Google, MSN and Yahoo have offered location-targeted campaigns for as long as I can remember. This feature allows advertisers to select the zip codes, cities, states, countries and continents to show their ads in.
From the perspective of business that provide a good or service to the local population, the application of this feature is pretty straight forward. Local advertisers use geo-targeting to show ads to customers who are in their buying area. For example, a dry cleaning company in Miami would only show ads to users searching for dry cleaning from a computer in the Miami area.
Applications for national and international companies
The applications of geo-targeting for companies whose prospects span wider areas are often overlooked. Advertisers often think that, because they can service searchers in any area, they should run the same ads for all areas. Consider the following applications for geo-targeting:
* Manipulate ad copy based on location - Running ads personalized to a given location can increase click through rates, which will allow you to run your ad in lower positions at a lower cost. For years, marketers have found that personalizing ad copy increases response rate by grabbing the attention of potential customers. Why not spend a little more time setting up location-specific campaigns if it makes sense for your product? After all, it doesn’t hurt to test this strategy in a small area before applying it to all your campaigns.
* Test ads and promotions - There are many features that will allow you to test ads and geo-targeting is just one of them. Try different ads or promotions in different cities to see which tactics are most effective. This is especially effective for high-volume campaigns.
* Fool the competition - Ever have a competitor watching (and copying) your every online advertising move? Try running a dummy ad just so your competitor doesn’t know what you’re really up to. All you need to do is find out where your competitor is located and run a geo-targeted ad just for them. The rest of the country will still see your ‘real’ ads. This may be a good tactic for advertisers launching a large, national campaign who want to keep their competitors in the dark for a while. The con here is that potential customers in the same geographical region will see the same ad as your competitor.
Staying on top of your game requires creativity and lots of testing. Take a close look at your campaigns and see if you can think of new ways to run your campaigns more effectively and efficiently.