This was quite a shock and rather dramatic update to the location targeting.
Let’s review how advertising has changed over the years.
Meta updated the location targeting options for some accounts and rolling it out to the rest.
Facebook used to have a default targeting location that said “Living or recently visiting this location” which meant advertisers could reach people who lived in those locations or visited them recently, regardless of where they were located.
Four options were available to choose from.
- Recent visitors to this location
- Travelers in this area
- Residents of this area or those who have recently lived in the location
- Residents of this area
The drop-down menu has now been removed, and the only option left is “Living or recently visiting this location”. The other options are no longer available, so advertisers do not need to select a particular type of location-targeting.
There are no exceptions for campaign goals or optimization. The Facebook ad’s primary objective is the campaign objective. This choice influences the various options available, such as optimization and delivery. The optimization of the Facebook ad determines which users see it, since the platform displays the ad only to those who are most likely to take the desired action.
Meta documentation has also been updated, even though it does not mention the change explicitly.
Why It Matters
Understanding this new approach to reach your target audience is crucial. With the elimination multiple targeting options, and the emphasis on “Living or recently in this area,” it’s essential that you understand this new way of thinking. Adopting these changes and optimizing your campaign objectives will ensure that you are displaying ads to the most relevant users. This will lead to improved ad performance, and a higher return on investment.
No drop down menu
The only option is “Living or recently in this area.” This message makes it clear that “the other options are gone, so you will not have to select any type of location targeting anymore.”
There are no exceptions to campaign objective. The ultimate goal of your Facebook ad is the campaign objective. You can choose to optimize and deliver your ad based on the selection you make.
How optimized your Facebook ad is impacted who will see it. Facebook will display your ad only to those people who are most likely to take the action you want. Click on word to view full description.
Many META Ads advertisers overlook this aspect. It’s still important to consider location targeting.
The drop down menu is now replaced with “Living or recently in this Location.” This is the only option that’s available. The other options for location targeting are gone. This update simplifies things by eliminating the need to choose a type of location-targeting.
It’s interesting that I could not find any exceptions for campaign objectives or optimization. Your Facebook ad’s campaign objective will impact many options including delivery and optimization.
Advertisers must stay up-to-date on these changes to adapt their strategies.
This change might seem insignificant to many advertisers. Some may not even be aware of the option.
It’s important to recognize that this change could have significant consequences in certain scenarios. We’ll explore some key scenarios where this change is relevant.
You may waste money on ads for people who have recently visited a location but are not eligible to receive shipping.
Politics, schools, and government
Consider topics that are important only to residents, such as voting for local officials and enrolling your children in local schools. Advertising budgets should not be spent on reaching individuals who are only visiting a particular city, but do not have the necessary context of residency.
Local residents are the only ones who can benefit from many service-based businesses. Visitors would not typically need services like roofing, plumbing or painting. To ensure that your marketing efforts reach the right audience, it’s important to only target those who live in a certain area.
You probably used the “Travelling to this location” option if your business targets tourists. With the removal of the other location targeting options you will now have to reach all those who are in the area, or were recently there. This may include locals, who may not be the audience that you want to target. It can affect the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
Why did Meta change the name?
We can only speculate about the reasons for this change in the absence of a formal statement. Here are some possible explanations.
Meta is known for removing features which are used only by a small number of users. It is possible that this location targeting feature was not used very often.
It could raise concerns that advertisers will be able to target people based on their location, rather than just relying on information in their profile such as the city they live in. This change could be in line with Meta’s efforts to address privacy concerns, given the scrutiny they face.
The algorithm may be able to determine the most relevant audience by analyzing various signals, similar to how targeting a broad audience can often yield better results than targeting based on specific interests or audiences that look like them. Although you may not be able to target local residents directly, the algorithm could adapt and recognize the importance of that characteristic for the performance of your ad. You may not be able to see the algorithm’s optimization.
It is possible that these three factors combined could have influenced the decision to remove this location-targeting option.
What impact will it have on current campaigns?
This change should not affect any ad sets that are currently running and customise location targeting. If you duplicate an ad-set, it will use the new location settings, but without the drop-down menu. Any new ad sets you create will also automatically reflect the change.
There will probably be a date by which existing campaigns using the old method of location targeting must stop. In the past, similar changes were implemented this way. While everything should be running smoothly for now, it is likely that the ad set using the old method won’t work unless they are updated to “Living or recently in” by a certain date.
It doesn’t mean that you have to make changes immediately. It’s important to stay informed and be aware of the potential requirements. If this is the case, Meta will update us at some point.
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