Marketing Insights

What is Geo-targeting Optimization?

What Is Geo Targeting Optimization

PPC campaigns are an effective way of marketing your brand’s offerings to prospects. Research shows that 75% of search engine users find PPC very helpful in finding brands they eventually partner with. For 79% of brands using PPC as part of their marketing toolkit, PPC is one of the strongest drivers of their revenue.

One of the factors that contribute to PPC success is geo-targeting.

Geo-targeting – what is it?

Let’s say you’re browsing through Google, looking for a self-defense class. You input “self-defense classes” and find great listings. Then you notice something surprising. All of the listings you see are geographically closer to where you live. There’s even a Google map view open with locations for these classes. You didn’t type in the city name or neighborhood zip code, but you still got really relevant results.

How did you find these listings in the first place? Well, that’s because these companies offering self-defense classes optimized their PPC ads for geographically targeted reach. What this means is, that they designed the ads so that their regional business would become visible to anyone who lived in or around their company. This is what we call geo-targeting.

How do geo-targeted ads help your brand?

Geo-targeted ads work by matching your customer’s geographic details with the geographic tags you input when setting the ad up on platforms like Google AdWords. The platform directs the correct ad to a prospect by checking against -

  • Location name
  • Zipcode
  • Searcher’s IP address
  • Cell tower details
  • Phone GPS (when it’s shared by Google)
  • Wi-Fi & Bluetooth location

Geo-targeting is really helpful in allowing you to target a specific market who have a high spending potential. Instead of wasting precious advertising funds on targeting people across cities/states/countries, you can geo-target your ads to different regions where you know your product/service will sell. With geo-targeting, there is also scope to customize your ad content to suit the demands, temperaments, and tone of specific geographical regions.

How to optimize your PPC campaign geo-targeting?

Geo-targeting optimization refers to the process of optimizing your PPC ad campaigns with the help of geo-targeting. It is the process of improving your advertisement’s reach, visibility, and effectiveness by ensuring the ad is seen by the right people, at the right time, and living in the same location as yours.

Some of the ways you can implement geo-targeting optimization are:

1. Don’t rely on the general maps of a region

In most places around the world, the maps we use today are still vestiges of decades ago. Most maps haven’t been updated to reflect the changes in geography we see today. So, using a map you find online to inform your location segmentation and targeting can prove faulty. Instead, use a tool like Nielsen DMA Zones (for the US) to identify which target markets you want to geo-target your ad to. This listing by Neilsen uses decades of marketing data to create target markets that are current and authentic in the US.

2. Be very specific about the location name

Geo-targeting optimization of PPC ads will be a success only when your location name is correct. Check the spelling and be sure to include any grammatical accents that people may use when typing the name. You can combine the location name with your zip code or a landmark or a street name to make it more accurate.

3. Synchronize your ad with your store opening times

Be sure to include store opening times in your geo-targeted ads for physical stores. That way, not only will your prospect receive the ad when they’re close to your location, but they will also get the ad delivered to them during your opening time and shop hours. The likelihood of such an ad leading to a sale is very high.

4. Let your geo-targeting be based on buyer intent

You can use Google’s suggested keywords/searches at the bottom of the page to figure out what exactly your target audience is searching for. This search intent can be used to customize your geo-targeting. So, let’s say your audience is looking for “low-fat yogurt in Williamsburg”, you can use this information to create the right content for your geo-targeted ad. That way, you’ll be able to let your prospects know that you know them well and have what they want.

5. Make geo-targeting multi-cultural

Not every customer will search for information, products, and services in a single language. In many countries, people speak multiple languages. Your geo-targeting should be optimized for multiple languages. That way, people in your target location looking for products/services that you sell in a different language will receive your ad too. While using multiple languages for geo-targeting locations, remember to check the various spellings of the location in other languages. The more spelling variants you have, even in foreign languages, the greater the reach your ad will have.

Similarly, consider geo-targeting based on the currency used too. For example, some people who frequent places like Little India in New Jersey or any of the Chinatowns may use their native currency to calculate conversion rates. The shops may have prices listed in other currencies too. Having your geo-targeted ad optimized with foreign currency can ensure your advertisement is received by people who may be in your geographic location but are searching for your product/service price in their native currency.

6. Choose visuals and ad content that your targeted geography will actually resonate with

Geo-targeting PPC ads isn’t just about adding the locations and zip codes. It’s about making your advertisement completely aligned with the expectations and experiences of the people living in that location. So, let’s say you’re geo-targeting your advertisement selling cement to a small rural town in Arkansas. Don’t use visuals of skyscrapers like you’d find at Silicon Valley in the ad to prove how amazing or versatile your cement is. That doesn’t make any sense. Instead, show photos of farm buildings and factories that the people at the location will be used to seeing.

As they say, a picture speaks a thousand words. Having the wrong visuals may prevent your prospects from realizing that the ad they’re looking at is actually located close to them geographically.

7. Exclude locations that don’t bring business

Finally, one powerful way to optimize your geo-targeting and fine-tune your PPC ads is to exclude locations that will add no value to your business. If any specific neighborhoods within a city/borough have a low-conversion potential, don’t target your ad to them. Not only will you save your advertising budget, but this will also ensure your ad is received by the right people who bring you sales and profits.

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