It still amazes me when talking to people about Pay-Per-Click that few know how truly versatile PPC campaigns are. They can be modified, paused and activated literally within seconds. They reach searchers on desktop computers, mobile devices and high-tech tablets. They reach English speakers, Spanish speakers, French speakers and more. And they can appear all over the world – from right here in the United States to practically any country around the globe.
It’s all up to the advertiser to decide where they’d like to target their efforts. Google AdWords, as a rule, opts all PPC campaigns into United States and Canada targeting by default. It’s up to the advertiser or the dedicated PPC Manager, of course, to exclude Canada from these initial campaigns. (Note: A PPC best practice is to create separate campaigns for different countries and, in some cases, states or regions, but it’s not the end of the world if Canada gets lumped in with some US campaigns from time to time).
The beauty of geo-targeted campaigns is that they usually see high click-through-rates, bring in qualified traffic and can really “speak” to the consumer, if done properly.
At Solid Cactus, we have clients who see the value in geo-targeted campaigns and those who do not. It all depends on the client’s business model, target audience and shipping setup. Geo-targeting is especially ideal for smaller clients who don’t want to waste money paying for clicks throughout the entire US, and would rather allot their $500 budget to just the few states in which they receive the most orders. By using Google Analytics or simply looking at order receipts, this information is readily available and can help a client maximize his or her ROI.
In situations such as these, it’s important to use ad copy tailored to that specific state. Wording such as “Free Shipping to Texas” and “NY Shoppers: Shop & Save Now!” can make all the difference. Think about it, wouldn’t you rather buy from a store that is specifically marketing to your part of the world as opposed to others?
As mentioned before, these campaigns generally have higher CTRs because of how specific they are, which makes for higher conversion rates as well.
Just like you can target specific states, it’s similarly as easy to exclude certain states from campaigns, too. Many online retailers complain of higher shipping costs to areas such as Hawaii and Alaska, so instead of wasting advertising dollars in those areas, clients choose to not even bother with those states and simply stick with the continental US, especially in the beginning of a PPC account. The choice, again, belongs to the advertiser.
Targeting to countries – everywhere from Indonesia to Iceland – is easy, too. If it’s worthwhile, consider targeting campaigns to other countries in which you or your clients ship. On the same note, you can target more refined areas and regions within states, so if you provide services specific to metro areas such as Pittsburgh or Denver or even smaller spots such as St. Peter, Minn. or Carbondale, Pa., then geo-targeting is for you, too.
Geo-targeting is especially helpful for advertisers during off seasons. For instance, a bathing-suit shop may not want to have ads showing to “window shoppers” in the North during the cold months of the year. If that advertiser just wants to show in southern states such as Florida and the Carolinas, they can easily select a group of states to which they can target a campaign. That way, they’re assured only shoppers searching in areas where they may currently need a bathing suit will be clicking.
So, how do you do it?
Once you create a campaign within Google AdWords, go to the “Settings” tab on the top of the interface. Under the section that says “Locations” you can easily select to add or exclude hundreds of different areas. Check it out, even if geo-targeting isn’t for you right now. It may be someday as your budget fluctuates, your shipping rates change and your target audience expands.
Remember, also, to separate geo-targeted campaigns. Reason being: certain areas have different searching patterns (like any demographic does), ad copy can be tailored, keyword costs and daily budgets may need to be adjusted differently, etc. Don’t make the mistake of lumping your campaigns together. You’ll end up with a mess on your hands – no matter what continent you’re on!