How to Use Mobile Geolocation Ads to Drive Foot Traffic to Your Restaurant

By: Kendal Austin

3 Minute Read

Jun 22, 2016

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Facebook Mobile Ads

According to an April 2016 report, more than half (54%) of Facebook users only use their mobile phones to access the platform. Believe it or not, this is great news for restaurants advertising on Facebook! Why? Because mobile phones come with something that desktops and laptops don’t: geo-location.

Mobile devices with location services enabled allow apps like Facebook to track the real-time location of users. This data presents a huge advantage to restaurant marketers because ads have a better chance of being seen by hungry diners that are already in the neighborhood.

If you’re using Facebook ads to promote your restaurant, be sure that you’re running local awareness ad campaigns. These mobile-friendly ads utilize Facebook’s ability to identify where mobile users are at any given time.

Note: Here’s introductory article on how to get get started with restaurant Facebook advertising.

How do Local Awareness Ads work?

Local awareness ads are a type of advertising campaign that anyone with a Facebook Business Page can implement. These ads are run by geo-targeting, which means they allow restaurant operators to tap into Facebook’s “creepy-yet-awesome” ability to see mobile user’s locations.

When you publish a local awareness ad, it only shows up for mobile Facebook users in the area that you’ve specified (ie: 1 mile radius of your restaurant).

With in-app buttons like “Get Directions” and “Call Now,” local awareness ads make it easy for users to connect with your business. When the user clicks on your ad, they can view the restaurant address, hours, phone number, website and estimated travel time to the location without ever leaving the Facebook app.


Last week, Facebook announced an update to these ads so that they now also show users a map of the business location relative to where the user is in that moment. This “Store Locator” feature makes your ad immediately more relevant to the user because it provides helpful business information and a GPS map.

How much budget do I need for Facebook mobile ads?

You don’t need a huge budget to run an effective Facebook ad campaign. Ads in Facebook will cost as much or as little as you are able to spend. When you create a campaign, you set the budget and Facebook will not exceed that spend. The tighter your targeting parameters, the longer your money will last.

For example, if you set your target radius to one mile instead of five miles, you’ll spend less money (and, of course, fewer people will see your ads). It’s worth experimenting to see if Facebook ads are something you should invest in long-term.

How do I know if it’s working?

In the most recent update, Facebook has attempted to solve for the fundamental small business challenge of tying online advertising to in-store foot traffic. The Store Visits” Report, while not extremely precise, utilizes location services data to tell you whether or not someone who interacted your ad on Facebook came into the restaurant.

For example, if you run a local awareness ad targeting Facebook users within 2 miles of your restaurant, the Store Visits Report will show you how many of the users you reached actually entered the proximity of the restaurant.

The recent updates to Facebook ads are making Facebook advertising more accessible to small business owners. With geo-targeted mobile ads, your restaurant promotions have a greater chance of catching people at the right time (and in the right place).

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