LOS ANGELES —Installing security contractors looking to strengthen their marketing efforts in targeting specific neighborhoods that house their customer demographics can now consider a new service offered by Facebook.
Last month the social network introduced a self-service ad placement tool to target consumers with ads based on the consumer’s zip code. Unlike Google AdWords, which allows a marketer bidding for paid search ads to affix a radius around a particular zip code to target a specific area, marketers on Facebook can select one or multiple zip codes to target.
“It provides advertisers with the ability to hyper-target their ads even more than they already do,” says Jared Roberts, principal of Pittsburgh-based Right Brain + Left Brain LLC, a provider of integrated marketing services. “When you expand the geo-targeting functionality by adding zip codes and combine it with the existing Facebook advertising functionality of selecting your audience from factors like age, income and education, it becomes an even more powerful tool.”
Vector Security contracts with Roberts’ company for social media services. While there are numerous paid advertising options available through social media platforms, Roberts has advised Vector to utilize targeted Facebook pages at no cost before considering paid advertising.
“We’ve started off by creating local Facebook pages for each Vector branch where customers and prospects can connect locally. In addition, optimizing each local Facebook page with the appropriate copy and keywords will help with organic SEO [search engine optimization],” he says. “We also are creating Google Places pages for each branch to assist with local SEO. Once this phase is complete we can determine if the paid advertising options make sense for some of the branch offices.”
The zip code option has the potential to open up new advertising strategies, says Kristin Milner, a marketing coordinator with Nashville, Tenn.-based ADS Security. The ability to deliver a specific message tailored for a particular audience is especially valuable, she says.
“For example, this could be an interesting way to report crime occurring within certain zip codes,“says Milner, who manages ADS’ social media. “This is the kind of information we often share with our Facebook fans. Zip code-targeted ads would allow us to share information beyond our fan base, in locations of our choice. In the past, we have targeted zip codes with direct mail, but it can be costly, with often lower response rates than online advertising.”
The effectiveness of the service will ultimately rely on the willingness of Facebook users to provide accurate details about where they live, says Kristi Knight, vice president of corporate communications for Provo, Utah-based Vivint (formerly APX Alarm), which actively uses social media.
“It is a nice feature, but in the end it still depends on whether or not the customer puts their zip code into Facebook. If they decide not to include it, then the feature is null anyway. But most people will include their city and state,” she says.
Rodney Bosch is managing editor for SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION. He can be reached at (310) 533-2426.