facebook mobile local ads

There’s a sale where?!? That’s a block away.

Facebook is still learning about mobile advertising. Since entering the fray in March of this year, they’ve fiddled about, adjusted, tried things and failed, succeeded with others, and are trying to find the balance between showing enough ads to make advertisers happy, and showing so many ads that people stop wanting to use the app.

The coming year is crucial for Facebook’s offering to marketers. Not only do they have to show their investors more revenue, but they’re also going to have to show marketers than they have more to offer than just embedded stories on a News Feed.

While the Facebook mobile platform is providing great opportunity for marketers, Facebook’s biggest opportunity is to start integrating a local advertising scheme into their mobile offering.

For example, let’s say I’m Bob the business owner. I have a brick-and-mortar business — let’s say it’s a restaurant. I’m hoping to get some more customers into my business, and so, instead of blanketing the neighborhood with flyers that no one ever even looks at anymore and end up in the recycling before you can say, “environmental waste,” were Facebook to make it available, I could launch ads at Facebook mobile users when they’re within a certain distance of my restaurant, maybe within 200 feet or so.

facebook ad mobile weather

Cabo? I’m listening.

Conversely, one could advertise to someone who’s far away. For example, a Club Med in Mexico could send an offer to a mobile user in Montreal. And integrate a dynamic ad with the weather (It’s -20 in Montreal, wouldn’t you be happier on the beach in Mexico?), and you start to see the real possibilities here.

This, of course, depends on Facebook’s willingness to open this up to business owners. But if Facebook is truly looking towards more options for mobile advertising, then this is one that could be a real winner, and for all three parties involved.

Facebook wins by being able to deliver relevant ads based on proximity (after all, they know more about you than your parents do now); the businesses win by being able to offer discounts or specials to individuals who they can target very specifically, or just send ads to anyone at all within a specific distance; and the end users win by getting ads that they can act on immediately.

If there’s one thing we know about Facebook users, it’s that they love immediacy, and this is the perfect place to make that happen. This is, of course, reliant on the users allowing Facebook to send them notifications, and some statistics show that push notifications can enhance user retention up to 26%. Another win.

This is a strategy that Facebook glossed over very briefly last June. Carolyn Everson, VP of Global Marketing Solutions said, “Phones can be location-specific so you can start to imagine what the product evolution might look like over time, particularly for retailers,” and added that they had begun testing. But that’s the last we’ve heard of it since then.

There are real, amazing opportunities for Facebook mobile in the coming year, and we’re hoping to see them start to really give mobile advertisers more ways of reaching potential customers. The audience is listening, so let’s hope Facebook gives us more ways of talking to them.

– Marc Poirier

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Marc Poirier is co-founder and EVP of Business Development at Acquisio, a leading performance media platform for marketing agencies.