Facebook and Instagram are both owned by the parent company Facebook and can both help a business acquire local customers, except they do have some differences in strategies.

Facebook ad targeting is a blessing for local businesses because it allows them to narrow down their audience targeting with a degree of specificity that was never before possible. Instagram has a rapidly growing base of daily active users and is also a great platform for local advertising.

Although both services complement each other, Instagram’s ad strategy focuses more on leveraging Instagram’s strengths rather than relying on Facebook’s powerful platform for everything. This means ads must be highly engaging images that integrate better into Instagram’s scrolling image newsfeed.

Facebook or Instagram

If you’re deciding whether to allocate your advertising budget for either Facebook or Instagram ad spend, there are a few variables to consider.

Facebook ads have been around for much longer and have a lot more information available on what is effective and what isn’t. This is great, but since it is much easier to optimize ads on Facebook, many businesses have turned to Facebook to advertise, and Facebook users don’t respond to ads as well as they used to. This is partially why users on Instagram are 58x more likely to engage with branded content on Instagram than on Facebook.

Instagram has the advantage of being relatively unexplored territory. With a daily user base of over 300 million active users that is growing quickly, it provides an excellent opportunity for companies to experiment.

Facebook to Acquire Local Customers

Facebook’s ad platform is surprisingly powerful for how easy it is to use. With a clear goal in mind (acquiring local customers) and great messaging, you will be able to create an effective ad campaign. Facebook ads can be used for everything from building a buzz around your business to driving direct foot traffic.

To start, Go to Facebook Ads Manager and then Create Ad.

First, you must choose your ad type. You should already have your objective in mind—in this case, acquiring local customers. In this step, you target your Facebook ad to your desired local audience. Facebook has a “Reach people near your business” option that sounds perfect for this, so select that.

This will pull up a map functionality in the next step that will allow you to pinpoint the exact area. Now, it’s time to dive into the demographic details and target your ad according to demographics such as location, gender, and age. You can go as far as to target education and income levels, interests, behaviors, hobbies, and even political beliefs.

To get a better understanding of for whom you should target your ad, you can use a variety of strategies such as observing Google Analytics, using Facebook Audience Insights, or even taking note of who your physical customers are when they walk into your store or place an order.

This ad type will target users based on their current physical location and not the location they put on their profile. If you want to target traffic that is not local, you will need to set up a different ad type.

You can get as specific as targeting a small radius or as broad as an entire city. Whichever is more effective depends on your customer base and city. If you’re in a metropolis like New York City, you need to be extremely narrow in your location targeting since the population is so dense. If you’re in a smaller city like Gainesville, Florida, you can set the targeting for the entire city and still have an effective ad campaign.

This is a great way to target local foot traffic if you are a restaurant or bar, but it won’t work as effectively if your business doesn’t benefit from passing foot traffic, like membership-only clubs.

In this instance, you’ll want to use a Boost Your Posts ad type because you can promote a variety of different messages such as offers, event details, or even a piece of content aimed to collect email addresses, which can be later used for different promotions.

Instagram to Acquire Local Customers

Ad recall, a measurement of people exposed to the ad who remembered it at a later point from Instagram sponsored ads is 2.8x higher than other social networks. The stats are pretty astounding across the board.  People are more 120x more likely to engage with Instagram ads than Twitter.

Instagram is great because it still has the novelty of being a social media platform not completely saturated with ads but with targeting features built from Facebook’s powerful and refined targeting abilities.

To start, open up Facebook Ad Creation or Power Editor. The Ad Creation is better suited for small businesses not running dozens of campaigns at a time. The steps to the Ad Manager are similar to those for Facebook, so there is no need to go over them all again.  In order to strictly target local customers, you must set that up in the demographics part of the ad.

When you come to the “Placement” section of the process, you will need to uncheck all boxes, except “Instagram,” for your ads to appear on Instagram.

You can control your ad budget to be a daily budget, in which the algorithm will pace your spend per day, or a lifetime budget, which sets your ad up for a length of time.

The platform will automatically recommend “Link Clicks” as your ad delivery optimization, and this will get the most clicks to your website at the lowest cost. Other options vary on the amount of impressions or daily unique reach.

In the next series of steps, you choose your format, upload your media, set your page and links, add the URL you want to send traffic to, add your headlines and captions, pick a CTA, and then place the order.


Facebook and Instagram can both be used to acquire local customers, with the caveat that you are targeting the right type of traffic and sending them into an affective process that can turn visitors into customers. The best answer to whether to use Facebook or Instagram ads requires a look at where your target audience spends the most time. Your best bet is to try out both platforms and iterate on each result to find what works and what doesn’t.

Meta Title: How to Use Instagram & Facebook Ads to Acquire Local Customers

Meta Description: Facebook and Instagram are both extremely powerful to acquire local customers, but how do you get started using them to actually convert traffic?





Written by Anthony Robinson.

Anthony Robinson serves as Chief Marketing Officer for Robly. Anthony overseas all Inbound Marketing efforts for Robly from Robly’s San Francisco, CA headquarters.

Before joining Robly, Anthony was the sole founder and CEO of Relectric Supply, which he grew from $0 to $50mm in revenues over 8 years and sold to Audax Group in 2011.