Tips for Better Geographic Targeting in Your Facebook Campaigns

Geographic targeting is one of the most basic and obvious targeting methods that we use as marketers. Just because it’s a basic staple of our marketing strategies doesn’t mean it’s not worth putting in some time for testing, planning and regular review.

Let’s hop into how to improve your geographic targeting in Facebook and how you can better target geographically to improve leads or sales.

What Geographic Targeting is Available?

On Facebook, you can target the country, state/region, DMA, city or zip code level. You can also target near or around a custom location address, which is an option that isn’t available in other channels. You can also exclude these layers, should you choose or need.

Additionally, you can choose to target a radius around chosen cities, zip codes or custom locations.

Additional Options

After choosing the locations, you can choose whether you want to target everyone in the location, people who live in that location, people who were recently in that location or people traveling in this location.

Utilizing these features will allow you to be more targeted and strategic with your ad dollars and if one of these makes sense for your campaign, I would highly recommend testing it.

I would recommend considering a few things when choosing one of these options:

  • Is your product or service something that needs to specifically target customers by home address? Like a pest control service that only services a specific area of a DMA region.
  • If you’re targeting a popular tourist destination, are you okay with targeting tourists?
  • The “people recently in this location” means that this was their most recent location. This option could be reaching specific visitors at events, attendees of conferences and other instances where you’re needing to reach some immediately after they have been somewhere. In the screenshot above, I was targeting recent visitors of The Mall of America, so selecting “people recently in this location” would be able to reach folks who had recently logged into Facebook here.
  • The “people traveling in this location” option reaches users whose recent location is within your targeted area but whose home is 125 miles or more away. This helps with eliminating commuters who enter your target area during the workday but leave every evening.

Bulk Location Uploads

Below the geographic targeting box, you can select “Add Locations in Bulk.” You’ll need to select the type of location targeting you want to upload.

You’ll need some basic formatting knowledge here to make sure that Facebook properly categorizes your locations.

This list can be found on Facebook Business Help.

Enter your locations and click Match Locations.

Once your locations have matched, you’ll get confirmation of the country it matched to as well as a list of any errors.

I would recommend using the “Save this list to use it again” checkbox if you plan to need this targeting in the future and don’t want to just duplicate your ad sets. You’ll be able to see these locations when you click the Saved Locations drop-down under the Browse feature.

Click “Add Locations” to add the targeting to your ad set.

Pulling Location Reports in Facebook

If you’re needing more information about additional layers or granular performance, check out the location reports under the Facebook Ads Reporting tool.

You can access the Reports feature by clicking the Reports dropdown in the right corner of the Ads Manager view.

You can also access this feature by clicking “Ads Reporting” in the main drop-down.

There are standard geographic reports here for country, region and DMA region.

I highly recommend giving these reports a look if you have been targeting at the state/region or country-level. These reports can be helpful to figure out if there are regions that you should break out into their own campaigns or ad sets for better budget and performance control.

If you want to learn more about Facebook’s recently-updated Reporting tools, check out this post about all of the details!

Additional Tips

Wider Targeting When Possible

Being too granular can have an impact on performance so when I’m targeting very specific locations, I like to have a backup targeting plan that includes a wider geographic area (when possible).

Reviewing Frequency + Location Targeting

Similar to Google’s frequency caps for display campaigns, I would recommend adding the Frequency column to your location reports so that you can see just how often folks in those locations are seeing your ads. If performance takes a nosedive, this is one of the first places I check. Using this column in conjunction with location targeting reports can also allow you to have more granular insight about how users in certain geographies are interacting with your ads.

For App Marketers

Under the Browse feature, you can select to advertise to countries which use the mobile app stores you’re looking to target without having to target each individually. 

There are a lot of ways that you can fancy up your location targeting in Facebook. I hope you learned something that you can apply to your next ad set or campaign.

What’s your go-to Facebook targeting option? We’d love to hear it in the comments!