Facebook's testing a new Custom Audiences option which would enable businesses to target ads at people who've visited their store, with a new 'Store Visits' option appearing for some advertisers.
Screenshot via Moshe Isaacian
As you can see from the above, the option would enable advertisers to 'create a list of people who've previously visited your business location'. How, exactly, Facebook would compile this list would likely come down to matching store visitors with Location Services switched on against in store Wi-Fi signals, enabling them to estimate location.
Using this, advertisers could then target their ads to groups of users who've displayed a clear interest in their products - by visiting their store - while they could also be used to find users with similar characteristics to expand reach. The option may come in particularly handy for restaurants or cafes, reaching out to previous visitors with special offers, while it could also, theoretically, enable targeting to repeat visitors, helping to find loyal customers, or give a nudge to those who've visited a few times but not made a purchase.
While there's no word from Facebook as yet as to how widespread the new option is being made available, even as a test, it underlines The Social Network's ongoing efforts to improve their ad reporting and provide more transparent, accurate details on Facebook ad response.
As social media marketing evolves and becomes a more significant consideration in business process, so too are the solutions available for tracking and measuring the performance of social med ad spend. Social ROI has always been a key question - Likes and comments are great, but how does that relate to actual bottom line impact? As a result, all the major social networks have been working to provide new tools and options to better align social ad spend with offline sales - Facebook, for example, introduced Conversion Lift which cross-checks point of sale data with Facebook insights to measure the effectiveness of ad exposure. Twitter has their own version of the same, while Snapchat has 'Snap to Store'.
The platform that can provide the best, most accurate, most comprehensive options in this regard will be well-placed to not only improve the performance of their ads through better data tracking, but also, to win more business through proven impact.
In some respects, such measurements are a little creepy, tracking your location and measuring ad exposure, even purchases, but given the number of users who already have Location Services turned on, and the opportunities that data can provide, utilizing it makes perfect sense. And if people can get improved special offers based on such capacity, you can bet the privacy concerns will lessen in favor of a better deal.
Facebook has also tried more advanced ad targeting via in-store Facebook Beacons, which haven't taken off, but may become more of a focus in future, enabling more granular focus, and improved reporting. Another test along similar lines is the use of Facebook QR codes which can be redeemed in-store.
Given the aforementioned privacy concerns, such tests don't tend to get a lot of focus, but the breadth of options being trialed shows that Facebook is looking at an array of tools in this regard. And they could provide significant benefits for Facebook marketers in future.