If you’re a brick-and-mortar business owner with multiple locations, you can use Facebook to drive foot traffic to your stores.
How? With an advertising option on Facebook that doesn’t get much fanfare: a Store Visit ad.
In this article, we’ll go over what you need to know about running an effective Facebook ad campaign that bridges the gap between online marketing and offline sales.
Make Sure You Qualify for Store Visit Ads
For starters, you need to make sure that you qualify for Store Visit ads.
First of all, you must run an offline business. This ad strategy isn’t suitable for companies that are strictly e-commerce.
Also, as we’ve seen, you must run a business with multiple locations. Beyond that, though, you have to make sure that you’re using Facebook Locations.
What Is Facebook Locations?
If you’re not familiar with Facebook Locations, it’s a feature that allows you to manage multiple locations with local pages and local awareness ads. It’s a convenient way to manage each location from a single spot.
When you use Facebook Locations, you’re giving your business the following benefits:
- Localized content for each site
- Aggregated check-ins from the main page
- Improved visibility so customers can find your business more quickly
So even if you decide not to use Store Visit ads, you stand to benefit from using the Facebook Locations feature.
Facebook Store Visits Ad Formats
What kinds of Store Visit ads can you run? You have a few different options:
- Image ad – follows the standard image ad format to promote a specific location
- Video ad – follows the standard video ad format to promote a specific location
- Carousel – offers a combination of image, video, and other details about a specific location
Of the three, you’ll likely prefer the carousel format.
Why? Because it can also include a store locator.
Keep in mind, the store locator won’t just display a map that shows users exactly where your business is located. It also displays contact info and store hours.
In short, the carousel format is a great way to give potential customers an excellent overview of your business.
The Call to Action
Any online ad is only as good as its call to action (CTA). Fortunately, you have a few options with Store Visit ads.
- Get Directions – If you’d like to show users on a map exactly where your store is located and how long it will take them to get there, you can do that with the “Get Directions” CTA.
- Call Now – Sometimes, you want people to call for an appointment. In that case, use the “Call Now” CTA.
- Send Message – Maybe somebody who sees your ad would like to use the wonders of modern technology to send you a Facebook IM. You can make it easy to do that with the “Send Message” CTA.
The beautiful thing about Store Visit ads is that they use geo-targeting. They enable you to reach exactly the right people in your target market based on their location.
That’s especially important in this mobile era. People take their smartphones with them wherever they go.
If they happen to see your ad while checking their Facebook newsfeed on a mobile device, you can direct them to the store nearest to where they’re at.
That location might just happen to be at the mall where they’re already shopping!
When you run a Store Visit ad, you can set boundaries based on population density and audience size or a specified radius around one of your locations.
Keep in mind: that radius can be specified down to the decimal point. That gives you the capability for laser-like targeting of people in your market.
Optimization Strategies for Store Visit Ads
When it comes time to set a budget for your ad, you have two optimization strategies:
- Reach – optimizes for daily unique impressions and shows the number of impressions as the default metric in Ads Manager
- Store Visits – optimizes for lowest cost per attributed store visit by displaying ads to people who are likely to visit your store.
As of now, the store visits optimization strategy is only available to a select number of clients. Contact your Facebook rep to see if you qualify.
If you do qualify, though, that’s probably your best strategy.
Why? Because it sends visitors to your store where you can market your products to them in person.
After all, that’s the whole point of Store Visit ads.
Even better: the analytics for store visits give you some great detail about how effective your ads are at bringing in business. Customers who have location services enabled on their mobile devices will register a visit in real time.
Facebook follows customers who paid attention to your ad within the last 7 days or clicked on your ad within the last 28 days by default. You can change those settings if you wish.
In your reports, you’ll also have the option to view customers by demographics. That will give you a great insight into the type of people that are interested in your products.
In addition to those analytics, you can use the Offline Conversions API to check on your in-house conversions. You’ll need to enlist the aid of a developer to do that, though.
But that’s exactly where you can get the jump on your competitors. How many of them do you think are measuring online-to-offline analytics?
Probably very few. You can use that data to fine-tune your marketing campaigns and maximize your reach. As a result, you’ll likely gain market share.
How to Create Store Visit Ads
Facebook makes it really easy to create ads that drive people to one of your locations.
After that, select the page that you want to run your ads for.
In the Audience section, click the Select locations option. You’ll see a new screen that will give you the option to select locations where you want your ad to appear.
Remember, you need locations set for each of your business sites. If you haven’t done that yet, then you need to add them in the Business Manager.
Start by choosing a country for your ad. You can only select one country per ad set.
Feel free to remove locations you don’t want to include in your campaign. You can also change the radius around your sites to reach more or less people.
Keep in mind: each business location will include an audience that’s designed to reach 50,000 people by default.
You can also use Bulk Add to add a list of stores by zip code or store number.
Once you’re done with locations, save the location set.
Unfortunately, you have to go through the process of creating a new location set for each ad you want to run. You won’t be able to reuse that location set for another ad.
Once you’re done with locations, you can further refine your audience by age, gender, and language.
Next, set your daily budget and click Continue.
Once you’ve specified your audience, it’s time to set your optimization strategy. As we’ve seen, Facebook gives you a couple of options.
By default, Facebook will specify Daily Unique Reach unless new store visits optimization has been set up for your account.
You also have the option to run your ad on Instagram. To do that, select automatic placement.
Once you’re done with that, it’s time to move on to the ad itself. Facebook lets you create an ad template that you can modify for each location.
Choose between an image, a video, a slideshow, or a carousel with multiple videos and/or images.
If you’re running your ad on Instagram, it’s probably a good idea to stick with a single image. That might change in the future, though.
Next, select your Ad Voice. That’s how you’ll specify whether the ad comes from your main page or a local page.
If you want to use dynamic text tokens, just click the plus sign and add text that’s relevant to each location.
Next, you have the option to add a map if you selected carousel as the ad format. That’s how people will see your business location if they’re interested in your ad.
If users are on a mobile device, they’ll see the location that’s closest to where they’re currently at.
After that, select a CTA button such as Get Directions or Call Now. Keep in mind, the buttons are smart enough to extract the relevant info (for example, the phone number) from your individual location pages. That saves you quite a bit of work.
Finally, click on Place Order to launch your campaign.
Congratulations! You’re now running a Store Visits ad!
Following Your Campaign
Obviously, you’re not done once you launch the campaign. You need to check on it to see how well it’s doing.
To do that, visit the Ads Manager. Then, take a look at key metrics such as impression count, reach, CPM, and spend per location.
If you’re using new store visits optimization, you’ll be able to see impression count, store visits, demographics, and cost per store visit.
Keep in mind, though, that you’ll only see demographics if you have more than 100 visits.
While you’re there, you can also check out People Nearby Who Saw Your Ads. That’s in the Local section of your Page Insights.
The Facebook Store Visit ad strategy is a great way to use social media to reel in more customers to your brick-and-mortar locations. If you haven’t already launched a Store Visit campaign, why not do so today?