Getting local leads with Facebook Advertising – Best practices

Most marketers online jump straight into showing off the millions they’ve made from Facebook Advertising. Sometimes it’s hard to believe but they likely aren’t lying. What they are doing is completely different to you, however. They will probably be selling a product that appeals to a wide audience across the globe.

So what about you? How does a local photographer reach local people and get local leads?

We’ve put together some of the best practices that we use every week, and we’ve also got some results to share with the hope of setting some expectations.

Best practices for getting local leads using Facebook Advertising

1.   Setting your location

It goes without saying, if you want local leads you’ll need to select a local area within your Ad set level. For most of our clients, this will be between 10 and 25 miles depending on the shoot type and population density. For example, not every new parent will want to travel 25 miles with their newborn.

In general, we would recommend having this as wide as you think necessary for your business.

2. Targeting settings

As you’re a local business, and some of you reading will be in lower-density areas, your audience is already very limited. Therefore your targeting options should be as broad as possible.

Right now, we suggest not targeting any demographics (with the exception of “Engaged”), and only setting the age and gender. Gender is optional between men, women, and both but when it comes to age, have a think about your ideal client.

Most of our clients, due to the high-end nature of their service, prefer to advertise to 28+ year-olds to make sure they have disposable income.

This is something you should experiment with, however. Try a couple of identical campaigns and change the age range to work out how this affects the quality of your leads.

To learn more about testing on a limited budget, take a look at this article.

3. Placement settings

As mentioned before, you’re already limited to a very small audience so when it comes to Placements we suggest Advantage+ Placements.

This means Facebook will show your ads in multiple different places across its platforms and allocate your budget to the places where your ads will perform best.

4. Be clear in your ad creatives

First, some context…

Recently Facebook made a very frustrating choice to remove a feature that allowed us to choose to advertise to only people living in the location we set. Now, we only have one option and that is to show ads to people “Living in or recently in this location.”

Why is this annoying?

We’re not sure how sensitive Facebook is when it comes to “recently in” but let’s say you live in a tourist-heavy location such as Bournemouth. Previously, you could make sure that your ads were only delivered to an audience living in Bournemouth. Now, anyone who visits the beach for the day could also be delivered your ad, even after they’ve returned home which could be hours away!

We have some faith in Facebook and its algorithm and we believe that it will do its best to serve them mostly to those living in the location, but we have noticed some leads slipping through who are from hours away. We’ve noticed an increase in this during the school holidays.

The solution

The best thing you can do to reduce the number of leads that have recently visited the area is to be as clear as possible about your location in your ad creatives. 

In your ad image, it would help to include your studio location. “Studio based in Bournemouth” or “At my home studio in Bournemouth.”

In your ad text, it is worth noting your location as well, being as clear as “Your experience will take place at my home studio in Bournemouth.”

We can’t confirm this but our hope is that Facebook’s algorithm will pick up on ad text and serve the ad to the best people.

5.  Have a healthy budget

We always recommend an absolute minimum of £20 per day but we’d always recommend putting in more if you can, preferably £50 per day. The more you put in the faster Facebook can reach more people in your audience.

For more densely populated areas such as London, you may not need to go as high as £50.

This much per day may sound scary but if you have a good offer, eye-catching ad images, and compelling ad text, then you will make a return. 

This doesn’t have to be 365 days of the year either. Start with 4 days. Try Thursday to Sunday and then Tuesday to Friday, see what works best for you.

If by the time you’ve spent about £30-£40 and haven’t achieved a single lead then we’d recommend turning them off at this point. However, you should be brave. Sometimes it can take a while to find the first lead but once the first comes in Facebook starts to learn who to serve the ad to. 

If your first lead comes in at £15 then your cost-per-lead is £15. If you check back and you’ve spent £28 and no more leads have come through, don’t turn it off just yet. It could just be a slow week (they can happen) and you haven’t spent another £15 yet. As soon as that 2nd lead comes through, your cost-per-lead will look better again. In this situation, we’d wait until around £35 spent before switching it off.

Setting your expectations

We think it’s really important to set some expectations because Facebook advertising can be a real headache sometimes.

You will find that if you run two identical campaigns on different weekends, they will perform differently.

One weekend you might achieve a cost-per-lead of £8, and on another, it could shoot up to £16. We’d love to give you a reason why but unfortunately that seems to be the way it is sometimes.

Lead quality will also vary despite similar campaigns, just be as clear as possible about your offer, who you’re looking for, and where you’re located in order to reduce the number of bad leads.

Going broad might mean more leads than a highly-targeted campaign but we strongly believe that it’s better this way around than getting fewer leads at a higher cost. The reason why we believe this is because you have no idea who could become a lead. It’s better to have a conversation with someone and filter them out of your sales funnel manually than allow Facebook to do it for you.

If you struggle with reaching out to leads, we offer sales and pre-consultation training. Send us an email to find out more.

Examples of results

Here are some results to also set your expectations. Some you’ll find are better than others but what we can tell you is that each one made great returns.

Newborn Campaign – Running from 15th August to 20th August 2023.

47 leads at £5.53 per lead.

Newborn Campaign (different part of the UK to the above example) – Running from 22nd July 2023 to 26th July 2023.

40 leads at £4.09 per lead.

Boudoir Campaign – Started on 21st July 2023. Switched on and off multiple times since.

51 leads at £6.08.


The above is what we would consider great campaigns. Below are a few that have a higher cost-per-lead but are still considered good.


Bump Campaign – Started on 30th June 2023. Switched on and off multiple times since.

71 leads at £13.34 per lead.

Newborn Campaign – Started 5th August.

29 leads at £18.58. Note: Whilst this might sound high, a conversion rate of 25% and an average customer spend of £900 would mean a return on investment of 1210%!!

Baby Campaign – 25th May to 30th May 2023.

15 leads at £21.47 per lead. Note: Even with a lower number of leads and higher cost-per-lead, profit can be made. With a conversion rate of 20% and an average customer spend of £1200, this would bring a return of 1117%!

To close

First of all, trust in Facebook’s algorithm. You are a local business and unfortunately that naturally limits the size of your target audience. Therefore, try and make your ad settings as broad as you can possibly make them. The widest radius you think necessary, with the broadest age range. Facebook will work out the best people for you.

Be as clear as you can within your ad creatives. Tell them who the ad is for i.e. dog owners, babies due in 2024, or women who want to explore their confidence.

Most importantly, due to Facebook’s nightmare change, tell them where are you located. This will hopefully filter out as many people as possible who have recently passed through your location.