Who doesn’t love surprises. We all do. But what if it is kept secret. It is weird. Meta does this with their Meta Ads location targeting. The company quietly rolled out the change without making any announcements. Digital marketers around the globe considered it as systematic error with the meta servers and expected to get rectified asap. But it not only happened and meta made the update permanent.

Meta is notorious for removing helpful features that a minority of advertisers used like Inspect Tool and Conditional Formatting in their Ads. Next to the list is in their location targeting feature in Ads. Let us find out what those changes are and what necessitated the change.

Meta Ads Location Targeting

The flashback

In the past, Facebook’s default setting for location targeted Ads was “Living in or recently in this location.” This means that if we place a Meta location targeted ad, it would reach individuals either residing there or had recently visited them, regardless of their permanent address.

Additionally, there were options/ dropdown menu to customise these location targeted ad

  1. People living in or recently in this location
  2. People living in this location
  3. People recently in this location
  4. People travelling in this location
Previously in Meta Ads

Fast Forward to the Present

Life flashed before the eyes of digital marketers. The dropdown menu for location targeting has been vanished. Advertisers no longer can choose a specific type of location targeting. The earlier default setting i.e.  “Living in or recently in this location” option will be applied to all Meta Ads. No exceptions have been identified for campaign objectives or optimization.

Why Was This Needed?

Honestly speaking we didn’t see that coming as there is no official statement from the meta’s side. But we promise not to beat around the bush.

No one used it anyway

  • Like we said earlier only handful of advertisers knew it and only some of them used it.

    It is because Meta Ads are notorious for targeting the wrong audience. Now there is little drama for newbees in online advertising. Meta Ads allows you to target people based on their proximity to a specific location, such as a store or event.

  • For example, if you’re hosting a concert in a certain area, you can target people who are within a certain radius of that location. This can help you drive foot traffic and increase sales.

Improved Ad Performance

  • With the elimination of multiple targeting options and the focus on “Living in or recently in this location”, this new approach is essential to improve the performance of ad campaigns and successfully reach your desired audience. 

Precision Targeting

  • In addition, Meta Ads now offers more advanced location targeting options, such as targeting people based on their previous location history or the places they’ve visited in the past. This can help you reach people who are more likely to be interested in your product or service based on their past behaviour. This can help you reach people who are more likely to be interested in your product or service, and avoid wasting your ad budget on irrelevant clicks.

  • Well, according to a recent study by Google, 50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 18% of those searches led to a purchase. By targeting people based on their location, you can tap into this local intent and drive more foot traffic to your store or website.

Meta Ads Algorithm Recallibration

  • The algorithm will learn from what’s working and what’s not. You just won’t know that the algorithm knows. As only a handful of advertisers used the other location targeting options, it is natural for AI algorithm to find out that the other options was uselsss.

Privacy Matters

  • The worst nightmare of Digital marketers. Digital marketing and privacy does not always go hand in hand. Some private data like demographics, location are always compromised. But think of an extreme version where meta monitors you wherever you go. This surveillance fear has gripped America and Western Europe recently. This was evident from EU new privacy laws like GDPR guidelines which follow a no compromise policy on individual freedom and privacy.

The Downside

Here are a few important cases to keep in mind where this might matter:

Impact on Ongoing Meta Ads Campaigns

  • Online advertisers lives matter! Any ad set that customises location targeting and is running right now isn’t impacted. Probaby, the currently running campaigns using the old method will have a deadline. If you duplicate that ad set, the new ad set will have the new settings without a drop-down menu. And any new ad set you create will also reflect the new method.

Wasted Ad Spending

  • If location targeting includes people who were “recently in” this location, you will spend money on people who visited there recently but aren’t eligible for shipping.
  • Think about the things that only mean something to a resident. If you’re visiting a city, your kids won’t go to school there. You won’t vote for their elected officials. Paying to reach those people is a waste of money.
  • Think about all of the service businesses that would only have local residents as customers. If you are visiting, you won’t have a need for a roofer, plumber, painter, or flooring company. You would want to pay to reach only those who live in a certain area.
  • If you cater to tourists, you are likely to use the “Travelling in this location” option. You have no use for locals. But now, you’ll be forced to reach everyone who is in the area — or was recently in the area.

Final Thoughts

We apprehend that Meta is turning soar like a step mother. Without releasing an official announcement on their Ads, it will create chaos among the world of online advertisers.

Adapting to these changes and optimising campaign objectives accordingly will ensure that your ads are displayed to the most relevant users, ultimately leading to better ad performance and higher return on investment.