Location is everything

Why Location is Everything in Google AdWords


Last week, we explained some of the most useful ad extensions that Google AdWords offers advertisers to help make ads stand out, and easier to interact with. These are ideal for optimizing your ads, but what about more general AdWords campaign optimization? When we first look at our new client’s exciting AdWords accounts, one common place we notice businesses tend to fall short is locational targeting, or geo-targeting.

Inherently in business we’re all typically good at defining the “what” (our business goals and product or service offerings) and the “why” (how we plan to capture our customer’s attention), but the “who” and especially “where” can be less clear. However, advertising to too broad of an audience is one of the quickest ways to blow through a budget without converting nearby potential customers already searching for your business.

As am example, take a hypothetical flower shop in the downtown core of a major urban centre. With a clear product and service defined (the “what”), AdWords is absolutely ideal for getting immediate traffic and customers for the business. When setting up the campaign however, the business may target the entire city.. Or the even city and an additional 20km outside of the radius (which seems to be considered a sort of default setting in AdWords). It’s a nice idea that your ads will show in such a large area, but it’s rarely benefital, especially in the short term. This is even more true if you’re operating in a competitive space. Over time, you may find yourself losing out to other advertisers who are focusing their budget in your immediate area, and being more effective in their campaigns by doing so. Although AdWords PPC is far removed from traditional advertising, some comparisons can still be drawn — You likely wouldn’t be effective running traditional advertising ads across a massive geographic area, and your AdWords campaigns can benefit from a narrowed approach as well.

It’s easy to say “we might have potential customers” all across the city.. and we don’t want to rule them out, but that’s not the function of AdWords. The idea with a targeted campaign is to focus your budget on the customers most likely to convert today or in the near future. The flower shop we mentioned? They can benefit from targeting the immediate area that they deliver in, or even the most profitable area for deliveries. If margins are higher for deliveries within a certain radius of their storefront, it’s most cost-effective to ensure all customers searching in that are are seeing your ads first.

The best part about narrowed geo-targeting is that often we see that after a campaign is focused on a smaller area and has a history of high performance in relation to the searches that trigger the ads, spend is actually reduced as Google’s algoyrtms will always favour the campaigns with the highest historical click through rates (CTR)

The targeting methods we’ve discussed her focus on location data gathered by Google, and often relate to movie searches on devices such as smartphones and laptops that can provide location data to Google. For this reason, your mobile website and landing page design should be optimized as well.

All of this hopefully sounds great, but you may be wondering if this will limit your reach. What about potential customers that aren’t physically within your targeted area, but may use your services regardless. In the flower shop example, consider a potential customer is looking to order flowers for someone in another city. Again, you want to reach the most targeted customers, but without targeting an entire province. There are many ways to accomplish this in and if itself, and one of the best methods is the simplest — and it’s contained right in the campaign settings tab. Under the advanced settings for location options, you can select to target “People in, searching for, or viewing pages about my targeted location”:

Location options

Google recommends this option, and for many businesses we agree this is the best approach. With this setting enabled, as long as a search is performed within the same language settings as your campaign is targeting, it will include your ads for searches such as “Vancouver flower shop” even for customers outside of your targeted area.

Want more details on how to define your location settings? Or curious how our agency would grade your AdWords account? Get in touch, we get excited about this stuff!