Location, Location, Location.

Getting up close with Facebook's new location features.

Facebook has long allowed businesses limited geo-targeting functionality for their ads and posts but they have recently announced a slew of new and exciting features which are currently rolling out around the globe.  In New Zealand, a nation made up of small local businesses, these improvements are welcome news.


Facebook currently allows you to choose a city or town and those people in a radius of 10, 25 or 50km.

Thats perfectly fine if you live in a small town such as Oamaru, or have multiple locations in a city like Auckland, but a standalone burger joint in Mt Albert may not reap a great return by having to target all of Auckland.

Facebook technically doesnt allow targeting of suburbs although some seem to have snuck in  – you can find the odd suburb in the city targeting tool but Im not yet convinced of the accuracy of the numbers. For example, Pt Chevalier has 3,400 and nearby Avondale has 42,000! But alas, if youre trying to target nearby suburbs such as Mount Albert, Mount Eden, Newmarket etc youre completely out of luck.

 A work-around for this is to bypass the location targeting section (leave it at city level, i.e. Auckland) and head to the interests section to try your luck. I can find an audience of 53,000 interested in Grey Lynn. This doesn’t necessarily mean that these people live in or are currently in Grey Lynn, but theyve expressed an interested in Grey Lynn before by liking related pages and events etc. So while its not a bullseye target, its better than broad targeting Auckland alone.


You may have already noticed that under Locations you now have a dropown which allows you to filter by people who live in, are travelling in, or were recently in your chosen location.

Facebook uses stated location, mobile device data and location tagged posts to categorise these people. For example,  'travelling in' are people whose most recent location is the selected area, as determined by information from their mobile device, and are greater than 100 miles from their stated current city from their Facebook profiles.

The ‘travelling in’ filter has obvious use cases for tourism and hospitality businesses eg. a pub promoting a backpacker meal deal to 18-25 years olds currently travelling in the area or an Auckland tour operator who wants to sell extra seats with a last minute discount offer.

The 'living in' filter cuts out wastage for services and retailers who need to target locals, for instance childcare centres or furniture stores.

'Recently in' targets anyone whose last mobile log-in was in the selected area whether they are a tourist or a resident so it's good for any current events, specials or deals which could be advertised to visitors and locals alike.


Coming soon! This feature has already rolled out in the US and other markets and is expected to start rolling out in New Zealand very soon.

 You’ll soon be able to populate the address of your business, choose a radius (down to 1km)  and reach people who are currently in the area.  Additional targeting is limited to just age and gender (no interests), and the calls to action are limited to Get Directions or Like Page so you can't drive traffic to a website or use a video.

But this will be a valuable tool for businesses to let people know they're there and drive them in-store.


Another international roll out which is currently happening is the ability to target by addresses and postcodes although no news yet on when this will hit our shores.

Address targeting goes a few steps better than than the Local Awareness ads above by allowing multiple locations, any type of ad format and any type of demographic and interest targeting layered on top.  So a restaurant could advertise within their local delivery zone with a link to their order form on the website.  Or a pilates studio can advertise to health conscious women within 3km of their business.  High end online stores can advertise to wealthier suburbs, and event promoters can pinpoint those who are closest and most likely to attend their event. The opportunities are endless.

This feature will be the most effective for small businesses in New Zealand and we can't wait for it to launch!