Facebook has a new local advertising play

This new local advertising play could be a game changer for small businesses that want to get their business on the map! 

Most small businesses have challenges staying on top with a maze of software options that are either built for large enterprises or seem unwieldy to manage. There’s no shortage of startups working to address those issues, but a big guy on the block — Facebook — has a new tool out this week that could alter the landscape in a hurry.

This week, Facebook launched its third new advertising tool in two weeks, Local Awareness ads. Essentially, it will allow shops or restaurants to buy Facebook ad space served only to users within a set distance.

Imagine it: You’re in an Uber, scrolling through your news feed as you approach your destination, when an ad pops up for a nearby bar that just happens to cater to your demographic group, as told to Facebook.

“It was only a matter of time before Facebook would do this,” said Brian Nash, CEO and founder of ScreenPay, a Manhattan startup that pays Android device users to serve real-time, location-based ads on their lock screens. “Very smart on their part. Giving small businesses the opportunity to have a stronger share of voice on their platform will only attract new advertisers who before may not have had the budgets to compete with larger companies.”

This basic concept is a longstanding part of the business model at Yelp and Foursquare, which from the beginning bet on location and user intent as a powerful combination for retail or hospitality venues. But this is another case where Facebook’s sheer size and detailed, apparently accurate user-submitted data can be a force. (I’ve asked for comment from Foursquare, and I’ll let you know if they share any reaction.)

photo credit: Building a Facebook Network via photopin (license)

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