Struggling to get a return from local awareness ads on Facebook, or not sure where to start? Discover how to use targeted ads to get in front of new customers and boost local awareness of your business.

Facebook is a powerful platform for business owners. With an extensive database filled with user behavior and demographics couples with its relationship with consumer data indexes, Facebook can be a goldmine for advertisers.

But many small business owners still struggle to improve Facebook advertising.

In 2017, Weebly surveyed thousands of small business owners and found that 62% felt their paid Facebook ads weren’t reaching their target audience. It’s an ongoing problem.

A 2015 survey by Manta showed similar results where 59% of small business owners never saw a return on their investment. A study from Social Media Examiner that same year found that 45% of business owners felt social media ads were effective.

While that may seem discouraging you should consider the other side of the coin. In each of those surveys there have been plenty of businesses who have (and continue to) find success with Facebook ads to build local awareness and promote products.

If you’re seeing diminished returns or struggling with building reach using local awareness ads (now known as Reach Advertisements) then consider these tips that can help improve the return on your investment.

Use Powerful and Relevant Visuals

How to Create Better Performing Local Awareness Ads on Facebook — Use Powerful and Relevant Images

Image via meatbull.

Standing out among the information cluttering the news feed of your audience is a major concern and priority. Your local awareness ad needs to be visually arresting, effectively halting the rapid thumb scroll.

The right image or video can capture their attention long enough to communicate the value in your offer. That image has to be powerful, relevant, and captivating because it only takes the human brain around 13 milliseconds to process an image.

Visuals also improve the odds of your ad being delivered to your audience. They increase the visibility of content by 94%, and what’s more is that studies have shown posts with images get 2.3X the engagement. When your goal is to boost local reach and visibility, that increased engagement is exactly what you’re looking for.

Relevancy is important here. You want the images or video you use to match up with your offer, as well as the expectations and intent of the audience.

Images you could use include:

  • Pictures from behind the scenes at your business
  • Action shots showing happy customers in your store
  • Images spotlighting the products you sell, your customers, and your team
  • Pictures that match seasonal or promotional themes and elements

If you’re struggling with ideas, take a look at your newsfeed for sponsored posts. This can give you a feel for how other brands are using visuals in their social media advertising.

Target Specific Audience Segments

How to Create Better Performing Local Awareness Ads on Facebook — Target Specific Audience Segments

Image via Kamil Macniak.

Audience targeting is one of the biggest culprits behind underperforming local reach ad campaigns. It’s difficult to appeal to a specific customer when your ad features generic copy targeting everyone. To improve the performance of your local awareness ads on Facebook, adjust your targeting.

This is done in two ways:

First, you should research your customer base and group them into segments based on demographics, purchase behaviors, interests, customer history, and other data. By narrowing the focus of your audience targeting you’ll shrink the size of the audience, but you’re serving your ad to customers most likely to engage and convert.

Second, adjust your message for your audience segments. You don’t want to serve the same ad to every segment because each segment has different cares, needs, interest and concerns.

When you create your local reach campaigns, create multiple ad sets with ad variations and messaging that caters to different audiences. Instead of running one local reach ad targeting everyone — which will result in low conversions — you’ll have multiple ads aimed at each audience segment. Narrowing your focus will improve your relevance score for those individual ads.

The better the relevance score, the lower your cost per click/engagement and the greater the chance your ad will be shown in your audience’s newsfeed.

Always Test Ad Variations

How to Create Better Performing Local Awareness Ads on Facebook — Always Test Ad Variations

Image via Stock Rocket.

The most successful local reach ads by small businesses on Facebook are not created — they’re built. A key part of success comes from ad optimization. In short, you read the performance of your ad as you make small changes, then do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

The simplest approach to this is to A/B test your ads by creating two versions. Make a small change to one element that you think could have the highest impact on conversions. Run those ads side by side and see which version performs best.

Scrap the under-performer, keep your winning version, and create another variation to test again. You’ll eventually have a number of ads for your audience segments that perform far better than your initial ad concepts, delivering consistent revenue and traffic to your small business.

Elements you should test include:

  • The call to action
  • The image
  • Ad copy, headlines, description
  • The unique value offer for your ad
  • Bidding methods

Remember to make small changes. If you change multiple items you won’t know which change is responsible for the increase or decrease in performance.

Avoid Ad Fatigue with Local Ad Rotation

How to Create Better Performing Local Awareness Ads on Facebook — Avoid Ad Fatigue

Image via elwynn.

Ad fatigue happens when Facebook users are shown the same ad multiple times in a given period and become annoyed or disinterested to the point they won’t engage at all. Ad fatigue increases alongside your settings for ad frequency.

The more often you show the ad to the same person, the more engagement and clicks will drop. As the gap between impressions and engagement widens your cost per click will continue to rise. Those conversions you do manage to acquire will cost you significantly more.

This is one more reason why having ad variations for your audience is a smart practice. You can set up ad rotation to deliver your slightly different designs and eliminate the potential for ad fatigue from high frequency campaigns.

The simplest approach is to rotate through different images, but try variations of your offer and call to action as well.

Build Local Awareness Ads Around Promotions

How to Create Better Performing Local Awareness Ads on Facebook — Build Ads Around Promotions

Image via

Local awareness ads are intended to improve your local reach and turn people on to your brand. They’re also meant to get more foot traffic into your store as the ads appear for people within close proximity to your business.

Products, events, and business concepts can provoke a visit, but why wait for that interest to develop? Make sure you talk about your current promotions and special offers in your ad. Even the hint of a sale can be enough incentive to get more customers into your store.

Make Data-Based Decisions

How to Create Better Performing Local Awareness Ads on Facebook — Use Data-Based Decisions

Image via ESB Professionals.

Facebook’s platform offers a wealth of data ranging from ad performance reports (within your Facebook ad manager) to insights about your followers who engage with your content. Every campaign you run, and every change you make, should be reviewed by reading the data and reports.

Without data you’ll only be guessing at changes and performance, and you won’t know which change reduced or improved sales. You also won’t know what success looks like. Harness the data from your campaigns to track your progress and measure against goals & KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).


Once you understand the basics of optimizing Facebook ads, the concept becomes far less daunting. Eliminating guess work and tackling specific audiences is the highest priority when creating better performing local awareness ads. Find ways through creative visuals and strong copy to capture the attention of your audience. Once you’ve built local awareness ads you can continually test and improve small changes to make vast improvements to your conversion rate. As those conversions improve, you’ll see a steady rise in the amount of foot traffic into your local business.

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Top image via Kamil Macniak.