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National Ads, Local Results: Where Should You Put Your Money?

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In search engine marketing (SEM), geographic targeting is the best friend of a local advertiser. After all, if you only serve customers in Evanston, West Virginia, it does not really make sense to pay for the clicks of New Yorkers.

Geographical targeting is also ideal for franchises. Even if you own sites worldwide, potential customers are much more likely to respond to a specific ad at a location than a single ad copy.

But what about national or international e-commerce retailers? What happens if you run a business-to-business (B2B) or software-as-a-service (SaaS) service that serves customers anytime, anywhere?

Surely, a broad targeting approach is best for businesses with a large target market.

Although national targeting is often recommended for national offers, it is not always the most cost-effective way to market your business. Even though technically you can serve or sell to customers anywhere, when it comes to SEM, not all locations are created equal. In national campaigns, some places are incredibly profitable, and others are an incredible waste of money.

Paying for what works

In marketing, it's easy to be a victim of a fear of missing out. Some advertisers add additional keywords or match types "in case" a potential customer performs an unusual search. Some of us broadcast ads across the country (or the world) "just in case" a random person in a random location is searching online for our products or services.

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However, the goal of an effective marketing campaign is not the maximum exposure – it's the maximum profit and income.

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Even if you miss the occasional potential customer, if the elimination of certain keywords, pitches or other mediocre items improves the profitability of your campaigns, that's the right decision.

As an SEM advertiser, your job is to generate profitable new business for your business. You can not afford to spend money on clicks with little chance of generating sales. You have to pay for what works.

Targeting the Right Locations

With all of this in mind, let's take a look at how to use geographic targeting to improve the performance of your national or international SEM campaigns.

Depending on whether you are running ecommerce or lead generation campaigns, there are two different ways to identify the locations you need to target. In either case, you will need to have launched a national campaign for a few months to see how your ads behave …

[Read the full article on Search Engine Land.]

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The opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. The authors of the staff are listed here.

About the author

Jacob is a passionate entrepreneur whose mission is to grow businesses by using PPC & CRO. As founder and CEO of Disruptive Advertising, Jacob has developed an award-winning, world-class organization that has now helped more than 2,000 businesses increase their online revenue. Connect with him on Twitter.