‘Tis the season for holiday shopping and, like every year, brands are looking for fresh ways to attract customers. This winter, companies have a new weapon: hyper-local advertising. Just when you thought social media couldn’t be any more engrained in your day-to-day life, Facebook upped the ante.

Facebook recently introduced the Local Awareness Tool with the intent of increasing sales for small businesses this holiday season. This tool makes audience targeting more precise and increases exposure by allowing businesses to set a geographic radius in which they want to advertise. In addition to Facebook’s existing targeting options, the Local Awareness Tool will be useful for targeting consumers on mobile devices and may be visiting a new neighborhood for the first time. With proximity as close as one mile in radius, customers have all the more reason to stop in and check out a small business.

With location services already a big part of users’ devices, hyper-local advertising was unavoidable. It used to be that location services were just used to alert family and friends of your whereabouts. Now companies can use them to their business advantage. These advertisements also possess an interactive quality; they allow users to pull up directions to the business directly from the advertisement.

As we all know, holiday shopping has a tendency to creep up and add stress to our over-booked schedules. Facebook’s utilization of hyper-local advertising will help, because not only does it give advertisers a unique tool to lure customers to their stores, it will also provide customers a new shopping option that is closer to home, work, or a new place they visit during their holiday travels.

When it comes to driving in-store sales, advertisers know that a lot of likes or shares on their ads can only go so far. The goal is to create an ad so effective it makes the audience go out and purchase something. Local awareness ads could do just that: Get customers to not only emotionally respond to an advertisement, but actually pull out their wallets.

Happy holiday shopping!