09 Jan 2013

Understanding Your Advanced Adwords Location Settings

January 09, 2013PPC Advertising

Ask any advertiser if they use geo-targeting in their search campaigns, and chances are they will say that this feature is extremely important to them. Reaching a relevant audience is key for any search campaign, and filtering potential customers by their geographical location is a great place to start. It’s not a secret that many AdWords users are utilizing the service. However, as one of those advertisers, I must ask, are you getting the return that you want and need?

Geo-targeting has proved over time to be a great way to increase click through rates and turn conversions. While this method of filtering can help you reach relevant audiences, you may be spending more money than you need to. Google provides you with several options for geo-targeting, so read and examine your choices carefully before making your final decision. Depending on what kind of business you run, you may want to be more specific rather than just deferring to the AdWords default geo-targeting setting.

Currently, there are three “Advanced Location Settings” in AdWords for you to choose from. The default setting is “People in, searching for, or viewing pages about my targeted location (recommended).” This certainly covers your bases for the relevant customers in your set location, but you are also targeting folks who are merely searching “for” your location or viewing pages “about” the location. This means that your ads may be displaying to people thousands of miles away who have no real intention of visiting your storefront, or may not even have a need for your goods and services. In some instances, this default can be very appropriate, for example if you are promoting a moving and storage service in a specific location. Those ads could attract both people who are moving within the location, or customers moving from another outside city to that designated location. In a situation like this, it’s a no brainer, and you could certainly benefit by using the default setting.

But it’s not always that cut and dry. Let’s say that you are a bike store in the in the Chapel Hill, NC area. If an avid biker in NYC who is merely curious about the city searches for something like “Bike Paths, Chapel Hill, NC” ads for items in your bike store could be displayed to them. They don’t necessarily want to purchase a bike in that area, but they are curious about the layout of bike paths in the city, making them an irrelevant customer. You may be spending money on clicks that will never generate a financial return. In this instance, it may be more appropriate for you to toggle into the second option that AdWords offers, “People in my targeted location”. This is the most specific setting and in this instance, only people in the Chapel Hill targeted area searching for “Bike Paths” would see your Bike store search ad. This might be effective because these local people may be more likely to purchase something from you store, rather than click and leave your site shortly after.

The last geo-targeting option also happens to be the most broad: “People searching for or viewing pages about my targeted location”. This option could be great for a travel company promoting a certain promotional package. For example, if someone was searching for “Puerto Rico” it may be effective for a travel site to have their ads display to those users who may be interested in taking a trip to that location.

This may seem intimidating at first, but remember, you always have the option to test these settings. Try using the default initially, and if you see that a large number of clicks are causing you to spend money without return, consider trying the more specific option of targeting within that location only. By isolating the variables and reviewing reports on a regular basis, you will find with geo-targeting settings work best for your campaigns and the goals you are looking to achieve.