Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Julie and Sheldon Harrish, founders of Toronto spin studio 6ix Cycle.

6ix Cycle

When Julie and Sheldon Harrish opened their spin studio, 6ix Cycle, in downtown Toronto a year ago, they were keen to build their business by word of mouth. Then one of their clients, a social media strategist, suggested they try geo-targeting through the Facebook advertising platform, which uses location targeting to reach social media users in a specific area. It can be paired with age, gender and interests for extra reach.

Read the Decision Makers featured report

“We said: ‘Hey, how does this work?’” recalls Ms. Harrish. This past February, the studio began to create targeted Facebook and Instagram ads that were served to potential clients within 2 km of the studio.

“We actually had awesome results, from click-throughs to actual purchase,” says Ms. Harrish. “It was better than I thought it would be. And it was actually really simple to use.”

Story continues below advertisement

Geo-targeting is increasingly being used by small businesses to connect in a personalized way with locals who may be unaware of them. “It helps you make your audience more relevant,” says Jared Lenover, digital marketing strategist at Degroote School of Business at McMaster University in Hamilton.

And it is cost-effective if done in-house or by a contractor, rather than a large agency, which can charge thousands of dollars. “It does allow the advertiser to be more efficient with their budget, says Mr. Lenover. He says companies usually pay for the number of engagements on a particular ad. “You get charged by how many times it’s shown — or clicked on,” he says.

A class at Toronto's 6ix Cycle spin studio.

6ix Cycle

But the success of geo-targeting comes during a period of scrutiny around Facebook’s use of sensitive personal data. “Some people might have legitimate concerns” around how their personal data is used, says Mr. Lenover.

However, hyper-local ads provide information about local businesses that may have more relevance to users.

Says Ms. Harrish: “It’s kind of cool that these are curated for your interest. We’ve had a 2-per-cent growth in usage, which is significant when you’re small.”

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to
Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons or for abuse. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies