Location Targeting is a Big Problem

If you’ve run ads that reached people outside of your selected locations, you’re not alone.

A small part of this is organic distribution. If someone shares your ad, it can reach people outside of the locations you target. This is why you shouldn’t always assume that leads and engagement on an ad from people outside of your targeted location are paid for.

But there are legitimate issues, too.

The 2023 Change

The biggest issue with location targeting can be traced to when Meta changed how you can target locations in 2023.

Before then, you had options of people living in, recently in, or traveling in a location.

Facebook Targeting Locations

Now the only option is living in or recently in. That means that you can’t isolate locals or travelers.

Location Targeting

If someone was in that location recently (Meta doesn’t define how recent that needs to be), you can pay to reach them. There are a variety of signals that define people who qualify, and even Meta says “complete accuracy cannot be guaranteed.”

No Solution

What’s crazy about this is that Meta never explained why this change was made. The assumption is that it is related to legal pressure or litigation, likely associated with privacy or discrimination. Or maybe the data became less dependable due to restrictions on tracking. Regardless, we’ve never heard anything officially from Meta about it.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a particularly good solution. It’s just something we have to manage.