Paid Search 101: Reaching Relevant Customers with Geo-Targeting

Brenda Ton
|
April 29, 2014

One of the most overlooked settings in search marketing that produces wasted spend is geographic targeting. There's a good chance that your paid search ads are not relevant worldwide, so why spend to show ads in irrelevant locations that do not apply to your business?

If you're getting started with AdWords, geo-targeting will become your best friend. So, let's get to know it a little better, understand the capabilities, and discuss some tips on how you can use it for your marketing needs.

WHO: Businesses that have location specific needs such as shipping, physical stores, or services. Or even worldwide businesses with poor campaign performances in specific geo locations. Example: If I'm a food truck that only provides service around the Financial District of San Francisco, I'd want to target ads to customers located walking distance or 2 mi away from my location during certain times of the day.

WHY: By using proper geo-targeting settings that go hand in hand with your advertising goals, you will have better control over your spend and campaigns to serve ads to relevant customers. Geo-targeting helps you reel in the right customers to your business. When you target ads in areas where your customers are, it will likely increase your ROI.


HOW: You can easily target your ads to appear in select locations such as countries, cities, or by radius. Start by logging into your AdWords account and navigating over to the campaigns tab. Then choose the campaign you want to edit and go into the settings tab. Scroll to the locations section and click on edit.


geo-targeting paid search


The magic begins here. Let's dive into a quick breakdown of geo-targeting capabilities.

The most basic level is to type in the locations (country, city, state, zip, DMA) you want and then select "Add." You can repeat this process for multiple locations.

geo-targeting campaign management


For advanced needs such as location radius, places of interest or bulk locations, click on "Advanced search" on the settings tab.

geo target tab in Marin Software


It will open up a map with targeting options to choose from at the very top: search, radius targeting, location groups, and bulk locations.

For radius targeting, you can hone into locations within a target by mi or km:

geo target by mile or km


In the location groups targeting section, there are three sections to take into consideration.

1) You can target all airports, commercial areas, and universities:


target by airport or university

2) You can target locations by demographic based on average income:


ppc target by income




3) Lastly, you can target using your location extensions that are enabled in your campaigns by radius:


geo target by radius





LOCATION EXCLUSION: Be sure to exclude the areas that are irrelevant within your targeting. You can do this by clicking on "Exclude" in the steps above instead of "Add." For example, if you decide to target your ads in United States but do not service in California, be sure to exclude that location so that California searchers do not see your ads.

But wait - there's more! Finally, you may want to click and expand the location options (advanced) box within the campaign settings tab to prevent your ads from displaying for people searching about your target location:

geo-target advanced


Edit the options below to make sure it fits your business needs.

geo target to meet business needs


TIPS:

  • Target locations that are relevant to your business strategy or where your customers are located.
  • Be sure to write and target the correct language for your ads. For example, select Japanese for targeting in Japan and for ads written in Japanese. This can be selected within campaign settings.
  • Consider excluding locations that are performing poorly (but understand why it may be performing poorly first).


In short, location matters - a lot! Your ad could be award-winning, but if you're not serving it to the right audience then it may not perform successfully. This is a great tool that can help target and exclude locations, as well as help optimize campaigns.

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