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Facebook’s New Feature: Local Insights for Local Business


In its recent quarterly earnings, Facebook revealed that the site is visited by an average of  1.1 billion users every day. Many of these users did so on the move, with the company attributing 78% of its $4.29bn advertising revenue to mobile. Facebook keeps a track of not only where you go online, but also where you go in the real world. It recently decided to share some of this information to the benefit of marketers. Hence, on 5th November it rolled out a pretty amazing feature for pages in the U.S. called “Local Insights”.


This feature will enable business owners to learn more about the people who are in vicinity of their stores. The tool will also show the percentage of people who saw the brand’s ad on facebook. Facebook will give suggestions to marketers for customizing their ads when people are nearby. This would lead to more foot traffic into stores.

It will be relatively easier now for local business marketers to connect the dots between their online ads and the foot traffic around their various store locations.

The feature comes at a time when cellphone carriers are also trying to provide companies with marketing data about their customer’s movements and demographics, based on the information of their subscribers.

What does it have to offer?

To use the feature, marketers have to go to Page Insights which now, has a tab that shows data about the people around your business locations. However, this is not in real-time. Data will be updated once a day.

The tool is free to any business with a Facebook Page using the page’s location features. Additionally, brands which are advertising on Facebook can now see what percentage of people passing by have seen any of their ads in the last 28 days.

The tool will only show “aggregate demographics and trends associated with people nearby” and won’t track in-store visits.  Facebook won’t show the actual number of people who passed near the store. Instead they will display data as trends over the past week, month or quarter.

An important point of note is that users will remain absolutely anonymous.

Facebook will categorize information into gender and age group – 18 to 24, 25 to 34, 35 to 44, 45 to 54, 55 to 64 and people over 65 years old. Additionally, the foot traffic data would only be available for people who pass within 50, 150 or 500 meters of a store’s location

It will also report if these people are from out of town or reside within 200 kilometers of a store’s location, but marketers will not have the option to filter this information by age or gender.

Apart from this, there are operational insights that can be easily derived from this data. Local business owners can learn what types of people are physically nearby and when. They can then tailor their marketing strategies in light of this information which will have targeting, hours and staffing implications for marketers and business owners. In simple words, businesses can discover the neighbourhood’s busiest days of the week and the peak times of the day through this tool. In turn, this will let them know when people are most likely to visit their stores.

Is it actually helpful to marketers?

Of course, yes! These local insights would help marketers target their facebook ads better. Before this, Facebook tracked, analysed and categorised users based on their Facebook activities and not on what exactly they do in real life.

The products an end user might buy are not largely dependant upon what he likes/shares/supports using his facebook profile. With local insights, the existing statistical data available for local marketers will change completely.

Facebook Local Insights will help marketers relate with the way people act in real life. This is helpful especially to businesses that don’t have a large following on facebook. They can now understand the footfall in their geography and also run campaigns with better local insights. Better targeting would mean low advertising costs and thus, better results.

Another thing to note is that facebook is updating its local ad feature so that if you have stores in multiple locations you can customize the copy and targeting of your ad for these particular locations.

Undoubtedly, this update has a lot in its bag. Have you tried Local Insights yet? How has this data helped you in your marketing campaign? Share your experiences with us!


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