Local Online Marketing: Facebook Zip Code Ad Targeting

Local online marketing is going to get more targeted with Facebook. It’s been a couple of weeks since the debut of Facebook’s zip code ad targeting capability and early reports are casting some doubts about the accuracy of the data. Several sources are reporting significant discrepancies with selected zip codes.

During a session at the recent SES San Francisco search and social marketing conference, data collected by ad testing system optim.al showed that Facebook’s estimated addressable audience per zip code was considerably different from what the census data says is the case (see below).

Rob Leathern, CEO of optim.al’s parent company XA.net, used the cities of Fremont and Pleasanton in Northern California as examples. Leathern said Facebook gives the addressable audience in the Pleasanton Zip code of 94566 at about 808,000. The U.S. Census says it’s closer to 41,000, less than 5 percent of Facebook’s figure.

“Zip code targeting based on IP has historically been less than 50 percent accurate in display advertising, and Facebook is not much different (yet),” Leathern told Clickz.net. “Facebook does have the advantage of a lot of user-supplied location data as well, and we’re pretty confident from talking to them that they’re in the process of figuring it out and improving the targeting capabilities for advertisers.”

I still believe zip code advertising on Facebook will be big win for locally based US small businesses trying to do targeted internet marketing.  Facebook will be a more viable option for advertisers trying to reach potential customers at the neighborhood level as well as brick and mortar companies focusing on the local customer.  Previously, small businesses using Facebook ads in a city like Seattle could only refine the target geographic audience down to approximately 100 people before overlaying various category refinements.

How w ill your small business use this new capability to reach into the neighborhood?

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2 comments to Local Online Marketing: Facebook Zip Code Ad Targeting

  • I own a small child-centered business in PA. We have been open a little over a month and have had quite a bit of success with our marketing, but we are still lacking the amount of traffic I would expect. Thus far we have been featured on every local network’s evening news, done radio commercials, created accounts on Twitter and Facebook, posted on Craigslist several times, distributed print materials to community bulletin boards and pediatrician’s offices, published online articles, posted on blogs, created a website, offered giveaways, and created business partnerships throughout the community. Next month we will be featured in a local coupon magazine. Our business website is http://tinytoestoys.com. If anyone has some solid advice for getting more traffic through the doors it would be appreciated. Thanks!

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