spend more?” These questions are frequently asked by clients who are restricted to small geos in their advertising. Generally, we suggest lumping geos together in one ad set for Facebook for multiple reasons – the most prominent being that larger audiences mean cheaper traffic and scalability. However, some clients don’t have the option to broaden their geos and need to keep their audience scaled down to the city level.

If you are in this situation, don’t worry! The below tips will help you keep CPCs lower and give you the ability to scale your acquisition initiatives without having to sacrifice city geo-targeting.

What to do with city-specific geo targeting

For one client, our audience sizing went from 1 million (with all geos in one ad set) down to under 100k when separating out for geo targeting. Those smaller audience sizes forced us to use CPC bidding, which dropped conversion rates by 50% and increased our costs. The challenge was to get conversion rates back up while still keeping the geo breakout ad sets. Here are a few options that we found effective:

1. Build larger Lookalikes to increase audience size and bid oCPM

Try going up to a 3% or even 5% lookalike audience to keep your audience size larger to bid oCPM. While the larger lookalike may skew farther away from your seed audience, it’s still close enough to drive higher conversion rates, especially with oCPM bidding. For this, try to get the audience size to at least 500,000 and a budget high enough for each ad set to generate 15-25 conversions per week.

2. Test out interest targeting

If you haven’t already, this is the time to test out some interest targeting. You can easily layer different interest targeting to obtain your goal audience size.

3. Take advantage of city targeting within the creative

Calling out the city name in either the headline or as a copy overlay in the image helps increase overall click-through rates, which could lead to an increase in conversions. If you don’t want to call out a specific city, having some city specific imagery would also work.

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Audience size can have a large effect on Facebook performance, but there is always a way to test around it. Following some of the above steps can not only help get you back on track for overall conversion rates, but will also get you to be a little more creative around the geos you are targeting.

Have you tested out advertising with small geo audiences on Facebook? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments!

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Ashley Burt
Ashley always had an interest in graphic design, which is why she received her Graphic Communications degree from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Most of her classes ended up being more marketing-focused and drove her to want to learn more about the industry. After college, Ashley moved to NYC to pursue a Master’s degree in marketing at NYU. NYC gave her some great working opportunities, but she moved back home to sunny San Diego after she completed her degree. Ashley joined 3Q as a Social Account Manager in July of 2016.