National ads, local results: Where should you be putting your money?
Discover which locations are your money-makers and focus on maximizing revenue, not exposure in unprofitable places, says contributor Jacob Baadsgaard. Here's how to dig into the data and figure out where to put your ad money.
When it comes to search engine marketing (SEM), geotargeting is a local advertiser’s best friend. After all, if you only serve customers in Evanston, West Virginia, it doesn’t really make sense to pay for clicks from people in New York City.
Geotargeting is also great for franchises. Even if you have locations around the world, potential customers are a lot more likely to respond to a location-specific ad than one-size-fits-all ad copy.
But what about national or international e-commerce retailers? What if you run a business-to-business (B2B) services or software as a service (SaaS) company that serves clients anytime, anywhere?
Surely, a broad targeting approach is best for businesses with a broad target market.
While nationwide targeting is often recommended for nationwide offers, it isn’t always the most profitable way to market your business. Even if you can technically serve or sell to customers anywhere, when it comes to SEM, not all locations are created equal. In national campaigns, some locations are incredibly profitable, and others are an incredible waste of money.
Pay for what works
In marketing, it’s easy to fall victim to a fear of missing out. Some advertisers add extra keywords or match types “just in case” a potential customer searches in an unusual way. Some of us run ads across the nation (or world) “just in case” a random person in a random place happens to search online for our products or services.
However, the goal of an effective marketing campaign isn’t maximum exposure — it’s maximum profit and revenue.
Even if you miss out on the occasional potential customer, if eliminating certain keywords, locations or other poorly performing elements improves the profitability of your campaigns, it’s the right move.
As an SEM advertiser, your job is to drive profitable new business for your company. You can’t afford to spend money on clicks with a low chance of producing sales. You have to pay for what works.
Targeting the right locations
With all that in mind, let’s take a look at how to use geotargeting to improve the performance of your national or international SEM campaigns.
Depending on whether you are running e-commerce or lead generation campaigns, there are two different ways to identify which locations you should be targeting. In either case, you’ll need to have run a national campaign for a few months to see how your ads perform in differe…