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Geo-Target for Paid Search Engine Marketing

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Do you geo-target your paid search ads? If you only sell products to certain areas, then you most likely do. If you sell products nationally, you most like do not. But that may be a mistake.

Most people geo-target for two reasons: either to support the geographic areas their business supports, or for local promotions or events. While geo-targeting is perfect in those situations, sem experts agree that using geo-targeting in your regular campaigns can have some crucial advantages, even if you already have a successful paid search account.

So why should you geo-target your successful paid search engine marketing campaign? Well, geo-targeting provides an additional layer of data that is more profound than the keyword level. It complements the knowledge of which keyword is performing by adding information about which state a keyword is performing in. This enables your bidding decisions to be made with better data based on certain regional factors:

  • Competition: The number of advertisers is different for each region. So your CPCs will be very different.
  • Product price: New York advertising may cost more than New Jersey advertising. So, your CPA metrics should be different for each region, because revenue will vary based on location. This impacts your ROI and, consequently, your allowable CPC.
  • Online Conversions rate: Some locations are in better economic situations than others, and are more likely to purchase and get traffic conversions. In other cases, one location may have users that are more Internet savvy. Many factors can affect your online conversions rate, and these factors will vary by geography.
  • Brand awareness: Your brand may be stronger in some parts of the country. This might be based on the way various media is purchased, or store locations. This difference will impact your CTRs, and therefore your quality score.
  • Ad copy: It may be hot in Miami and cold in Buffalo. There are also geographical differences in what things are called, or ways things are talked about, i.e. sub vs. hoagie. The message in your ad copy could target these differences.

In order to implement this strategy, you can replicate any given campaign exactly as it is. For example, if you have a campaign called “marketing,” copy it and call it “marketing NJ” or “marketing New Jersey” for targeting New Jersey (or whatever region you like).

In regards to the original “marketing” campaign, you can either remove New Jersey or keep it national. I suggest you keep it national, so that those prospects who can’t be identified geographically are still able to see your ad. This is especially important if that campaign is already working well, and allows your campaigns to maintain current web site traffic levels.

The only downside to this is the duplication of your keyword list. If you were managing 200 keywords in your “marketing” campaign, you will now be managing 400 keywords across both campaigns. This will add work to your bid management and reporting duties. But the impact this will have to your campaign metrics will more than justify the slight workload increase.

Think about the states or locations that will get you the most online conversions. In order for this strategy to work, you don’t have to select a single state, though that would make it much easier for reporting the data. It can be a collection of states, locations, cities, etc.

The idea is to go deeper than your keyword level, gain profound insights into how your campaigns are performing, and optimize against that data.

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