Targeting the hyperlocal market

‘Hyperlocal’ – a term we’re hearing more often nowadays – connotes information oriented around a well-defined community with its primary focus directed toward the concerns of the population in that community.

One of the biggest trends in we saw in 2014 was the rise of hyperlocal advertising, and global tech giants like Google and Facebook aren’t ignoring the huge potential in this space. In fact, it’s an area they’re incorporating into their growth strategies and investing in heavily.

So how does hyperlocal advertising work?

When a person uses an app on their smartphone, the app may ask for permission to access the location data of the phone. For check-in or dating apps like Foursquare’s Swarm and Tinder, the app is essentially unusable if you don’t allow access to your location.

If a user accepts this location-sharing request, the app will basically be aware of their GPS coordinates at all times. If the app also happens to be supported by ads, it’s very likely that these coordinates will be sent to the ad network or ad exchange that sells the ad space.

How is hyperlocal advertising used?

Once you understand that audiences can be targeted at the hyperlocal level, the next step is understanding the various targeting options available.

Facebook recently announced ‘Place Tips’ – a new feature that will appear in users’ News Feeds and give them helpful information about the places they are at.

Place Tips will show up at the top of users’ feeds when they are at restaurants, museums, landmarks, and the like. Users can tap on Place Tips to open up a new page with various posts about the where they are. These posts may include items shared by their friends, such as photos, as well as popular menu items and upcoming events.

For now, the feature is limited to users with iPhones. It will first roll out in places around New York, including the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and many others. Facebook has not said whether the feature will become available in other regions or on Android devices.

The following is taken from the Facebook Newsroom:

‘From friends’ recommendations to information about the places and things that interest you, Facebook helps you connect with the world around you. To better show you this content at just the right place and time, we’re launching a new feature called place tips. Place tips will show you fun, useful and relevant info about the place you’re at. Tapping on place tips won’t post on Facebook or show anyone where you are.’

Conscious of users’ ever-growing privacy concerns, FB also mentioned…

‘You can turn place tips off or on at any time in your settings or just hide tips about specific places. Place tips only appear if you’ve given Facebook permission to access your location on your phone.’

Place Tips accesses your location using cellular networks, Wi-Fi and GPS.

Google AdWords Express offers businesses a way to reach customers searching for products or services in their local area.

AdWords Express ads show up next to the search results on web or mobile. The ads will also show up based on the location and the search term in the local community ads are targeting.

Adwords Express is a feature aimed at small businesses. It takes the difficulty out of managing an ad campaign by automatically sorting out keywords and ad placement.

The hyperlocal concept reinforces the fact that targeting the right audience is far more effective than trying to appeal to too broad a market. It’s every business owner’s dream to get global exposure, but unless someone like Oprah is plugging it, most business owners – especially when it comes to bricks and mortar stores – are better off focusing on the local space.