Facebook Location Targeting Options

By Jeff Cracolici

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Marketing Manager & Digital Expert

Every Facebook advertiser has browsed through the platform’s extensive list of geographic segmentation options. A target audience can be pinpointed by country, state/region, postal code, and even by a radius around a specific address. However, there is a second layer of geographic segmentation, known as Location Targeting, that does not get enough use.

Location Targeting uses a combination of user-entered and GPS data to segment further on a defined geographic area. Advertisers can show ads to everyone currently in that location, to only those individuals who live there, and more.

Depending on your business or offer, this can be a powerful piece of targeting that can save you from wasted media dollars and time courting prospects that are not ideal for your business.

What Are The Facebook Location Targeting Options?

On Facebook’s advertising platform there are four Location Targeting options:

  • Everyone in this location
  • People who live in this location
  • People recently in this location
  • People traveling in this location

UPDATE: Since this article was published, Facebook removed the last three options. For details as to why, read our update.

Everyone in this Location

As the name implies, when selected you are targeting all individuals within your defined geographic scope. This is the default option. Individuals within your scope could live there, work there, be on vacation there, or might be just passing through.

This option makes sense for physical locations, specifically retailers and restaurants. Using the latter as an example, most people are going to choose a restaurant in proximity to their current location. It makes no difference if they live in the area or if they are from out-of-town.

Ask yourself this question before choosing this option: If someone who is on vacation from another country sees this ad, can I easily provide them with my service or ship them my product? If the answer is “yes,” then this option might be best.

Note: If you are onboarding a Customer List, it is best to use this option.

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People Who Live In This Location

Based on a number of data points, Facebook has a reasonably accurate idea of where one lives. For many companies, this targeting option makes a ton of sense.

On a local level, contractors who only service a specific area might only want to reach those who actually live there. For example, a plumber who works in Rockland County, New York doesn’t want their ads to be served to those on vacation in the area. On a nationwide level, companies that rely heavily on e-commerce sales can target only those individuals who live within their shipping area.

People Recently In This Location

As you move about, the GPS in your phone is relaying your locations to a number of different services – including Facebook. This Location option only serves ads to those who were recently in your defined area, even though they might not be anymore.

Our clients leverage this option for following up with individuals who recently visited their brick-and-mortar locations. Consider this scenario: A shopper enters your store and browses around. Regardless if they purchase or not, you can reach them with a 15% off promotion to push them to buy online or to push them to buy from you again. This is great for boosting lifetime value.

People Traveling in This Location

The least-used Location option, this targets individuals who are 125 miles (200 km) away from their home.

Businesses that attribute a large chunk of their revenue from tourists, like museums, landmarks, or time share corporations, are the frequent users of this option.

How Do I Know Which Location Targeting Option To Use?

At the end of the day, it comes down to testing. The next time you set up a campaign in Facebook, set up a second Ad Set that uses all of the same targeting criteria except for the Location Option. Monitor closely as conversions come in to see if one is sending more qualified leads, or a higher conversion rate, over the other.

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Since 2005, LiftEngine's primary mission has been to help clients better understand and connect with their most responsive prospects and customers, online or offline. Our expertise is behind the marketing campaigns of 400+ clients.

Behind LiftEngine is LiftBase, our proprietary addressable consumer database. Comprised of 250 million US consumers, 140 million US households, and 1,000+ enhanced data elements, LiftBase powers our audience development services and industry-leading products, PortalLink and LaunchPad.

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Published on Jul. 17, 2019, Last Updated on Nov. 08, 2023