Local Facebook Awareness Ads:

There’s a new objective in town. In late October of last year, Facebook rolled out with a new campaign aimed at advertising to people near your business. Local Awareness Ads appear on the news feeds of people within a specified radius of your business. Learn how to set-up your own Local Awareness ad using my steps below.
Getting Started

To get started setting up a Local Awareness Ad, select the objective on the Facebook advertising page that reads “Reach people near your business.” From there, choose the Facebook page that you would like to advertise with. In this how-to I will be creating a Local Awareness Ad for StrataBlue. Once the page is selected, you will be sent to the page to set-up the ad.



Choose Your Audience

Who do you want to see your ads? Simply enter the address of your establishment and Facebook will prompt you will a map. Next, select the mile radius that you would like people within that area to see your ad. Think about details of your location. If your business is far from other businesses or residential areas, I recommend having a large radius of up to 15-20 miles. But if your business is in close proximity to other businesses I recommend using the 1-10 mile radius. Next select the age range of who you would like to see your ad. Then choose gender.


Choose Your Budget

How much do you want to spend? If you are familiar with Facebook advertising you will notice that Local Awareness Ads only operate on a Lifetime Budget scale. A Lifetime budget is a set amount that Facebook will spend over the duration of your ad set. Facebook won’t spend over or under the amount you choose.

Select the time frame of when you would like to have your ad run. This is totally up to you and your client’s needs.

Tip: When selecting the dates to run your ad, keep in mind special events going on in your area where people will be traveling out of their town to yours. Local Awareness Ads are great for hooking out of towners to visit your business.

Choose Your Images + Text

Now it’s time to great creative! Choose up to 6 images either uploaded from your computer or from Facebook’s Shutterstock stash.

Note: Because this is a Facebook paid advertising, the 20% text rule still applies. All Local Awareness Ads images with more than 20% text will not be approved.

As for the text of the ad, make sure it’s something engaging with a call to action. For example:

“Come get all your pet supplies for a great price at Bob’s Pet Store.”
“Come try one of our 105 flavors of ice cream and frozen yogurt.”
“Kip’s Market is the place for quality produce at unbeatable prices.”

Next you will need to create a Headline. As you can see, I just used the business name, StrataBlue to fill this spot. The headline text is meant to grab attention and tell what your ad is about.

Currently, the only call to action available is Get Directions or none. Facebook will automatically default to Get Directions call to action button. There is also additional space under “Show Advance Options” to include text if you wish.

All you have to do is click Place Order and your ad is ready to run!

Now imagine your potential customer’s scrolling through their Facebook News Feed as they are figuring out with to do for dinner tonight and all of a sudden your ad pops up. Or they’re walking around the mall and see an ad for your small boutique located outside of the major department store. Local Awareness Ads are the digital billboards of Facebook. They are excellent for small businesses to be seen and heard by their local clientele.

Interested in what Local Awareness Ads can do for your business? Contact us today.

Increase Holiday Sales with Social Media

It’s that time of year again! Halloween candy is now 70% off and Christmas lights and garlands have taken over the shelves. This year it’s predicted that November and December sales could hit almost $617 billion, which is a 4% increase from last year’s holiday sales. As for online sales, they are expected to increase as much as 11%, a 3% increase from 2013 sales. So what are you doing to help increase your sales this season?

As we’re finding with our StrataBlue clients’ campaigns, social media advertising is key to any company’s efforts to reach large, targeted audiences in order to increase holiday sales. Below are some ideas we recommend to help increase holiday sales with social media.

Create a Pinterest “Gift Idea” Board

Millions of people every day are flocking to Pinterest for ideas on what to get their loved ones for the holidays. Make their search easier by creating Pinterest boards specific to whom the gift will be given. Giving your holiday Pinterest boards creative and engaging names is paramount to increasing traffic. Try some of these titles:

  • 50 gifts under $50
  • Gifts for The Person Who Has Everything
  • Last Minute Gifts
  • Gifts Your Boyfriend Will Love
  • DIY Christmas Gifts

Be sure to keep in mind the pain funnel when creating boards and pinning your products. What might your potential customer’s challenge be when shopping this holiday season? This could include:

  • Trouble finding the right gift
  • Shopping on a limited budget
  • Shipping costs
  • Gifts for the right occasion

Last, and most importantly, remember to link your product pins to your website for fast and easy access for your potential buyers. (And once they get to your site, consider having remarketing code in place so that when they continue on their search quest, you can re-appear in order to stay top of mind.)


Steve Madden pins their gift guide on Pinterest.

Run Facebook Ads

Running Facebook Ads is a must this season if you are wanting to increase your holiday sales with social media. As for which type of objective to choose for your Facebook Advertising campaigns, I would suggest either a Clicks to Website, Website Conversions, Offer Claim or Local Awareness campaign.

Don’t forget to include a call to action in your ad!


Target advertises free shipping for online orders on Facebook.

Exclusive Deals with Email Marketing

Give your email subscribers the upper-hand this season with exclusive deals, coupon codes and offers right to their inbox. Not only will your current subscribers be thrilled to receive special offers, but this will also open to the door to increasing your email list subscribers with those who want the same deals. Here are a few tips to make the most out of your email marketing this season:

  • Consider Cyber Monday, December 1st– the biggest day for online shopping
  • Don’t spam your lists!
  • Personalize messages to increase brand loyalty
  • Consider sending emails on the weekends
  • Use creative subject lines to entice opens

TJMaxx gives a sneak peek to subscribers.

Create Twitter Cards

The recent roll-out of Twitter Advertising cards makes targeting online shoppers a breeze. Be sure to include an engaging card image along with a catchy headline. Remember Twitter cards appear on your audiences’ Twitter feeds, so step out of the box with your Twitter card and catch the eye of your potential customers.


Choose the “Shop Now” button as a call to action.

Deck the Halls with Data

To make sure you are getting the most out of your social media efforts, be sure you are tracking and assessing your performance throughout the entire campaign. This way you will be able to tweak and re-target to see what’s working and what’s not working. Consider these tracking systems:

Whether it’s pushing in-store sales or online sales, running several social media campaigns across several different platforms can be very effective. Don’t be afraid to hand the reigns over to a digital media marketing firm to help you reach your highest potential this year.

Best of luck this season and Happy Holidays!

The Madness of Ads: Facebook Ad Targeting 101

One of the most interesting things about running Facebook advertising for yourself or for a client is the level of detail available for targeting those ads at specific people.

We’re going to run through the easiest type of ad to create, a promoted post, and then talk about the many different ways to target Facebook users with this post.

Choosing a Post to Promote

First, select the page you manage and an existing Facebook post to promote. Pick a post that has a great photo and well-written content, and that links to a relevant place on your website. (Be sure the link is using Google URL Builder).

Then, choose where you’d like that ad. We’ve found best results with desktop and mobile, and less so with right column ads.

The Madness of Ads: Facebook Ad Targeting 101
Choose a post that has a striking image, good copy and a hyperlink to your site.


Note that each horizontal grey line under Audience represents “AND.” That is, search terms grouped together constitute “OR.” But filters separated by that line divide the audience, as the person now must match both sections.

We’ll skip Custom Audiences this time around, as it’s a pretty technical and advanced topic and could take up a whole column by itself.


Under Locations, choose where you’d like this ad to spread. If the ad is for a regional service, such as an insurance company or law firm, then location targeting is vital. National clients will likely prefer targeting just the U.S.

Age, Gender & Language

Age is a deceptively important target. Alcohol-related ads require the age to be set to 21 or higher. Consider your target audience and whether they skew younger or older.

Gender targeting is a possibility, if your product or service is specifically designed for men or women.

Language is an interesting target. Normally, ads are filtered by language anyway, but if you need to restrict your audience further to only English speakers, or any other language, you can do that here.

More Demographics

Under More Demographics, you can filter by many other categories. I specifically like the Work & Job Title category, as that lets you aim your ad toward a lot of people who are in the same line of work as your target audience. Often, selections will show up here that won’t appear later under Interests.


Interests is probably where you’ll spend the bulk of your targeting time. Only Facebook Pages with a minimum number of Likes will appear here as an interest, so you won’t be able to find everything. Think about the typical person you’re targeting. What is he or she interested in? What’s the profile of the typical potential Facebook fan that you’re after — someone who not only is interested in the post you’re promoting, but the page as a whole?

The Madness of Ads: Facebook Ad Targeting 101
Remember that More Demographics and Interests are not complementary with each other.


The Behaviors section allows you to target how a person spends their money, what types of things they buy, how much they travel, how much of a sports fan they are, and so on. This section is seldom used because of how specific it tends to be.


Under Connections, you generally want to leave this set to All. However, you can target your fans specifically if you’ve got a large fanbase and want to cater to them. You can exclude fans of your page if you’d like the ad to target complete strangers.

Under Advanced Connection Targeting, you can target people connected to the competition, which is a sneaky but fun trick. You can cut those people out altogether. Or, you can target people who are one degree of separation away from your page, relying on word of mouth to help sell your product.

Potential Reach

Take a look at the Potential Reach speedometer graphic and numbers. You want that needle to be right in the middle, and you want the potential reach number to be high, but not too high. Around 100,000-250,000 people for every $250 spent per month is a good guideline.

Campaign and Ad Set

Facebook ads are divided into overall campaigns, groups of ads called ad sets, and the ads themselves. You can set up your ad set name here, and choose your daily or lifetime budget. (Stick to daily, for the most part). The higher you set the budget here, the more willing Facebook is to reach a larger percentage of your potential audience. Money talks. Finally, be sure to schedule your ad so you don’t spend too much.

The Madness of Ads: Facebook Ad Targeting 101
The higher your budget, the more people you’ll reach.


Place the order, give the ad a chance to populate, and you’ll start seeing engaged customers begin to flow in to your post, the rest of your Facebook page, and the link you sent them too. Mission accomplished!

Facebook to End Like-Gating in November

In the digital media marketing world, November 5th means a change for how you’ll need to go about growing your fan base on Facebook.

Back in August of this year, Facebook announced in some very fancy language that there were Platform Policy changes coming in the fall. (See highlighted in orange below.)

Borrowed from Facebook's Blog

Borrowed from Facebook’s Blog

In layman’s terms: Facebook will be eliminating like-gating, also known as fan-gating, which requires fans to like a page through apps like Rafflecopter, Woobox, Tabsite in order to view content, participate in contests, receive ebooks and things of the like. This is also an extremely common tactic for game developers who require users to Like a page to move on to the next level of a game or to receive more lives.

Why the Change of Heart Facebook?

Similar to Facebook’s recent decision to crack down on click-bait headlines, the company hopes that eliminating fan-gating will help improve the user experience in terms of content users actually want to see. Essentially, the method behind Facebook’s madness is that it wants users to stay on its social networking site. A user that likes a page because they wanted to win an iPad doesn’t necessarily indicate that they wanted to see Joe’s Plumbing Service’s updates or targeted ads. (Sorry Joe.)


The Glass is Always Half Full

The soon-to-be death of fan-gating doesn’t mean the end to Facebook Like success for brands, especially small businesses. Dry your tears and try one of these strategies instead:


  1. Facebook Like Ad Campaign – So easy you forgot about it! Target your Like Ad with Interests that your fan base would enjoy like specific wines, sports teams and so on. Focus on your brand and target on what your consumers would like. If you are a small business, consider targeting by zip code to home in on your local supporters.


  1. Split Test – Use analytics tools to gauge when the most people are online as a guide on when to post content. Then develop several different dark posts to see which one performs best with different headlines, copy and images. Not familiar with Facebook Dark Posts? Read my blog to learn how to create one.


  1. Quality Over Quantity – Instead of plastering your user’s timelines with meaningless content, provide them with a benefit and call to action in more deliberately spaced posts.


  1. Install a Like Button on your Website – Chances are if consumers searched out your website, they have a sincere interest in your brand. Installing a plug-in on your website is a subtle way for you to say, “Show me you really like me.”

Native Advertising: This is Not Your Father’s Ad Impression

Great innovators like David Ogilvy and William Bernbach paved the way for the creative movement in advertising during the 60s. It was their iconic campaigns that made agencies rethink their approach to marketing their clients’ products. And of course, there is also the famous line from creative director Joel Machak in the 1980s Oldsmobile ad campaign (referenced in the title of this post) that filled the television airwaves and became one of the most recognizable commercial slogans in recent ad history.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fangirl of these great (m)ad men. But unfortunately, today’s audiences have become immune to catchy jingles, witty slogans and tantalizing copy.

With the introduction of social media, marketing has become more about building relationships rather than building television commercial campaigns that reach mass audiences in one fell swoop. Social media advertising, on the other hand, can allow you to reach people who are already interested in your product, while also building brand awareness.

As opposed to disruptive advertising, which often annoys consumers, native advertising is a method of online advertising that is defined as when an advertiser gains attention by providing content in the context of a user’s experience. The sole purpose of this concept is to make paid advertising less intrusive, and thus, increase the likelihood a user will click on the ad. The idea is that the formatting of the ad is “native” to the content on the page, making it more consistent with the other relative media. These ads match the visual design of the web page and feel like natural content.

What it Looks Like

Native advertising has reached almost every social media platform out there, along with other major publications. Sometimes these ads are not so obvious. On Facebook, for example, you could easily mistake the ad for content in your news feed; hence the name native advertising. Ads for each platform are constantly changing. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and all other popular social networks are constantly changing the ads they offer. If you are considering native advertising, it is important to stay on top of these changes. Here are a few examples I found while scrolling through my personal social accounts and on major online-publication sites:

Facebook – News Feed Ads

facebook ad

Facebook – Suggested Post

facebook ad 1Twitter – Promoted Tweet

twitter ad

YouTube In- Stream Ads

youtube ad

YouTube – Ads

youtube ad 1


LinkedIn – Sponsored Post

Linked In ad

Pinterest – Promoted Pin

pinterest ad

Instagram Sponsored Posts

instagram ad

BuzzFeed – Promoted Stories

buzzfeed ad

Keys to a Successful Native Advertising Campaign

Looking to start a new ad campaign? In order to execute a successful native advertising campaign it is necessary to follow these simple steps:

  1. Build Trust

It has been said, “people love to buy, but they hate to be sold.” Your audience will be more receptive and pleased if your advertisements are offering them more than just why they should buy your product. Once your audience starts to feel they are being “sold,” this is where you lose trust.

  1. Well Developed Content Strategy

A native advertising campaign isn’t meant to be developed overnight. It takes time and careful thought to prepare your strategy. Be sure your content is in line with your brand’s voice, tone and overall goal. When all is said and done, the content of the campaign should absolutely not be disruptive in anyway.

  1. Make it Share-Friendly

Native advertising is all about being social, so you’re wise to make your content sharable. If its content posted on your website or blog, it should be set up with the appropriate plug-ins or apps to be tweeted, liked, shared, pinned, reposted and so on. A key to making your ad sharable is providing emotional and visual appeal.

  1. Multi-Device Compatible

In order to get your ad out there, the native advertisement must be compatible with desktop, mobile and tablet devices. This is just to make sure all your bases are covered.

  1. Measure and Analyze

In the beginning of your campaign, develop KPIs to be the baseline. Measure the campaigns data through appropriate analytical tools. Here is a great list of social media analytic tools.

What’s Next?

Everyone has their own opinion on the future of native advertising. If you ask me, native advertising is helping brands break the mold of what we think advertising is. This isn’t the 1960s. As consumers, we are able to turn the channel during commercials, DVR our favorite TV shows so we can skip the ads altogether when we go to watch them, or even upgrade our Pandora accounts so we don’t have to listen to ads. The new approach is to advertise your product by pairing it with relevant content, and even within a social context. Native ads are allowing advertisers to think outside the box of the banner ad and find out who their customers really are.

Numerous brands are making the switch to native advertising, will you?

The Necessary Evil of Targeted Ads and How to Eliminate Them

Targeted ads are simply the cost of doing business on the Web. It takes billions of dollars to build and maintain sites like Google and Facebook, and we don’t pay anything to use them. Parting with some private information and agreeing to tolerate some ads is our end of the bargain.

The industry of collecting, aggregating and brokering personal data is known as “database marketing.” The second-largest company in this field, Acxiom, has 23,000 computer servers that process more than 50 trillion data transactions per year, according to The New York Times. It claims to have records on hundreds of millions of Americans, including 1.1 billion browser cookies, 200 million mobile profiles and an average of 1,500 pieces of data per consumer.


Even with all the information that is gathered, some companies still make mistakes and haven’t polished their marketing techniques.  

Farhad Manjoo of Slate shares some examples of poorly targeted campaigns from his coworkers. One colleague, he mentions, was stalked for weeks by Warby Parker, a spectacle retailer after he’d ordered a try-on pair. Another coworker purchased a couple of bras from Soma Intimates using her home computer. Then, back at her work, Soma began peppering her with ads showing half-naked women to anyone who happened by her desk.

My co-worker Adam recently looked up a pair of Asics sneakers for himself and was targeted repeatedly by ads at work. If these companies spent a little more time and energy on learning about who they are targeting their ads to, they would realize that even though showing the ad to Adam during work hours keeps it in his mind, he would not be buying the shoes at that time.

This particular marketing tactic is called “remarketing.”

The theory is that once you’ve visited a certain company’s site but failed to buy anything, you’ve expressed enough interest to make you a target for more ads. You’re the one who got away and if the company is persistent enough, maybe they can get you back!


Omar Al-Hajjar, Indochino’s ad manager, told the e-commerce news site GetElastic that every time his firm increases the amount of ads it shows to people who have visited the site, its traffic and sales go up. “Users don’t seem to mind,” he said.

If you don’t like being targeted by these ads, there is a simple fix. You can install several different ad blockers onto your computer. See if your browser has ad-block extensions. Google Chrome has AdBlock and Facebook Customizer (by Adblock Plus) so you can remove all the annoying ads. Sites like Disconnect.Me are a fast and easy approach to searching privately using your favorite search engine.

Tell us about your experience with persistent ads. Do you feel like they are following you wherever you go? How have you dealt with them? Let me know in the comments below!