Google adwords geo-targeting guide

how does google geo targeting work and how does mobile geo targeting work and how accurate is geo targeting
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DavyGodwin,United States,Professional
Published Date:03-08-2017
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LESSON 6 Deciding Where to Show Your Ads In this lesson, you learn why it’s a good idea for many new AdWords advertisers to target their advertising to a limited area at first to cut costs and maximize conversion ratios. You also learn the many clever ways that AdWords offers you for interactively setting your geographic targets and how to target a campaign for various language settings. Understanding Why Geo-Targeting Works Geo-targeting is a fairly new capability for the Web. It used to be that web- site creators and advertisers had no way to know where a specific user was when she connected. There were ways to guess, but they were imprecise, and services such as AOL aggregated users into one giant blob that seemed to all be located wherever AOL’s servers were. No longer. Google uses a number of means to guesstimate where a user is coming from, and then shows the user this guesstimated location in ser- vices such as Google Maps. If Google has it wrong and the user doesn’t correct Google’s misimpression, the user keeps getting useless local search results until he fixes it. So, Google’s understanding of where users are is already good and steadi- ly getting better. But, given that Google knows where (most) users are, why do you want to geo-target information? Doesn’t cutting some people out mean losing customers? Yes, but the point of geo-targeting is that every click a user makes on your ad costs you money. So, you want to eliminate clicks from unlikely buyers78 LESSON 6: Deciding Where to Show Your Ads and preserve clicks from likely buyers. That way, you cut out a lot of cost while keeping most of your revenue. The result: turning a healthy profit. Here’s an example. Let’s say I sell business consulting services to “green” businesses in Oakland, California. There’s no hard limit on who might buy from me—but the fact is, the closer someone is to me, the more likely that the person will buy my services. I share more local information and per- spective with them, it’s easier and cheaper for us to meet, and they are more likely to know one of my past or current clients. All these factors give me a local advantage. With that in mind, let’s do the (imaginary) math for a consulting ad. See Table 6.1 for specifics. TABLE 6.1 Assumed Profitability of AdWords Ads for Oakland-Based Consulting Oakland SF Bay Area California All of U.S. (– Oakland) (– SF Bay (– Calif.) Area) Population 400,000 6.6M 30M 280M Clicks (at .1% of 400 6,600 30,000 280,000 population) Cost per click 1 1 1 1 Total cost 400 6,600 30,000 280,000 Conversion ratio 10% 1% 0.1% 0.01% (from click to buy) Total customers 40 66 30 28 Profit per cus- 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 tomer Total profit 40,000 66,000 30,000 28,000 Total cost 400 6,600 30,000 280,000 Gross profit 39,600 59,400 0 –252,000 Sum of profits 39,600 99,000 99,000 –153,000Understanding Why Geo-Targeting Works 79 PLAIN ENGLISH: Conversion Ratio A conversion ratio is the number of people who take some desir- able step in the transition from potential customers to actual cus- tomers. It can describe a multistep process, as with seeing your ad online all the way through to making a purchase, or a single step, such as from seeing your ad to clicking it. Improving your conver- sion ratio at each step in the purchase process is the key to improving your profitability with AdWords. It can be hard to read tables of data if you’re not used to it, so let me put this into words. Here’s what happens as I advertise more and more broadly: . Oakland only. One-tenth of 1% of the population clicks my ad. That’s 400 people, at 1 per click, so my cost is 400. Because I’m local, 10% of people who click buy from me, or 40 cus- tomers. I make 1,000 per client, or 40,000, and only spend 400. My profit is nearly 40,000. Wow But I want more income, so I advertise in the whole San Francisco Bay Area. . SF Bay Area only. The additional 6.6 million people outside Oakland still click at the same rate, costing me 6,600. (Remember, that bill has to get paid way before I get paid by my clients.) Because I’m not truly local, only 1% buy from me. This still brings in 66,000, so my profit is nearly 60,000—on top of my nearly 40,000 from Oakland. Wow I’m a six-figure consultant . The rest of California. Expanding to all of California, I get 30 million more target customers, and their clicks cost me 30,000. I’m not local at all, so only 0.1% buy from me. This brings me 30 customers, making me 30,000—so I break even in California outside the Bay Area. (Actually, I lose in terms of cash flow because I have to pay AdWords up front, but only get paid after the fact by my clients.) . The rest of the United States. The good news is that I get 280 million more target customers. But their clicks cost me 280,000 The rest of America thinks Californians are wackos, and I’m far away, so only 0.01% buy from me. This only brings80 LESSON 6: Deciding Where to Show Your Ads me 28 customers—about the same as non-Bay Area California did—but I lose about a quarter of a million dollars on this expanded audience. CAUTION: Biting Off Too Much The way that AdWords works makes it easy to choose a wastefully large target area for your ads, and then generate big bills while you puzzle over results that are mildly encouraging, in that you do get some business, yet are loss-inducing overall. Use geo-targeting, as described in this lesson, to target a small area initially, and then build your targets up over time. If I look at this for my whole business, I would make about 40,000 a year from Oakland only. My profit grows to about 100,000 a year from Oakland plus the rest of the San Francisco Bay Area. And it stays exactly the same for all of California. But I lose about 150,000 a year if I adver- tise across the United States. This is, of course, a made-up and simplified example. If I put the word “Oakland” in my ad—or the much longer phrase “SF Bay Area”—I’ll cut down on clicks from people far away. But I’ll have used up my ad space, and the clicks probably won’t drop off enough to avoid some cost. The only way to really know if you’re getting the most out of AdWords, though, is to experiment. Try different advertising copy, in different places, with different offers. Mix and match and find what works. However, when you’re starting out, you’re really only trying to answer one burning question: Can AdWords make money for me? What you’re looking for when you start is what’s called an existence proof—real evidence of AdWords bringing in new business for you, prof- itably. So, when you’re getting started, don’t pick a big target marketing area for your AdWords ads and then think about cutting it back. Pick a small area, where you’re local to your customers, and get started there. Make that small area profitable through your ads, your landing page, and your conversion to a sale. Then expand your AdWords reach to larger areas. Think of each small area that you put your AdWords ads in as putting up a billboard in that area. You wouldn’t pay for 1,000 billboards with new, untested art and message on them. Instead, you’d put one billboard out, tryUsing AdWords for Geo-Targeting 81 it, see what people thought. Then you’d experiment, get the “creative” right, and only then roll out the billboard campaign broadly (and pay the resulting bills). TIP: Begin with Narrowcasting Don’t start your AdWords campaign with a big target area. Pick a small area where you have an advantage of some sort—you’re well known, you’re local, lots and lots of your target customers live there, or similar qualifiers. Test your AdWords skills and selling effectiveness in the small area, where the odds are stacked in your favor, and then only roll it out more broadly when you know you’re making a profit. Using AdWords for Geo-Targeting AdWords lets you geo-target down to a fine level of detail, although the exact “resolution” varies by location. You can certainly target down to the level of a medium-sized city such as Oakland (population 400,000) with no trouble, and even grab chunks of the adjacent cities Berkeley and Alameda, for instance, if you’d like. AdWords also lets you combine quite different target areas in a single campaign. For instance, you can get a list of high-income neighborhoods, which are spread out very unevenly, and choose to target all of them in one campaign. However, if you want to have different strategies for different parts of your overall target areas group—for instance, different ad text and different key- word bidding amounts for areas close to you versus those that are far away—you need different campaigns. TIP: Local Targeting for Expansive Campaigns Even if your sales campaign and your presence are intended to be national or global, starting out in a restricted geographic area helps you get up to speed before committing big bucks. And you still can consider using your local area as a test market—you’re likely to know its idiosyncrasies well, allowing you to get the most bang for your buck.82 LESSON 6: Deciding Where to Show Your Ads You use a dialog called Select a Location to build up your list of targeted areas. It has four tabs, each of which works differently: . Bundles. This is the big picture—continents and countries. After you choose a continent or a country, though, you can exclude countries, states or provinces, metro areas (that is, multicity agglomerations such as Los Angeles), or specific cities. . Browse. The Browse tab gives you a list of countries, and then enables you to choose or exclude states or provinces, metros, and cities. . Search. The Search tab enables you to search for a specific area, including countries, states or provinces, metro areas, and even ZIP codes. It has limits, though; when I searched for Rockridge, a neighborhood in Oakland, it didn’t return a result. When I searched for Rockridge, CA, it returned Oakland. . Custom. The Custom tab enables you to really fine-tune where your ads display, and I recommend it for use when you’re getting started. By using the Custom tab, you can get the most precise control over where your ads show up. In some countries, includ- ing the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Germany, you can allow the address of your business to show underneath ads that are geo-targeted using the Custom option. This is a confidence builder for local businesses, and I recom- mend that you use it as such if it’s available to you. You can use all these tabs together to build up the list of targeted areas for your ad. Follow these steps to geo-target a campaign with AdWords: 1. If you’re not there already, go to AdWords and start creating a new campaign, as described in the previous lesson. Choose the campaign type, give your campaign a name, and set the advertis- ing networks and devices to run your ads on. You should be on the Campaigns tab, with the Select Campaign Settings area displayed, as shown in Figure 5.2 in the previous lesson.Using AdWords for Geo-Targeting 83 2. Under the Locations and Languages area, next to the prompt, Locations, click the link Select One or More Other Locations. The Select a Location dialog opens, as shown in Figure 6.1. An area will already be selected. FIGURE 6.1 The Select a Location dialog lets you target all sorts of loca- tions, large or small. 3. Use the Bundles tab to add the whole world, or a continent-sized area (called a bundle by AdWords). Click the check box next to a continent’s (bundle’s) name. To add a specific country, click the + sign next to the bundle name, and choose specific countries from the list that appears. The names of the countries you select appear in the Selected Locations area. 4. To remove a country from the targeted group, click the red X next to its name in the Selected Locations area. Alternatively, click a country that’s highlighted in blue on the map, and then click the Don’t Show Ads Here prompt that appears. The coun- try will be removed from the Selected Locations area.84 LESSON 6: Deciding Where to Show Your Ads TIP: Building a List of Excluded Countries You can create a list of specific countries to exclude by choosing one or more bundles, and then pruning unwanted countries, or by building up the list one country at a time. 5. Use the Browse tab, shown in Figure 6.2, to add countries, states or provinces, metro areas, and cities. Click the plus sign next to a country’s name to add it. To add a specific state or province, metro area, or city, click the check box next to a country’s name, find the area you’re looking for, and then click the check box to add it. Alternatively, for areas that have been individually select- ed, click an area that’s highlighted in blue on the map, and then click the Don’t Show Ads Here prompt that appears. The Selected Locations area displays the results of your work, poten- tially combining continents and much smaller areas. FIGURE 6.2 The Browse tab allows access to countries, states and provinces, metro areas, and cities.Using AdWords for Geo-Targeting 85 PLAIN ENGLISH: Don’t Add Everything Then Expect to Trim You can’t exclude a smaller area that’s part of a larger area you’ve selected. (For example, you can’t choose the entire United States and then poke holes in it like a slice of Swiss cheese.) To include or exclude small areas, you have to work by addition of each small area, not subtraction of small areas from a larger whole. 6. Use the Search tab, shown in Figure 6.3, to add specific areas of varying sizes. Enter the name of the area (down to the city level), and AdWords returns one or more areas that fit the name. Search works on bundles, countries, states and provinces, metro areas, and cities. FIGURE 6.3 The Search tab gives you flexible access to different kinds of areas. . If you enter the name of a continent, AdWords displays the continent with a tag for each country displayed on the map, like pushpins, as shown in Figure 6.4.86 LESSON 6: Deciding Where to Show Your Ads FIGURE 6.4 The Custom tab really lets you get specific. . If you enter the name of a local area within a city, along with the state or province, AdWords might return the city or metro area of which that local area is a part. 7. Use the Map Point option of the Custom tab, shown in Figure 6.4, to add specific areas around an address or ZIP code. Enter the address or ZIP code and a number for the radius within which to show ads. Choose Miles or Kilometers. If the location is an address (not a ZIP code), you can, if it’s offered, click the check box Allow Address to Show in My Ads to turn this option on. (Recommended, if it’s practical for you.) TIP: Precise Targeting Is Possible The Custom tab doesn’t enable you to do precise ZIP code market- ing; it treats a ZIP code as a specific point within the ZIP code area, rather than as an area in its own right. It does, however, enable you to set the radius around a ZIP code center point or address to as little as 1 mile, so you can get quite precise in your targeting.Using AdWords for Geo-Targeting 87 8. Use the Custom Shape option of the Custom tab, shown in Figure 6.5, to draw selection areas. Click the Custom Shape link, and then click the polygon on the map. Click the map to set points. Or enter GPS coordinates, one pair per line, to specify the points. Click View on Map to see the area displayed. Click Show Ads Here to add the area to the Selected Locations list. FIGURE 6.5 You can gerrymander your own AdWords targeting area. AdWords creates a polygon (a pointy shape) connecting the points you enter by clicking or by entering GPS coordinates. 9. Use the Bulk option to enter up to 100 locations. Click the Bulk link, and then enter the names of locations—countries, cities, ZIP codes, and so forth—one per line. Click View on Map to see the area displayed. Click Add to add the area to the Selected Locations list. ZIP codes are mapped to the nearest city.88 LESSON 6: Deciding Where to Show Your Ads 10. Click the View All on Map link to see all the areas you’ve entered and review them. If needed, take a screenshot of the map to share with others. Change your selections if needed. If needed, press Alt+PrtSc, or similar key combination, to take a screenshot of the map; paste it into a Word document or email message to share and discuss with others. When you’ve finished, click Save. Your choices are saved and displayed next to the Locations prompt on the Select Campaign Settings screen. CAUTION: Biting Off Too Little If you choose a small geographic target and an obscure keyword, such as “toy petrosaurs,” you won’t get many clicks. Stay on top of your AdWords ads in the early days to make sure you’re not wasting your time with too precise a degree of fine-tuning. Using AdWords for Language Targeting AdWords enables you to target your campaign to customers who have set their Search Language setting on Google to a specific value in Google’s Search Preferences area. Setting the Search Language to a specific lan- guage means that pages written in that language are ranked higher in Google’s search results. Unfortunately for you as a marketer, not every customer who speaks a given language will set his or her search preferences to that language. Anecdotal evidence indicates that not many Google users know about this option or bother with it. Customers might even know about the option, but prefer to see the same results as speakers of the default language for that area—they might then even translate the page into their preferred language. Geography could take care of much of the problem for you. In that case, think carefully about whom you’re trying to reach in a given area and what kind of ads you should present to them.Using AdWords for Language Targeting 89 Given these considerations, it’s probably best to experiment cautiously with the language option. Consider setting up a campaign in the majority language for a country or region, and then a campaign in the less-used lan- guage, with all the other settings (except for the language targeted) identi- cal. Compare the results, and make sure that you’re getting traction in the less-used language before investing a lot of effort. Follow these steps to set the target language for your campaign in AdWords: 1. If you’re not there already, go to AdWords and start creating a new campaign, as described in the previous lesson. Choose the campaign type, give your campaign a name, and set the advertis- ing networks and devices to run your ads on. You should be on the Campaigns tab, with the Select Campaign Settings area displayed. 2. Under the Locations and Languages area, next to the prompt, Languages, click the Edit link. A list of languages appears. A language will already be selected. 3. Click to set the check box next to the languages that you want to target your ads against. Note that AdWords won’t translate your ad text for you. 4. Continue to setting your budget, as described in the next lesson. CAUTION: Spelling in Foreign Languages Be careful when creating ad content or landing page content in lan- guages other than your native tongue. Spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, even a seemingly odd tone can be quite irritating or con- fusing to potential customers, actually doing you and your company more harm than good. Get help from skilled native speakers to get your content right.90 LESSON 6: Deciding Where to Show Your Ads Summary In this lesson, you learned why it’s a good idea for many new AdWords advertisers to target their advertising to a limited area at first to cut costs and maximize conversion ratios. You also learned to use various tech- niques for interactively setting your geographic targets and how to target a campaign for various language settings.

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